July 22, 2024

Priest gives holy communion to faithful and empty place for text

By Mikaela Pannell

A quote that frequents my mind is one by St. Augustine: “Our hearts are restless until they rest in you, O Lord.” It’s such a simple way of putting how we have an innately deep desire for the Lord. This desire will be ultimately satisfied when we join him in heaven, but until then, he has given us the most wonderful gift in the Eucharist.

I remember during the early days of Covid when we were unable to attend Mass in person, and were therefore unable to receive Jesus in holy Communion. The aching in my soul and the souls of so many others was palpable. Certainly it dampened our spirits to be forced to stay away during that time. What a joyful day it was when we were allowed back in to participate in person again!

Mikaela Pannell is a parishioner at St. Therese Parish in Sioux Falls.

I heard a statistic that just 31 percent of Catholics actually believe that the Eucharist is the true body and blood of Jesus. That is startlingly low. Don’t get me wrong; it’s certainly a difficult concept to grasp and one that nobody can completely understand. But it’s part of our professed faith as Catholics that we do believe it. When we say, “Amen,” we’re saying we believe Jesus is truly present to us in the form of bread and wine.

The Eucharistic Revival, which started this summer on the feast of Corpus Christi, is a nationwide effort to stir in the hearts of the faithful a renewed desire for union with the Lord by way of the Eucharist. We all have a “God-sized hole in our hearts,” as I’ve heard it said. Unfortunately, many of us try to fill it with something other than God himself. That “something other” may be alcohol, drugs, dead-end relationships, or even good things like our spouses, children and friends. But no matter what we try to stuff in that hole, the only thing that will actually fit in it is the Lord.

There is no better way to fill the space in our hearts than by being close to the Blessed Sacrament. Of course receiving Jesus in holy Communion is ideal, but spending time with him in adoration is another wonderful option. You might also grow closer to Jesus by learning about different eucharistic miracles that have happened over the years, or opening up the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” and reading the official Church teaching about the Eucharist.

We are truly blessed to live in a thriving diocese where we all have access to weekly Masses, and usually even daily Mass. We are technically only required to attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation, but when you put into perspective that if that’s all the time you spend in the presence of Jesus, it really isn’t that much. We spend far more time with the people we love than an hour a week, so why do we only give Jesus an hour of our time?

In honor of the Eucharistic Revival, I want to encourage all of us (myself included) to make an effort to start spending at least one hour more every week in his presence, whether that is daily Mass or a trip to your local adoration chapel. I think we will all notice our hearts become less restless when we let ourselves rest in him.