My child asked me if we could start going to daily Mass, and I hesitated.
Our parish is a half hour drive, it’s hard to get the kids ready and out the door in the morning, we have so many other things to do in our day.
Immediately I felt convicted.
“Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life.” John 6:27
The Work of This World Does Not Fulfill
Do I need it to be easy to go to Mass?
Do I expect it to be effortless to pursue the Eucharist?
This is exactly the problem with the world today, and I fell right into it. So many people labor for the food that perishes; so many people work for the things that pass away.
- We work hard on our daily chores.
- We work hard on our health and fitness.
- We work hard for our children’s education.
- We work hard at our careers.
- We work hard to save money.
This life is full of difficult work. But just how important is it? Just how fulfilling is it?
When our top priority is the work of this world, we will find there is always more work to be done.
Just when you finish folding the laundry, another load needs to be thrown in the wash.
Each day, another healthy meal needs to be made, another time to exercise needs to be found.
There are always more educational opportunities to take, more career advancements to pursue, more money to be made.
Though these things are all important to some degree, none of this truly satisfies.
We have to ask ourselves: are we fully alive?
The Eucharist Gives Us Life
“The bread of God… comes down from heaven, and gives life to this world.” John 6:33.
How dead this world is. How empty and shallow are its pursuits.
The longer we are away from the Eucharist, the more we feel the effects of this world.
A restlessness, an emptiness. Life becomes hard, but sin becomes easy. And all our work leaves us tired.
But the Eucharist, the bread come down from heaven, it gives life to the world!
It gives life to my world!
It cleanses me of my daily sins and restores my soul. It gives me the grace I need to go about my daily work, full of life and love and energy.
It gives meaning to each day, and fulfillment to each task.
I have heard people say that by taking time out of their busy schedule to pray or go to daily Mass, they find they have more time to do the work that needs to be done in their daily lives.
Why is this?
Perhaps, when we put the Eucharist first, we are able to prioritize everything else.
Maybe we find, in the Eucharist, the fortitude to do the daily work of our vocation, and do it well.
It could be that when the Eucharist is our first priority, we are more able to let go of the work that doesn’t need doing, in favor of the work that truly must be done.
When we labor first for the things of this world, there is always more work to be done.
But when we labor first for the things of God, the things that pass away have no hold on us. They’re easier to let go, to surrender. They do not consume us.
We Must Be Filled with a Longing for the Eucharist
When we realize the primary importance of the Eucharist in our lives, we can be filled with a yearning that allows us to say, “Lord, give us this bread always!” John 6:34.
We can yearn for him deeply.
We can feel his call to more frequent participation in Mass, more frequent reception of the Eucharist.
We can recognize the work of pursuing him as the most important work of our lives.
And it is hard work.
It can feel difficult to stay close to the Blessed Sacrament.
It can feel like an imposition in my daily schedule. It may be an inconvenience – to fast for an hour, to drive to Mass.
It can feel wearying, to spend an hour of silence in Eucharistic Adoration.
But the Bread of Life is the thing most worth working for.
And we must pray for the fortitude to work for it.
The fortitude of Blessed Imelda, who longed for Jesus in the Eucharist every day, who begged and prayed repeatedly until she was able to receive him.
The fortitude of St. Dominic Savio, who burned with great love for avoiding sin and doing the will of God, and became a daily communicant.
The fortitude of St. Tarcisius, who risked and ultimately gave his life to bring the Eucharist to others and defend it against unbelievers.
The fortitude of St. Francisco Marto, who knew life was short, and often took refuge in front of the Tabernacle when he was too sick to go to school.
We Must Become Like Little Children
These young Saints are a witness to me.
My own dear child who asked to go to daily Mass is a witness to me.
Jesus said, “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3. Children often know in their hearts what we adults fail to see with our minds.
Today, I beg Jesus to allow me to become more like these little children.
I beg him to make the participation in the Sacrifice of the Mass and the reception of the Eucharist the true center of my life.
I ask him to give me the fortitude to work hardest for the food which matters most: the food of eternal life.
I pray that I may put no obstacle between myself and the Holy Eucharist – no sin, no to-do list, no schedule, no priority.
I hope that from this day forward, my life will begin to change.
May the Eucharist truly become the center of my life and my family, the source and summit of my Faith.
May I always work hardest for the most important thing.
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