An Advent Adventure: Connecting Our Hearts to Our Minds in the Sacraments.
There are five goals of Courage International, an apostolate for men and women who experience same-sex attractions and strive to follow the Church’s teachings on chastity. As I listened to a presentation on a Lighthouse CD by Betty Brennan I was blown away and the second goal of Courage came to the forefront of my mind and heart. So, what is the second goal of Courage? To dedicate our entire lives to Christ through service to others, spiritual reading, prayer, meditation, individual spiritual direction, frequent attendance at Mass, and the frequent reception of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist. Betty was a former Satanist who came back to God through the Catholic Church. Although a small part of the Lighthouse presentation was her remarkable conversion story from Satanism to God, it wasn’t the main message of her presentation.
She spoke with authority, humility and a deep profound appreciation of how powerful the Sacraments are, especially the Sacraments of Reconciliation and of the Holy Eucharist. At one point she stated that if a Satanist was given a large number of communion hosts with only one being consecrated, that individual could easily point out the Holy Eucharist. Why? Because there is power in Jesus and that is exactly what the Holy Eucharist is: the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. Betty focused on what we know as the last two parts of the second goal: the frequent reception of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and of the Holy Eucharist.
We all struggle with sin, whether it is striving for chastity, or self-discipline, addictions, or more, it is extremely important for us to pick ourselves up and go back to the sacrament of reconciliation. Often, we get tired and think God gave up on us or ask, “How could He keep forgiving me for the same thing over and over and over?” This is one thing that can lead to despair and keep us from receiving Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. We as Roman Catholics are blessed to have the seven Sacraments of our faith. Betty spoke of these Sacraments as being powerful weapons in spiritual warfare. And these Sacraments can bring us healing.
I loved how she spoke of the Holy Eucharist. She stated what we all know; that it is the true presence of Jesus Christ, body, blood soul and divinity. But she took it to a much deeper level than I have never heard of. She stated that when we receive Jesus, His blood is pumping through our veins. She suggested that we pray, “Lord as your blood pumps through my veins please heal my brokenness.” I told my friend about this last night and she said, “David, I have heard, that for a few minutes when we receive Holy Communion, we are first-class relics.” Think about it. We as Roman Catholics are extremely blessed and have such an opportunity for healing and growth in becoming the men and women God called us to be.
When the first members of Courage discerned the five goals, the Holy Spirit guided them and there is no doubt in my mind. Today at mass, I prayed what Betty suggested and it helped me focus on why it is so important to have the frequent reception of the Holy Eucharist. Focusing on Christ’s blood flowing through my veins connected my heart to what I know in my mind about the Holy Eucharist. I took it a little further as I prayed, “Jesus, I believe. I trust. I long for you. As your blood pumps through my veins when I receive you in the Holy Eucharist heal my brokenness and help me to believe more, to trust more and to long for you more.”
We can’t battle our sin on our own. And if we truly believe that during the consecration, the bread and wine become the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ, then what else do we need to conquer our battles no matter what they are. How could we not be affected and healed when we receive the creator of the universe into our bodies? Christ wants us whole and loves us so much.
During Advent, we are preparing for the coming of Jesus. Mary and Joseph could not find room in the inn on that very special night. A friend of mine reminded me that Advent is a very special time to make sure there is room in the inn of our hearts. How can we do that? By surrendering ourselves completely to Christ. Advent is an opportunity to take advantage of those special Sacraments of both Reconciliation and of the Holy Eucharist. Advent would be a perfect time for each of us to visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament during a Holy Hour or maybe go to mass a couple more times during the week. And when we receive Him, maybe we should pray those words, Jesus, I believe. I trust. I long for you. As your blood pumps through my veins when I receive you in the Holy Eucharist heal my brokenness and help me to believe more, to trust more and to long for you more.” May God bless you and connect your heart to your mind this Advent and always on this Christian journey.