Seven Characteristics of a Eucharistic Heart
- Incarnational love. “This is my body which is given for you” (Luke 22:19).
- Resurrected life. “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
- Humble service. “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14).
- Grateful heart. “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you” (Col. 1:3).
- Abiding presence. “Behold, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Matt. 28:20).
- Merciful communion. “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” (John 5:56).
- Victorious witness. “And they have conquered him [the accuser of our brethren] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony” (Rev. 12:11).
When we make every effort to live a eucharistic life, Christ helps us to become what we receive, and fashions our heart to be eucharistic.
Pope St. John Paul II taught that we need silent Adoration to resist worldly temptations. Since God created us for beauty, we need to be in communion with the Beautiful One. This is the antidote to the ugliness that parades before our eyes. In the silence of Adoration, we enter into the beauty of God, who strengthens us for the good fight. Thus, we become a blessing to our families.
The call to holiness is accepted and can be cultivated only in the silence of adoration before the infinite transcendence of God: “We must confess that we all need this silence.” . . . It is also necessary to recognize and overcome certain temptations which sometimes, by diabolical deceit, present themselves under the appearance of good. . . . The praiseworthy desire to become close to the men and women of our day, believers and non-believers, rich and poor, can lead to the adoption of a secularized lifestyle or the promotion of human values in a merely horizontal direction.Pope John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata (March 25, 1996), no. 38.
The “adoption of a secularized lifestyle” has undermined many Christian couples and families. Prudence is needed to live in the world and not become “of the world.”
Building a Eucharistic Home: 10 Traits
A eucharistic home is the natural extension of a eucharistic heart. Through a eucharistic life celebrated with liturgical seasons, the home becomes a sanctuary imbued with eucharistic qualities.
- Holy ground. Ask a priest to bless your home and consecrate it formally to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Teach that the home is considered holy ground, where the gospel is upheld.
- Safe refuge. Teach that everyone is safe at home. Create a refuge from the world, where everyone feels protected and nourished.
- Intimate communion. Teach that just as Jesus faithfully communes with us in the Eucharist, we are committed to be faithful to each other in love and gratitude.
- A joyful place. Teach that Jesus remains on earth in the Eucharist, giving us abundant joy in His abiding presence, protection, peace, and plenitude.
- Sacrificial offering. Teach that because Jesus laid down His life in the service of others, we, too, must serve one another by making sacrifices of lasting love.
- Affirming dignity. Teach that loved ones are cherished in the family for their God-given dignity. Nurture individual gifts and talents.
- Growing love. Teach that God’s love is alive, ever new, and creative; therefore, in the family, love is not stagnant, but grows every day through each member.
- Christocentric problem-solving. Teach that Jesus told us that we would experience problems in the world and that we must solve them in a manner worthy of God’s disciples, with peace and justice.
- Family meals. Prioritize the family meal. At meal time and during the preparation of meals, be mindful of the parallels with the Last Supper. Remember the Lord’s heart for feeding the apostles, lovingly preparing a meal for them — for example, breakfast on the seashore after His resurrection (John 21:9–14). Remember that hungry stomachs are only part of the equation. The deeper hunger is for love. Make family meals a time for laughing, learning, loving, and even arguing constructively.
- Attendance at Holy Mass and Adoration. Be a eucharistic family by prioritizing the reception of the Eucharist at Mass. Worship and praise together. Make family visits to the Blessed Sacrament — even very brief ones.
In his Letter to Families, Pope St. John Paul II wrote:
“The Last Supper and the words he [Jesus] spoke there contain all the power and wisdom of the sacrifice of the Cross. No other power and wisdom exist by which we can be saved and through which we can help to save others. . . . The educational power of the Eucharist has been proved down the generations and centuries.”Pope John Paul II, Letter to Families, 96
Similarly, the Lord told St. Faustina, “In the Host is the power; it will defend you always.” Let us unleash the educational power of the Eucharist in our families.
St. Peter Julian Eymard tells us,
“The Eucharist is the work of a measureless love that has at its service an infinite power: the omnipotence of God.” And he declares, “We must return from that Table like lions breathing fire, having become terrifying to the Devil!”
In our eucharistic hearts and homes, we should be mindful that there are growing numbers of demonic agents who are enemies of the Eucharist. I encourage families to offer reparation for the demonic desecration of the Blessed Sacrament, which, tragically, is more widespread than we realize. What is reparation? The Catechism teaches that every offense committed entails the duty of reparation, even if its author has been forgiven (see CCC 2412, 2454, 2487, 2509). St. Therese of Lisieux said the best reparation she could ever make for sin was attending Holy Mass and worthily receiving Holy Communion.
Family Intercessory Prayer
Intercessory prayer is a weapon against sin and evil. The Catechism defines intercession as follows: “Intercession is a prayer of petition which leads us to pray as Jesus did. He is the one intercessor with the Father on behalf of all men, especially sinners. He is ‘able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.’ The Holy Spirit ‘himself intercedes for us . . . and intercedes for the saints according to the will of God’” (CCC 2634). A hallmark of an intercessor is that “he who prays looks ‘not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others,’ even to the point of praying for those who do him harm” (CCC 2635). The scope of intercessory prayer knows no bounds.
Intercession could be understood as the prayer that especially moves God’s Heart.
“But Moses implored the Lord his God saying, ‘O LORD, why does your wrath burn hot against your people . . . ? Turn from your fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against your people. . . .’ And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do to his people” (Exod. 32:11, 12, 14).
This passage shows three dimensions of intercession: action, prayer, and offering. Moses took action, standing between a sinful people and their angry God. He prayed that God would relent, and he offered himself as a living sacrifice to do whatever God commanded. This is the essence of intercessory prayer. This is how we pray for loved ones: by taking action and standing between God and our spouses or children, be they faithful or prodigal.
When I pray for a loved one, I like to imagine that I become a vessel of prayer, taking hold of Christ’s hand with my right hand and extending my left to the person for whom I’m interceding.
I know of a lady who interceded unceasingly for her child, who was addicted to drugs. Then, suddenly, the child was arrested, convicted of a drug-related crime, and sentenced to prison for a few years. While there, the child stopped taking drugs, overcame his addiction, and developed a close relationship with Christ through a Bible study at the prison. Now, the child evangelizes inmates. The mother’s intercessory prayer was answered — not as she envisioned, but God knew the best way to rescue this child. She is very grateful that God answered her prayer.
Christians are called, consecrated, and commissioned as intercessors with Christ. We pray, act, and ask for the grace and miracles that families need.
Eternal Father, graciously cleanse, heal, restore, and liberate from evil our loved ones, whom we commit to your merciful Heart. Amen.
Editor’s note: This article is adapted from a chapter in Kathleen Beckman’s Family Guide to Spiritual Warfare: Strategies for Deliverance and Healing. It is available as an ebook or paperback from your favorite bookseller or online through Sophia Institute Press.