The Joy of the Eucharistic Jesus Can Be Yours to Hold

Human apprehension cannot gauge the effect of one Commu­nion, let alone frequent Communions. The Mass is the mysti­cal revelation of Christ’s death, Resurrection, and Ascension. In Holy Communion, we share in these eternally significant mysteries. The priest daily offering the Holy Sacrifice, renews bloodlessly the sacrifice of the Cross, for “Christ, rising again from the dead, dieth now no more; death shall no more have dominion over Him.” Christ has forever relinquished the trappings of death and assumed the raiment of immortality, a fitting reward of His life of sorrow and suffering and His heart­rending Crucifixion.

In receiving Christ, besides sharing in the infinite merits of His Passion, death, Resurrection, and Ascension, we are made one with Him through being nourished by the Bread of An­gels. We shake off cosmic dust through the gradual working of the eucharistic Savior within us. Transported by the sacra­mental God who gladdens our souls with the glory of His pres­ence, we become entirely His; we exchange earth for Heaven.

The whole life of Christ enters into us when we communi­cate. His life of contemplation, of action, of infinite patience, of eternal love, and of unearthly peace, is mysteriously ours. He, whose love for us could be satisfied by nothing short of the assumption of our nature, abides in us as God and man.

He dwells in us with His eternal yearning for the Father’s glory, and His perfect conformity to the Father’s will. He ever intercedes with Him for us, while pleading with us to serve Him lovingly and perseveringly. He purifies our love and beautifies our souls. With unflagging desire and intensified ar­dor, He petitions the Father for the gift of freer correspon­dence — on the part of His Mystical Body collectively, and its members individually — with the graces that He so generously bestows upon them; suffusing their souls with the joy that de­lights the heavenly hosts with rapture ever increasing and un­dying. Such is the life of the eucharistic Christ within us.

This article is from a chapter in Fr. Kane’s Transforming Your Life Through the Eucharist.

As the active principle of our spiritual development, He never tires of urging us to “approve the better things.” Ac­cording to the sincerity of our devotion, He diffuses His life; He grants His gifts in proportion to our love of Him. What He desires most is that our lives reflect His indwelling life, that all our actions be convincing evidence of closest contact with Him. Our realization of the development of His life within us, and our living it, will be manifested by our joy or our sorrow.

We cannot consciously possess Christ without experienc­ing and spreading supernatural joy. True, it will be intermit­tent and somewhat changeable, unlike the joy that will be ours hereafter. And it will differ from (although it is akin to) the joy accompanying the possession of the Holy Spirit, who, opening the gates of heavenly happiness, and swelling the billows to immeasurable heights, serenely wafts the soul far above the mists and shadows of its earthly lot. But this joy, springing from the conscious possession of Christ, will lighten the burden of inward trial and soothe the irritation of outward pain. Sorrow can never depress a soul for whom Christ, dwelling in it, is a constant, instead of a fitful, reality. Faith waxes sublimely strong in such a soul — Christ absorbs the soul.

Sadness, paradoxical as it may seem, will tinge this joy. The heart will instinctively be overcome with poignant sorrow when the mind contemplates Christ, who challenged His bitterest enemies to convict Him of sin; Christ, who is sanctity itself, substantially united with woefully weak mortals who have been defiled with sin so often. The reflection, too, on the pos­sibility of sinning again after having housed the sinless Savior, of not realizing the ideal that His presence within us has every right to demand we realize, and the consideration of what it cost Him to redeem us, of our dullness in understanding His teach­ing, not to mention our miserable failure to square our lives with it — such thoughts will transfix the soul with an acute sense of sin, inspiring perennial penitence, and will level us to the dust with the knowledge of our unworthiness to enshrine our God.

Intermingled with this sadness will be a reverential fear of offending our Infinite Lover. It will stir our souls to their very depths with the dread that we may lapse into an old habit of sin, or that our tendency to commit a particular sin — a de­sire, for instance, to avenge an injustice, or a passion for the unsatisfactory pleasures of the world — may, despite the help of grace, swiftly betray us into the hands of our enemy and drive far from us our God and our all.

To further the sacramental life, we must banish this fear by growth in the love of Christ. God is love. The Incarnation is a mystery of love that man will never fathom. In virtue of Christ’s love for us, the worthiness of our reception of Him depends chiefly on our love of Him. Love is the one grace which, facilitating freer conformity to the will of God, enlarges and quickens the soul, and renders it more capable of the ever-increasing fullness of the life of the eucharistic Savior.

Our love of Christ is no stronger than our appraisal of His love of us. He longs for us; we must long for Him. He seeks us; we must seek Him. True, He awakens our yearning for Him; but ours it is to increase that yearning to its utmost extent and, aided by grace, to hunger for a still greater outpouring of God’s most precious blessings. “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice, for they shall have their fill.”

This ceaseless hungering for the closest intimacy with the unseen yet ever-present God of the Eucharist will give us pa­tience in our efforts to “mortify the deeds of the flesh by the Spirit,” and will be our mightiest armor against the world and its seductive pleasures. The more our desires keep pace with the expansion of Christ’s life within us, the dearer will be our vision of it, and the more thoroughly will we enter into com­plete accord with His designs for us.

Again, for the full development of His life within us, the soul enlightened by the Divine Presence must nourish its spir­itual energies by constant contemplation of its Infinite Lover.

In a mystery eliciting from the creature the highest and purest faith, the soul’s prayer should be: “Lord, increase my faith”; for as faith grows, the vision enlarges with greater grandeur.

What a power against temptation would this vision be for our souls if we beheld it with a look of enduring, concentrated expression so that we might live our lives in its divinely illu­mined splendor! With what consummate ease would we sanc­tify ourselves and scatter the seeds of virtue all around us! As we walked in the wondrously brilliant light of the God within us, come what might, the heartening consciousness of our Di­vine Guest would inspirit us to live for Him alone, in the new­ness of life, peacefully, and restfully, and would make for us a veritable reservoir of spiritual strength against our enemies. Inseparable union with man was the goal of the Incarna­tion and is the reason for Christ’s life in the tabernacle. On the altar, He watches over us with love unquenchable.

To requite this love in our own finite way, we must, with the full measure of Christ’s life working with us, ever strive for the attainment of that indissoluble union, constraining the God of love, the center of all true life, to draw us wholly to Himself, that our lives here may, however imperfectly, adumbrate the joy, the peace, and the glory that will be ours when, with the heavenly hierarchy, we shall chant the eternal hymn, “Holy God. Holy and Mighty One. Holy and Immortal One. Have mercy on us.”

This article is from a chapter in Fr. Kane’s Transforming Your Life Through the Eucharist. It is available as an ebook or paperback from your favorite bookstore or online through Sophia Institute Press.

Photo by Eric Mok on Unsplash


Born in Philadelphia, John Kane attended St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland, and St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, Pennsylvania, and was ordained for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 1912. Fr. Kane was the first pastor in his archdiocese to introduce all-night adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. He initiated a weekly adult religion class in his parish. He died in 1962.

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