Readying our hearts to receive the Lord

NORWALK—This past Sunday I had the privilege to participate in two Eucharistic processions to commemorate the Feast of Corpus Christi. The first was held at Saint John’s Church in Darien, following the 11:30 AM Mass. The other was a procession for the deanery of Norwalk, Darien and New Canaan that originated at St. Matthew Church and extended over two miles to Norwalk Community College. This procession was attended by over 400 people. Both processions were a beautiful public testimony of our Catholic faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

The historic origin of the Corpus Christi procession gives us a spiritual lesson to reflect upon in our own age and time. In earlier ages, many Christians, acutely aware of their personal sinfulness, did not come forward to receive Holy Communion. In fact, tradition holds that Saint Francis received Holy Communion just a few times in his life, so unworthy did he consider himself to be to receive so great a gift. The result was the rise of an annual procession that allowed many believers to look upon the Eucharistic Lord and to enjoy a spiritual communion with Him, by glimpsing His Presence and adoring Him.

Photos by Amy Mortensen

It seems to me that the spiritual practice of our earlier forebears reminds us that we too must never take for granted the great gift of the Eucharist. When we come forward to receive, we must do so consciously and with a contrite heart for our sinfulness. We must never receive the Sacred Body and Blood of the Lord if we are aware of grave sin in our lives and have not yet approached the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Penance.

Just as we couple our hands to receive the Eucharist, creating a throne of honor for the Lord, so too let us always ready our hearts and spirits to receive the Lord’s Real Presence in our lives, seeking new life in Him. For to invite so great a Guest “under our roof”, we must be ready in mind and spirit to welcome Him.”

The previous reflection originally appeared on Bishop Frank Caggiano’s Facebook page. Follow the Bishop for daily reflections and weekly videos!