Today’s video invites us to reflect on an important and often forgotten about moment during Mass – the after Communion Meditation. Too often we may return to our pew after receiving Communion and sit and think. We may make a short prayer, the choir launches into a hymn and the moment is lost. Perhaps it is difficult if we have young children with us, who are understandably restless and need our attention. Perhaps we simply don’t know what to pray in this moment, though we understand it is an important time.
Fr Mike Schmitz addresses this time in a very powerful way in this video. He begins by saying “[we] realize that here is the God of the Universe, who’s not only come down onto this altar, but He stepped off the altar in the Eucharist, into your life, into my life, into your very body and soul. The last thing we want to do is just receive and leave.”
This is true, but it also illustrates a common struggle of the moment: what are you meant to pray when you have the Creator of the Universe physically present in your body and soul?! Where do you even begin? How do you pay back an infinite debt so freely given? In those moments, praying in a pew in your local church, the realities of life around you – the crying children, the lady singing out of tune, the squeaky organ, the “what is she wearing?!” thoughts going through your head- can make it very difficult. It is hard to comprehend how the meeting of Heaven and Earth, the most momentous event of all the ages, the death of God, the ultimate sacrifice that occurred outside Time and Space, crashing through the cosmos, is settling in your body now, just for you.
Heady stuff. That’s why it is sometimes difficult to go back to your pew, after receiving something that looks like bread, tastes like bread, but isn’t bread, and say a prayer fitting to what is going on in the moment.
But then, we will never ever be able to produce a prayer fitting to the sacrifice of the Eucharist. That’s not to say that we then give up, say a short “thanks” and settle down to watch the Communion queue. Engage in the struggle, but also rest in the struggle. As Fr. Mike says, “measure out the love of a God whose love is immeasurable. And observe how great He thinks you are.”
Most of the time, our prayers in this time will be a distraction-filled struggle. But try spending a little longer than normal really giving to God your prayer time during the Communion Meditation. Tell Him if you are struggling, tell Him if you don’t understand the Eucharist, tell Him if it all feels beyond you. But let Him into your struggles. Thank Him for the gift of what He has given us, even if your thanks feel hollow- thank Him again and again. Allow Him to take the best and the worst you can give Him and multiply your faith over and above what you have. Because at the end of Mass, we are not meant to keep this gift to ourselves, but go out into a world of people hungry to know they are loved, hungry to know that they are worth dying for. Let that post-Communion meditation time be the time you spend deeply cementing the foundations of your relationship with Christ. Be with Him, try and be present to Him within you, listen to Him in this time.
As you make this attempt, try not to fill up the moment with all your talk. Let Christ speak to you. You will not have beautiful blessed moments every time, but that is not always the point. The point is that, over time, you allow the Eucharist to become something more than just getting up from your pew, receiving and leaving. Allowing the truth that ‘you are worth dying for’ to sink in will change your life and it will change how you see and react to other people. If you are worth dying for, then so are they, and – like all good gifts – we are not called to keep the Good News of the Gospel to ourselves.
The Communion Meditation is a time we can draw on again and again during our day. If we keep in mind throughout our day that we have received God into our bodies and souls, then it will inform everything we do, like a happy secret shared between two people who love each other. It will strengthen and encourage us, and help us to be more generous to those around us.
I, therefore, invite you, the next time you go to Mass, to try and apply yourself more to the time after you receive Communion. Remember it is the quality of the time rather than the quantity that is important. Be present to Christ in that moment and see what He is whispering to you in the quiet of your heart.
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