By Greg Wasinski
As a lifelong Catholic, I spent many years going through the motions of Mass, catechism class, sacramental preparation and prayer without allowing myself to appreciate the beauty of our faith.
During an adult period of my life, I even drifted away from going to church altogether. So often, even when I was present, I had zero realization or respect of the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.
I allowed myself to be disconnected. I didn’t have the desire to encounter him and accept his unconditional love found through his sacrifice and resurrection in the Eucharist. I didn’t appreciate the gift before me in the person of our Savior. Little did I know, his body and blood would become my point of conversion back to the faith I was baptized in to. A fall morning Mass in Ordinary Time changed everything for me. Not what I believed, but what I experienced.
I took my seat in the third row near the choir I’d been settling into for the previous three years since I made my return to church. I was attending Mass because my wife convinced me the kids needed the example of their Father if we were going to raise them Catholic. You could have called me an unwilling participant.
Christ in the Eucharist
However, this day, instead of mentally checking out and simply being physically present, my attention remained on the words being offered throughout the entire Liturgy. It was during the Eucharistic Prayer, the moment when Christ’s body, blood, soul, and divinity take the place of bread and wine that I began to cry. “Holy Tears,” as I would later learn they are called, flowed down from eyes, trickling down my cheeks.
Maybe for the first time ever I realized Christ was in front of me in the Eucharist. There he was, for me, accepting me as I was: present but so distant, broken, but loved.
No lightning bolts
There weren’t lightning bolts, or a shaking of the Earth that happened the instant I noticed him. Instead, it was a gentle peace. Our Lord connected with me at that moment to snap me out of the apathy I had allowed to consume me when it came to my faith.
In a second, my road to conversion took a turn I never expected. When I received him in Holy Communion that day I knew there was something different and I was being remade. Not because this was the first time he showed up in the Eucharist, it was just the first time I was willing to embrace him.
He was calling to me since the day of my birth, but I had shut our Lord out. I took the riches of faith that were being offered and shoved them aside for worldly things that could never fulfill me. In a way, you could say it was this “Prodigal Son” type moment, which finally made me feel “home” in his presence. He embraced me in the Eucharist, and I never wanted to let go ever again.
Conversion of the heart takes place through the Holy Spirit when we stop running from what is true and allow our entire being to recognize Christ’s love; in this case, for me, it’s the source and summit of our Catholic faith found in the Eucharist.
There weren’t hundreds of changes I needed to make in my life to find Jesus in the Eucharist. I didn’t have to go back to school, nor did I need to memorize specific scripture verses. I needed to allow Christ into places of myself I was never willing to before. I had to be brave enough to surrender everything I was holding back in my heart from God.
By offering myself, I became aware how much he was offering me. I began to feel his presence and then allow everything he was, and is, to consume every part of me from the moment I received Holy Communion.
We can walk away from a lot of things in religion. Even dismiss the everyday faith and real-life moments that occur in the world around us. However, we cannot deny the moment we feel our heart come alive because we have found all of Christ in the Supper of the Lord.
If we begin to accept how deeply he wants to give himself unconditionally over and over in this sacrament, no matter what happens or where we have been, nothing will ever be able to tear us away from our Catholic faith.
Greg Wasinski was successful, career driven, business executive searching for lifelong fulfillment when he heard a direct calling from God to move his talents into full-time ministry. Greg is an internationally recognized, Catholic Christian Inspirational Speaker and Author from Cleveland, OH. His latest book is Unconditionally: Finding Jesus in the Eucharist. He also offers his radio talents as a daily contributor to SiriusXM Radio’s The Catholic Channel with his “Faith & Real Life Moments.”