Reflections on Loving God is a series about understanding love, seeing how God loves you, and learning how to love God more. God has loved you before you were born. Take the first step today to loving him back. You won’t regret it!
Ways to Love God
The Sacrament of the Eucharist is the greatest Catholic prayer (CCC 1324). It takes place in the part of the Catholic Mass called the Liturgy of the Eucharist (CCC 1346). The priest, acting in the person of Christ, says the Eucharistic Prayer and the Holy Spirit transforms the bread and wine into Jesus’ Body and Blood (CCC 1348, 1353). As a baptized Christian, Jesus (along with the Father and Holy Spirit) is always with you spiritually in your heart as long as you haven’t committed any serious (or mortal) sins (CCC 1999, 1861). However, in the Eucharist Jesus is there before your eyes totally and completely, in both spiritual and physical form (CCC 1374). Since Jesus is God, the God who loves you is literally there in the flesh before your eyes!
If you saw Jesus in human form, what would you do? You would probably kneel down, knowing how unworthy you are. Jesus would have mercy and give you a big hug. This is exactly what happens during mass. The priest holds up the Eucharist and you say how unworthy you are during the “Invitation to Communion” (“Lord, I am not worthy…”). Then you offer your whole self, body and soul, to Jesus in the Eucharist to be hugged by God (CCC 1391). In this embrace you are healed of your venial sins (CCC 1394) and made more holy (CCC 1392), enabling you to love God and others more than you could before.
In order to keep your mind focused on God during the reception of Eucharist, it helps to say some prayers in the silence of your heart. Immediately after the Invitation to Communion, confess your sins to Jesus by asking forgiveness for a few prominent sins you committed during the last week. Then ask God to accept the temple of your heart (1 Cor 6:19) and make his home there (Jn 12:23).
After you return to your seat, let the Eucharist dissolve in your mouth rather than immediately chewing and swallowing it. While not necessary, this will help you remember how close you are to God in this moment. Savor this moment with the One who loves you more than anyone else. Ask for protection from mortal sin (CCC 1395) and to be made into a new man or woman. Then pray about anything you like: your sorrows, your joys, and everything in between. This is truly the closest you can be to God on earth.
If you really want to love God, you must receive the Eucharist. It is the highlight of the Catholic faith because for a brief moment, you are no longer on earth, but in heaven with God. Look forward to it every week. Go to mass every Sunday and holy day of obligation. As you grow closer to God, you might even one day want to go to mass every day. Even if you find everything else at mass boring or too long, just go for the Eucharist. Forget about everything else if you have to, but when it comes time to receive the Eucharist, remember the profound opportunity before you.
Prayer to Love God More Fully in the Eucharist
Lord, you love me more than anyone else and have given me all that I have. Help me to always see you in the Eucharist so I may give you the attention and love you deserve. My God, whenever I receive you in the Eucharist, help me to fully open my heart to your presence so you can do the healing and transformative work my soul needs. Amen.
Your friend in Christ,