by Ken Rolheiser
Heaven Bound and the Eucharist

    In an effort not to bury the lead I begin this column with the following eucharistic miracle story. There are many such documented stories, but I will share one that is less known. A parish priest of Moncada in Spain developed doubts about whether he had been rightly ordained. He doubted the presence of Christ in the Masses he celebrated. God chose to deliver him from his doubts with a remarkable miracle.
    At the Christmas Mass the priest reached the awful moment of Consecration, and with trembling hands took the host and pronounced the words of transubstantiation with a quivering voice. As he raised the Sacred Host, a little five-year-old child cried out: “O Mama, what a lovely child! See there, Mama! He is up on the altar.” 
    The boy stood upon the chair and clapped his hands with joy. No one else saw the vision. During the second Mass that followed the child again called out: “Such a beautiful child, Mama,” he whispered, “just like the little baby over there in the crib.” 
    This happened during the third Mass as well. The priest examined the boy later and found out indeed that a great grace had been granted only to this little child.
    In our lives we will face challenges to our very faith in God’s divine plans for us. One example, an American serviceman returning from Viet Nam was asked how the war had affected him. “The thought that the end of my life is a hole six feet deep and six feet long casts a dark shadow on everything I do now.” 
    Thinking about death can encourage us to live a fuller life. Everything we do should reflect the background of a spiritual horizon. We can live a layered existence beginning with a solid foundation underfoot.
    Family and Church give us a basic foundation on which to build our lives. The Eucharist is the bread of the angels which Jesus left for us the night before his crucifixion.
    It is remarkable how our God fed the stiff-necked and rebellious Hebrews in the desert with mana. Despite our human nature’s disposition to sin, a gracious God still feeds us a real food from heaven with all the promise Jesus left. Feeding our spiritual lives with this food will strengthen and nourish us.
    What if I told you there is a part of us that will never die? That at the moment of our deaths we can have Jesus inside us with the promise that we will live forever?
    The Eucharist is the life within us that will never die! In so many ways the Gospel of John enunciates the fact that the Eucharist gives us life, Christ’s life. And that life is eternal. That part in us will never die! “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in that person …. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever.” (John 6:56, 58).
    Christ enlivens us and lives in us through the Word in our hearts and his Divine Light in our souls! “Anyone who loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we shall come to him and make a home in him.” (John 14:23). The Eucharist is Christ’s plan to be with us, to be food for our pilgrimage as we journey through life. 

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