When I think back to the most memorable, special gifts I’ve received, a few come to mind:
When I was a preteen, I wanted my ears pierced so badly. After all, I was the only girl (or so I thought) without holes in her ears. When my dad came home from a business trip, he brought me some pearl earrings. When I opened the box, I was elated to see the posts on the back! Does this mean…? It was a moment I won’t forget.
On the occasion of my 16th birthday, my dad purchased a beautiful one carat alexandrite stone, and had it set just for me. I was always bummed as a kid that everyone else had a gemstone for their month, and I had a boring pearl. Alexandrite is a gem alternative. He had it set just for me!
In my married life, I must say that my children have been my greatest gifts. I’ve always wanted to be a mother, and that dream was fulfilled in three beautiful, miraculous ways – Joseph, Annie and John.
One Christmas, my husband ordered a special silver ring band with word engraved in Gaelic on the outside. They read (in translation) “pulse of my heart.” He tied it to the Christmas tree thinking that amongst the ornaments and lights, I’d never spot it, but I did!
It’s funny that 3 of the four things I mentioned here are jewelry related, because I’m not a big jewelry person. My jewelry is very simple (usually inexpensive) and religious in nature. Interesting…
When I began this ramble, what I really had in mind was getting you to ponder your greatest gifts and blessings for a moment. A grateful heart is surely a happy heart! However, what made me think to pose this question was the priest’s homily on the feast of Corpus Christi. He proposed that Jesus Christ in the Eucharist is the greatest gift we will ever receive while on this earth. I could not agree more…and the wonderful thing is that we have the opportunity to receive Him into our bodies again and again. It doesn’t have to be a once in a lifetime experience.
Why then, do many people receive the Eucharist and not feel changed or incredibly blessed? Jesus gave people free will during His ministry here on earth. He respected people’s freedom. Many people turned away from Him, unaffected by His presence. He let them go. He still does. His real physical presence is in the Eucharist, but we have to be open to the grace of allowing His entrance into our bodies transform us. He will not force His Will upon us. Preparing ourselves with scripture, confession and prayer can help open the doors to that great grace.
On a side note: The priest’s homily was very good – thought provoking. In fact, I heard someone comment on her way out to her car how she would never look at the Eucharist in the same way. Awesome!
I couldn’t help but observe, however, that some things that took place on the altar didn’t match the message of the homily that Jesus’ body and blood are the greatest gifts we could ever receive while on this earth. For example, the chalice was a clear glass, instead of gold or silver. Of course, if this was all the parish could afford, I would understand that. I know that the chalice used is typically the one that the priest received as a gift upon his ordination. It just seems that gold or silver would be more suitable for a King. ( I was once told by a priest that pottery is always unsuitable as it is porous.) Also, I noticed that the priest drank what was left over from all of the chalices from the many extraordinary ministers while a man with a name tag “mass organizer” cleaned all of the sacred vessels as though he were drying kitchen dishes.
Actions truly do speak louder than words. If we truly believe that the Blessed Sacrament is a precious gift – is indeed our King – shouldn’t we treat Him with the utmost respect, love and gentleness?