Perhaps the most important moments of our lives are the moments after we receive Holy Communion. It is a bold statement to make, but it is easy to see why. After all, we have just received the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, what could be more important? And yet, these moments are also, perhaps, some our most wasted opportunities.
How often do you find yourself, after receiving Communion, completely and utterly distracted. Oh the agony upon coming to our senses and realizing that the Dweller of our hearts has been completely ignored, perhaps not even welcomed! The One to whom the angels ceaselessly fall before in adoration chooses the absent-minded reverent glances we might cast upon him over his heavenly throne. This thought constantly astounds me.
Through the ages many saints have commented on the importance of praying a prayer of thanksgiving after receiving the Eucharist. Now, before sharing their comments, I would like to address distractions. The Lord knows us well, and knows that we are weak. A heart humbly and fully returned to him after moments of distraction pleases him more than a heart that prays half-attentively for hours. Never be discouraged by distraction. Only thank the Lord more that he has allowed us, once again, to realize how much we need him.
What can help us in our distraction is understanding the grave importance of those fleeting moments after receiving the Eucharist. And to underscore its importance, I leave you with these quotes.
St. John Paul II:
“The faithful are to be recommended not to omit to make a proper thanksgiving after Communion. They may do this during the celebration with a period of silence, with a hymn, psalm or other song of praise, or also after the celebration, if possible by staying behind to pray for a suitable time.”
Pope Benedict XVI:
“Since the precious time of thanksgiving after communion is personal encounter with the Lord Jesus in the sacrament, it can be most helpful to remain recollected in silence.”
St. Louis de Montfort:
“I would not give up this hour of Thanksgiving even for an hour of Paradise.”
St. Alphonsus Liguori:
“There is no prayer more agreeable to God, or more profitable to the soul than that which is made during the thanksgiving after Communion.”
St. Josemaria Escriva:
“Surely you have nothing so important on that you cannot give Our Lord 10 minutes to say thanks. Love is repaid with love.”
And lastly, St. Philip Neri once sent two acolytes with candles to accompany a member of his congregation who had left the church without any adoration after Mass. The man returned to the church to find out St. Philip’s purpose. The saint answered:
“We have to pay proper respect to Our Lord, Whom you are carrying away with you. Since you neglect to adore Him, I sent two acolytes to take your place.”
Do you have a prayer you pray, or perhaps something you do, to help you remain reverent after receiving Communion. Let us know in the comments.
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Caroline Harvey is the associate communication director for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Prior to working at the archdiocese, Caroline worked in various ministry positions throughout southeast Wisconsin, focusing on teaching and discipleship. She is currently pursuing a doctor of ministry degree in liturgical catechesis from the Catholic University of America. She holds master of arts degree in biblical theology and bachelor of arts in communications media from John Paul the Great Catholic University.
Featured image from pxfuel.com