Recently at mass I was praying while waiting to receive Our Lord in the Eucharist. Meditating on the crises in our nation and our world, and the sufferings of the children of God who await His coming, I prayed for healing in those situations and offered my Communion for them. The intentions continued to come to my mind and heart as I walked slowly up the aisle to receive Our Lord.
Making my offering, I prayed, “Lord, thank you for this moment. Of all the moments that make up this day in my life, this one is the most important. The moment I receive You, the moment I am united with you physically and spiritually in the Eucharist. The moment I can give You in prayer to others whom I will never know in this lifetime.”
He is the Moment
As I held in my heart all of God's children who are hurting in so many ways, in so many places around the world, and offered my Communion for them, I felt the power of the moment and the experience of the Eucharist rush upon me. Receiving Jesus, I was moved to tears.
Then I heard these words deep within my heart:
“I am the moment.”
They came so readily, so powerfully, as clear as a bell.
“I Am The Moment.”
I understood instantly that it was not “this moment in time” for which I was thankful. It was the gift of Jesus in the Eucharist, unsurpassed, unequaled by anything this world will ever offer me. Inconceivably mysterious; incredibly mine.
There is no earthly experience or greater gift than the Eucharist for Catholics, and there is no more mystical and extraordinary moment in our earthly lives than the one in which we receive Our Lord at Holy Mass.
The Presentation of Our Lord
Kneeling at my seat after I received Him, I thought of Simeon as he held the Christ Child in awe during the Presentation of the Child Jesus in the temple. According to the Gospel of Luke, God revealed to the aged Simeon that he would not see death until he beheld the Messiah.
The Savior of his people had arrived! The Holy Spirit rushed upon Simeon. He was carried in the Spirit to the temple. As Our Lady and St. Joseph gave the Newborn King to this devout and righteous man of God, the sum of all his love, devotion, service, and desire lay swaddled in his arms!
What complete elation and fulfilment Simeon must have felt in that Moment. Luke records how it burst forth from him in his Canticle, known as the Nunc Dimittis, from the Latin for "Now let us depart."
“Now Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for your revelation to the Gentiles, and glory of your people Israel.” (Luke 2:29-32)
This moment he received Jesus was so powerful that it was worth every future moment in the life of Simeon, and he exclaimed his readiness to die after having lived it! God permitted him to see the consolation his people had awaited for generations, and this holy man's every yearning was satisfied. In fact, it satisfied him so completely he called out to God to take his life if He willed it.
Receiving Him as Simeon Did
Simeon's reception of Our Lord in the temple models perfectly the way we should receive Our Lord in the Eucharist.
At the Presentation, the Lord was in the moment, and for all of us, He is The Moment.
The temple was the place of worship, and the temple of the Holy Spirit is within us.
The Presentation was a revelation to God’s chosen people. Their Savior had finally come for them and all mankind! This same revelation is re-presented and relived with every Communion we receive.
He came for us! For you and for me. For those who do not know Him. For those who have turned away from Him. For every soul, he comes, personally and intimately, in the Eucharist.
He is The Moment, and He is worth everything. All else pales in comparison to receiving Him in the Holy Eucharist. If only we could remember that when we receive Our Lord in Communion, then our hearts would overflow like Simeon's.
May we never let the Moment pass without offering God the joy, reverence, glory, and gratitude He deserves.
May we always receive Him with the wonder and awe of Simeon on the feast of the Presentation, until one day, we behold Him face to face.