As Catholics we believe that the Mass is the source and summit of our Faith. It is in the Mass where we truly and substantially encounter the living God, Jesus Christ. During such an encounter there is super abundant power; or Grace, poured into us; assuming that we have approached Him in right relationship, or being in a state of Grace to receive such a gift.
“Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord” – (1 Corinthians 11:27)
The question that I was pondering recently is where this supernatural power goes when we leave Mass? Often I find that after encountering our Eucharistic Lord in Mass, I shrug off the power that comes from this meeting and too easily slip back into a life of mediocrity where I am distracted and prone to self centeredness.
I’ve always appreciated the analogy used to describe God’s Grace as that of metabolic steroids. It takes ones natural abilities and enhances them; enabling us to go far beyond what we were capable of on our own. Of course, Grace doesn’t have any ill effects like metabolic steroids, but rather it consists only of ever increasing supernatural power. The analogy denotes strength and power and for me it is a tangible way to consider the greatness of God’s life that He wants to share with each of us.
My problem has been that even after objectively knowing that I have received this power, my life doesn’t seem to be effected. I began to wrestle with this reality and came to the conclusion that it wasn’t that God’s Grace wasn’t sufficient to change my life, but it had to be my response to this encounter.
I set out to find ways to respond to God’s invitation and open myself more fully to the possibilities that God wants to share with me. I have found that discipline is required to respond correctly and there are three dispositions that foster the proper reception of Divine Grace which he freely gives to us through the Eucharist.
Fostering a life of gratitude enables us to see the gifts that God places before us for what they are. Most of us walk through life with our heads down and can only see those things in our lives that are impediments to our happiness. Taking account of what we are thankful for on a daily basis and writing them down transforms our perspective and allows God’s life changing Grace to chip away at our self absorption.
Compassion for others and for ourselves is not letting one off the hook or grovelling in our weakness, but rather it is a decision to point out that which is good even in the midst of strenuous effort. When we foster a life of compassion we seek to point out what is good in others, beginning with our spouse and children. Compassion can also be sought within ourselves as we see the good in us even when things don’t seem to be going our way.
Fostering humility is integral in capturing the proper disposition of receptivity towards God’s Grace. Humility is the virtue of knowing who we truly are and submitting ourselves to God and to others for the sake of God. Making a decision after receiving Our Lord in the Eucharist to carry the posture of humility allows His Divine life to flow through us and affect others.
Utilizing these three dispositions are points of focus to consider after receiving the Eucharist. They can help subdue our weaknesses and place us in a position to cooperate with the power of God’s Grace that is always seeking to take hold of our lives.
“Put on the Armor of God” (Eph 6:11)