This article is based on an address Chris Stefanick gave at World Youth Day.
How to Approach the Mass: Eucharistic Miracles
We are about to head right now into the most important part of our day, and of our lives. The Mass.
What’s the big deal about mass? Why is it such an important part of our lives?
Here’s a Eucharistic miracle, a couple hundred years ago, there was a priest celebrating mass in Lanciano, Italy and he was holding a host in his hand as he consecrated it, said this is my body, and he doubted. A miracle happened.
A miracle happens at very mass called transubstantiation, remember that word: transubstantiation.
The substance. The whatness, what it was changed as it happens at every mass.
Right? It looks like bread, but it’s not. It’s Jesus. It’s not bread with Jesus’ spirit sprinkled in it, it’s just Jesus, because he said this is my body.
Now, a miracle happened at this mass in Lanciano, a miracle called transformation.
What it looked like changed.
It looked like flesh started to bleed on the altar. He took this host, put it in a monstrance, which is that gold thing that we go to adoration with, you’ll see that in the chapel, so you could look at Jesus in the Eucharist, it could look at you.
A couple hundred years pass. The church commissioned an atheist scientist to study this host, to find out if it was the real deal or not. He found out it was flesh from a human heart. Blood type AB positive.
You know what that is? Universal recipient.
We think that we’re receiving Jesus, but at mass, he receives us.
Found out that there were healthy replicating cells in his heart, and then everything it took for heart to function, every muscle was present in this host.
That scientist is now a catholic. Duh.
How to Approach the Mass: Giving Your Heart
What’s it mean when someone gives you their very heart, their very life?
When I asked my wife to marry me, I wanted this big macho man moment, I thought I would kneel down and say, “Will you marry me?” But I went like this, and she said yes. I was giving my very heart, and my very life to her.
What did I want in return? I mean someone’s actually thinking God is content with taking little parts of our lives? One piece of our day? A world youth day trip?
Guys, he gave us everything. At every mass we encounter that reality, made present before us. When someone gives you everything, all they want back is everything.
Yeah, but there’s this part of my head that’s kind of messed up. Okay, remember this saying, “Your head is like a bad neighborhood, don’t go in there alone.”
Yeah, but I got this sin I’m really attached to. St. Augustine once prayed, “Lord, help me be pure, but not yet.” That’s a beautiful prayer, because it’s honest. “Lord, I’m a mess, but I’m your mess.” That’s why he became a great saint.
Yeah, but I got this church teaching I haven’t figured out yet. Like you have to have it all figured out, are you God?
Yeah, but this, but that, but, but, but.
His love for you is bigger than your but, and that’s Catholicism in one sentence. That’s divine mercy in one sentence.
How to Approach the Mass: Think What it Is
Today as you come to Mass, be mindful of the reality.
We sometimes go to Mass and treat it like fine dining. The homily was stale, the music was too spicy.
The reality we encounter here is the Maker of the universe giving His very Self to us, and us offering ourselves back to Him, to be offered up through Him and with Him in Him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, so that we and the world that we bring in our hearts with us, can be transformed into something holy, something amazing.