Last time we met, I talked about setting up a spiritual regimen that all of us ought to have, a guideline, how we ought to live our spiritual lives. I focused on making sure we do some spiritual reading, even just 10 minutes at day. Keep a book by your bed, keep a book on the toilet seat, wherever you’re going to find a few minutes.
A couple of days ago I read an article by a Priest who’s probably one of the most well-known, well-respected spiritual writers in our country at this time. It was really fascinating. He had a young man in his parish, in his mid ‘20s, who had joined a parish prayer group. The kid was new, he said, “I’ve recently come back to the Catholic Faith; I drifted away in college.” One evening during this prayer group, someone asked him, “can you tell us your story, what brought you back?”
To my surprise in reading this article, he said, “When I was in college, I really got caught up in black magic, and became a satanist.” And the Priest thought, “(Is this kid messing around?)” He asked, “Is this true that satanists say the Catholic Mass backwards?” The young man said, “Yes, Father, that’s true, they start with last word of the Catholic Mass, and they say everything backwards.”
The Priest asked, “Is it true that, as satanists, you would try to get Consecrated Hosts from the Catholic Church?” The young man replied, “Yes, it’s true, we had devised a plan where people would go to different Catholic churches, we figured out exactly what Catholics would do, some of us were fallen-away Catholics. And if we could get a Consecrated Host, that is what we would defile in our black mass.”
The priest asked, “How would you know if it really was a Consecrated Host?” The young man replied, “Father, when I was a satanist, you could line up ten hosts, you could go into the sacristy right now, you could go into the Perpetual Adoration Chapel [where the Blessed Sacrament is exposed], you could take ten hosts, you could have lined them all up in front of me, and I could have told you which host was Consecrated.”
The Priest asked, “How would you have known that?” The young man replied, “Because of the immense hatred I would feel in my heart towards that one Host. The more you give yourself over to the evil one, the more you grow in hatred towards the Holy Eucharist. It’s the Holy Eucharist that brought me back.”
The reason I say this is, whenever someone begins spiritual direction, or when we’re setting a spiritual regimen, the absolute best thing you could ever do, and the first place to start is, with Mass, of course, Sunday Mass, but, “Is there any way I could get to Mass more than just on Sunday?” Because if I want to grow spiritually, the absolute best thing I could do, is receive Holy Communion as frequently as possible.
I’m throwing that out there, because sometimes it’s just that reminder that, “Gosh, you know what, I could do that, I could set that as the beginning of my day.” Sometimes it’s not possible, but sometimes it’s just being a little creative. If you’re in Sacramento, you just think, you know, there are Churches, with Presentation there’s a 6:30am, there’s noon at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament [11th & K, downtown Sacramento], there’s 5:30pm at St. Ignatius. “Even if I couldn’t go every day, maybe I could get there a couple of times a week. Or maybe I could do it on Friday, in honor of our Lord’s passion. Maybe I can leave work a little early, and make sure to get to Friday Mass.”
If there’s the opportunity, in your lives, to go to Mass more than just on Sunday, it’s the place to start in growing spiritually. There’s nothing better that we could do. And everything else should build upon that. All of our spiritual works should lead to receiving Holy Communion, and receiving Holy Communion ought to lead us to continuing to do spiritual works. So let’s ask our Lord for an ever greater love for the Holy Eucharist. And let’s pray to our mother Mary, who gave us the Body and Blood of her Son. Hail Mary…