Before leaving us Jesus said that He would not leave us as orphans and He also said that He would be with us always even until the end of time. Therefore, in the context of the Last Supper, Jesus celebrated the first Mass and left us the greatest “Gift” He could have possibly left us.  This “Gift” was the “Gift” of His very self in Holy Communion.

In every Mass celebrated throughout the world until the end of time, Jesus descends to be with us--- Emmanuel,  “God with us”.  He is with us in Holy Communion. As food nourishes the body, so Holy Communion truly nourishes the soul.   The specific sacramental grace and effect of Holy Communion is nourishment and strengthening of the soul.

Finally, the mature fruit of receiving Holy Communion with proper  faith, devotion, fervor and love is nothing less than eternal life--- to be with the angels and saints and the Trinity forever in heaven.  This was the great promise of Jesus:  “I am the Bread of Life. Whoever eats my Body and drinks my Blood will have everlasting life and I will raise Him up on the last day.” Heaven is opened to those who open their hearts with love to Jesus, the Bread of life, who comes into our souls in Holy Communion

Following are ten suggestions on how all of us can strive to become indeed Eucharistic souls.   Why not read these, meditate upon them and implement them in our lives. What the world needs today more than ever are truly Eucharistic souls!

 1.    THANKSGIVING.   We should constantly render abundant thanks to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for the most sublime of gifts that He left for all of humanity, until the end of time. God rejoices in a humble and grateful heart.  The word “Eucharist” means “Thanksgiving”.  With the Psalmist let us lift our hearts in prayer: “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; for His love endures forever.”

2.     EUCHARISTIC VISITS.  As a priest and Religious, we have a great blessing: Jesus living under the same roof as us in the Tabernacle in the small chapel.  Therefore, short Eucharistic visits are easy!  Still lay-people should make an effort to visit the Eucharistic Lord in the Blessed Sacrament when they have the opportunity.  Even a short visit of five minutes done with deep faith and ardent love is a gesture that warms the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus and He in turn will warm your heart for your effort and attention.  Here is a short poem I learned as a child:  “Whenever I see a church I stop to make a visit, so that when I die, the Lord will not say, who is it?”   Let us get to know the Lord Jesus who we will be loving and adoring for all eternity!
3.    SPIRITUAL COMMUNIONS. It is not always possible to receive Jesus in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.  Various factors could impede us from daily Holy Communion, but nothing at all can prevent us from making Spiritual Communions.  These can be made as often as one likes and in any time and place! How?   One could make a spontaneous prayer or the following: “Jesus, I cannot receive you now sacramentally in Holy Communion, but come now spiritually into my soul.” Amen.  This short but fervent prayer--- like bellows over a fire—can fan the flame of love in our hearts toward the Eucharistic Lord.   The Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Benedict XVI, “Sacramentum Caritatis”  strongly encourages this practice, as well as the great Doctor of the Church, whose love for the Eucharistic Lord was boundless--- St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori.
4.    THE PRACTICE OF THE HOLY HOUR.  Even better than a short visit to the Eucharistic Lord is a longer one!  Why not get into the habit of making the daily Holy Hour.  One of the greatest modern proponents in propagating this practice was the great Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen.  This man of God who wrote 66 books, became one of the first and greatest tele-radio Evangelists, was the head of the Society of the Propagation of the Faith, as well as Archbishop, was tenaciously faithful to his daily Holy Hour. Despite his many obligations, the great and saintly Archbishop would always find time to spend with his Eucharistic Lord, God and Savior.  It was Sheen that coined the term, “The Hour of Power.”

5.    THE FOUR ENDS OF THE MASS: A.C.T.S…   In prayer call to mind the four specific ends of Holy Mass: Adoration(A), Contrition (C), Thanksgiving (T), Supplication (S).  Take advantage of the short acronym--- A.C.T.S.—to memorize these most important ends of Mass.  Related to the making of the Holy Hour as well as in entering into the sublime reality of Holy Mass these four sentiments can be of incalculable value! Saint Ignatius reminds us in Principle and Foundation of our primary duty in life and in eternity: “Man is created to praise and reverence His Creator…” (Spiritual Exercises #23).
6.     ADORN AND EMBELLISH THE BEAUTY OF GOD’S SANCTUARY.  The Curé of Ars, Saint John Marie  Vianney, was a saint that lived extreme poverty and mortification. Early in his priesthood he would boil a pot of potatoes for the week and eat two a day!  That was his humble diet. He would sleep on the floor and even scourge himself for the conversion of sinners and reparation for their sins. His poverty was extreme to say the least. However, with respect to his little church the vestments, chalice, sanctuary, chasubles, and overall adornment the Curé of Ars was extravagant.  He would spend exorbitant amounts of money for the Lord’s House.  He would say, “For the Lord the best!” Therefore, whatever  we can do to embellish and beautify the church—which is the sanctuary of the living God--- like the Curé of Ars and many others saints let us be overflowing in generosity and extravagance. We should never forget that the Church indeed is the Mystical Body of Christ. Due reverence should be paid!

7.    READING.   Good spiritual reading indeed can enhance our love for the most Holy Eucharist.  Highly to be encouraged are two forms of reading: doctrinal and devotional. Doctrine without devotion can produce dryness of heart; devotion without doctrine, on the other hand, can lead to overly pious sentimentality.  We must nourish both the head and the heart! Writings on the topic of the Most Holy Eucharist are limitless—both in the realm of doctrine and devotion. Therefore, we will limit our suggestions to a few. In the realm of doctrine, in this Year of Faith, Pope Benedict XVI emeritus suggested that we read the documents of Vatican II.  The pearl of great price would be Sacrosanctum Concilium”—the document specifically explaining the Most Holy Eucharist, Holy Mass, and the Liturgy in general. In addition to this highly to be recommended is the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Benedict XVI “Sacramentum Caritatis”.   This spiritual masterpiece summarizes clearly and succinctly the challenges in the modern world to knowing the Liturgy, loving it and living it out to the full! Read it; it is a must!   In the realm of the devotional, writings on the Eucharist abound.  Therefore, we will suggest just three.   First, “The Diary of St. Faustina: mercy of God in my soul”—book VI (#’s 1804-1826). Though just a few numbers, they are dense in content explaining how this great modern saint would prepare her soul to receive Jesus in Holy Communion.  All of us can profit immensely by this brief reading, rather, prayerful meditation!  Second, “The Imitation of Christ” by Thomas Kempis.   This spiritual masterpiece is one of the greatest classics in the history of Christianity. The work is divided into four books and the last is dedicated exclusively to the  Holy Sacrament of the Altar and on how to receive Holy Communion fervently. Finally, St Peter Julian Eymard, an ardent Apostle of the Most Holy Eucharist, has written a true library of short devotional books on the Holy Eucharist, manifesting different aspects of the Church’s greatest treasure.  Holy Mass, Holy Communion, Mary and the Holy Eucharist, Preparation, and thanksgiving--- each of these specific topics are woven into a short book that if read and meditated with attention can transform our lives!
8.    HOLY MASS AND HOLY COMMUNION.   Needless to say, the greatest practice we can undertake on our part is to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, participate fully, actively and consciously and receive Holy Communion with ever greater love. It should be our aim that in every Mass and Holy Communion we should receive Our Lord and Savior with greater love!
9.    DAILY MASS AND HOLY COMMUNION. It is interesting that in the Lord’s prayer---the Our Father—we say “Give us this day our daily bread”.  Why not give this segment of the most  widespread prayer in the world a Eucharistic interpretation!  Our body must be nourished on a daily basis; otherwise we get weak and sick!  Our soul prevails over our body in importance.  Should we not aim at daily Communion and implement our Lord’s prayer “Eucharistically”—“Give us this day our daily Bread!”  The greatest action the human person can carry out in this life is to receive Jesus “The Bread of Life” in Holy Communion with lively faith, frequency, and with fiery love!  Why not start today!
10. EUCHARISTIC SOUL—MISSIONARY OF THE EUCHARIST.    There is an intimate connection between  the Mystery of the Annunciation and the Visitation.  In the Annunciation Mary receives Jesus into her Immaculate Heart. This could be considered Mary’s first Communion.  As a response to this fire-burst of love in the Immaculate Heart of the Mother of God, without any delay, Mary takes off in haste to bring Jesus to others, her aged cousin, St. Elizabeth who was pregnant with St. John the Baptist. Interpretation!  Like Mary, after we have received Jesus into our hearts in Holy Communion, we should be sparked with apostolic zeal to bring Jesus to others and to bring others to Jesus.  The Eucharist should transform us into living “Eucharistic magnets”—magnets that attract others to Jesus and His Mystical Body, the Church.  In the words of St. Paul, this should happen to us:  “No longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.”  Or if you like, in the prayer of thanksgiving after Mass of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman: “Let them look up and see no longer me but you Jesus.”