God’s nature is that of giving, giving and giving… God the Father gave us His only-begotten Son at the moment of the Incarnation.  Mary gave us the Child Jesus in her precious arms that first Christmas day. Jesus gave us all He had: His Sacred Words, many and various miracles, His powerful and sublime example, every drop of His most Precious Blood on Calvary that first Good Friday.  He gave us the “Gift of Gifts,” the Holy Spirit, as He breathed on the Apostles Easter Sunday night:  Receive the Holy Spirit…” 

If that were not enough Jesus said that He would be with us always even until the end of time.  How?  He would be present to us in His Mystical Body the Church, and the Sacraments---power-houses of grace.  Most important, Jesus promised to leave us a memorial of Himself at the Last Supper, in the Last Supper which was the first Holy Mass, in the institution of the greatest of all Sacraments: the Most Holy Eucharist, His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity!  Yes, under the appearances of bread and wine, Jesus is truly and substantially present in the most Holy Eucharist!

Every year after the Solemnities of Pentecost and the Solemnity of the most Blessed Trinity the Church with the greatest of reverence, devotion, faith and love celebrates CORPUS CHRISTI—The Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Jesus in the Mass, in the Eucharist, and in Holy Communion.

The thrust of this article will be practical suggestions on how all of us can improve or, if you like, upgrade our reception of Jesus in the context of Holy Mass in  Holy Communion.

Beyond the shadow of a doubt, the most important action that is carried out in the entire universe is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.   By far the most important gesture that a human person can carry out is to receive Jesus with the best of dispositions in Holy Communion.

In the Diary of Divine Mercy in my soul, Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, comments that the angels of heaven experience a holy envy for the human person for two reasons: 1) We can suffer and gain great merit through our suffering; 2) We can receive Jesus in Holy Communion. How sublime!  The angels experience a holy envy for us mere creatures that can receive God Himself into the depths of our soul every time we receive Holy Communion.

Following are five concrete and practical suggestions and steps we can undertake to upgrade and improve our manner as well as disposition in the reception of Jesus, the Bread of Life and the greatest Gift from Almighty God.

1.    ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE AND APPRECIATION.  In the convent sacristy of many nuns there can be found a placket on the wall with the following words of warning and exhortation:  Say this Mass as if it were your first Mass, your last Mass, and your only Mass.” Excellent!   Why not apply these words to your frequent reception of Holy Communion. Receive your next Holy Communion as if it were your first, last and only!   In other words, may our reception of Jesus in Holy Communion never degenerate into a mechanical, perfunctory and routine ritual.  Rather, may every Holy Communion we receive be received with greater fire of love!  In the Diary of St. Faustina Jesus complained that many receive Jesus as if He were simply a mere OBJECT!!!  How terrible to receive the Creator of the universe as if He were a mere object!  May the reproach of the Book of the Apocalypse not be directed at any of us: “Be careful, you have lost your first love!  Recover it, if not, your candelabra will be taken from you.”

2.    CONFESSION AND HOLY COMMUION!   St. Ignatius of Loyola makes this observation that there is an intimate interrelation between the Sacrament of the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Confession.   The Sacrament of Confession heals us; the Eucharist, nourishes us.  By way of analogy, imagine your soul to be a window pane. The dirty window pane blocks the full flowing of sunlight. However, when the window pane has been cleaned by WINDEX, a strong rubbing from a dry newspaper, then the window pane is clear and transparent and the full brilliance of the sunlight can pass through and inundate the room with light. Likewise the soul cleansed by the Precious Blood of Jesus allows the Body and Blood of Jesus to enter in full force and brilliance and inundate that soul with countless graces and blessings!  In a word, if you want to be holy as God is holy, frequent Confession and Communion!
3.    PERSONAL INTENTIONS FOR EVERY MASS AND HOLY COMMUNION.  In Parish Masses you will often hear the priest mention that this Mass will be offered for some person—living or deceased!  This does not exclude you from offering your own personal or private intentions. You should exercise what is called the “Priesthood of the faithful” by offering with the priest in every Mass your own intentions; they can be one, two or a thousand! However, it is highly recommended that you offer your Holy Communion for at least three specific intentions:  1) A soul or the souls in Purgatory for their purification and liberation; 2) For the conversion of some specific sinner you know or a multitude of sinners; 3) SELF!  Offer Holy Communion that you would undergo a “Spiritual Heart-transplant”. If it is true that we receive ALL of Jesus in every Mass and Holy Communion, (and that includes His Sacred Heart), why not ask Jesus to give you His Sacred Heart and indeed you will have a Spiritual Heart transplant every time your receive Holy Communion. What an infinite reservoir of holiness!

4.     TOTAL PARTICIPATION IN MASS!   Today, more than ever, we live in a world bombarding us with distractions. Unfortunately these distractions can even enter the Church, the Mass itself, as even the best enclosure in homes never prevents dust from entering.  Late-comers to Mass, crying babies, cliquey-clack high heels, the ringing of cell-phones—it is almost an obstacle course and labyrinth of maneuvering and effort to simply give undivided attention in Holy Mass.   Still, to derive the maximum fruit from Mass and Holy Communion we must make a concerted effort.  A few suggestions are merited on this point.

a)    EARLY.  Always come early to Mass to enter into the spiritual mood and climate. As athletes have warm-up before the game starts, so we must warm up to God by coming early and praying.  Say the Rosary before Mass. Do some Biblical meditation of the readings for the day. Place your own specific intentions on the altar even before Mass starts. Finally, unload to the Lord!  Simply tell the Lord what is in your mind and what might be heavy on your heart. St. Peter reminds us: “Cast your cares upon the Lord because He cares for you.”

b)    CLOSE TO THE ALTAR. Draw close to the altar so that during the Mass the exterior distractions of people arriving late or the movement will be diminished! Then obey the indications of Vatican II:  “Participate fully, actively and consciously in every Mass…. (Vat. II Sacrosanctum Concilium, Dogmatic Constitution on the Liturgy.)

c)     GUARDIAN ANGEL.  Beg your Guardian Angel to help you to participate in the Mass totally as if it were your first, last and only Mass—the Mass on which you would be judged for all eternity!

5.    OUR LADY AND HOLY MASS AND HOLY COMMUNION.  Mary is always our teacher and guide, our life our sweetness and our hope.   When Our Lady appeared in Guadalupe, Mexico, Lourdes France and Fatima, Portugal she asked that a church be built so as to honor Jesus through the celebration of Holy Mass and reception of Holy Communion. Mary’s last words in the Gospel were, “Do whatever He tells you.” More than anybody else in the world, except for God Himself, Mary desires our union with God in this life and the next. This is affected by frequent, fervent, and faith-filled reception of Holy Communion, the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus, the Son of Mary.  In every Mass and Holy Communion beg Mary to lend you her Immaculate Heart so as to receive Jesus with a burning love! Receiving Holy Communion with the Heart of Mary will prove to be the most efficacious and fervent Holy Communion in your life and life-transforming.   We will be able to say with the Apostle Saint Paul: “No longer I who live, but Jesus (the Son of Mary) who lives in me.”