Sunday, May 28, 2017
Four Months Without the Eucharist
We had a theory that perhaps gluten was causing some problems (which could still account for my lower than normal platelet count) but I made the decision (since I was given the "okay" by the doctor) to receive the Eucharist again for the first time in months; ever since gluten was taken off my diet months ago. I will still limit wheat consumption in general since I feel physically better (with more energy; less fatigued) and mentally sharper. The latest doctor (in the hematology clinic) said that it's normal for human beings to feel more fatigued after consuming wheat but we're so used to it that we don't notice the difference until after we limit our consumption of it. This is a personal choice of mine based on the doctor's recommendation that I continue to only eat what helps me feel healthier/better. There is one thing I will refuse to give up from now on... and that's the Eucharist.
Ask me how many times I've attended Mass since the new year began. 3-4 total. Ask me how many times I've received the Eucharist in that period. Once. I hated it. I cried at least once during Mass when I was unable to receive it. You don't know how much your soul longs for it until you're unable to receive it.
Yes, there are low-gluten hosts (gluten-free hosts are invalid). Yes, I tried attending Mass with the FSSP priests because they offer low-gluten hosts. I even planned on going to the local church supplies store and buying a box of low gluten hosts to keep for when I went to Mass locally during the week or weekend when I couldn't go to Mass with them (this was on the recommendation of an FSSP priest). Sadly, most of the attempts to go to Mass (or even confession) often didn't happen. Last weekend, I even drove a third of the way before I got so lightheaded that it was no longer safe for me to drive. My mom was in the car with me but, still, we both decided to turn back home... and, even then, I had to stop only three blocks from our apartment because I was too lightheaded to continue. I was angry and annoyed that it had happened because that's what happens when you go so long without Mass or the Eucharist.
I don't know about you guys but the longer I go without confession, Mass, and (especially) the Eucharist, the harder it is for me to fight temptations, to keep myself from committing sin, and to keep living a faithful life. Once I hit about week 4-5 without, at least, confession, things that shouldn't come out of my mouth tend to come out of my mouth, even if it's involuntary. It's easier for me to lose my temper. It's easier for me to make a lot of mistakes that could be more easily prevented by a constant reception of the Sacraments.
This time around I went 8-9 weeks without confession or Mass; 4 months without the Eucharist. I tried to go to Mass but things came up -- bodily aches and pains, lightheadedness and/or dizziness, rides that failed to show up to pick me up to take me to Mass, etc. My spiritual life was abysmal most of those weeks/months. I had some really good periods in which the spiritual dryness produced good fruit but it wouldn't last for very long. There were times when I didn't want to pray but still did. I even struggled with a bit of depression for the majority of this month. Only the novenas to Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati earlier this month and the Holy Spirit (which I finished yesterday) helped me get through some of the rougher patches. The Holy Spirit novena, in particular, really helped me try to make sense of what I was going through and helped me focus on what seems to be God's will for me.
Don't take the ability to receive the Eucharist and the Sacraments for granted. I learned that the hard way. I was hit with a couple of situations in which my temper was tested and I did end up "losing it" twice. Those two times happened on my way to confession and Mass. The anger even made me get a little lightheaded but I decided to press on. I don't think that was a coincidence. Literally less than 10 seconds out the confessional, the same person said something that would've made me lose my temper once again but, thanks to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, I was able to talk myself down immediately and then spent a good 15-20 minutes in Eucharistic Adoration as I prayed for charity and clarity and let that would-be anger melt away. What a difference the Sacrament made. As soon as I received the Eucharist, I felt like myself again -- temper intact, with the ability to let things slide like old times. (side note: I'm normally pretty mellow so me losing my temper like I had in the past two weeks was a bit unusual for me.)
On this Ascension Sunday (for those whose dioceses moved it to today from Thursday), I urge you all to keep going to confession, Mass, and to receive the Eucharist as often as you can. A priest once encouraged me to frequent them often as they will help a person stay on the path to holiness. While I'm not attending Mass today (we went to the Saturday Vigil Mass yesterday), I do hope to go at least twice during the week and make it a goal to attend daily Mass more often in hopes that it helps keep me on the right path.
One more thing (a quote) before I end this blog post:
"What does Jesus Christ do in the Eucharist?... If you are in difficulties and sorrows, He will comfort and relieve you. If you are sick, He will either cure you or give you strength to suffer so as to merit heaven… If the Devil, the world, and the flesh are making war upon you, He will give you the weapons with which to fight, to resist, and to win victory." - St. John Vianney
I hope you are all having a blessed Sunday and that you enjoy the long Memorial Day weekend.
As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :D