Sunday, May 28, 2017

Four Months Without the Eucharist

I know some of you have already seen the tweet and picture I uploaded yesterday on Twitter; about how I received the Eucharist for the first time in 4 months yesterday. I also know that if you read the tweet, you know that I had gone so long without it because I had a gluten-free diet for months. When I received my blood work results earlier this week and saw that (despite consuming gluten in the multivitamins I was taking), my bloodwork came back better than it has been in years, I knew I would be able to receive the Eucharist again.

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


TLM said...

I can semi relate to your situation. I am not gluten intolerant, at least not that I know of, and go to Mass and Communion at least once weekly on Sunday and go to Confession at least once monthly (on the whole). But lately, (within the last 6 months or so) it seems I have had a harder time spiritually than I have in years. More times than not, I have to really talk myself into morning prayer (with Rosary)and end up sometimes going to Confession every 2 weeks! The only thing I can attribute this to, is the knowledge that Satan is getting stronger by the day and working ferociously as he knows his time is limited. It means we REALLY have to 'armor up' so to speak and beg for the grace to keep ourselves in the state of grace. Am also praying my heart out that the Lord never allows the Sacraments to be taken from us or even limits them as we are, I believe, under direct unprecedented attack as of late. Satan is doing everything in his power to drag us all to hell.....and it's noticeable. It seems the more time goes on, the worse it gets.

KnotWilbur said...

Hi Emmy,
you have my sympathy, insofar as your concern goes. I am one of four brothers, three of whom are celiacs, including myself. My wife and three of the five (so far) children are likewise. Ours is a completely gluten free house. But I would also remind, gently, that when you receive the Blessed Sacrament, the consecrated host is no longer the unleavened bread that it once was, but rather it is the body, blood, soul and divinity of Our Lord. When I was diagnosed, ten years ago, this was something I was deeply worried about. And, after some discussion with our parish priest, he was kind enough to obtain low gluten hosts for us. That coincided with the twins reaching the age when they could first receive Holy Communion. But after six months or so, he retired, and we had a new priest. Through miscommunication on our part, the parish ceased receiving the low gluten hosts. At first, we demurred from receiving. Then we would occasionally receive. No issues, at all. Since then, so long as we're disposed to receive and in a proper state for it, we receive. Still no symptoms. I think that you may find that this could be the case for you, too. I certainly hope so. I'll keep you in my prayers, either way.