“You have approached Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and countless angels in festal gathering…and Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and the sprinkled blood that speaks more eloquently than that of Abel.”
We approach the altar of God with profound humility. God Himself has deigned to dwell bodily in the Eucharist we receive; fear and trembling in His Presence ought to be our natural state. And yet, He has chosen to come to us in an unimpressive form. Jesus hides Himself in the form of bread and wine so that we might not tremble. Do we receive this great condescension of God with gratitude and humility, or do we take Him for granted because He does not crush us?
The manner in which we receive the greatest possible gift on earth, the Eucharist, ought to reflect our knowledge of ourselves and God. We are worthy to receive Him only by His gracious will. Our sins would prevent us from union with Him if not for the grace of Baptism and Reconciliation, which come to us only by virtue of the Blood Jesus shed for us. Part of receiving this great gift worthily is keeping His greatness and our neediness in mind as we approach Him. The only appropriate attitude as we approach God is humility and gratitude.
Jesus has done us the great gift of making Communion with Him possible for us in this life; we ought to do Him the honor of preparing ourselves well to approach Him. We do this by confessing our sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation well before Mass, by arriving early enough to recollect our thoughts and pray a bit before Mass begins, and by focusing our attention on God and speaking to God throughout the Mass and afterwards. May we prepare ourselves well with humility and gratitude to receive the great self-gift of Jesus in the Eucharist.