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GUEST COLUMNIST | Amid busy lives, Christ’s presence matters; ours does, too

A quote attributed to St. Teresa of Avila often pops into my head as I start the day: “Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which He looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which He blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are His body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”

The underlying foundation here, of course, is that by baptism we’re each grafted as members of the Body of Christ. And that’s what makes us Christ’s presence in the world, as St. Teresa (or someone) so beautifully described it. But baptism isn’t a magic formula. The grace of baptism transforms us more and more each day until we can say with St. Paul: “It is Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). But this depends upon our cooperation.

Christ makes available to us through the Eucharist a great gift, one that aids us and reinforces and intensifies the relationship we’ve had with Him since baptism. It’s in the Eucharist that we are given the opportunity to become more and more like Christ.

At each Mass, we offer ourselves with the bread and wine, which are transformed truly into the real presence of Christ among us. We pray we are changed, too, like our offerings, to be ever more like Christ. But it follows that the harder we work, by God’s grace, to grow in our similitude to Christ, the more we realize we need to spend time with Him, the more we need to soak up what His real eucharistic presence ushers into our midst.

If we pause to think about it, Christ’s presence in every tabernacle throughout the world should stop us in our tracks. We drive by our churches, but do we stop to visit Him, to be with Him, to adore Him? Do we bathe in His light and absorb all He wants to teach us?

The practice of eucharistic adoration can easily be misunderstood and miscast as something inferior, dismissed as a pious vestige of the past. But it is interesting to observe how the practice of adoration has only grown in the last few decades. As the world moves away from God, adoration has offered something the world cannot give. Adoration gives us the opportunity to sit at Christ’s feet and embrace our discipleship in its fullness.

One of the greatest gifts I have found about my spiritual family — the Pauline family founded by Blessed James Alberione — is the centrality of eucharistic adoration. Alberione put a eucharistic “visit” at the heart of his spirituality: “Everything comes from the tabernacle; without the tabernacle there is nothing.”

How true it is. If we want to be so filled with Christ that He is truly present within me, then we need to make the tabernacle the heart of our lives. No relationship can advance if there is no investment of time. Nothing can be truly present amid absence. Nothing can grow unless it is nurtured and tended. As Alberione further explains, “In the Eucharist Jesus becomes our nourishment, so that His divine Heart may assimilate ours and make it one with His.”

Our lives are busy. Many demands are put upon our time. Making a daily Holy Hour might not be a possibility, but we should not let that deter us. Christ has no body now on earth but ours, and we are members of His body. Rather than building our lives around our schedules, let’s build our schedules around the Lord — making time to bask in His presence, so we can bring His presence to the world.

Michael R. Heinlein is an author and a promised member of the Association of Pauline Cooperators.

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GUEST COLUMNIST Amid busy lives Christs presence matters ours does too 9080

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