By: Natalie Plumb
As a cradle Catholic, I did everything right. In grade school, I aced my classes, did extracurricular activities and was often called “Miss Goody Two-Shoes.”
I was an average child. Other than my family’s love for me, nothing about me seemed to be extraordinary, unique or even abnormal.
In fact, I searched for my identity in my friends. I was easily bossed around and did everything my best friend at the time told me to do. I would never speak up for myself. One year it got so bad that my teacher purposefully separated me from that friend so that I could find my own voice.
It didn’t work. We were back in the same class together the following year. She convinced me of one thing after the other: There are ghosts on the metro if you look out of the glass when you’re in the tunnels; we won’t get in trouble if we sneak into the bamboo forest; curfew only applies to kids younger than us. On and on.
I even ate sand once because she told me to! Yes! This was a terrible idea because the gritty taste in my mouth would neither wash in or out. It kind of just stayed on my tongue. Sorry, off topic…
I think after the grasping-for-identity experiences like this that filled my life, God started shouting at me to pay attention.
At age 14, God the Father desired for me to be a true Child of God. And that meant change. That meant He wanted me to fill my identity with Him.
Children of God are unique. Children of God are odd. They fulfill the purpose God paved for them. Stretching the boundaries, defying the odds…Children of God are the difference that is good. Fulfilling a unique purpose is our calling. None of us is the same.
Thus, when Christ began entering my heart, when I truly began embracing His presence inside of me, I’ll admit it: The Eucharist rocked my world.
The Eucharist rocked my world.
I was finally different. I finally had a light literally shining in me that gave me meaning and purpose – meaning and purpose that came from my Father, through the Son.
For an entire summer, I spent every day going to Mass (with the exception of Saturdays). At first, I was only going because my Sunday school teacher was nice and encouraged me to go. I went, but only to please her. But day after day of attending Mass and, after that, praying the rosary with lovely lay men and women (who seemed to me, as a young girl, to never, ever miss a day of Mass or the rosary, the holy witnesses that they are), God inched His way into my heart. And He stayed there.
Unless I go to Daily Mass and receive Him, the hole in my heart that the world digs out every once in a while begins to open again. Because the days I miss Daily Mass are usually the weeks when my attention span dwindles during Sunday’s Mass.
Today, Holy Thursday, fill your heart with Him. Try to do it with presence. He will fill you to the brim.
One summer, I made a sign that I later hung on my wall to remind me of the Truth that I was experiencing physically, emotionally and spiritually. It read:
In the world: Unfulfilled. In Christ: Overflowing.
That said, Holy Thursday is the most complex and profound of all religious observances, saving only the Easter Vigil. It celebrates the institution — by Christ himself — of the Eucharist and of the priesthood.
Today, then, it is only appropriate that we go forth to receive this most profound of Sacraments: the Eucharist. The Host. The Body of Christ. His Flesh and Blood.
May today we pray:
Make my heart like unto thine.
Christ offers Himself to be a wafer, a piece of bread, a simple host…all so that we might receive Him.
In fact, Christ offers Himself to us so that we might receive each other. Each of us, uniquely and specifically, fulfills a divine role in this (potential) road to Heaven called life. Likewise, each of us plays that part as a part of the Body of Christ. His fingers, His hands, His heart, His eyelashes…You name it.
Some parts – some people in your life – feel unnecessary. But they are. In fact, each and every second, your interaction with them, and their interaction with you, is moving each of you either closer to, or farther from, the gates of Heaven.
Next week, I’ll expand on this idea of the Body of Christ, and how each and every part is integral in making us, as C.S. Lewis so delicately puts it in his The Weight of Glory: “…a creature which, if you say it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare.”
Natalie writes on Thursdays about faith, dating, relationships, and the in between. May her non-fiction stories and scenarios challenge you. May they help you laugh, cry, think and wonder.