“Is this real life?” I thought to myself as a drove down the road away from the Church. I had a pyx in the pocket of my dark purple button down Sunday shirt. I’ve got praise music on the radio but a Cee-Lo song crosses my mind, “I guess the pyx in my pocket wasn’t enough, I got Jesus too, Jesus too!”
Eucharistic Visitation Ministry
Sunday, May 5th was my first time participating in the Eucharistic Visitation ministry for our Church and I’ve never been so humbled and blessed. Jesus, through the guidance of the Church, allows me, a mere mortal man, to bring His body and blood to people who cannot leave their homes. I can only ask myself again, “Is this real life?”
Many of the people we visited are struggling with forgetfulness. Yet still, when Jesus is there in front of them it’s almost like the world stops and they remember who they are: a child of God.
Some of the patients are able to participate in a full communion service which models the Mass.
There’s a greeting, a penitential rite (Lord, have mercy), a reading from the Gospel, intercessions for those whom they love, the Lord’s prayer (the Our Father) and then the liturgy of the Eucharist. Some patients are able to understand and participate in all of this. Other patients receive a shortened time of prayer and are able to receive if they still seem to know who they are receiving.
Called to Serve
Whether they are able to receive or not, Jesus is there in the moment in such a tangible way. Is this not our call, to serve those in need? It is in these moments that truly, truly I say to you, we are serving Christ Himself and we are nearer to salvation than when we first believed (Romans 13:11).
Jesus says to His faithful ones, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me. (Matthew 25:35-36).”
The visit to this nursing home was abundantly blessed and led me to resound a joyful, “is this real life?” in my heart. But the realization of the amount of elderly, sick, homeless, naked, hungry, poor and needy of all kinds in just this area, let alone the world, led me also to question the “real life” that I am living.
The Love of Christ Asks for All of Me
Yes, I’m a missionary, but it’s still easy to use that as an excuse not to get outside of my comfort zone. I’m already living off of donations. I’m already living a life of prayer and community. I’m already living simply. I’m already loving the best I can.
Still, I am never satisfied with the “I’m already’s” of my mind. My heart belongs to Jesus and I desire each day to give more and more to the one who gave His whole life to me. It’s the only way I will ever be satisfied.
Ask yourself, “Is This Real Life?”
Is this real life? Ask yourself that. Is the purpose of my life to be so consumed with straight A’s that I don’t have time to spend with my family, let alone take time to minister to those who are most in need? Is my life really meant to revolve around my boyfriend or girlfriend and to spend tons of money on special gifts and most of my time trying to make them happy?
Is this real life, or am I called to more?
Make Jesus the Center
Jesus must be the center of our lives. Good grades are awesome and God is glorified when we work hard. Relationships are beautiful and help us to grow and share the love of God in a special way. But is Christ at the center? Is God, our King, raised higher than these other pursuits?
When Christ is the center and we listen to Him first and make Him our true love, our hearts burn to hear Him say, “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink…whatever you did for the least brothers of mine, you did for me (Matthew 25:35, 40).”
My Turn to Administer Communion
While we were with our last patient, the minister I was shadowing let me lead the prayers and administer holy communion.
When finished, the patient said, “Are you a priest?”
“No ma’am. I am not.”
She responded, “Well, you look like one and you act like one.”
Foreshadowing? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.