Catholic Activity: Christmas and the Eucharist
During this Year of the Eucharist, Father Filas provides a beautiful reflection on the events of Bethlehem relating to the Sacrament of the Eucharist.
Christ's body on earth at Bethlehem was the same body which is now on earth in our tabernacles all over the world. The only difference is that now He is veiled beneath the species of bread and wine. The Blessed Sacrament is the continuation of Christmas; we cannot think of Christ's first personal visit two thousand years ago without instinctively thinking of His constant visit at every present moment. We owe the Blessed Sacrament to Bethlehem.
Each recurring Christmas Day should refresh in your mind the magnificent import of the bodily presence of God among us. As you receive Holy Communion on each occasion, the story of Bethlehem is being renewed and continued in your heart, for the cave was the first tabernacle and the manger was the first ciborium. You have the opportunity of "wrapping the Child in swaddling clothes and laying Him in the manger" of your own heart every day if you wish.
In the Blessed Sacrament you will find the greatest, the most tangible help and inspiration for your family life. If you and your husband or wife can make it a practice to receive Holy Communion together, your union will be all the deeper because it is rooted all the more deeply in the love of Christ. There can be no doubt that the frequent reception of Holy Communion by husband and wife does infallibly make their marriage holier and happier.
It is hardly possible to speak satisfactorily of the Blessed Sacrament. The subject is too tremendous to do it justice. Just as the moment of the Incarnation could not hold its awesome reality for itself as the one moment when the Infinite took on the limits of time, so, too, the words that try to portray the quiet majesty of Christ's reign among us in the Tabernacle cannot convey their full message of truth. Jesus Christ, God and man, is present with His glorified living body under the appearance of bread and wine in the Blessed Sacrament. What then? The action of the frequent communicant is the only reasonable action, and the answer of the father of the possessed boy is the only reasonable answer: "Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief!" (Mark 9:23.)
Every time we look on the mystery of the Nativity at Bethlehem, a little deeper sense of its meaning penetrates our souls. Sometimes for a few fleeting moments we feel that we can almost grasp the full realization of what it means to have God as man on this earth. The extension of Christ's life in the Blessed Sacrament adds to this realization still another note: "God as man is on this earth now, as my closest, dearest Friend, in whose love I can rest my love of my husband or wife, and in whom we two are united in the ideal of the selfless love toward which we are striving."
Activity Source: Family for Families, The by Francis L. Filas, S.J., The Bruce Publishing Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1947