What Do I Desire?

In his homily on Holy Thursday, Pope Benedict made this striking statement:

“I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer” (Lk 22:15). With these words Jesus began the celebration of his final meal and the institution of the Holy Eucharist. Jesus approached that hour with eager desire. In his heart he awaited the moment when he would give himself to his own under the appearance of bread and wine… Jesus desires us, he awaits us. But what about ourselves? Do we really desire him? Are we anxious to meet him? Do we desire to encounter him, to become one with him, to receive the gifts he offers us in the Holy Eucharist? Or are we indifferent, distracted, busy about other things?

It never ceases to amaze me how the Holy Father manages to see right into my soul.  The questions he asked on Holy Thursday are some of the most difficult for me to face.

So often, when I attend Mass, my mind is a million miles away.  I am very easily distracted, so I try to follow the Mass very closely in a missal, so that my mind can be focused better.  But invariably, I find that I’m wandering in my mind, off to matters of work, or personal problems, or some other nonsense.

Even worse, I find that when I approach the Lord for Communion, all too often I don’t appreciate what’s really going on.  He has come to meet me, to make me one with him, and I just don’t get it.

Sometimes, though, the Lord manages to get his message across to me.  Some time ago, I was sitting before the Blessed Sacrament and praying.  All of a sudden, I felt a strong desire in my heart for the Lord.  It was almost like the feeling of love I have for my wife.  It lasted only for a moment, but I realized how important a gift it was.  “So that’s it,” I said to myself.  For once, I got it.  Now, if only I could get it more often.

Pope Benedict closed his homily with a humble prayer, one that should be mine as well:

“I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you”. Lord, you desire us, you desire me. You eagerly desire to share yourself with us in the Holy Eucharist, to be one with us. Lord, awaken in us the desire for you. Strengthen us in unity with you and with one another. Grant unity to your Church, so that the world may believe. Amen.

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One Response to “What Do I Desire?”

  1. Bill Andres says:

    Ed,
    I think if most of us were honest we would likewise say that we are too easily distracted while atending mass. About fifteen years ago while talking with one of the associate pastors at church, I also shared with Father Kevin how easily I lost focus while attending mass before I went to work in the morning. I told him that I would often start planning my day at work during mass. His reply was “Who better than Jesus to help you plan your day.” This is something I need to remember even when I don’t atten mass in the morning.