In Memory of Me
Young people talk about the Eucharist - the Blessed Sacrament which Jesus gave to us at the Last Supper, telling his disciples to 'Do this in memory of me'.
As the Catholic Church professes, "the mode of Christ's presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as "the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend." In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist "the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained" (CC1374). It is "a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a Paschal banquet 'in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.'" (CC 1323)
Many thanks to Father Stan Fortuna CFR for the gift of his music.
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You can listen to St John Paul II's beautiful encyclical on the Eucharist here.
Oliver, 20 & from London: "The Eucharist really helps to bring the reality of the Christian life to everything that one does, which is why St John Paul Ii called it the source and summit of the Christian life. Also in adoration as well - that deep desire of the Lord to spend some time with us, to form us. As Fulton Sheen said 'It's like spending time in the sun: we don't know what happens to us but we do change.' So, it's that continual visiting him, being united with him in Holy Communion and also, when we've fallen, to be reconciled to him, for him to lavish us with his mercy again through the Sacrament of reconciliation. But, above all in the Eucharist, it's all about God wanting to be with us. That's why it's the supreme joy that any Christian who really seeks Him, above all else seeks to learn about their faith and live their faith, it's the greatest gift God could ever have given us and it's something that we really need to rediscover and cherish as the greatest treasure we've been given this side of heaven."
Juan Miguel, 32 & from the Philippines: "Obviously I'm a sinner and I suppose most of us are, and when we go about our day and think about how have I offered my day to God, sometimes we may feel that, no matter what I do, I actually can't make an offering that is good enough or worthy enough for God, because of all the sins that we have done. But I think that this is why the Eucharist is a great moment because, in the Eucharist, Christ invites us to give to him all of the things that we want to offer and he will present them to God his Father. And so it's not actually by my merit that these offerings become acceptable but it is through Christ's merit. That is why I like to attend the Eucharist as often I can."
Christina, from Scootland: "So when I heard the words this morning 'Do this in memory of me' it was just this invitation from the Lord to remember Him. For me that means going to daily Mass and receiving Him in the Holy Eucharist and remembering that He is the God who came down from heaven to be with me, to strengthen me, to purify me and to teach me how to be how like Him. To remember Him means to remember that our God is a God of miracles, our God is a God of mercy, our God is a God of love, and that is who He calls me to be but I can't be that person without Him. To really come to believe this and live this I need to sit with Him and to remember who He sees me to be. And so as I sit in adoration I remember that He is a God who loves me and that I have been created in His image and likeness. I remember that I've been created good, that I've been created to glorify God with my life and that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I remember that we are called to live lives full of hope and trust. I remember the words that Jesus spoke so many times, 'Do not be afraid. I am with you, yes even unto the end of time.' Jesus came so that we can live lives filled with peace, hope and faith in God, and it is as I receive Him in the Eucharist and sit with Him in adoration that I learn how to live out of this truth, and truly life is more beautiful with Him."
Gladys, from Ghana: "The Eucharist is a thanksgiving. It’s a great gift the Lord lived for us at the Last Supper and I think it's something that we really cherish."
Patrick, 28 & from England: "We talk about the Church as being a foretaste of heaven and to know that our entire faith is centred around Jesus here on earth as it will be in heaven is just such a wonderful thing, especially in the way so many youth organisations will literally center around the Eucharist. You can really get the sense of a preempting, a pretaste of what heaven will be like: all faces turned towards Jesus, everyone worshipping and praising Him. The peace and joy that descends out of such sessions! No-one comes out of adoration feeling awful, they've always found a measure of peace and happiness, which is just that continuous promise of what we are actually going to achieve when we get to heaven with Jesus."
John, 30 & from England: "I think the thing that strikes me most about the Eucharist is the way it shows that God, in spite of being so powerful, is so humble. That not only is He so humble that He becomes a human being but he's so humble that He actually becomes food for us and that that's how he loves us, both by becoming one of us and becoming something that we can eat. That's just how humble our powerful God is."
Dulan, 28 & from Sri Lanka: "Adoration is the presence of God, you feel the presence of God when you're in adoration. It's one of the most wonderful things you can do - to experience God in his whole power and his presence, in the peace it brings you. I absolutely love doing adoration."
Jason, from England: "For me adoration is very much heaven on earth. If we could only truly appreciate that moment when we are kneeling, sitting or standing before the presence of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament. It is truly heaven on earth and there can be no other place on earth better than in the presence of Jesus."
Darryl, 27 & from Derry in Northern Ireland: "Nightfever is a great scheme, it's a great way to evangelise, bring people into the Church but be it in a very low key, welcoming way. And obviously it's great as well having the adoration, it gives people a great outlet, a great way for people to see Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. It gives people a lot of peace."
Enrique, 25 & from Madrid: "I feel myself very blessed to be able to go to Mass every day before going to work. I just find it incredibly helpful. It really is the daily bread that keeps me going. And it does make a big difference, the days in which I am able to attend Mass before work and the days in which I'm not. The days in which I am, I can really see the good effects it has in my dealings with my colleagues."
Paula, 27 & from England: "I found my faith again through Scripture, but this really became alive when I went to Church one day. And it’s not that Mass made sense or that I was overwhelmed by the people or the candles or the music. It's just that I went in and I just felt God present in the Eucharist."
Deacon Garrett, who's 25 & from Montana in the US: "The last day of the conference they had eucharistic adoration and there were 4000 college students all in this ballroom on their knees in complete silence and they processed the monstrance in and they placed the Lord on the altar. As soon as they exposed the Blessed Sacrament, my heart jumped, I just broke down. It hit me all of a sudden: that is God on the altar, that is God right in front of me, and I don't deserve to be present here in front of him, I don't deserve anything at all. And it struck my heart that that is the Lord right in front of me and, even in the midst of all my sin (I could name off every sin imaginable that a college student these days would be involved in) He was there to pull me up and it was through His presence in the Eucharist that I was really inspired to continue to pursue my vocation."
Joseph, who's 20 & from England: "The Eucharist is such an on-going, worldwide and hourly thing where the presence of Jesus Christ is truly here in his sacrifice. I think it's a misconception by many and people sort of think that it's taking away from the crucifixion. But it's not. It's making us present with Jesus and it's the way we can receive Jesus on earth. And ideally we all want to go to heaven and to be with Jesus in the future, so why not receive Jesus now and learn to have a relationship with him? It's one of the most beautiful parts of my faith and something that I really relish and whenever I get the chance I go to Mass so I can receive the Eucharist."
Ronald, who's 30 & from Kenya: "The Eucharist to me is very important because that is Jesus Christ with us right here. Jesus Christ did not leave us with a Bible, but he left us with the Eucharist and he said it plainly, and he said 'This is my body and this is my blood.' Plain and simple. It is because of that that, technically and literally, the world and the universe revolves around it: that has been our source of civilization, that has been the source of our time on the calendar. So to me the Eucharist is the holy grail of civilization and it's my great joy that I receive it."
Francis, who's 21 & from Virginia in the United States: "I think the Eucharist is just one of Christ's most beautiful gifts to his Church. It basically fulfills his promise to be with us always and it was the last thing he said to us before ascending into heaven after his life on earth. It's his mode of being with us which is so beautiful because, you know, building up to the Incarnation, you had the Jews, there was just this longing to have God's presence with us. So to me it's beautiful how through the Eucharist He connects with us in such a human way. Obviously he created our human nature, so he understands through our human nature we need that personal connection for there to be true affection. And God is love, so He understands that we need that connection and so he gave us the Eucharist so as to have a tangible connection and presence with Him until the last days. And to me that's just beautiful. "
Carly, who's 27 & from England: "For the first time I completely abandoned myself to the Lord, which I hadn't been able to do before; I'd wanted to do but I didn't know how. And I discovered Christ in the Eucharist, I saw Him, I met Him, I felt Him. And all the anger and pain and bitterness completely disappeared from my heart and I was just filled with love and joy and peace. And I saw Christ, I encountered Christ in the Eucharist, and for the first time I became completely aware of His presence in the Eucharist, of His true presence, His concrete presence, He was there before me in the flesh and He was bringing me into life, He brought me into life and healed me completely."
Christina, who's 33 & from Germany: "My precious moments of adoration was also when I had my conversion. I was kneeling in front of Jesus and told Him I entrusted my life to Him. I would not do one single step anymore by myself. My life at that time wasn't leading anywhere. And suddenly I felt this warmth, peace and love coming right out from the Eucharist. I started crying and I realised Jesus was there indeed. He cared about me. He loved me. Now my life had a meaning."
Matthew, who's 24 & from Birmingham, England: "When you discover the Eucharist and you experience this silent stillness, this simple piece of bread that flows from it all the fruits, the love, joy, peace, you experience from, in your heart you are receiving Jesus. When you receive this Eucharist you realise that all these things and worries of the world and your desires for selfish needs are just only for the self, but that which goes beyond the end is heaven, and in order to obtain eternal life we need to understand and come to live this now, which comes from the Eucharist. To me the Eucharist is everything."
Nathan, who's 11 & from London: "Me and my mother had had an argument so I went to adoration of the Eucharist and I kneeled down and when I did, I was like 'God, please ask my mum to forgive me.' And then it felt like someone just hugged me, and I started crying and then I went to my mum and said I'm sorry and then she forgived me. Ya, and that's how God works."
John, who's a seminarian with the archdiocese of Southwark in England: "I might be very distracted during my time of prayer sitting before Lord but I knew that something was happening. I felt and knew that Christ had given himself totally for me and humanity through the Eucharist, and just being in his presence was so refreshing, so encouraging for me. I might have a very difficult day or very bad day but being there with Jesus was very consoling and I could feel Him consoling me. So now after this experience, I have a greater desire to spend time with Jesus in the Eucharist."
Sean, who's 12 & from England: "What I love about the Eucharist is it just makes you feel like you're part of the Church, a part of like everyone worldwide."
Jess, who's 25 & from Wales: "I love the Mass, I think it's definitely the highlight of my week. Just to be able to go and be in God's presence and hear his Word. I love it how all the different Bible readings are linked together, and you can see how things in the Old Testament are fulfilled in the New. And it's just so interesting, and you're always learning like, no matter how many times you've heard the same thing before, it always strikes a different chord. And then to have the Eucharist, and to have Jesus really, really present there. And I think like even if nothing else, none of the other words or readings have touched my heart, when I go to receive Jesus in the Eucharist it just breaks down any barriers that I had and His presence is just amazing."
John Paul, who's 32 & from Ireland:
"I never really quite understood the true meaning of the Eucharist until 2 years ago when I experienced the true presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Jesus is truly present, body, soul and divinity, He is there in every tabernacle of every church throughout the world. He is there waiting for us to come before Him, to bring our prayers and petitions, to praise and worship Him, to bring all our concerns, to seek his forgiveness and to receive Him. So I encourage you: come back to your faith, come back to the Catholic Church. There you'll find true peace and happiness."
Peter, from London: "To me the Eucharist is special because it's a gift from God which I couldn't earn for myself or I couldn't bring into my life, but He has given it to us. Becoming united with God in our earthly lives is really encouraging, it makes me strong. And I know that I have to work at my life to be ready to receive the Eucharist at Mass and this is one thing which keeps me on track. Also the Eucharist is our salvation and it reminds me of God's sacrifice on the cross, when He gives up his body for us, and I don't lose sight of the Easter miracle because I have the Eucharist every week."
Richard, a seminarian at Oscott College in England: "I remember when I was a little boy and it was midnight Mass .. There was the moment during the Mass where the priest lifted up the Host and that was the first moment I thought 'That's Jesus'. And that moment has stayed with me ever since and that's how the Eucharist has become the source of my life, wanting to go to Mass daily and meet with Jesus."
Rob, from England: "The Eucharist is absolutely wonderful. For me personally, praying in front of the Eucharist and Eucharistic Adoration is an absolutely marvellous thing to do; it's a great way to pray, to praise God, to be near God."
Anthony from Nigeria: "The Eucharist is the most wonderful gift of Jesus Christ, because He is giving Himself, all that He is to us. When we recite the Creed, we say 'God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten not made, one substance with the Father.' That is the kind of relationship Jesus has with His Father, one substance. And that is the kind of relationship He wants to have with us. In the Eucharist He wants to be one substance with us."
Paschal, who's 22 & from London:
"Pope Benedict said the Eucharist is the proof of God's love. Bishop Fulton J. Sheen said that when you really love somebody you might write them a letter or better than that you might speak to them on the phone, but love's deepest desire is for union and, in the Eucharist, there is partly our desire to be with God but more than that it's God's passionate desire to be with us. It's the proof of his love."
Roger, from America:
"When I was around 30, speaking to a nun in a bookstore, she told me about the Catholic belief of Jesus, true body, blood, soul and divinity in the Blessed Sacrament and that this was the Church he founded, and so that was enough for me, after all I'd been through, and I came in immediately to the Church after that. To this day I still make a Holy Hour every week and the Eucharist is really everything for me: it's God reaching out to us with his infinite love at all times."
Anton, 24 & from England: "I find that in receiving the Eucharist, in receiving God and Him becoming closer and more of a not just physical part but a real spiritual part of the body, it helps with the day, it gives order and peace to the day."
Armel, 28 & from the Ivory Coast: "The only prayer when I feel I'm not forcing myself towards God but God comes to me is the Eucharist and it's the prayer when you don't need any effort to meet God. I can't afford to miss Mass on a day and it's real food for me."
Alastair, from Britain: "Every week for me the highlight is the invitation to go to Mass and I find that however I feel, whether I'm in a positive or a negative mood, I come to Mass and listen to the service and the readings and go to receive communion in the Eucharist and I come away from that filled and fed, and if I'm in a positive mood I feel really inspired, if I'm in not such a positive mood I find that all my troubles or fears will for a little while after I receive communion, I've accepted the invitation that Christ has given me, I've come to Mass, I've received Him in the Eucharist and been fed by His body and blood, that everything else is not as important, everything is put in perspective and clarity."
Erin, 1 of the Totus2us team, 28 & from America: "When I approach to receive the body of Our Lord, what I always remember is St Thérèse calling this moment the kiss of love from Jesus and I remember attending midnight Mass on Christmas Eve once at a Cistercian monastery and hearing the priest there proclaim "This is the feast of Love." I remember this priest speaking about how God is Love, and what does love do? Love wants oneness with us so Love becomes one of us. The great infinite God becomes a baby, small enough so that we can hold him in our arms, and the Lord of the universe, yes, He wants to be hidden beneath a piece of bread, something we can be fed by, something we will consume and be nourished by and take into ourselves. So this is what the Eucharist is for me: a very gradual unfolding of this mystery that God is Love. It's a gateway into the heavenly communion that I am invited to."
Richard, 25 & a seminarian from the UK: "The Eucharist is the supreme presence of Christ in the universe, really; just an awesome thing to receive Our Lord who becomes one of us. At Mass we are conscious that every part of Christ's life - his annunciation, his birth, his public ministry, the resurrection, the ascension - are all present in the Holy Eucharist. When we receive Him, the graces that flow are potentially sublime."
Peter, 25 & a seminarian from the UK: "When I think of the Eucharist my heart just overflows with thanksgiving. Here in our midst, for all time, Jesus Christ is truly present to us. As present as he was to the apostles, to the people he heale,d and I am just so grateful that, whatever happens in my life, however well or however badly things go, I have the joy and the peace of knowing that I will be able to go and kneel before Him in the Blessed Sacrament, and whether I feel anything, whether I experience profound conversion, or whether I don't, in that simple act of kneeling there in the Church, I can know by faith that Jesus Christ is as near to me as He can be in this life."
Philip, 25 & a seminarian from the UK: "For me, home is where your heart is and the Eucharist is my home. When I discerned my vocation to go to seminary, daily Mass was so important and eventually I found a church offering exposition of the Blessed Sacrament all afternoon. It felt natural to be there. I could just tell Jesus everything and sit in silence and let His presence fill me with peace. He's now my best friend and this makes Him the source of my greatest joys and frustrations. I find trying to understand him is more difficult than my philosophy class and at others I just know a peace that the world can't give. He's now at my centre. Going to Him there is no longer an option, it's my life. Whether joyful or frustrated, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. He's my home."
Helen, 20 & from England: "The Eucharist is a really important part of my life, and I get great joy and encouragement from spending time in front of the Blessed Sacrament. And for me Jesus is just incredibly present there and it's an amazing way to spend time with God. I don't find I need to say anything or do anything, I can just sit and spend time with God, a;nd that really refreshes me and builds me up. It's an amazing gift to have in the Church."
Adrian, 22 & from England: "When I am sitting there with Jesus in adoration and he is present in the Eucharist, it is really an encounter with a real person.. And it's not just any person but with Him, with Jesus who is love itself .. Jesus is really present in the here and now, in the Eucharist, he is there and he is asking me to be as fully present as I can be in that moment with him. That has helped me in my day to day life to try to be present in each moment and know that Jesus is present in all the other moments of my life."
Joel, 21 & from England: "I find that going to Mass and receiving the Eucharist is probably the clearest expression I have in my life of God's love and the way that He works. I'm a student .. I can take time out and come to Mass and spend some quiet time with God, know the reality of His presence in my life. It's something concrete, it's something that's not ever going to go away. I find that a tremendously inspiring experience and it's something I don't think I could ever live without really."
Caecilia, who's 22 & from Germany: "The Eucharist gives me strength for my life and the Holy Mass is the biggest gift in my life, because Jesus is really present in the Eucharist, and you can bring in the Eucharist all the things that have happened in your life, all that you have in your heart, and it's a very nice relationship with Jesus because He is really present. I learned to love the Church so much at the World Youth Day in 2000. I learned to see the fullness from the Church and the joy from the Church ..
On the World Youth Day I understood Jesus is really present in the Eucharist."
Robert Francis, 25 & from England: "For me the Eucharist is something extremely precious to everyone as we all are able to give something to God, even though it isn't needed, in the form of our prayers and the eucharistic prayer as a community. Then on receiving the Eucharist the gift of grace that it fills us, whether we are praying for an intention of our own or for someone that we love."
Shannon, 19 & from England: "For me spending time in front of Christ, the real presence of Christ, is a time for reflection and it doesn't matter where you are in your journey towards heaven, or where you are at any point in your life, Christ is always there and He remains the same and He is constant. And it's refreshing to come back and have that check-point with Him and just reaffirm what it is He has got in store for you. And to be in the presence and feel that complete love is awesome and it's an awesome gift to have."
Joe, 20 & from England: "For a long time I struggled to understand how the Eucharist could be Christ, but one evening in adoration I just let the Lord guide me to a passage in the Bible and it was John 6, the discourse on the Eucharist, where I read 'This is my flesh.' I then looked up at the Eucharist in adoration and I saw the face of Christ for a second at the monstrance, and I knew ... I knew I was in the presence of God."
Nadia, from Trinidad: "To me the Eucharist is the source of all that is good about our faith. It's the actual presence of Jesus. It's what distinguishes my faith from other Christian faiths, where I have Jesus in this most powerful way - ministering to me, loving me, being there for me, being in conversation with me, almost sometimes even a physical experience of closeness to him, and even healing, complete and utter healing where I can open up my heart to him about anything. Things that I hide maybe from other people or from the world, I can't hide from Jesus and He just sort of gets into that place deep within my heart, deep within my being, and He restores and He revives and He consoles and He loves me; I feel his tremendous presence, his tremendous love."
Emily, 20 & from England: "The Eucharist is so important to me because I believe that it is the most intimate gift that God has given us."
Will, 18 & from England: "I have a real passion for the Eucharist because it really is Jesus and sometimes when I just sit in adoration before Him I am just filled with such wonder and awe."
Pippa, 20 & from England: "The Eucharist for me is everything .. The words in the Mass, 'Lord I am not worthy to receive you' I feel so strongly every time I say them. I feel so human and so unworthy to receive something so beautiful, but as soon as I go up to receive Him, all of those doubts and fears are completely wiped away and the Lord reassures me that this is a gift that He is sharing with His children and He loves us so much."