“The days are evil,” says St. Paul to the Ephesians and to us. Yet we are invited to live in wisdom, “trying to understand what is the will of the Lord.”
How can we know the will of God today? It is searingly difficult to discover God’s will today mainly because the whole world seems to have forgotten that we are all born into the human condition which is seriously flawed. We call this flawed condition the doctrine of “original sin:” we are all inclined toward selfishness, even at the expense of others.
To paraphrase Ross Douthat in his book, “Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics,” we have turned the old sin of pride into “healthy self-esteem,” and vanity into “self-improvement,” adultery into “following your heart,” and greed and gluttony into “living the American dream.”
We have detached ourselves from our moral foundations and together we seem adrift upon a sea of limitless possibilities. As Psalm 11 says, “Foundations once destroyed, what can the just do?” With our moral foundations destroyed, we seem to live today without a hint of even desiring to try to understand what is the will of the Lord.
Today I’d like to share with you the Gospel’s secret weapon in spiritual warfare so as to be able to discern the will of God. This secret weapon is available to Catholics; I only know that this works for Catholics. I don’t know about others. It’s this:
If you, a Catholic who has been initiated into the Eucharist, find yourself wanting to miss Mass, if you see in your soul an absence of passion about receiving Holy Communion, then this is the secret weapon to alert you that you are falling away from the will of God. In other words, you can tell you are getting into spiritual trouble if the sacrament of the Eucharist does not beckon to you and call out to from the heights of your soul.
When this lack of passion for Holy Communion happens, it is a sign that the soul is so diminished that it cannot hear the Lord from within crying out, “Come, eat of my food, and drink of the wine I have mixed! Forsake foolishness that you may live; advance in the way of understanding."
Of course, it may be that even a Catholic never did believe the word of Jesus: “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.”
If you never did believe what the Catholic Church believes and teaches about the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, then this fail-safe, secret weapon does not apply. It really only applies to those who know the Lord, love the Lord, and clearly understand and believe that Christ’s flesh is true food, and his blood is true drink.
It’s all about love. If our soul is in love with God, then surely we want to do His will, and surely we will crave His Eucharist. Such love has brought us to the point where we have learned to trust that God always wants our happiness, that God can be trusted, that no difficulty in life can undo us because He is with us to guide us and help us find His will.
The Eucharist is all about love. God loves us; God desires us; God desires such intimacy with us that we can “take and eat, for this is my body.” “Take and drink because this cup is my love poured out for you.” Can you not see that finding something else, anything else, to be more important than the Eucharist, is like a red flag to the soul? Remember, my friends, the Mass is the prayer of Jesus, it is the perfect prayer because it is His prayer. And you cannot improve on perfection.