In a recent podcast episode on Life Beyond the Chariot, Deanna Johnston and Mikki Sciba discuss the Eucharist as the source and summit of family life. Below are some tips from their discussion. You can view the full episode here.
In the Catechism, we’re told that the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life. We’re also told that all other sacraments are bound up with the Eucharist. Here’s what the Catechism says:
The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life.” “The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.”
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1324
The Eucharist is where we find the strength we need to fulfill our vocations in life. It is in the Eucharist that we receive the grace we need to live out the vocation of marriage and family life.
Do we know what the Eucharist is?
When we begin to ponder on how the Eucharist is the source and summit of family life, we must first ask ourselves, “do we know what the Eucharist is?”
If we don’t know what the Eucharist is, we need to begin by learning. Dive deep into the teachings of the Church on the Eucharist and read what the saints have to say about the Eucharist. And if you still have doubts, ask the Lord to help you with your doubts.
It can be easy to lose sight of the fact that the Eucharist is where everything in our lives flows from. The Eucharist is where we receive the strength to overcome sin and avoid temptation. It’s where we draw near to the heart of the Lord and learn his will for us and our families. The real presence of Christ in the Eucharist really makes an impact.
A word of encouragement for young families.
Family life can be a challenge! If getting to Mass with your little children is a challenge for your family and you’re wondering if you’re getting anything out of the Mass, the answer is yes! Jesus loves that you are there! Jesus wants you there. So persevere in that! Jesus is happy to have you and your children at Mass, even with the noise and chaos that sometimes comes along too.
God knows your efforts, even if your efforts fail. God knows your hearts. He knows what you’ve been through. So rest in that!
In addition to attending Mass, here are four simple suggestions on how you can make the Eucharist the source and summit of your family.
Visit Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament in adoration.
This will look different for everyone depending on what season of life you are in. But the value of spending time with Jesus and looking at him and letting him look at you and to receive whatever it is that he wants to offer, there’s nothing better!
Many people will make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament for an hour. If a whole hour is just too much for you right now, that’s okay. Stop by a chapel for 10 or 15 minutes. Taking your children with you can give them an opportunity to sit in the presence of the Lord, even if it’s for only two or three minutes.
Make the sign of the cross when you pass by a church.
This is a great thing to do with your children. It will help them build the habit of acknowledging the fact that Jesus is present in that building. This shows children there is something different and special there.
Draw their attention to the moment of consecration at Mass.
When you’re at Mass with your children, there are often many battles you have to fight and sometimes you have to pick and choose. One battle you should fight at Mass is paying attention during the consecration.
Help your children understand that this is the point where a miracle is happening. Let this be the moment that you are consistently drawing your child’s attention to.
One of the great things about being Catholic is we have all the smells and bells. Help your child understand that when the bells ring, Jesus is on the altar. This can become a cue for them and they can slowly begin to understand that something is different and Christ is present.
If you have a child in Sacramental preparation, get involved.
It can be really easy to drop your children off at faith formation classes and let the catechist worry about preparing your child for the sacraments. If you have a child preparing for a sacrament, get involved with their formation process.
Go to formation with them. Get involved in what they are learning. Ask them questions. Have discussions about what they are learning in their classes at home and with the rest of the family. Try to bring that formation into the family by stopping by a Church to pray and going with them to adoration and confession.