When walking down the street wearing my blue Missionaries of the Eucharist t-shirt, I am frequently asked, “Who are the Missionaries of the Eucharist?” To many this answer is simple: “The Missionaries are a bunch of crazy young adults that walk hundreds of miles every summer to spread Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body.” This is very true. The Missionaries of the Eucharist are a group of young adults. We do walk hundreds of miles through the northeastern United States. We do spread the beauty of the Catholic Faith through the lens of the Theology of the Body, but to me the Missionaries of the Eucharist are more.
We must first look to the Blessed Mother of our Lord, Mary most holy, the first living tabernacle, who was and is the first missionary of the Eucharist. After receiving Jesus beneath her heart at the Annunciation, she ran off in haste to the hill country of Judah to help her cousin Elizabeth. She ran in haste to allow her cousin the joy of adoration. When she arrived and greeted her cousin, the child leapt in Elizabeth’s womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit! As Missionaries of the Eucharist, we are called to this act of charity EVERYDAY! Every morning we receive our Lord in the Eucharist before we go out and there, on our walk we like our Lady, encounter those who are in need. We want to give them everything. We want to say everything so that they may know the love of our Lord. But we must remember then the greatest gift we could give was the Eucharist that received just that morning. He who waits silently beneath our heart, waiting to reveal His heart to all. We must never forget that we have our Lord within us, dwelling there beneath our heart, when we encounter our brothers and sisters, they too should exclaimed like Elizabeth, “… and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (Luke 1:42) Blessed is the fruit that you have within you have quenches our hunger, our desire for Love!
In his apostolic letter, Mane Nobiscum Domine, Pope John Paul II speaks of the presence of Jesus in the tabernacle, as “a kind of magnetic pole” that attracts souls “enamored of him, ready to wait patiently to hear his voice and, as it were, to sense the beating of his heart.” When we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, we too, like our Lady, become a living tabernacle. When we receive the Eucharist we are filled with a great gift of joy. Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God. I once heard joy compared to static cling. We all have experienced static cling at one point of our lives. As a child I use to rub my feet against the carpet and put my hands near my sister’s hair and loved seeing her hair flying towards me. You can’t see static cling, but it just sucks everything towards the thing it clings to, and joy is like that -- it just draws people to the Christ from whom it originated from. People are drawn to that joy not because of you but because the Lord is resting beneath your heart. What a gift from God that we can be the carriers of His static cling.
Sometime when I rubbed my feet too much against the carpet, I sometime got that static shock. Sometimes joy is so overwhelming that when encountering others you receive the joy-shock. So much better than static shock. Ever hear a joyful person laugh? It’s contagious, you have no idea why you are laughing sometimes but there’s a happiness, a gladness, a joy there That’s the Jesus’ joy shock. Joy is something that every Missionary of the the Eucharist should have. That magnetic pull, that static cling, is what can bring us into a deeper union with God through each other.
The beauty of this all is that we, all of us, are called to be missionaries of the Eucharist. You don’t need the blue shirt, the swollen ankles or to walk hundreds of miles, all you need is to receive Jesus in Eucharist with a pure heart and then go out and share that joy with others. When we go up to the altar of God, where there we will receive His Most Precious Body and Blood, we say to ourselves the preparatory prayer that priest say at the foot of the altar in the Tridentine litugy, “Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam”--“I will go unto the altar of God, To God who gives joy to my youth.”