I remember my utter shock and disbelief when our diocese closed all the churches. It seemed like an impossibility (and still does) that there would be no sacraments available to the laity. How does this make sense? In the time of global pandemic and such fear and uncertainty, the sacraments are what we seem to need the most! Yet we know that when God allows something to be taken from us, it is to teach us something, and ultimately to bring about a greater good through His Church’s suffering. But what good could possibly come from being deprived of the sacraments?
I think there are many reasons God has allowed this global pandemic, but in this particular area of our Catholic faith, God desires to bring about greater devotion and love for what is holy and set apart — namely, the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist! We know that the Church at large has, at the very least, taken for granted the immense and unimaginable gift of Christ’s Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. We know this not only from the lack of reverence we see owed to God in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass , but also by the recent Pew study that showed that only one third of Catholics believe in the Real Presence. Am I the only one who finds it odd that once this study was made public, there was not an outcry of reform from the hierarchy? There wasn’t — it was business as usual.
One doesn’t have to be a theologian or part of the clergy to know that the Eucharist is the source and summit of our Catholic faith and should be upheld and defended at all cost. Therefore, when it is not upheld and rightly adored within the hearts of many of our bishops and priests, it is not surprising to see the trickle-down effect that their lack of devotion has had on the laity. So many of the faithful are careless and lazy in their preparation for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and make no effort to ready their souls for the reception of Holy Communion. I can’t say I necessarily fault them. I might be in the same category if I had not been fortunate enough to be well catechized.