Lenten Reflection: Hunger & Thirst

By Charla Spalluto Misse

I am surely not alone in feeling that this Lent has been especially poignant and sorrowful.  I remember when I first heard that the Blood of Christ would no longer be passed at Holy Mass and that the St. Joseph’s Altars were being closed due to the Coronavirus outbreak.  That was the first pang of realization for me that our ability to practice our faith as Catholics was being threatened.

In the past, I may have given up earthly pleasures for Lent and gladly made such a relatively minor sacrifice in comparison to Christ’s ultimate sacrifice. In recent years, instead of abstinence, I may have given increased alms and committed myself to a new spiritual devotion for the season. Again, these are sacrifices that I gladly made and found greater spiritual insight or blessings.

This year, however, like no other Lent, I was shocked into sacrifice. I feel such a loss in being unable to receive Communion and to adore the Eucharist.  I know he is always with me, but being denied the Eucharist has wrenched my heart.

While we are able to make a Spiritual Communion, for which I am deeply grateful, there is no substitute for physical closeness with Christ. I received a glimpse of persecuted Christians risking their lives to receive him.

I pray that, when we have passed through this desert and are able to again receive the life-giving bread and wine, we more deeply cherish this gift. I pray that we more keenly recognize him in the Holy Eucharist and more intensely feel his most merciful and loving presence.

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