Time didn’t stop. It still doesn’t.
And yet, I keep coming back. Something drew me to the Eucharist and to the Catholic Church, and it has to be by God’s grace that I keep stumbling back, like a moth to the flame.
My heart doesn’t stop beating at Mass, but there is a passion in my heart, and maybe it started with the incense and the tone in the air at that first Christmas midnight Mass. I don’t go to every Easter vigil every year, even though I’m a convert, but I do feel tears in my eyes when I think of the salvation history that takes place there.
For me, the smells of incense and the distinctive readings at the special Masses are the frosting. They’re the part of the ritual that makes it different than daily Mass, but not better.
It is the tears in my eyes when I am at Mass that remind me that my conversion is ongoing. There was a single point when I was baptized and confirmed, and when I became a Catholic in name. But that point is only on the calendar. My hard heart remembers how it was, and it so often tries to return to the state it was in. It is so tempting to listen to the world, and to ignore the value and the beauty of the gifts God has given us, whether they are children or talents. I still cry in Mass. I am still overcome by the thought of God’s mercy.
For me, the most special celebrations of the Eucharist have been in the ordinary and everyday: in the silence of the church at daily Mass, in the weekly ceremony of scurrying out the door to find the peace of Mass, in the people I see week after week. In fact, I was on the fence about this whole Catholic thing even during the Easter vigil when I joined. It wasn’t until nearly five years later, when I first looked in my daughter’s eyes, that I realized that one of the reasons I am Catholic is because I believe in her, in what she symbolizes, in what she makes possible in the world by her simple presence.
My journey to Jesus in the Eucharist started because of the devotion of special people in my life. It was fostered by a priest who could answer my endless questions with logic and humor. It has grown because of the wonderful people I know who are devout and who DO see the fireworks and for whom time DOES stop.
For me, the most special celebrations of the Eucharist are the ones where I get it, the ones where I walk down the aisle to communion and I feel my Father’s arms outstretched to me. They’re the ones where the feeling of coming home – again – is all around me and where I know that I have found love like no other, love that gives more than I can receive, endlessly, always, eternally.
There don’t have to be fireworks. Time doesn’t have to stop. The Eucharist is special without any effects or hype. You don’t have to even feel a longing. That’s the grace of the sacrament. The longing will grow. The love will be watered, like a seed. If I can come here, and stand here in front of you, without any hullabaloo about man’s need for ritual myth, then there don’t have to be fireworks or time-stopping. There just has to be a mustard seed inside of you that you let God tend and that you nurture by giving it the Miracle-Gro of the Eucharist.