Jesus’ mission is to take us to the Father. He did this by dying for us, taking our sins upon himself as he suffered the torture of the Cross. But he also did this by living for us. Through his incarnated life as a man on Earth, he guided us to our Heavenly Father. And because we have so many misconceptions about the Father’s treatment of us, Jesus demonstrated what the Father is like by being an example of his true nature. And he didn’t stop there. Today he connects us to the Father every time we open ourselves to the gift of Holy Communion.
Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed. (John 15:19-20 NIV)
Jesus has been revealing the Father to you all of your life, and he will continue to do so. I think he might even do this for all of eternity, for we will never fully know God, since he is more, always more, infinitely more than any human could ever understand. I think it’s likely that the Saints in heaven are still learning. That would be one of the adventuresome joys of heaven!
So let’s discover what Jesus wants to reveal to us today. Let’s investigate how the Holy Eucharist, which is Jesus himself, reveals the Father to us.
Who do you pray to most often? Father, Son, or Holy Spirit?
For most of us, it’s the Son because Jesus himself told us to ask in his name: “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:13-14 NIV)
Do you realize that every time you entrust your needs and prayer requests and intercessory intentions to Jesus, it is ultimately the Father whom you’re addressing? Jesus makes this clear: “I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.” (John 16:26-27 NIV)
Jesus is our Mediator while we are still on Earth. Hebrews 5:2 reminds us that the high priests of the Old Covenant were appointed to represent the people in matters related to God. Jesus is the fulfillment of that priesthood, becoming the “one mediator between God and humankind” (see 1 Timothy 2:5) so that those who follow him can be adopted by the Father and receive his eternal inheritance (see Hebrews 9:15).
Prayer is meant to be a spiritual communion with God in his fullness. But on our own we can never achieve this. So the Father sent the Son to become our Mediator. Jesus hears our prayers, accepts them, and carries them to the Father. He adds his own love and redemptive power to what our hearts desire (if they are holy desires). And because we desire to be heard by God and also to hear God’s responses, Jesus speaks the Father’s words to us through the Holy Spirit.
Jesus explained in John 14:16-17 that the Father would give us a Helper (an Advocate) who will be with us forever. Jesus called this aide the Spirit of Truth. It’s the Holy Spirit emanating from the love of the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit is, in effect, the love-energy (i.e., the power) of God responding to our prayers. The Spirit of God delivers to us Abba-Father’s answers to our prayers.
And when we don’t know what to pray because of the intensity of the problem or because we don’t have enough information upon which to base our prayers — what then?
…the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27 NIV)
So you see, the Holy Spirit goes the extra mile for us. Not only does he deliver Father God’s words to us and helps us to interpret those words, but he delivers to the Father the wordless yearnings that dwell deep in our hearts. This works most effectively when we have an active, personal relationship with the Spirit. The indwelling, fully active presence of the Spirit within us resonates with all that is holy and beautiful in our wordless longings. Have you ever heard the hum that comes from two objects resonating at just the right frequency?
To understand this better, consider how the strings of a piano resonate to produce beautiful music. Scientifically speaking, every object has a natural frequency at which it is able to vibrate. When the piano player hits a key, the key hits a string. If the piano has been properly tuned, hitting the string causes a vibration that matches this particular string’s natural frequency. The string begins to vibrate with ever increasing amplitude (it resonates), creating a sound that we can hear.
Similarly, when the Holy Spirit prays within us, if we have been properly tuned, “the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans”. The Holy Spirit resonates with what is holy in us (what is “in accordance with the will of God”). This produces a beautiful sound that the Father hears and responds to.
Therefore, a good way to start a prayer request can be: “Abba-Father, in the name of Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit, I humbly ask for….”
A most intimate way to pray
One of the most intimate ways to pray is what we in the Catholic Church call Eucharistic Adoration or Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. During this form of prayer, we’re in the presence of Christ as truly as if we had been following him around Galilee two millennia ago. He is fully present in the bread that, through the miracle of “transubstantiation”, now has only the form of bread because the substance is Jesus himself.
My first encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist happened when I attended my first Catholic Mass in 1977. An old friend who had become a priest visited Ralph and me for a week’s vacation. During his stay, Father Ed wanted me to take him to a Catholic Church so he could celebrate the Holy Mass. I thought it would be fun to watch him do his priestly thing. He, however, knowing that I was a Protestant, had to explain why I should stay in the pew and not get in line to receive Communion.
“But if you came to my church,” I said, “we wouldn’t deny our communion to you.”
“Mass is not a communion service,” he said. “The bread and wine of your services are just symbols. Your communion service is a remembering of the Last Supper of Jesus. The Catholic Mass is that and so much more!” Then he explained the miracle of transubstantiation.
Jesus said, “…For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. (John 6:55-57 NIV)
During Mass, I listened attentively to the consecration prayers that Father Ed spoke. Wow! Something much more intense than my Protestant services was happening here. When Father Ed held up in adoration the bread-now-flesh of Christ and said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” my heart reached out to Jesus with an insatiable yearning to become united to him. This was prayer without words. An exchange of love beyond description. I felt suddenly alive in faith.
Until that moment, I had lost all interest in Christ due to my involvement in the occult for the past seven years. Thanks be to God, my whole life began to change when I encountered Jesus in the Eucharist.
Participating in the Holy Mass should always result in some kind of change within us. Who can truly encounter Jesus and not be transformed by it?
Every time we see the Eucharist lifted up above the altar during the consecration prayers, if we’re paying attention and fully participating, we are worshiping Jesus in an exchange of intimate, Divine Love. This is a powerful moment of Eucharistic Adoration. What do you do with it?
There’s an old, mostly forgotten tradition that needs to be brought back by everyone at Mass. When the newly transubstantiated Host is held up by the priest and he proclaims, “Behold the Lamb of God”, we should quietly but enthusiastically adore Jesus with words of Saint Thomas: “My Lord and My God!” (John 20:28). Or remind yourself: “This is my precious Lord and God!” And then adore Jesus: “Thank You for Your sacrifice, which I cannot even comprehend.”
Then the liturgy progresses and soon Jesus in the Eucharist is lifted up before us and to us alone. We’re given a one-on-one encounter with God. “The Body of Christ,” announces the minister of the Eucharist.
We agree, saying, “Yes, I do believe!” (in the word “amen”) and we consume the Body of Jesus into our own body and his Blood mingles with our own blood. Now our entire self is involved in this prayer of divine union.
If we’re careful to stay in that spirit of prayer instead of thinking about what we’ll do after Mass, and if we don’t fall prey to some other distraction, we enter into what I call “the Golden Moment”. We consume Jesus, and God’s grace fully consumes us. Our earthly life is more Heaven-connected than at any other time.
What do you want to say to Abba-Father during the Golden Moment? Can you hear him ministering to you? Can you feel his immersive embrace?
Make the divine encounter last longer
Saint Gabriel Brochero (1593-1649) said,
The Consecrated Host is a miracle of love; it is a prodigy of love; it is a wonder of love; it is a complement of love; and it is the most finished proof of His infinite love towards me, towards you, towards mankind.
This Golden Moment is an encounter with God that we can experience every day if we have access to daily Mass. But the time of adoration during Mass is usually all too brief. Is it enough?
No, not if we want more from the Father than what we get from going to Holy Mass. There is always more of God to experience. There is always more that the Father wants to give to us, more that the Holy Spirit wants to say to us, and more need for Jesus to serve as our Mediator. There’s more love, more comfort, more help available.
So the Church gives us Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament as an opportunity to make the divine encounter last longer. What a powerful moment it is when the Body of Christ is given to us for our adoration! We watch as Jesus, in the form of bread (the “host”), is reverently placed on the altar, usually in a vessel that’s shaped like a cross. This vessel is called a monstrance, from the Latin word meaning “to show”.
This gift makes God available to all who avail themselves of it. He provides it for no other purpose than love, worship, and communication.
When is your next opportunity? Prepare for it now by reading the following meditation.
The chapel is quiet. The smell of incense awakens your senses. On the altar, Jesus the Eucharist is waiting for you. You find a place to kneel in reverence.
This is a very special time. As you gaze at the Host, knowing that this is Jesus in the flesh, look into the Host. Look through the Host and let your heart and mind travel beyond the Host. The Father is there! He’s waiting for you with a big smile on his face. His arms are reaching out to you to immerse you in is safe, protective embrace.
Jesus is once again leading you to the Father. This is his purpose! He has no other mission.
As you gaze into and beyond the Host, you are entering into another dimension of space and time. Picture yourself getting up and walking to the monstrance, still focused on Jesus in the Host. On the other side of Jesus, beyond the monstrance, is Heaven! Imagine that the Host is a portal (if you’ve seen any sci-fi movies about portals to other dimensions, use that image). Next imagine yourself jumping through it.
You’ve landed in the Father’s Divine Lap. His strong, protective arms hold you securely and warmly. He is greeting you with the biggest, friendliest, most approving smile you have ever seen!
For this is what the Lord says: “As a mother caresses her baby, so I will comfort you: I will carry you at my breast and rock you in my lap” (Adapted by St. Therese of Lisieux from Isaiah 66:12-13)
If you try to become aware of this communion with the Father but it eludes you, ask Jesus in the Host to breathe on you the gifts of his Holy Spirit. Picture it: Imagine Jesus standing in front of the altar. He’s looking at you with eyes full of tender compassion. He is smiling at you! He is delighted that you are spending this time with him.
Realize that you are also seeing the Father’s tender compassion. In Jesus, you are seeing the Father’s smile. The Father is very delighted with you.
Jesus speaks to you with a gentle but firm voice: “Receive My Holy Spirit.” He raises his right hand toward you and gives you a blessing. This is the Father blessing you!
Do you desire to receive this gift? More than ever before? Abba-Father is giving you the desire of your heart.
“What father would give his child a stone when asked for bread? Your Father in heaven cares much more than any human parent and will give the Holy Spirit to all those who ask for it.” (See Luke 11:11-13.)
The Holy Spirit will make it easier for you to experience communion with the Father. The Holy Spirit will carry his voice to the ears of your heart.
On the other side of the Host is the Father’s joy. The Father’s healing. The Father’s love for you, which is full and complete. Spend time lingering with him. Enjoy being doted on by the Divine Daddy who created you.
The Eucharist at Mass enhanced
After we’ve spent time adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and encountering Abba-Father there, celebrating Mass can become a much more powerful experience of the Father’s nearness.
Notice that all of the prayers led by the presider during Mass are directed to the Father. Participate in the Mass with this in mind. Remain aware of how you and the priest are speaking to the Father.
Many of the prayers of the Eucharistic Liturgy are about Jesus, not to Jesus. The prayers are directed to the Father. Have you noticed that? In fact, the entire celebration of Mass is an intimate dialog with the Father:
- The first hymn, which unites the children of God in song, begins the conversation. Do you sing? It doesn’t matter to Abba-Father what your voice sounds like. Remember, he gave you that voice and meant for it to sing praises that glorify him in an exchange of love. If you’re off-key, so what? The Father is delighted that you’ve opened your mouth.
- In the Penitential Rite, we seek the Father’s forgiveness for our sins — and he readily gives it. Have you prepared for this by bringing to mind your sins? The opportunity for this is usually so short during Mass that it’s important we think about it before arriving at church.
- Abba-Father speaks to us through the Holy Spirit as we listen to the scriptures and the homily. But what if the homily is boring or off-topic? Abba-Father wants to give you the best possible experience of his active involvement in your worship, so expect the Holy Spirit to deliver a message that comes directly from the heart of the Father — even if it is spoken only within your heart.
- During the intercessory prayers, we give to our Father the needs of others. None of the prayers about us (the people) are directed to Jesus. They all go directly to the Father through Jesus.
- The miracle of the Eucharist occurs because of the Father. It is the Father who gives Jesus to us by transforming bread and wine into the Body and Blood of our Savior. It happens when the priest asks the Holy Spirit to come down upon the bread and wine (during the prayers of consecration):
Therefore, O Lord, we humbly implore You by the same Spirit: Graciously make holy these gifts we have brought to You for consecration, that they may become the Body and Blood of Your Son our Lord Jesus Christ, at whose command we celebrate these mysteries. (from Eucharistic Prayers III)
By the time we say the “amen” that acknowledges our belief in the truth of this, we have been transformed. By the grace of God, we have been purified. Now, in receiving and consuming Jesus in the Eucharist, we are temporarily detached from this world. We are fully united to God, however briefly it might last.
This is not a moment to be squandered. Enjoy it! Be conscious of the presence of your Divine Daddy. He is very delighted that you are here and that you have chosen to worship him and enter into the mysteries of Christ’s purifying, eucharistic gift.
While you are still in the state of grace, having repented of your sins and being made worthy by Jesus Christ (having prayed sincerely, “Lord, I am not worthy … but say the word and my soul shall be healed”), and having received Jesus in the Holy Communion of the Blessed Sacrament, make full use of this special moment. You are pure! Give Abba-Father your love with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind (as Jesus tells us to do in Luke 10:27). What a glorious moment this is! He is loving you with all of his heart, with all of his soul, and with all of his mind.
Over the years, I’ve discovered that during Mass is when I’m able to hear God most clearly. I’ve learned to take seriously the ideas and inspirations that come after the prayers of consecration have begun, for they have usually proven true over the test of time.
When I’m feeling depressed or troubled, I’m most eager to get to Mass, because I know that it will give me the comforting embrace of Abba-Father. When someone rejects me or disbelieves me or falsely accuses me of wrong thinking, it is in the Eucharist Liturgy where I most easily find my Divine Daddy’s encouragement and affirmation.
If you are unable to receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, run — don’t walk — to the nearest priest to remedy whatever has been holding you back. For example, any unrepented sin makes receiving Jesus in the Eucharist a blasphemy against his holiness. So go to the Sacrament of Confession as soon as possible.
[If your church is still closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Father will give you extra blessings for enduring this forced separation from the Eucharist. Perhaps you can find a church that allows a few people inside to pray. Even though the tabernacle holding the Host is closed, Jesus is there and he’s ready to take you on a journey to the Father’s heart. Just go and pray and use your imagination with the anointing of the Holy Spirit.]
Another obstacle is getting remarried without first obtaining an annulment of the previous marriage. It means you might be living in the terrible sin of adultery, so apply for the annulment despite all reasons to avoid it. An annulment will prove (to yourself as well as to everyone else in the Church) that your previous marriage was never valid. God had not put you two together. God did not recognize that marriage, so you are free to be married to someone else. (And by the way, children brought into this world through a non-valid marriage are nonetheless considered valid by God. They are true children.)
Just don’t ever let anything stop you from receiving all that the Father wants to give to you. Don’t let the Devil encourage sin. Don’t be held back by anyone’s un-divine thinking. If you are unable to receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, run — don’t walk — to the nearest priest to remedy whatever has been holding you back.
Pray the “Our Father” for deeper communion
Let’s end this chapter with one more meditation. Previously in this book, we visited the “Our Father” prayer in a new and deeper way. Since this prayer is an important part of Mass, let’s do it again with yet another adaptation. Be sure to add your own words to it. At Mass we recite this prayer too quickly. If you do this exercise often, the prayer will become a more meaningful part of your encounter with Abba-Father.
OUR FATHER – Daddy, Father of us all, You love all of your children, even those who don’t know You.
WHO IS IN HEAVEN – You are Lord over all. Eventually, we will all come face-to-face with Your infinite love and realize how poorly we have loved others like You have loved us. Help me to discover Your love here on earth.
HOLY IS YOUR NAME – Help me to revere You and to recognize Your great mercy. Likewise, I ask You to help those who, because of their involvement in evil, are most in need of Your mercy. Help us all to turn away from everything that is not of You.
YOUR KINGDOM COME – Whatever is fighting against Your kingdom, our Savior Jesus has already defeated it through the Cross and his Resurrection. May his Precious Blood cover every evil-doer for whom I am praying: Break Satan’s strongholds and heal their minds and souls.
YOUR WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN – Help me to know Your will, clearly and accurately, and fill me with a zeal for doing what You ask of me. Give me special graces to hear and grasp Your will more profoundly.
GIVE US TODAY OUR DAILY BREAD – You know what I need for recognizing Your Divine Will and what I need to enter into it and remain in it. Help me to receive everything You want to give me. Feed me Your Love.
FORGIVE US OUR SINS – Forgive me for succumbing to temptation and for allowing myself to be confused about what is right and what is wrong. Forgive me for contributing to evil in the world by my unloving actions and by my lack of loving actions.
AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO SIN AGAINST US – Lord, I do forgive. I ask You, merciful Father, to forgive those who have inflicted evil upon me. Break the chains of hatred and violence that hold so many people in Satan’s grip.
DO NOT SUBJECT US TO THE FINAL TEST – Do not let anyone for whom I’m praying die before they have recognized and accepted Your love. Help us all to become like Jesus, who is the human embodiment of Perfect Love.
DELIVER US FROM EVIL – Deliver me and the whole world from all tactics of the devil. Rescue evil-doers from living as Satan’s instruments; set them free to enjoy Jesus Christ here on earth and then eternally in heaven.
NEXT: Please post (in the comments below) a question or share how this chapter ministered to you. Let's connect!
© 2020 by Terry A. Modica
Please do not print or copy this page, but definitely do share the link to this page. Subscribe to this site or the newsletter Insider's View to be notified when this is published as an actual book. (For special circumstances, write to the author.)