Faith and Family

The Church sometimes uses language that is hard for kids to understand. Quite frankly, sometimes the “church” language is even hard for adults to understand. I find that this is true with the phrase “source and summit.”

On the surface, it seems fairly clear that this could be referring to God. We come from God and God is our ultimate goal. But the phrase is meant to refer to the Holy Eucharist. In this second year of the National Eucharistic Revival, I think it would be beneficial to underscore how parents and grandparents, teachers and catechists, and all others who form our youth, can communicate these sublime truths to our kids in a way they, and we, can understand.


We believe as Catholics that the Holy Eucharist is the Real Presence of Jesus, body, blood, soul and divinity. In this way, since God is present in the Holy Eucharist then certainly the Holy Eucharist is our source. But there are other ways that the Eucharist is the source.

The Eucharist makes present Christ and his saving sacrifice on the cross. The sacrifice of Christ on the cross is the source of our salvation and the grace that flows from the once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus on the cross is made present and communicated in the Eucharist. This marvelous sacrament then also becomes a source of repentance and a source of our offering to God.

First, approaching the table of the Eucharist makes us reflect if we are ready to receive him who is Our Lord and Savior. We are reminded of this in the beginning of the Mass in the Penitential Act where we call to mind our sins and ask, “Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.” Certainly, any mortal sins would require a visit to the sacrament of Reconciliation before Mass, but we want to remove even venial sins from our encounter with Our Lord.

Second, we participate in the priest’s offering of the Holy Eucharist to the Father in the prayer at the end of the Eucharistic prayers. “Through him, with him and in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, almighty Father, for ever and ever.” Jesus Christ is the one who redeemed us, but also the one we are united to in Baptism and the one through whom we can offer everything we have and do back to the Father. In union with Christ, our little offerings, our prayers, our good actions, our little penances, our acts of mercy, our faithful fulfillment of our daily duties, our chores, all gain greater meaning.


Jesus Christ not only saved us but offers to us a new life with him and in him. The offering of our lives at Mass prepares us to live beyond the Mass a life of self-giving and self-surrender. Jesus promises a new life in paradise for those who are faithful to his commandments. He summarized all the commandments into two great commandments, the greatest, to love God above all things, “with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” and to love our neighbor as ourselves. (Matthew 22:37-39)

In living out these two commandments with the help of the Holy Spirit we are directed back to Christ, who is the fulfillment and the model of our Christian life. We hear this over and over again in the Holy Scriptures, that God helps us to achieve the purpose of our lives and to reach up to him and his holiness. We hear:

  • “Do not fear: I am with you; do not be anxious: I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
  • “They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar on eagles’ wings; They will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
  • “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

God, therefore, is acting in us, helping us, guiding us, leading us to reach the beautiful end for which he created us. God’s love for us is so great, his desire that we come to him is so strong that not only did he make it possible for us to live with him in paradise through the sacrificial love of Christ, but he also provided the way to get there, and Jesus Christ, present in the Holy Eucharist is “the way and the truth and the life.” (John 14:6) We listen to the words of Pope St. John Paul II who inspires us and guides us:

  • “Jesus is not an idea, a sentiment, a memory! Jesus is a ‘person,’ always alive and present with us! Love Jesus present in the Eucharist. He is present in a sacrificial way in Holy Mass, which renews the Sacrifice of the Cross. To go to Mass means going to Calvary to meet him, our Redeemer. He comes to us in Holy Communion and remains present in the tabernacles of our churches, for he is our friend.”
  • “The Eucharist is the secret of my day. It gives strength and meaning to all my activities of service to the Church and to the whole world … Let Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament speak to your hearts. It is he who is the true answer of life that you seek. He stays here with us: he is God with us. Seek him without tiring, welcome him without reserve, love him without interruption: today, tomorrow, forever!”