By Phillip Kosloski – Aleteia –
Writing in the 4th century, St. Cyril of Alexandria recognized the many struggles Christians faced on a daily basis and sought to find a remedy for their situation. He believed that with the right “formula” they could overcome their faults and rise to the heights of perfection.
What he found may seem overly simple, but the truth behind it is profound. Here is what he wrote.
If the poison of pride is swelling up in you, turn to the Eucharist; and that Bread, Which is your God humbling and disguising Himself, will teach you humility.
If the fever of selfish greed rages in you, feed on this Bread; and you will learn generosity.
If the cold wind of coveting withers you, hasten to the Bread of Angels; and charity will come to blossom in your heart.
If you feel the itch of intemperance, nourish yourself with the Flesh and Blood of Christ, Who practiced heroic self-control during His earthly life; and you will become temperate.
If you are lazy and sluggish about spiritual things, strengthen yourself with this heavenly Food; and you will grow fervent.
Lastly, if you feel scorched by the fever of impurity, go to the banquet of the Angels; and the spotless Flesh of Christ will make you pure and chaste.
St. Cyril firmly believed that a proper reception of the Holy Eucharist can make up for what is lacking in the soul of a Christian.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church echoes the words of St. Cyril and reinforces the belief that when the Eucharist is received with great faith and love, our faults are consumed by the glory of God.
The principal fruit of receiving the Eucharist in Holy Communion is an intimate union with Christ Jesus … Communion with the flesh of the risen Christ, a flesh “given life and giving life through the Holy Spirit,” preserves, increases, and renews the life of grace received at Baptism. This growth in Christian life needs the nourishment of Eucharistic Communion … As bodily nourishment restores lost strength, so the Eucharist strengthens our charity, which tends to be weakened in daily life. (CCC 1391-1394)
The Catechism even goes on to say that “By the same charity that it enkindles in us, the Eucharist preserves us from future mortal sins” (CCC 1395). In other words, when we receive the Eucharist worthily after confessing our mortal sins in the sacrament of reconciliation, we are strengthened to fight against even the strongest temptations in life.
It should be kept in mind that all of these spiritual fruits hing on a belief in Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist and requires the participation in confession beforehand when we are conscious of grave sin. With those two primary conditions met, the more faith and trust in God we bring with us to Mass, the more strengthened we will be when returning to the world.
Jesus has already given us the remedy for our faults. We simply need to accept it and receive it with a contrite heart.