Summary: The Eucharist is a cause of holiness in us when worthily received because it helps prevent the relapse of sin by the strength of this soul food.


I read an article from a university in Santa Barbara, California, about Catholic Mass and its healing implications for the addicted person whereby the social network and group norms that prescribe patterns of perceiving, thinking, feeling, and behaving that promoted drug use are now replaced by the Catholic Mass and receiving the Eucharist in the state of grace.

Addicts develop a deep emotional attachment and assign a meaning that is very personal to their substance abuse, but, in recovery, the time and space of Mass can alter this attachment to become a source of transformation.

1. One person in the study said, “The Eucharist at the altar is a gift from God who loves us so much....he’s not going to leave us alone….

As the person eats God, he or she experiences becoming part of Him as well.”

2. Another person in the study realized that his being there was a “giving” because the offering of his personal intentions at Mass with Jesus to the Father was a way he could give to others.

He and others also reported feeling better after receiving communion, tearing up with emotion, renewing their faith, and getting spiritual strength. “God knows I’m here again” one of them said.

Many described wanting to go and worship at Mass and looking forward to it, rather than going from a sense of obligation.

It’s like the difference between the Israelites who eat manna in the desert and yet died nonetheless vs. Jesus’ sweet promise that those who eat the Eucharist will live forever, which is echoed in the Responsorial Psalm, “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.”

3. All of the participants in the study said that spirituality is big part of their recovery. The bread and wine, which had in its physical form symbolizing our human selves and self-giving is altered in substance to become Christ Himself. They are no longer two things but God. It’s like what the Catechism teaches in no. 1331: In Holy Communion, we unite ourselves to Christ, who makes us sharers in his Body and Blood to form a single body.

We are united to God in Jesus Christ and are therefore never alone with the living bread.

4. As one person noted, Catholics come to the altar from our need, our brokenness. As Holy Communion is received, the communicant receives creative healing energy to calm, and we begin to listen deep within. Jesus becomes part of our bodies.

In the Eucharist we become one with Christ...and we go out changed, holier than when we came in because of uniting to Christ in the sacrament.”

5. Others mentioned surrendering at the altar and offering oneself to the Lord simultaneously as the priest was speaking Jesus words.

The Eucharist is a cause of holiness in us when worthily received because it helps prevent the relapse of sin by the strength of this soul food.

It’s the resentments and anger that often causes relapses.

E.g. St. Paul cautions the Ephesians in our Second Reading that if they give up invoking and relying on the Holy Spirit they will become bitter. Paul is saying to forgive, and be kind and compassionate and remove all bitterness and anger and be like Christ who died for us as a sacrificial offering.

As Nicholas Samaras said as part of a Benediction: [Bless those] who wake to light, and the know the depths of sacrament. Amen.

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