CHRIST, THE TRUE NOURISHMENT OF OUR CHARITY
The Mass nourishes our spiritual life. The fruitful reception of communion progressively assimilates us into the intimacy of Jesus. As with bodily nourishment, in spiritual nourishment there is also a process of assimilation. But in this case it is not we who assimilate what we eat, but Christ who assimilates us into his body when we receive it. In this way, the Eucharist builds up the Church by uniting us more intimately with God and with each other.
There is a whole analogy between bodily and spiritual nourishment that teaches us about the effects of Holy Communion on our soul. The reception of Jesus in the Eucharist sustains our life as children of God. So much so that, if we do not receive him, we lose that life, just as we would die of hunger if for too long a time we do not eat. Moreover, Eucharistic food repairs our strength for spiritual combat. It possesses the power to forgive venial sins if our hearts are properly contrite. It also matures us as children of God to the point of being able to communicate life, that is, it enables us to love God and our brothers and sisters with sacrificial love. Finally, spiritual nourishment is a source of consolation and joy.
This intimate union with Christ makes us live more in tune with his heart; that is, it makes us share more and more his thoughts, his purposes, his affections and his secret intimacy. It is precisely the degree of this union that determines our active participation in his sacrifice. Participating actively in the Mass is not about singing or reading; it is about uniting the sacrifice of our own life more intimately with that of the Lord. In this way, the Eucharist is the sacrament of charity par excellence. To its fruitful celebration all the other sacraments are oriented, just as all the virtues are ordered to the virtue of charity, without which we are nothing for eternal life.