Sunday, October 16, 2011

Incomplete Without the Eucharist

You know when you find something and you can’t imagine your life with out it? For some of you that one thing is a relationship with a good friend, pet or a cell phone. This is a story about that; the one thing in my life that I can’t live without.

I grew up in Marietta, GA and my family was not particularly religious. We went to a Methodist church on Christmas and Easter and on a handfull of Sundays. At that point the only thing that would make me appear to be a Christian was the fact that I celebrated Christmas, or rather I celebrated receiving video games and wool socks.

I had fiends who were involved with Young Life and they invited me to different events with them. I had other friends who went to the youth group at a Baptist church and I would go with them to events. My sister, who was in college at the time, invited me to go to the church she was attending, North Point Community Church on Sunday mornings when she was in town. Looking back at that point in my life, I can see that God was quietly saying, “Follow Me” through all my friends and my sister.

There was a point at the end of my sophomore and into my junior year of high school that I had begun to feel restless. It was the kind of restlessness that I could feel deep in my bones. Kind of like being stuck in between two big guys on a five-hour flight – not fun. I couldn’t tell why I felt that way but I just knew that I did.

There was this girl Katie who sat next to me in homeroom. We became good friends because we had a lot of the same classes and we were forced to sit next to each other because her last name came after mine in the alphabet. She would occasionally invite me to come to XLT with her and I would politely turn her down or say, “Yeah … that would be fun” but actually have no intention of going. After a few weeks of her persistently asking, I finally committed and told her that I would go.

At first it was nothing that I hadn’t seen before – praise and worship and a message. But, then something happened that I had never experienced. It made me uncomfortable because I didn’t understand it. It was the Eucharist. I sat there watching the whole auditorium kneeling before the Eucharist in adoration. My initial thought was, “I don’t know what that is, so I will sit here pray quietly to myself.” I didn’t want to kneel. The floor was hard. Leaving XLT, I had the feeling of being out of my comfort zone.

I went with Katie the next week … and then again the following week. That piece of bread had the attention of a whole auditorium of people, it had to mean something. Unknowingly I followed her to a moment with Christ that would change my life. Before Adoration, the priest described what we were about to encounter. While I was sitting there, for the first time in my life I allowed myself to be found by God. And for the first time told him where I was. I heard him speaking in His quiet voice, “Stop looking. You are home”.

This was that moment, when I found something that my life would be incomplete without. I can no longer see how a life can exist with out the Eucharist being at the center of it. Having a spiritual life with out the Eucharist at the center is like eating cookies without milk or trying to drive a car with no gas in the tank. It doesn’t work.

When I was a senior in high school in 2003, I was received into the Catholic Church on Easter because of the Eucharist. There is not a day that goes by without the Eucharist being on my mind, challenging me and slowly molding me into the person I was created to be. The Eucharist is the one thing I am incomplete with out.

Bradley Opitz - Life Teen