Reinvigorating Devotion

What Is the Eucharistic Revival? A Movement for the Life of the World

As a recent college graduate, I had two options before me as I discerned my personal vocation: I could turn in on myself or turn out in love. The inward turn was where I perceived safety and control. The outward movement felt like it would result in loss of control and journeying into the doomed unknown. I paused, breathed deeply, and felt the beating of my own heart, yet I sensed that there was a more palpable presence in that tiny chapel. And in that Presence—Jesus’ Eucharistic Presence—I chose to journey into the unknown, trusting I would never be alone.

I wish I could say this pivotal moment of decision was one and done. Alas, not so! My decision to enter religious life was indeed foundational, but I still confront the choice to move inward or outward each and every day. This invitation to outward movement that characterizes the Christian Life isn’t neat and tidy, it has no ten-year plan, and there is only one guarantee if we choose life in Christ: the Cross and the Glory in our eternal home.

I believe the movements that stir in each of our hearts are truly the interior bedrock of the National Eucharistic Revival.

Woman praying in adoration chapel

What Makes the Eucharistic Revival Different?

As our vision statement testifies, we aspire to inspire “a movement of Catholics across the United States, healed, converted, formed, and unified by an encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist—and sent out on mission ‘for the life of the world.’”

We live in a world replete with movements: humanitarian, social, political, spiritual, ideological, existential... so, what sets the Eucharistic Revival apart? How is it different, and why should we allow ourselves to be caught up in it?

One word: Jesus.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not saying Jesus isn’t part of any of the other movements out there. Any movement that captures truth, goodness, or beauty has its origin in our God. As Christians, we have a 2,000-year tradition of recognizing that where there is truth, goodness, and beauty, there we find the logoi spermatikoi—the seeds of the Word, and the Word is Christ. We neither blindly support nor quickly condemn any movement, but rather discern where we find Jesus within it and how he may be inviting us to take part.

What distinguishes the Eucharistic Revival from all other movements is that it is totally fixed on Jesus.

Close-up of priest holding the host over the paten at Mass

The Life of the World

Jesus in the Eucharistic Sacrifice renewed at every Mass is truly the center of the Universe. This “source and summit” of the Christian life (Lumen Gentium, no. 11) is the origin of all truth, goodness, and beauty. This is what the Church teaches, and this is why the Eucharistic Revival is different: it is a movement wholly fixed upon the Presence of Jesus and his desire for communion with us forever.

Jesus, the Divine Mover, courses through human history not to condemn us but to save us through his total gift of self, his final sacrifice offered on Calvary and triumphant at the moment of Resurrection. In a real way his sacrifice is made present to us at every Mass. “… a vague memory of the Last Supper would do no good. We need to be present at that Supper, to be able to hear his voice, to eat his Body and to drink his Blood. We need Him” (Desiderio Desideravi, no. 11).

The saving graces of redemption won for us are represented at the altar every time a Catholic priest celebrates the Liturgy, and these graces are offered for us to receive into our own bodies in Eucharistic communion. Jesus’ Flesh is the Life of the World. This is why this movement is different: because it courses toward eternal life in a way no other movement ever could.

Priest handing a ciborium to a Eucharistic minister

A Truly Eucharistic Movement

In this movement, Jesus isn’t shackled to an altar, a tabernacle, or the pyx of a hospital chaplain. He goes out… he MOVES. He makes his Real Presence known. His Eucharistic Presence is pervasive because it can be given and received: he chooses to move among us and (how remarkable!) within us!

Jesus thirsts to be ever more alive in us, transforming and renewing us so that we can journey with him. As I open my heart to him, I come to know him as a friend: Jesus and I become mutually vulnerable. He gives himself and I can choose to respond by giving a little more of myself. That vulnerability leads to a deepening intimacy, a bond of love and communion that is life-changing and ecstatic—it moves us out of ourselves! It unites us not only to Jesus but also to all his other friends, so that we experience deeply what it means to be his Body, the Church. This outward movement is a truly Eucharistic Movement!

Every time we receive the Eucharist, saying “amen” with a humble, contrite heart, we proclaim the Death of the Lord and his Resurrection. Receiving communion is a profound act of faith. Jesus’ life is renewed and imbibed ever more intensely with us, flowing through our own veins, mingling with our own blood. Slowly, over time, we grow in the desire to be like Jesus—to offer our own flesh, in communion with him.

Parishioners praying inside a church at Mass

From this movement, we can be Jesus’ presence in all the other noble movements that surround us, Christifying them so that these other movements are caught up in the one movement, the only movement that will last until the end of time: Jesus’ own movement through human history to “draw all creation to Himself” (Jn 12:30–32) and to journey with us back to the Father, so that we may have that abundant life we have always thirsted for but could never attain on our own.

A dear theology professor from my graduate school years once said, “Good Friday is when the Homeland enters exile so that the exiles may enter the Homeland.” What happened on Good Friday is represented for us in the Eucharist. My friends, the Homeland is right here, right now!

So, what is the National Eucharistic Revival? It is a movement inviting us to rediscover Jesus’ desire to give us his flesh for the life of the world. It is sweet in its simplicity, intentional in its integrity, and heartfelt in its humility. The world needs Jesus, and Jesus has entrusted himself to the Catholic Church—in a way unlike any other—in the Holy Eucharist. Let’s allow his Real Presence to draw us into this movement, his movement, our movement, so that we, with Christ, can offer our own flesh in loving service and passionate self-sacrifice for the life of the world.