When Elizabeth Seton was in Italy after her husband's death, she was introduced to the Catholic faith by close friends. Already a believing Christian, she was drawn to the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. She was deeply touched by the fact that Catholics could come to Jesus for comfort, strength and hope. She writes after attending Mass:
"All around me was the most profound silence and adoration; almost everyone was kneeling in adoration. Involuntarily I moved...and knelt before the altar, thinking within myself, with the tears streaming down my cheeks, of the words of St. Paul: 'not discerning the body of the Lord.' Then the thought came to my mind: If the Lord's body and blood were not there, really present, how could the Apostle have said: 'He who eats and drinks without recognizing the body eats and drinks judgment on himself' (1 Cor. 11:29)?"
Though not yet educated in the Catholic faith, she had understood one of its greatest mysteries and longed to share in the joy of receiving Christ. Shouldn't we all feel as she did? Shouldn't we have that same awe and longing? Yet we who have Jesus waiting for us each day to come to Him in the Blessed Sacrament often take for granted His presence there. Later she wrote:
"My dear sister, (Rebecca) how would we be if we believed what these dear souls believe! In their faith they possess God in the Sacrament: they find Him in their churches; they see Him come to them when they are sick."
Elizabeth Seton had a faith we all should envy! May we each come to discern and truly love the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist the way that she did.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, pray for us!