• Sarah Raad


“I am the Bread of Life…” (John 6:44).

Disputation of the Holy Sacrament (Raphael)

The other day, my family and I had spent the entire day out of the house having a really fun day in the city out and about. It happened to be a Saturday that day, and at about four-thirty in the afternoon, I turned to my husband and said, “Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could get to Mass tonight on our way home?”

Now, we were far away from home and the chances of making it to Mass that day were very slim because we were using public transport and had very limited means to rushing ourselves to get to Mass because we had to rely on a set timetable with transport… And so, I “googled” churches in the area where we had parked out car that day, and – by a small sort of miracle – we managed to get to a new Church and a vigil Mass that evening at 6 o’clock with only moments to spare before Mass commenced!

And as I sat inside that Church, with my husband and my children that day, it occurred to me that we are truly blessed. You see, after a beautiful family day, we could come to Our Blessed Lord and adore Him in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass – and He allowed that to happen by literally clearing the way for us to attend.

And I thought about that day in stark contrast between all the days of the last couple of years when the Churches were so often closed due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. And I cannot help but give thanks – for now I can receive the Bread of Life any time I like – and I am so terribly grateful for that!

“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the Bread of Life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.’” (John 6:44-51).

And I have been reflecting on all the places that Christians have gone to receive the Blessed Sacrament amid all sorts of persecutions… For souls have received Our Blessed Lord in cathedrals and churches, in dungeons and prisons, in caves and forests and parks – even “on the Road to Emmaus” (Luke 24:13-35)…

In 1981, a Latvian Bishop who was called Boleslas Sloskans was arrested and gaoled in seventeen Soviet prisons for over thirty years throughout Siberia. During his imprisonment, Bishop Sloskans used a glass for a chalice, the lid of a tin can for a paten, some of the bread he was given by his gaolers as food, and wine that he made by soaking raisins in water. He secretly celebrated Mass each night and secretly distributed the “Bread of Life” to other Catholic prisoners. He wrapped the left-over Hosts in a cloth buried under a tree so that other prisoners could receive the Blessed Sacrament during their day…

And he later said that he survived his exile – because he ate of the Bread of Life and that gave him strength.

And so it is that I give thanks for God, for feeding me of the Bread of Life. Because He promised me that if I eat of this Bread, I will “live forever…”

And how could I ever thank God for that!

For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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