Fr. Stephen Van Lal Than

A member of the Missionaries of Charity interacts with the children of a kindergarten inside the Nirmala Shishu Bhavan, a home for orphaned, destitute and abandoned children in Kolkata, India, Aug. 30, 2016. The Indian government has restored the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act registration of the Missionaries of Charity, clearing the decks for the globally renowned charity to receive and utilize foreign funds. (CNS photo/Rupak De Chowdhuri, Reuters)

How are we being transformed by the Eucharist?


Our Acts 2:42 Small Groups are discussing the theme of transformation and divinization this month. In Christian theology, divinization or theosis is the work of the Holy Spirit in one accepting God’s gift of divine life and cooperating with it. We are meant to be changed in our encounters with God. St. Irenaeus, from the second century, stated “The glory of God is a human being fully alive” and this happens only through divine grace.

In Bishop Medley’s video message to these groups, he challenges us to see the Eucharist as a gift we receive from the Lord and then to go out and live our lives as a gift to others. God’s action in our lives is meant to lead to action coming forth from our lives to benefit others. The Eucharist, and our regular encounters with Jesus, are meant to change us.

I attended a parish mission led by Fr. Albert Haase, a Franciscan priest, author, and spiritual giant. He focuses on spiritual development of Catholics and is incredibly basic and profound. I recommend any of his books for someone looking to grow in their spiritual life. He was talking about the gift of the Exposition of the Holy Eucharist in helping the faithful experience the loving presence of our Savior. And then he made a statement that challenged me in a good way to allow these precious encounters to change the person I am. He said, “What good is Eucharistic Adoration, if it does not lead to Eucharistic Action.”

Sometimes as Catholic we check the boxes of what we believe good Catholics ought to do:

– Attend Mass

– Donate money

– Pray the rosary

– Fast during Lent

– Pray at meals

But do we have a box that says “be like Jesus?” After all, he is our Master, we are apprentices, students, those seeking to become like the Master. To grow into a mature Christian adult is to be on a journey of transformation for our entire lives. One that is rooted in a daily personal relationship with the Trinity; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in communion with one another and each disciple of Jesus. Mature faith is one that expresses dependance and trust in God’s divine will, even when life gets messy. Our witness, our joy, our outward disposition to the world either leads people to see the value of following Jesus, or something less life changing.

Our transformation is God’s plan for transforming the world. We are called to be missionary disciples of Jesus, making present the kingdom of God in all we do. It may seem like a pipe dream, but it is God’s dream for us. Be open to God’s movement and power and watch how the Holy Spirit works. Look for a Bible study, retreat or Acts 2:42 Small Group near you this New Year and be amazed by how God works.

Happy New Year!


Dr. Jeff Andrini is the director of the Office of Evangelization and Discipleship, and can be reached at [email protected].

Originally printed in the January 2024 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.

Current Issue

Publisher |  Bishop William F. Medley
Editor |  Elizabeth Wong Barnstead
Contributors |  Riley Greif, Rachel Hall
Layout |  Rachel Hall
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