"I have come to think of the communion line as a migration. Christ is present, but we must seek him. We leave our pews, willing to be led to wherever he is. And when believers find it hard to put one foot in front of the other, we can take confidence in an extraordinary consolation. He has already come to us.

"And . . . Christ is about to send us. The slow migration to the altar rail will propel us along its continuing trajectory — to serve in the world.

"Once my husband and I had just gotten our small children ready and dressed for church — as any parent can attest, no small feat. We were buckling them into their car seats when my husband received an emergency phone call. The caller, a victim of domestic violence, wanted out — now. Could my husband come pick her up? Although we would not make it to the early mass, I remembered thinking, we were already being sent.

"Christ will take our hunger — and sharpen it. He will ignite our thirst — and leave us more parched than when we came.

"We give him our longing to be filled with his presence, to be so close to him that he becomes part of our very bodies. To paraphrase Saint Paul, to no longer live in him but he in us (Gal 2:20). We turn over our personal inadequacies and our problems. Our hope of providing better lives for our families. Inevitably concerns for my children surface, and I hand them over. I admit the anxieties that gnaw at my soul, and I shake loose the spiritual stupor that numbs my mind and heart. I rise to move forward, undertaking a journey, carrying all that I own.

"Shuffling toward grace in the communion line, we bring with us not the pride of possession but the meagerness of what little we have. Jesus works miracles with even the most limited of offerings. Perhaps after all is said and done, hunger and thirst are our most important gifts. In the communion line, we give them to the Lord. He will use them to feed the world.

"Standing in line, I acknowledge my need to be fed. I am hungry, Lord, feed me. I thirst; give me to drink. I came not because I am satisfied, but because I want to be made full. I came to find you. Here is my brokenness, my sin, my failure. Here, also, is my desire.

"Fed by boundless love, I trust that there will be enough grace to carry us through.

"We go back to our seats, but even if we retrace our steps, we return home by a different route. We have joined the great march, traveling toward the day when all hunger and thirst will be sated at the Bridegroom's feast."