I still remember an evening meditation on Dutch television during which the speaker poured water on hard, dried-out soil, saying, "Look, the soil cannot receive the water and no seed can grow." Then, after crumbling the soil with his hands and pouring water on it again, he said, "It is only the broken soil that can receive the water and make the seed grow and bear fruit."

After seeing this I understood what it meant to begin the Eucharist with a contrite heart, a heart broken open, to receive the water of God's grace.

With Burning Hearts: A Meditation on the Eucharistic Life
Henri Nouwen

Reprinted from Witness Ministries, a lay apostolate dedicated to renewing appreciation for the Mass as the greatest gift which God has given to His beloved spouse, the Church. Their mission is to show how, in the Eucharistic Liturgy, Jesus renews and transforms us–and the world–in His life and love