Image by Zachary Lichter

By Zachary Lichter

Catholic evangelist Tanner Kalina came to speak to students at the Catholic University of America on April 18 through CUA on Tap.

Kalina is from Denver and travels all over the U.S., speaking at colleges, parishes, schools, and conferences. He has been featured on Catholic channels like the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), Ascension Presents, and Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS). Furthermore, he is the co-founder of the “Saints Alive” podcast. Currently, he’s working as a missionary speaker for the National Eucharistic Revival, a three-year movement helping Catholics restore their understanding of the Eucharist

Kalina said there is a Eucharistic crisis right now because of the lack of attendance at Mass and the belief in Jesus’s presence in the Eucharist. These two issues are why the U.S. bishops nationwide have called for a revival. The Eucharist is more real than anything, and if people can’t see Jesus in the Eucharist, how do people see themselves or their neighbors for who they really are? If people can’t see Jesus in the Eucharist, then their Catholic faith, joy, and everything else crumbles.

When someone receives Communion, he says, they could often experience a disconnect with their heart. Maybe it’s caused by a rough time with a family member, friend, or other issues. Kalina experienced this disconnect in his heart and he sometimes got into fights with his siblings after Mass.

He experienced more of a disconnect when he studied film at the University of Texas in Austin and did stand-up comedy in Los Angeles. Out of nowhere, he told his friends he was Christian, and they were shocked. From that moment, he tried to be a person who did the right thing and figured out how to get his faith into his body.

Through his own experience, he explained that to get someone’s faith in their body, first, a person has to fixate on the truth with an open mind. The best place to look for that truth is in the Bible. If they read it with a Eucharistic lens, they will be able to find early signs of the presentation of bread and wine in the Old Testament. Everything that happens in the Old Testament leads to the Last Supper, where Jesus recreates the fall of man through the Eucharist. The Old Testament contains scriptures where a couple eats, their eyes are open, and then they are sent East.

Another way a person can get faith in their body is to check their heart by figuring out how to make Jesus the center of their life. He gave an example by saying how acting was structured around his life, but as he fell in love with scripture, he needed to figure out how to structure his heart around the Lord. Everyone has desires, but they can’t be centered around their hearts, Kalina said. A person can center the Lord around their heart by praying; all they have to do is show up.

The third way a person can gain faith in their body that he explains is by participating in Mass through self-gift. During the Offertory, Jesus wants all the good and bad qualities of a human being offered up on the altar, as He gives Himself up during the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

If a person can’t talk about faith with their friends, the speaker advises them to figure out why that is. People are encouraged to share their faith with others, and that is done by going to Mass and Confession because the Lord asks people to become like Him. To become like Jesus, the Lord invests in people. The talk ended by praying the “Our Father.”

Christian Rubio, a junior politics major, reacted to Kalina’s talk.

“It’s always great to hear from speakers who have such a gift for public speaking, really being on fire, and speaking in such an inspiring way about faith,” Rubio said. “Talks like that really ignited my faith, and it was a really great experience.”

Jeffrey Lance, a junior politics major, shared how Kalina’s talk influenced the Eucharistic Revival.

“It helps people understand that our number one fundamental teaching as Catholics is that the Eucharist is Christ,” Lance said. “The whole point of the revival is to make Catholics believe that and be aware of that.”

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