"If souls but understood the Treasure they possess in the Divine Eucharist, it would be necessary to encircle the tabernacles with the strongest ramparts for, in the delirium of a devouring and holy hunger, they would press forward themselves to feed on the Bread of Angels. The Churches would overflow with adorers consumed with love for the Divine prisoner no less by night than by day,"
- Blessed Dina Belanger
"Christ held Himself in His hands when He gave His Body to His disciples saying: 'This is My Body.' No one partakes of this Flesh before he has adored it,"
- St. Augustine
"What happiness do we not feel in the Presence of God, when we are alone at His feet... Redouble your fervor; you are alone to adore your God; His eyes rest upon you alone,"
- St. John Vianney
"I felt a great dislike to journeys, especially when they were long. But once I had started, I thought nothing of them, thinking of Him for Whose service they were undertaken and remembering that Our Lord would be praised and the most Holy Sacrament would dwell in the house I was going to found... It should be a great consolation to us - though many of us do not think of it - that Jesus Christ, true God and true man, dwells as He does in so many places in the most Holy Sacrament,"
- St. Teresa of Avila
"I have chosen for my emblem a Star, representing the Virgin Mary, and the Eucharist. Those who know me as a professor of theology will remember my passion for the Eucharist from our classes. Blessed be God for this madness... We must live our commitment to society steeped in the Eucharist. We must take the Eucharist to the streets, both in the heart of the city and on the outskirts, to the poor neighborhoods and to hospitals... In order to obey the Resurrected Christ, I dare say with Pope John Paul II: 'Open wide the doors of your heart to the Holy Spirit.'"
- from the address of Nicolas Cotugno, Archbishop of Montevideo, Uruguay at his installation ceremony on December 20
"Consider the humble sacrifice that the shepherds and the three Wise Men made in their long journey to adore the Christ Child. Only the humble shepherds and the wise astrologers followed the star of faith to Bethlehem. He was the King, much greater than they were. No journey was too long because any trouble they had was infinitely worth the sacrifice. When they saw Him, they bowed down before Him. Where was the rest of the world? Who could understand then that the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes was the hidden Incarnate Word of God? He came quietly and lovingly. Only the humble and wise could see the humble Jesus lying in a manger. The rest of the world passed Him by. Look at how God has never stopped honoring the shepherds and the magi for honoring His Son in Bethlehem. The humble sacrifice of their long journey is praised in Scripture. And around the world in every church and Christian home at Christmas, they are included in every Nativity scene. In the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus comes to us even more humbly than He did before. That is why your sacrifice will give God even greater glory than the glory given Him by the shepherds and the three Wise Men. And God will honor you even more than the shepherds and the three Wise Men for all eternity for honoring His Son in the Blessed Sacrament with the humility of your sacrifice!"
- from the pamphlet "The Value of Sacrifice"
"The Holy Eucharist is a need of the heart of Christ, just as it is a need of our hearts." "Sanctify and dedicate yourselves in all things in the spirit of love which prompted Our Lord to institute the Holy Eucharist, wherein He perpetuates the gift of His love to the glory of the Father."
- from the writings of St. Peter Julian Eymard
"O most admirable banquet, to which it is an unspeakable favor to be invited! O banquet that saves and gives delight! Nothing can be conceived which is of greater value. What is served is not the flesh of calves and kids, as in the Old Law, but Christ himself the true God. What is more wonderful than this sacrament!
No other sacrament accomplishes more for our souls. It takes away sin, strengthens virtue and enriches the soul with the abundance of all spiritual gifts.
It is offered in the Church for the living and the dead in order that all may benefit from what was meant for all.
There is no language adequate to describe the joy one experiences through this sacrament which draws sweetness from its very source and keeps alive in us the memory of the love, of which Christ gave proof during his passion."
- St. Thomas Aquinas
"When the Sisters are exhausted, up to their eyes in work; when all seems to go awry, they spend an hour in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. This practice has never failed to bear fruit: they experience peace and strength,"
- Blessed Mother Teresa
Following are excerpts from Our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II's address given in Seoul, Korea at Good Shepherd Parish in 1989:
"In beholding the Word made flesh, now sacramentally present in the Eucharist, the eyes of our bodies are united with the eyes of faith in gazing upon the presence "par excellence" of Emmanuel "God with us" until that day when the sacramental veil will be lifted in the Kingdom of heaven."
"If we are to experience the Eucharist as the "source and summit of all Christian life" (Lumen Gentium. 11), then we must celebrate it with faith, receive it with reverence, and allow it to transform our minds and hearts through the prayer of adoration. Only by deepening our Eucharist communion with the Lord through personal prayer can we discover what he asks of us in daily life. Only by drinking deeply from the source of life-giving water "welling up within us" (cf. Jn 4:14) can we grow in faith, hope and charity. The image of the Church in worship before the Blessed Sacrament reminds us of the need to enter into a dialogue with our Redeemer, to respond to his love and to love one another..."
Reflection from Divine Intimacy by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene, OCD
The Epiphany of Our Lord
PRESENCE OF GOD - I recognize in You, O little Jesus, the King of heaven and earth; grant that I may adore You with the faith and love of the Magi.
1. "He Whom the Virgin bore is acknowledged today by the whole world.... Today is the glorious Feast of His Manifestation" (RB). Today Jesus shows Himself to the world as God.
The Introit of the Mass brings us at once into this spirit, presenting Jesus to us in the full majesty of His divinity. "Behold the sovereign Lord is come; in His hands He holds the kingdom, the power, and the empire." The Epistle (Is 60, 1-6) breaks forth in a hymn of joy, announcing the vocation of the Gentiles to the faith; they too will acknowledge and adore Jesus as their God: "Arise, be enlightened, O Jerusalem: for thy light is come.... And the Gentiles shall walk in thy light, and the kings in the brightness of thy rising.... All they from Saba shall come, bringing gold and frankincense, and showing forth praise to the Lord." We no longer gaze upon the lowly picture of the shepherds at the manger; passing before us now is the resplendent procession of the Wise Men from he East, representing the pagan nations and all of the kings of the earth, who come to pay homage to the Child-God.
Epiphany or Theophany, means the Manifestation of God; today it is realized in Jesus who manifests Himself as God and Lord of the world. Already a prodigy has revealed His divinity - the extraordinary star which appeared in the East. To the commemoration of the miracle, which holds the primary place in the day's liturgy, the Church adds two others: the changing of water into wine at the wedding feast of Cana, and the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan, when a voice from heaven announced, "This is my beloved Son." The Magnificat Antiphon says, "Three miracles adorn this holy day" - three miracles which should lead us to recognize the Child Jesus as our God and King, and to adore Him with lively faith.
2. The verse at the Gradual of the Mass continues the story of the Magi: "We have seen His star in the East and are come with gifts to adore Him." They saw the star and immediately set out. They had no doubts: their unbounded faith was strong and sure. They did not hesitate at the prospect of the trials of a long journey: they had generous hearts. They did not postpone the journey: their souls were ready.
A star often appears in the heaven of our souls; it is an inspiration from God, clear and intimate, urging us to greater generosity and calling us to a life of closer union with Him. Like the Magi, we too must always follow our star with faith, promptness, and selfless generosity. If we allow it to guide us, it will certainly lead us to God; it will bring us to the One Whom we are seeking.
The Magi did not give up their quest, although the star - at one point - disappeared from their sight. We should follow their example and their perseverance, even when we are in interior darkness. This is a trial of faith which is overcome only by the exercise of pure, naked faith. I know that He wills it, I know that God is calling, and this suffices for me: Scio cui credidi et certus sum (2 Tm 1, 12); I know Whom I have believed. No matter what happens, I shall trust Him.
In this spirit let us accompany the Magi to adore the new-born King. "And as they brought forth from among their treasures mystical gifts, let us from our hearts bring forth something fit to offer Him." (RB)
O Jesus, I adore You, for You are the Lord my God. "For You, my Lord, are a great God, and a great King above all kings. For in Your hand are all the ends of the earth, and the heights of the mountains are Yours. For the sea is Yours, and You made it; and Your hands formed the dry land.... We are the people of Your pasture and the sheep of Your hand" (cf. Ps 94). Yes, O Jesus, I am one of Your lambs, one of Your creatures; and I am happy to acknowledge my nothingness in Your presence, and still happier to adore You, O lovely Infant, as my God and my Redeemer. O that all nations would acknowledge You for what You are, that all might prostrate before You, adoring You as their Lord and God!
O Lord, You can do this. Reveal Your Divinity to all mankind, and just as once You drew the Magi from the East to You, now in like manner unite all peoples and all nations around Your manger.
You have shown me that You want my poor cooperation in order to bring about the coming of Your kingdom. You wish me to pray, suffer, and work for the conversion of those who are near and of those who are far away. You wish that I, too, place before the manger of gifts of the Wise Men: the incense of prayer, the myrrh of mortification and of suffering borne with generosity out of love for You, and finally, the gold of charity, charity which will make my heart wholly and exclusively Yours, charity which will spur me on to work, to spend myself for the conversion of sinners and infidels, and for the greater sanctification of Your elect.
O my loving King, create in me the heart of an apostle. If only I could lay at Your feet today the praise and adoration of everyone on earth!
O my Jesus, while I beg You to reveal Yourself to the world, I also beseech You to reveal Yourself more and more to my poor soul. Let Your star shine for me today, and point out to me the road which leads directly to You! May this day be a real Epiphany for me, a new manifestation to my mind and heart of Your great Majesty. He who knows You more, loves You more, O Lord; and I want to know You solely in order to love You, to give myself to You with ever greater generosity.
"Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament helps us to offer the Mass with greater awareness and depth.
Christ loves the whole Church as his bride. But he also loves each one of us in particular. 'Behold, I have loved you with an everlasting love.' This calls for a personal response from each one of us...,"
- Fr. Anthony Foy CSsR.
"Jesus Veiled! let us kneel down before Him in adoring awe, while our Mother teaches us His beauty, and His sweetness, and His goodness, and His nearness. When we think we know Him we shall not know the half, and when we speak of Him we shall stammer as children do, and when our hearts are hot with love of Him, they will be cold in comparison of the love which is His due...
"O sweet Sacrament of Love! we belong to Thee, for Thou art our Living Love Himself. Thou art our well of life, for in Thee is the Divine Life Himself, immeasurable, compassionate, eternal ...There shall not be a single thought, a single hope, a single wish, which shall not be all for Thee!"
- from The Blessed Sacrament, by Fr. Faber
Sweet Sacrament Divine
Sweet Sacrament Divine,
- Irish Traditional Hymn
"It seems that, after nineteen centuries of extraordinary glorification, the small Host for which so many cathedrals have sprung up, the small Host that has rested in millions of breasts and that has found a tabernacle and worshippers even in the desert - it seems that the triumphant Host of Lourdes and the Eucharistic Congresses of Chicago and Carthage remains as unknown, as secret as when it appeared for the first time in a room in Jerusalem. Light is in the world as in the days of St. John the Baptist, and the world does not know it,"
- Francois Mauriac, Holy Thursday: An Intimate Remembrance
Quotes from the Documents of Vatican II,
Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests:
"The Eucharist is the Source and Summit of All Preaching of the Gospel."
"...The other sacraments, and indeed, all ecclesiastical ministries and works on the Apostolate are bound up with the Eucharist and are directed towards it. For in the Most Blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely, Christ Himself, Our Pasch... FOR THIS REASON, THE EUCHARIST APPEARS AS THE SOURCE AND SUMMIT OF ALL PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL."
"As a help towards faithful fulfillment of their ministry, priests should love to talk daily with Christ, the Lord, in their visit to the most Blessed Sacrament, and in their personal devotion to it... By this spirit they themselves, and with them the people entrusted in their care, will unite themselves with Christ, the Mediator of the New Testament, and be able to, as adopted sons, cry Abba! Father!" (Rom 8:15).
In the following meditation from the book Sobornost, by Catherine Doherty, she uses the Russian word "sobornost", meaning unity. A unity not only in the most general sense of the word, but a unity of mind and heart.
"...There is another aspect to the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist. Incredible as it might seem to you, you and I have the strength of God, for God is in us and He has said, "Amen, amen, I say to you, he who believes in me, the works that I do he also shall do, and greater than these he shall do..." (Jn 14:12). Now the road to sobornost is yours for you are penetrated with God. Now nothing is impossible to the prayer of faith, and to you. Now sobornost becomes a reality. It is truly clothed with flesh - the flesh of Jesus Christ. Yes, the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist penetrates the faithful beyond our ken. Now we stride across mountains like gazelles, following our Beloved, and mountains become our habitat. Nothing can stop us. The most holy sacrament of the Eucharist brings sobornost in such a fashion that we must thank God and praise Him for it."
"Listen well, "Let Him kiss me with the kiss of His mouth" (Sg 1:2). Not only does He become one in me, but He kisses me. Go deeper, friend, and understand the sobornost that binds us through the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist. The Bridegroom comes. Hear Him? He leaps over the mountains like a gazelle. Yes, the Bridegroom comes. Sobornost becomes the breath of the Lover, the Beloved."
"The mysteries of the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist are high and deep, high and wide. He will reveal them to each of us within the enclosed garden of His love."
"There is no way to clarify this aspect of sobornost except to fall flat on our faces upon having received the Most Holy Species and His kiss, and lay prostate before the Unity that God the Father has sent us, for the sign of that unity and its substance is Jesus Christ."
"How sweet, the presence of Jesus to the longing, harassed soul! It is instant peace, and balm to every wound."
- St. Elizabeth Seton, about Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament
"When Our Lord sees pure souls coming to visit Him in the Blessed Sacrament He smiles on them. They come with the simplicity that pleases Him so much."
"The interior life is like a sea of love in which the soul is plunged and is, as it were, drowned in love,"
- St. John Vianney
"The surest, easiest, shortest way is the Eucharist,"
- Pope St. Pius X
"You [God] are a fire that takes away the coldness, illuminates the mind with its light, and causes me to know your truth and I know that you are beauty and wisdom itself. The food of angels, you give yourself to man in this fire of your love,"
- St. Catherine of Siena
"Love tends to union with the object loved. Now Jesus Christ loves a soul that is in a state of grace with immense love; He ardently desires to unite Himself with it. That is what Holy Communion does,"
- St. Alphonsus Ligouri
Of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist it is written: "This morning my soul is greater than the world since it possesses You, You whom heaven and earth do not contain,"
- St. Margaret of Cortona
O Blessed Host, in golden chalice enclosed for me, That through the vast wilderness of exile I may pass - pure, immaculate, undefiled; Oh, grant that through the power of Your love this might come to be.
O Blessed Host, take up Your dwelling within my soul, O Thou my heart's purest love! With Your brilliance the darkness dispel. Refuse not Your grace to a humble heart.
O Blessed Host, enchantment of all heaven, Though Your beauty be veiled And captured in a crumb of bread, Strong faith tears away that veil.
- from the Diary of Saint Sr. Faustina (Kowalska) of the Blessed Sacrament, titled Divine Mercy In My Soul.
"To converse with You, O King of glory, no third person is needed, You are always ready in the Sacrament of the Altar to give audience to all. All who desire You always find You there, and converse with You face to face,"
- St. Teresa of Avila
"Our way of thinking is attuned to the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn confirms our way of thinking, "
- St. Irenaeus
"The Eucharist is everything, because from the Eucharist, everything is,"
- St. Peter Julian Eymard
"The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life,"
- Pope John Paul II
"Indeed, this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks upon the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life. Him I will raise up on the last day." (Jn. 6:40)
Mary is raised to the height of glory because she allowed God to bring her to the depths of humility. "Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled but whoever humbles himself shall be exalted"...
This mystery assures us of the final victory of Jesus and Mary and the Church. Because the Church is an image of Jesus and Mary, what happens to Jesus and Mary will happen to the whole Church. Mary is the Queen of Heaven and earth. "A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, on her head a crown of twelve stars." She will crush the head of the serpent with her heel: her humble children who obediently follow Gods will and cause Jesus, her Son, to reign in every heart. "They defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony." This is the glory of humility and final victory! These two victories of Jesus and Mary must go hand in hand because they are one and the same.
Mary recognized her absolute nothingness without God that God may be absolutely everything to her. With Mary we humbly adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament by acknowledging our absolute dependency on Him. "He must increase, but I must decrease." The Eucharist is the living Source of all light, life and love. Here Jesus says: "I am the Vine, you are the branches: he that abides in Me, and I in him, will bear much fruit, for without Me you can do nothing." Every holy hour deepens our union with Him and bears much fruit. "So I gaze on You in the sanctuary to see Your strength and Your glory, for Your love is better than life."
- Taken from the book Rosary Meditations from Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta
"They will fight against the Lamb, but the Lamb will be victorious. He is the Lord of lords and the King of kings." (Rev 17:4)
The Eucharist is a constant reminder to "be intent on the things above rather than on things of earth", "for here we have no lasting dwelling place." "We have our citizenship in Heaven." The Holy Eucharist is "the mystery, the plan He was pleased... to carry out in the fullness of time: to bring all things in the heavens and the earth into one under Christs headship." "The Lord will reign forever and give His people the gift of peace." "I will reign through the omnipotent love of My Sacred Heart." THE HOLY EUCHARIST IS A FORESHADOWING OF HIS REIGN ON EARTH: "This is Gods dwelling among man. He shall dwell with them." "Rejoice at the Presence of the Lord, for He comes to rule the earth." "He has put all things under Christs feet." "If we hold out to the end, we shall also reign with Him."
Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the Victorious Lamb, the Alpha and Omega, the Lord of lords and the King of kings. "Who would dare refuse You honor, or the glory due Your name O Lord? Since You alone are holy, all shall come and worship Your Presence."
"Salvation is from our God...on the throne, and from the Lamb!" This is the same Jesus Whom "everyone in the crowd was trying to touch...because the power came out from Him that cured them all." He says "I know the plans I have in mind for you: plans for peace, not disaster, reserving a future full of hope for you": from the Lamb flows a river of grace WHICH HEALS EVERY NATION.
Each time we look upon Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, He raises us up into deeper union with Himself, opens up the floodgates of His merciful love to the whole world, and brings us closer to the day of His final victory where every knee will bend and proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord. "The reign of God is already in your midst." The coming of Jesus to us in the Eucharist is assurance of His promise of final victory: "BEHOLD, I COME TO MAKE ALL THINGS NEW."
- Taken from the book Rosary Meditations from Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta
From the Holy Father's Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in America:
"I announced the theme of the Special Assembly for America of the Synod in these words: Encounter with the Living Jesus Christ: The Way to Conversion, Communion and Solidarity in America. Put this way, the theme makes clear the centrality of the person of the Risen Christ, present in the life of the Church and calling people to conversion, communion and solidarity. The starting-point of such a program of evangelization is in fact the encounter with the Lord. Given by Christ in the Paschal Mystery, the Holy Spirit guides us towards those pastoral goals which the Church in America must attain in the third Christian millennium.
He [Jesus] is present "especially under the Eucharistic species".26 My Predecessor Paul VI deemed it necessary to explain the uniqueness of Christ's real presence in the Eucharist, which "is called "real' not to exclude the idea that the others are "real' too, but rather to indicate presence par excellence, because it is substantial"!27 Under the species of bread and wine, "Christ is present, whole and entire in his physical reality', corporally present".28 (12)
The journey of Christian initiation comes to completion and reaches its summit in the Eucharist, which fully incorporates the baptized into the Body of Christ. 104 (34)
The Eucharist is more than simply the culmination of Christian initiation. While Baptism and Confirmation serve as a beginning and introduction to the life of the Church and cannot be repeated, 107 the Eucharist is the living and lasting center around which the entire community of the Church gathers. 108 The various aspects of the Eucharist reveal its inexhaustible wealth: it is at one and the same time a Sacrament of Sacrifice, Communion and Presence. 109 The Eucharist is the outstanding moment of encounter with the living Christ. For this reason, by their preaching and catechesis, the Pastors of the People of God in America must strive "to give the Sunday Eucharistic celebration new strength, as the source and summit of the Church's life, the safeguard of communion in the Body of Christ, and an invitation to solidarity, expressing the Lord's command: "Love one another as I have loved you' (Jn 13:34)". 110 As the Synod Fathers suggest, an effort of this kind must include a number of fundamental aspects. First of all, there is a need to renew in the faithful the sense that the Eucharist is an immense gift.
The whole Church in America needs to be reminded also of "the link between the Eucharist and charity", 114 a link which was expressed in the early Church by the joining of the agape and the Eucharistic Supper. 115 As a result of the grace received in the Sacrament, sharing in the Eucharist must lead to a more fervent exercise of charity.
The field in which priests work is vast. Therefore they should concentrate on what is essential to their ministry: "letting themselves be configured to Christ the Head and Shepherd, the source of all pastoral charity, offering themselves each day with Christ in the Eucharist, in order to help the faithful both personally and communally to experience the living Jesus Christ". (39)
"The parish needs to be constantly renewed on the basis of the principle that 'the parish must continue to be above all a Eucharistic community'". (41)
66. As the Church's Supreme Pastor, I urgently desire to encourage all the members of God's People, particularly those living in America " where I first appealed for a commitment "new in its ardor, methods and expression" 245 " to take up this project and to cooperate in carrying it out. In accepting this mission, everyone should keep in mind that the vital core of the new evangelization must be a clear and unequivocal proclamation of the person of Jesus Christ, that is, the preaching of his name, his teaching, his life, his promises and the Kingdom which he has gained for us by his Paschal Mystery. 246"
THY WILL BE DONE
A Meditation by St. Peter Julian Eymard
"Dear Brothers and Sisters, the Gospel of Gods love, which we are celebrating today, finds its highest expression in the Eucharist. In the Mass and in Eucharistic Adoration we meet the merciful love of God that passes through the Heart of Jesus Christ,"
- Words of Our Holy Father Pope John Paul II at the Papal Mass at the Trans World Dome in St. Louis on January 27, 1999
"Since Christ is the only way to the Father, in order to highlight His living and saving presence in the Church and the world, the International Eucharistic Congress will take place in Rome, on the occasion of the Great Jubilee. The Year 2000 will be intensely Eucharistic: in the Sacrament of the Eucharist the Savior, who took flesh in Mary's womb twenty centuries ago, continues to offer Himself to humanity as the source of Divine Life,"
- Pope John Paul II, Tertio Millennio Adveniente
"The mark of the Christian is the willingness to look for the Divine in the flesh of a babe in a crib, the continuing Christ under the appearance of bread on an altar, and a meditation and a prayer on a string of beads,"
- Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
- from the poem "To the Sacred Heart of Jesus",
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