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Jesus On Our Altars – Stirring the Hearts of Men

An Easy Way to Become a Saint by Fr. Paul O’Sullivan

JESUS ON OUR ALTARS

Jesus remains on the Altar, waiting for our visits, ready to console and comfort us, ready to pardon the most depraved sinner, even as He pardoned the Publican in the Temple, to give help and strength to the weak, to comfort the sad, to console the sorrowful.

This Sacrament is indeed a Sacrament of peace and love. Here Our Lord is on a throne of Mercy, continuing the work of His life on Earth, but—dare we say it—in a more merciful way.

When on Earth, He was in one land; only the people of that land could hope to approach Him. In the Blessed Eucharist, He is in all lands, in all cities and towns, even in the deserts, wherever a Catholic missionary is found.

He is really and truly present; He sees us distinctly; He hears us; He loves us. He is waiting, longing for our visits.

A few incidents of recent occurrence will show us how really Our Lord is on the Altar.

A Protestant Minister in England was taking a walk with his little daughter, six years old. They entered a Catholic Church, where the minister explained to his little girl the meaning of the Way of the Cross and other objects of note in the church.

The little one, attracted by the red lamp burning before the Tabernacle, asked what that meant. Her father replied that it was to show that Jesus was in the Tabernacle.

“Jesus!” she exclaimed. “Our Jesus, the Son of God?”

“Yes, dear.”

The child was deeply impressed. Even after, when walking with her father or mother, she insisted on going into a Catholic church to see the lamp and to visit Jesus.

Wonderful visits! Our Lord was speaking to their hearts. After six months the child with her father and mother became fervent Catholics.

In London, two girlfriends, one a Catholic and the other a Protestant, went shopping. Passing a church, the Catholic said goodbye to her friend, as she wished to assist at Benediction. The Protestant, however, entered the church to wait.

She remained standing, looking about. It was the first time she had been in a Catholic church. When, however, the priest placed the Monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament on the Altar, she instinctively fell on her knees and folded her hands on her breast, gazing at the Sacred Host.

On leaving the church, to the surprise of her friend, she asked to be introduced to the priest. She wished to become a Catholic, though never before had she thought of it.

A Protestant young man fell in love with a Catholic girl, but after some time, as he refused to become a Catholic, she declared that she could not marry him, though she loved and respected him very much.

She begged him to consider the affair ended and asked him not to write to her again. Broken-hearted, the young man took his annual holiday and went off to a country village to try to forget his grief.

The hotel in which he stayed was near the Catholic church, and he could see from his room the Tabernacle lamp. The lamp became a fascination for him; sitting at his table, his eyes invariably turned toward it. It became an obsession.

He asked the servant who had charge of his room what that red lamp meant. Smiling, she answered, “It is the red lamp that burns before the Blessed Sacrament.”

The obsession continued, and finally he resolved to enter the church and see it for himself. On entering the church, great was his surprise to come face to face with the girl whom he had so wished to marry.

“What has brought you here?” he exclaimed.

“I came,” she answered, “to nurse my aunt, who is ill.”

“And what,” she asked in turn, “brought you into this Catholic Church, you who refused to think of becoming a Catholic?”

He told her simply that the red lamp, which he could see from his room in the hotel, fascinated him and he had to come to see it.

“Then continue,” she said, “Our Lord Himself is calling you.” He did so and gradually his doubts and dislikes for the Church cleared away and he became a fervent Catholic and the happy husband of the girl he loved.

STILL ANOTHER INCIDENT

A gentleman and his wife, both staunch Protestants, had a business transaction with the priest in whose parish they lived. Unfortunately the settlement of this affair caused annoyance to both parties, and the Protestants became more embittered than ever against the Catholic Church.

Some time elapsed, and the lady happened to be passing the church. Feeling tired, she went in to rest. She remained for twenty minutes, enjoying the calm and silence and looking at the High Altar.

This visit was repeated frequently, at first merely with the wish to rest, but gradually this gave way to a feeling of pleasure and peace.

A few months passed and both husband and wife became Catholics!

If then Our Sweet Lord works so wonderfully on those souls who did not even pray to Him, what will He not do for those who pray fervently to Him?

As we get warmth and comfort when we approach a blazing fire in the wintertime, even so, our poor cold hearts are filled with the fire of love when we kneel lovingly before Jesus in the Sacrament of the Altar.

He is the same God who in Heaven fills the Angels with love. Here in the Blessed Sacrament He is on a throne of mercy and wishes to fill our poor souls with peace and joy.

We are in the midst of Angels, who stand around the Altar praying with us and for us. Our Lord has many times shown Himself in the Blessed Sacrament to help our faith.

We will mention just one fact. Thomas of Cantimbre, the celebrated Dominican Bishop, famed for his profound learning and deep piety, describes a miracle which he himself witnessed in company with many others.

Having heard that Our Lord had appeared visibly in a consecrated Host in the Church of St. Amand in Douay, he immediately hastened thither and begged the priest to open the Tabernacle and expose the Sacred Particle.

Many persons flocked to the church on learning of the Bishop’s arrival and were privileged to see the miracle once more.

The Bishop tells us what he himself saw: “I saw my Lord face to face. His eyes were clear and had an expression of wondrous love.

His hair was abundant and floated on His shoulders; His beard was long, His forehead broad and high; His cheeks were pale, and His head slightly inclined.

At the sight of my loving Lord, my heart well-nigh burst with joy and love. ”

After a little time Our Lord’s face assumed an expression of profound sadness, such as it must have worn in the Passion. He was crowned with thorns and His face bathed in blood.

“On looking on the countenance of my Sweet Savior thus changed, my heart was pierced with bitter grief; tears flowed from my eyes, and I seemed to feel the points of the thorns enter my head.”

Though we do not see Our Dear Lord as the Bishop did, He is there on the Altar, the same loving Lord.

“We’re terribly in danger all the time of taking God’s goodness too much for granted; of bouncing up to Communion as if it were the most natural thing in the world, instead of being a supernatural thing belonging to another world.” – Msgr. Ronald Knox, 1948

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Painting by Gennaro Befanio

 

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