Continued from “To the Eucharist, Then, We Must Go!”
From Jesus, Our Eucharistic Love
An exercise of the heart
Second, to explore the riches of the Eucharist, we use the heart. If every Christian must love Jesus Christ: “If any man love not Our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema.” (1 Cor. 16: 22), love for the Eucharist must spring from the heart and be ever alive in us all.
Among all the saints, perhaps one of the greatest models is St. Peter Julian Eymard, in whom love for the Eucharist reached such an intensity as to transform itself into a love of madness. It is for this reason that he was called “the fool of the Blessed Sacrament.”
Now even love needs exercise. The heart needs to be exercised to love the true God, to long for “The Author of Life” (Acts 3: 15).
Holy Communion represents the loftiest point of this exercise of love, whose consuming flames unite the heart of a creature and Jesus.
St. Gemma Galgani could exclaim in this regard, “I can no longer avoid thinking of how, in the wonderful greatness of His Love, Jesus makes Himself perceptible and shows Himself to His lowliest creature in all the splendors of His Heart.”
And what may we say about the exercises of the heart of St. Gemma, who desired to be a “tent of love” in which she would keep Jesus always with her? She longed to have a “little place in the ciborium” to be able to stay always with Jesus. She asked to become “a flaming ball afire with love” for Jesus.
When St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus had become quite ill, she dragged herself with great effort to Church to receive Jesus. One morning, after Holy Communion, she was in her cell, exhausted. One of the sisters remarked that she should not exert herself so much. The Saint replied, “Oh, what are these sufferings to me in comparison with one daily Holy Communion!”— Something not permitted everywhere in her times.
She ardently pleaded with Jesus: “Remain within me, as You do in the tabernacle. Do not ever withdraw Your presence from Your little host.”
When St. Margaret Mary Alacoque left the world and consecrated herself to God in the cloister, she made a private vow: “All for the Eucharist; nothing for me.”
It is useless to attempt to describe the Saint’s burning love for the Eucharist. When she was not able to receive Holy Communion, she broke out in ardent expressions of love like these: “I have such a desire for Holy Communion that if I had to walk barefoot along a path of fire to obtain It, I would do so with unspeakable joy.”
St. Catherine of Siena often said to her confessor: “Father, I am hungry. For the love of God give this soul her Food, her Lord in the Eucharist.” She also confided: “When I am not able to receive my Lord, I go into the Church, and there I look at Him… I look at Him again… and this satisfies me.”
During her long and painful illness, St. Bernadette one time expressed the happiness that she felt in times of sleeplessness, because then she was able to unite herself to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
Referring to a little golden monstrance that was depicted on the curtain about her bed, she said, “His visit gives me the desire and strength to offer myself as a sacrifice, when I feel all alone and in pain.” This is called the “exercise of the heart.”
The exercise of the will
Third, to find the riches of the Eucharist, one should exercise the will. One must do this by bringing the divine lessons of the Eucharist into his life.
What good would it be to discover the infinite worth of the Eucharist as we ponder It and seek to love It at Communion time, if we do not proceed to live It?
The Eucharist teaches a love that goes beyond telling. It teaches total self-sacrifice, and an unequalled lesson in humility and self-effacement. It teaches patience and unrestricted dedication.
But what do we draw from all this? We surely ought to achieve something, if we but reflect how Jesus has loved us and still loves us with such great generosity “even to the end” (Jn. 13: 1).
If we feel frail, we need to turn to Him, to speak to Him and not tarry about asking His help and support, for He is the very One who said, “Without Me you can do nothing” (Jn. 15: 5), while with the Eucharist not only are we capable of everything, but we also obtain what should amaze and move us, that is, our identification with Jesus, as St. Augustine tells us: “It is not a case of us transforming Christ into ourselves, as we commonly do with food; but it is Jesus who transforms us into Himself.”
First of all, let us go before Him: “Come to Me… and I will refresh you” (Mt. 11: 28). Let us often visit Him, entering a Church every time we can and pausing a little while before the tabernacle, and put both our heart and body before Him!
The saints were constantly eager to make visits to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, to make Holy Hours of adoration, spiritual Communions, ejaculatory prayers and earnest acts of love that come from the heart. How much profit they gained from this and how much good they passed on!
One day in Turin a friend, who was his companion from the university, asked Bl. Peter George Frassati, “Let us go and take an appetizer.” Peter George took advantage of the occasion and replied, indicating to his friend the nearby Church of St. Dominic, “Of course. Let us go and take it in that cafe.”
Entering the Church, they prayed for a little while near the tabernacle; when they approached the offering box, Peter George said, “Here is the appetizer.” And from the pockets of the two youths came alms for the poor!
Thinking of the Eucharist during his sermon, St. John Chrysostom once asked, “How can we make of our bodies a host?” and gave this answer: “Let your eyes look at nothing evil, and you have offered a sacrifice; let not your tongue speak unbecoming words, and you have made an offering; let not your hand commit a sin, and you have offered a holocaust.”
Just recall the eyes of St. Colette, which were always lowered and recollected in sweet modesty. Why? She once gave the answer: “I have filled my eyes with Jesus, upon whom I have gazed at the elevation of the Host at Holy Mass, and I do not wish to replace Him with another image.”
Let us think of the edifying reserve of the saints in speaking, controlling well the tongue which had been consecrated by contact with the Body of Jesus.
Recall the good works which souls, filled with a love imparted by the Eucharist, have accomplished because Jesus communicated to them His own sentiments of love for all of our fellow men, especially those most in need.
Thus St. Francis de Sales exhorted every soul to approach the Eucharist as much as possible, because “by adoring and partaking of His beauty, His goodness and His purity in this Divine Sacrament, you will become all beautiful, good and pure.”
Can we not also exercise our wills thus? Let us learn from the saints and start imitating their good works.
Undertake all of your duties with a calm mind and try to do them one at a time. If you try to do them all at once, or without order, your spirits will be so overcharged and depressed that they will likely sink under the burden and nothing will be done. In all of your affairs, rely on the Providence of God through which alone you much look for success. Strive quietly to cooperate with its designs. – Saint Francis de Sales, from Introduction to the Devout Life http://amzn.to/2umoGsQ (afflink)
Coloring pages for your children….
Beautiful and inspiring books!
“There are nine books in the Eymard Library, each of which focuses attention to a particular aspect of the ineffable mystery which is the Holy Eucharist – Ideal for Eucharistic Adoration …”
Do you need some inspiration? For some great book suggestions visit My Book List…
That is very inspiring reading, thank you very much!
Blessed feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help!