Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,
Happy Easter! May our good Lord grant you many Graces this Easter! Also, remember we celebrate Easter Sunday for an octave of days, or eight straight days. Next Sunday we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday, I encourage you to plan to attend our celebration or do some special work of honor to our Lord’s Infinite Mercy!
The month of April is dedicated to increased devotion to the Holy Eucharist and the Holy Spirit. Let us strive to grow in more fervent Love for our Lord Jesus, truly present in the Blessed Sacrament and the best friend of our souls, the Holy Spirit! This weekend I share with you a reflection on spending time with Jesus truly present in the Blessed Sacrament. I encourage you to reflect over this message a few times this week:
“Meeting our Lord - the presence of Jesus Christ in our Tabernacles: In the Gospel (Luke 24:35-48) we read how Jesus, having appeared to Mary Magdalene, to the other women, to Peter and to the disciples from Emmaus, appears also to the Eleven: And He said to them, why are you troubled, and why do questionings rise in your hearts? See My hands and My feet that it is I Myself; handle Me and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have.
He then showed them His hands and His feet, and ate with them. The Apostles will be forever convinced that their Faith in the Risen One is not a result of mere credulity, of enthusiasm or of imagination, but of facts which they themselves were able to confirm repeatedly. Jesus, in His appearances, adapts with marvelous condescension to the state of mind and the varied situations of those to whom He reveals Himself. He does not treat them all in the same way; but by different ways He leads them to certainty about His Resurrection and about the fact that He is the cornerstone of the Christian Faith. Our Lord wishes to give every possible guarantee to those who constitute the newly emerging Church so that throughout the centuries our Faith will rest on solid foundations: The Lord is risen indeed. Jesus is alive.
Peace to you, Jesus said when He presented Himself to His disciples, who were filled with fear. They immediately saw His wounds and were filled with joy and astonishment.
This too should be our refuge. It is here that we will always find peace of soul and the necessary strength to follow Him all the days of our life. We will go there like the doves which, in the words of Scripture (cf. Cant. 2:14), find shelter from the storm in the crevices in the rocks. We hasten to this refuge to find the intimacy we seek with Christ. We find His conversation soothing and His countenance comely, because ‘those who know that His voice is gentle and pleasing are those who have welcomed the Grace of the Gospel, which makes them say: You have the Words of Eternal Life’ (St. Gregory of Nyssa, In Canticum Canticorum Homiliae, 5). (J. Escriva, Friends of God, 302)
Jesus is very near to us: in Christian countries where there are so many tabernacles we are hardly ever more than a few miles from Him. How difficult it is not to see the walls or at least the spire of some church whether we are in the middle of a crowded city or travelling by road or by train. Christ is there! It is the Lord! (cf. John 21:7) our Faith and our Love exclaim. We can say it because Our Lord is pre-sent there really and substantially: He is the same One Who appeared to the disciples and Who has always shown such interest in every-body.
Jesus has remained in the Blessed Eucharist. In this memorable Sacrament there is contained, really, truly and substantially, His Body and Blood together with His Soul and Divinity and consequently, the whole Christ. The presence of Christ in the Blessed Eucharist is real and permanent, because once Holy Mass is over, Our Lord remains in each one of the Consecrated Hosts that has not been consumed. (cf. Council of Trent, Canon 4 On the Eucharist, Dz. 886) He Who is pre-sent is He Who was born, died and rose again in Palestine, the One Who is at the right hand of God the Father.
We meet with Him in the Tabernacle and He sees us and knows us. We can speak to Him as the Apostles did and tell Him what things we are enthusiastic about and what things are causing us concern. There we always find true peace, of the kind that endures in spite of all sorrow and every obstacle.
The Visit to the Blessed Sacrament: Eucharistic piety, says Pope St. John Paul II, should be centered above all on the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, which perpetuates the pouring out of His love on the Cross. But it has a logical prolongation… in the adoration of Christ in this Divine Sacrament, in the visit to the Blessed Sacrament, in prayer beside the Tabernacle, as well as in those other exercises of devotion both personal and collective, private and public, which you have been practicing for centuries… Jesus waits for us in this Sacrament of Love. Let us not be mean with our time when it comes to going to meet Him in Adoration, in contemplation that is filled with Faith, and disposed to make reparation for the grave faults and crimes of the world. (St. John Paul II, Address, 31 October 1982) Jesus is there in the nearest Tabernacle. Perhaps just a few miles away or even perhaps a few yards… How could we not go to see Him, to love Him, to tell Him about our affairs, to ask Him for things? What a lack of consistency on our part if we were not to do this with Faith? How easy it is to understand that centuries-old custom of the daily visits to the Divine Tabernacles? (Pius XII, Mediator Dei, 20 November 1947) There the Master has been waiting for us for the past twenty centuries (cf. J. Escriva, The Way, 537), and we can be together with Him like Mary, the sister of Lazarus - the one who chose the better part (cf. Luke 10:42) - in that house in Bethany.
I will tell you, that for me the tabernacle has always been a Bethany, a quiet and pleasant place where we can tell Him about our worries, our sufferings, our desires, our joys, with the same sort of simplicity and naturalness as Martha, Mary and Lazarus. That is why I rejoice when I stumble upon a church in town or country; it’s another Tabernacle, another opportunity for the soul to escape and join in intention our Lord in the Sacrament. (J. Escriva, Christ Is Passing By, 154) Jesus is waiting for us to visit Him. It is, in a way, a return of His visit to us in Holy Communion, and it is a proof of gratitude, an expression of love, an acknowledgement of the Lord’s presence. (St. Paul VI, Mysterium Fidei, 3 September 1965) It is a continuation of our act of thanksgiving for the previous Communion and a preparation for the next.
When we find ourselves before the Tabernacle we can indeed say in all Truth and accuracy: God is here! And in the presence of this Mystery of Faith there is no room for any other attitude except that of ado-ration - Adoro te devote… O hidden God, devoutly I adore You; of respect and astonishment; and, at the same time, of unlimited confidence. Dwelling with Christ Our Lord, the faithful enjoy His intimate friendship and pour out their hearts before Him for themselves and their dear ones, and pray for the peace and salvation of the world. They offer their entire lives with Christ to the Father in the Holy Spirit, and receive in this wonderful exchange an increase of Faith, Hope and Charity. Thus they nourish those right dispositions which enable them with all due devotion to celebrate the Memorial of the Lord and receive frequently the Bread given us by the Father. (cf. Instruction on the Eucharistic Mystery, 50)
Fruits of this act of piety: You have started to visit the Blessed Sacrament every day… I am not surprised to hear you say, ‘I have come to love the Sanctuary light madly.’ (J. Escriva, Furrow, 688) The visit to the Blessed Sacrament is an act of piety that only takes a few minutes; nevertheless, what a lot of Graces and what fortitude and peace does Our Lord give through it. There we find that our sense of presence of God throughout the day is improved and we gather new strength to take the difficulties of the day in our stride. There our desire to work better is enkindled and we are provided with a good supply of peace and joy to take with us to our family life. Our Lord, Who always pays generously, is grateful for the fact that we have gone to visit Him. And as to paying us, He is so careful about this that you need to have no fear He will leave us without our reward if only we raise our eyes to Heaven and remember Him. (St. Teresa, The Way of Perfection, 23, 3)
In the visit to the Blessed Sacrament we go to keep Jesus company for a few minutes. It could be that on a particular day not many have gone to visit Him even though He was expecting them. Therefore He is all the more pleased to see us there. We shall say some of the usual prayers to Him as well as making the Spiritual Communion. We’ll ask Him for help - both spiritual and material; we’ll tell Him what is causing us concern and what we are happy about; we’ll tell Him that, in spite of our miseries, He can count on us for the re-evangelization of the world and we’ll tell Him, perhaps, that we want to bring a friend close to Him. What shall we do, you sometimes ask, in the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament? Love Him, praise Him, thank Him and ask Him for things. What does a thirsty person do when he sees a pure clean fountain? (St. Alphonsus Liguori, Visits to the Blessed Sacrament, 1) When we leave the Church after these moments of prayer, we will have in us greater peace, a determination to help others, an eager longing to receive Holy Communion, because the only way that intimate union with
Jesus can be fully realized is in the Eucharist. It will effectively have helped us to increase our presence of God in the course of our work and our daily tasks. It will be easy for us to keep up a relationship of friendship and confidence with Him throughout the day.
The first Christians from the moment they began to have churches and to reserve the Blessed Sacrament had already started to live this pious custom. This is how St. John Chrysostom commented on that passage of Scripture: and Jesus entered the Temple. This was proper to a good son: to enter immediately into the house of his Father to render due honor to Him there - just as you, who should imitate Jesus, whenever you enter a city should first of all go to the church. (St. John Chrysostom, Catena Aurea, III)
Once we are in the church, we can easily find out where the tabernacle is - which is the first place we should direct our attention to - because it should be located in a truly prominent place… suited to private prayer. And there the presence of the Blessed Eucharist will be indicated by the small lamp which as the sign of honor to Our Lord, will be continuously burning before it. (cf. Instruction on the Eucharistic Mystery, 53, 57; Code of Canon Law, can. 938 & 940
As we finish our prayer we ask our Mother Mary to teach us how to Love Jesus really present in the Tabernacle as she loved Him all those years of His life in Nazareth.” (From In Conversation with God, by
Through the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, St. Joseph,
St. Michael, St. Paul, and our Guardian Angels, may our good Lord
grant us the Grace to value time spent with Jesus truly present in the
In Christ through Mary,