The life of a Christian should revolve around the Holy Eucharist. In the past, before and after the Eucharistic celebration, the priests, the consecrated and the laity would spend a significant amount of time in front of the Holy Eucharist. But today, this practice is taking a downward spiral. Saying “there is no time” has become a trend today.
To whom are we saying that we have no time? Have we ever thought about this? It is to God, the giver of time, that we are saying this! If we do not have the time for him or to be with him, it would not be an exaggeration to say that he might not be willing to spend time for us in times of our need. If we are interested in him, he will be interested in us too. It is never too much to set aside time every day to be with God.
Saint Pope Pius X says to the clergy, “There is no other devotion like the Eucharistic Devotion for the priests “. The closest friend of a priest is the Eucharistic Presence of Jesus. A priest can go through times of loneliness and rejection. During these times, he should look to the Holy Eucharist for strength.
Saint Peter Julian Eymard proclaimed to the community of the faithful: “We have the Holy Eucharist! What more could we want!” Then he continued: “The greatest blessing that God has given me is the deep faith in his true presence in the Holy Eucharist.”
Our “Every commitment to holiness, every activity aimed at carrying out the Church’s mission, every work of pastoral planning, must draw the strength it needs from the Eucharistic mystery and in turn be directed to that mystery as its culmination. In the Eucharist we have Jesus, we have his redemptive sacrifice, we have his resurrection, we have the gift of the Holy Spirit, we have adoration, obedience and love of the Father.” (Saint Pope John Paul II – Ecclesia De Eucharistia)
The saints of the Church valued the Holy Eucharist immensely. Saint Francis of Assisi would kneel and adore the Holy Eucharist if he saw a church anywhere near his vicinity. Saint Norbet made reparation for the profanations and outrages committed to the Holy Eucharist by heretics. Saint Tarcisius was a boy who was beaten to death for protecting the Holy Eucharist. Saint Mary of Egypt walked over water while meditating on the Holy Eucharist. Saint Padre Pio and Saint John Marie Vianney would spend hours in the presence of the Holy Eucharist. What do they all have to tell us? Is it not that strength, power, peace, and comfort can be found only in Him?
Saint Teresa Neumann of Germany survived only on the Holy Eucharist for 40 years. Saint Clara, while she was bed-ridden, survived for 28 years on the Holy Eucharist. Saint Marie Rose Ferron of America survived on the Holy Eucharist for 14 years. Saint Alexandrina da Costa of Portugal survived for 13 years on the Holy Eucharist only. Saint Anne Catherine Emmerich of Germany experienced the power of the Holy Eucharist during the last 12 years of her life. They are all apostles of the Holy Eucharist. Saint Ambrose tell us, “Divine blessings are not granted to those who sleep, but to those who keep watch.”
How did the Holy Eucharist nurture the saints to this extent? Saint Francis of Assisi gives the answer, “The Holy Eucharist deeply influences me because in this world I cannot see the Most High Son of God with my own eyes, except for His Most Holy Body and Blood.”
We need to learn from the examples of the saints canonized by the Church and study their lives, their source of their strength and how they courageously defended their faith. Their grace was the Holy Eucharist.
The apostle, Saint Paul exhorts us on the Holy Eucharist, the Holy Body and Blood of Christ. The apostle says, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord. Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For all who eat and drink without discerning the body, eat and drink judgment against themselves. For this reason many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.” (1 Cor 11:26-30)
“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (1 Cor 11:1). “Brothers and sisters, join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us.” (Phi 3:17)
In the letter to the Hebrews, we find the faith of the saints in Old Testament, “By faith Moses was hidden by his parents for three months after his birth, because they saw that the child was beautiful; and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called a son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to share ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered abuse suffered for the Christ to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, unafraid of the king’s anger; for he persevered as though he saw him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.” (Hebrews 11:23-28).
The sturdy faith of the saints in Old Testament, the fellowship of the early Christian community and the vast majority of saints in the Church lead us to the Holy Eucharist. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).
Saint Peter Julian continues, “So Christ is living in our society. Be overwhelmed by this fact! Christ is working in our society. Allow Christ to work by offering the Holy Sacrifice. We must make Christ work in the Eucharist.”
So, let us turn towards the Holy Eucharist. We should, as much as possible, spend time adoring the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Let us be filled with spiritual graces. May the Almighty God bless us.