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This Danger of "Eucharistic Separation"

To God be the glory.

St. Joseph and Mother Mary, Models of Eucharistic Adoration


It was St. Bernard of Clairvaux who spoke of the "three comings of Christ." As people today focus so much on the end times, there is much talk about the "Second Coming of Christ," that is, "when Christ shall come/ with shout of acclamation," and take His Church home, as it says in the old song.


Yet, St. Bernard (doctor of the Church, doctor mellifluus) said that, in actual fact, Jesus has already come a second time in the Most Blessed Sacrament. It is the fulfillment of His promise, "behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world." (Matt. 28:20) When Jesus comes again, it will be a kind of "third coming," since He is already here, with His people in His true self.


Mother Mary and St. Joseph, of course, are the greatest models of Eucharistic adoration. Although St. Joseph did not live long enough to see the Last Supper of the Lord, and the Institution of the Eucharist, the saints conclude that all the time he spent devoted to Jesus as He was growing up, sharing life with Him, is a type of what we are now able to do by God's grace. Mother Mary, too, spent countless hours with the Person of Jesus...this is our blessed opportunity when we spend time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. St. Peter Julian Eymard (below) called St. Joseph "the perpetual adorer" :

"Among the graces which Jesus gave to His foster-father is that special to an adorer of the Blessed Sacrament. That is the one we must ask of St. Joseph. Have confidence, strong confidence in him. Take him as the patron and the model of your life of adoration." (link)


Let us invoke the prayers of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament (May 13) and St. Joseph, that the doors of the Church be opened once again, and God's people receive and adore the Most Blessed Sacrament worthily.


The Renewal of Eucharistic Devotion


Since perhaps the papacy of Pope St. Pius X, (1903-1914) called "the pope of the Blessed Sacrament," and who made the Eucharist more accessible to the common people, there has been a Eucharistic renewal movement in the Church.


St. Jean Marie Vianney, who preached strongly and beautifully on the Blessed Sacrament, was beatified in 1908 by Pope St. Pius X, and canonized in 1925. St. John Vianney said, "there is nothing so great as the Eucharist. If God had something more precious, he would have given it to us."



Spanish St. Manuel Gonzalez Garcia, called "the Bishop of the Abandoned Tabernacle," was blessed to have a private audience with Pope St. Pius X, who "showed a keen interest in his work and especially his insightful devotion to the Eucharist." (Schneider, The Bishop of the Abandoned Tabernacle: St. Manuel Gonzalez Garcia, 26) St. Manuel, canonized in 2016, has furthered the Eucharistic devotion movement in the Church through his life and writings, all because of a supernatural experience he had when he was assigned to an abandoned chapel. "The church building looked very dirty, almost abandoned," the tabernacle "covered in dust and cobwebs." (23) Completely discouraged, and tempted to run from his assignment, he instead knelt down and prayed. The moment of grace that ensued changed his life and ministry, and made him a saint for our times.


He said the following:


"All of this sadness was there in that tabernacle, oppressing and crushing the sweet Heart of Jesus and drawing bitter tears from His eyes. Blessed tears from those eyes! The gaze of Jesus in that tabernacle was a gaze that pierced the soul, and one can never forget it. I was trying not to cry, so as not to make Jesus even more sad. His gaze expressed the sorrow of One who loves, but Who does not find anybody who wants to receive that love."


St. Manuel made it his aim from then on to spread Eucharistic devotion to our Lord.


Lee Anne used to take our granddaughter to church every day for holy Mass, when she was 2 years old. One day, she was explaining to Rachel about the Blessed Sacrament, that Jesus lived in the tabernacle. Rachel innocently, and with a sad face, asked her Nana, "doesn't his mother ever take him out to play?" From the mouth of babes comes wisdom!


The Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1324, clearly says that "the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life." Our Catholic faith is a sacramental one.


Of course, all Catholic kids in catechism know these two mysteries by heart. We have been taught that the Eucharist is the centre of all things Catholic, our Eucharistic Lord waits for us in the tabernacle, etc. We know that a sacrament is "an exterior sign of an interior grace," which were "instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us." (CCC 1131)


In our current day, the Church has been blessed with the writings of a Benedictine monk, called In Sinu Jesu: When Heart Speaks to Heart; the Journal of a Priest at Prayer." The anonymous priest began receiving such beautiful words, which he felt the Lord spoke to him in his prayer time before the Blessed Sacrament. The following excerpts are so appropriate for our current situation in the Church today:


"This is why it so grieves Me that churches are locked and that I am left for days on end alone in the tabernacle. I would draw souls to My open Heart, I would have them experience what it is to abide in the radiance of My Eucharistic Face...but you priests, shepherds of souls, have forgotten that keeping open your churches is integral to your sacred ministry...I want My priests actively to encourage souls to seek Me out in the Sacrament of My love and to spend time close to My Eucharistic Heart." (54, 55)


"[Priests] betray Him when they leave Him alone in locked churches and when they make it difficult or impossible for souls to approach His tabernacles." (184)


"Oh let [priests] return to My tabernacles where I wait for them, and let them open My churches so that the souls entrusted to them may also seek Me out in the Sacrament of My love, and be filled with My blessings in their time of need." (206)



Our spiritual director Fr. Fernando Suarez spent countless hours before the Blessed Sacrament, and encouraged thousands of people around the world to do the same. The Eucharist is one of the "5 stones of Medjugorje," one of the great reasons for so many signs, wonders and conversions, as well as an abundance of vocations. Even in Lourdes, more people are healed during the procession of the Blessed Sacrament than in the healing baths!



COVID-19


The Eucharistic renewal in the Church, a great grace of the Holy Spirit, is being countered by the devil through the indifference of God's people. Truly, many perpetual adoration chapels have been opened throughout the world, which has brought great blessings and healing to the Church and the world. However, the great majority of Catholics do not spend time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, do not attend Mass daily or even weekly.


Now, of course, the covid-19 pandemic has been let loose on the world as an effort to shut down what Eucharistic devotion there is in the world. While locked churches and lukewarm Eucharistic devotion are not a new phenomenon in our Church, certainly they are connected, if not symbiotic or causal.


This is the common thread among every persecution of the Church in the world: anti-Eucharistic worship. Whether it was the atheistic regime in Mexico, the Communists of Yugoslavia, even the French Revolution (in which approximately 30,000 priests were murdered) the "powers that be" close churches, make Mass illegal, kill priests, etc. The powers that be don't like crowds gathering for worship. They are usually not threatened by individuals or families praying together, although in communist Yugoslavia, even personal rosaries were banned. Yet, one of the greatest threats to the evil one is the actual, Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, as St. Francis said, "all the tabernacles of the world." Satan always seeks to remove the Eucharist from the people; if he can't remove it, he prefers to make people indifferent to it. In either case, the result is usually the same: people leave the Church.


As we mentioned in the beginning, the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian faith. Padre Pio famously said that the Holy Mass keeps the world in existence. If the Eucharist is the source of Christianity, if a government, if Church members themselves, discourage people from Eucharistic devotion, the Church begins to die.


It has happened every time in history. Simply look at Catholic France, once the bastion and shining light of Catholic Christianity in Europe. When 30,000 priests were killed in the French Revolution, God raised up the Cure d'Ars to foster Eucharistic devotion. And yet, still today France has not recovered from so powerful a blow to its Eucharistic identity. If you "take out" the Eucharist, you take out the Church.


This healing Sacrament, the Most Blessed Sacrament, is under perhaps the most vicious persecution in the history of the world. At no other time in history has the entire world made it difficult, or impossible, for the faithful to receive, or adore Jesus in the Sacrament of the altar. Dioceses give dispensations of our Sunday obligation, and people watch the Mass on TV or the Internet, making a spiritual communion.


While spiritual communion in and of itself is certainly a gift of God to His People, it was never intended to replace the Sacrament of His love- a sacrament being both physical and spiritual, an exterior (physical) sign of an inward (spiritual) grace. We are body and soul, not angels. Nor are we Protestants! Yet, even among Protestants, especially in Pentecostal and charismatic circles, love for communion has been growing in the past 100 years, although the theology is of consubstantiation, not transubstantiation. (NB: Fr. Fernando, before he died, commonly quoted healing evangelist Benny Hinn, who said that according to a major study, more Catholics are healed than Protestants, because of their belief in and reverence for the Eucharist.)


WHAT ARE WE TO DO?


God's People need to wake up and pray for the situation in the Church. God said in the Scriptures that we are to obey governments, since God has put them in power. (Romans 13:1-2) However, we know that in the early Church, Christians gathered for worship, and to receive the Eucharist, even though it was illegal. This is because the Scriptures also command us not to forsake assembling together. (Hebrews 10:25) This does not refer to the Internet! It is not the same...


God wants us to be obedient to the government, unless the government tells us to do something that goes against His commandments. This is why abortion, though legal, is still condemned by the Church, along with homosexual acts, etc. The government does not decide true morality- God does, and it is layed out in His Word (the Bible) and the magisterial teachings of the Church.

Therefore, whatever the reason might be, it is wrongful to lock the churches, to shut the Church down because Jesus commanded us to partake of His Body and Blood. He said, "Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you." (John 6:53) This verse should inspire us to pray for the Church.


Of course, bishops and priests want their flock to receive Jesus in the Eucharist. They also want to be obedient to the government (and if they are not, they would be punished). Apart from going underground, perhaps there are other creative options. We can pray for our shepherds to have the creative, witty ideas from the Holy Spirit to feed the flock with the Bread of Life. With no end in sight to lockdowns, we must pray for God's sudden power, as He released over Paul and Silas when they, too, were imprisoned:


"And at midnight, Paul and Silas praying, praised God. And they that were in prison, heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and the bands of all were loosed." (Acts 16:25-26)

As we prepare to celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima tomorrow, let us pray as she taught us, for the conversion of sinners, and the grace to receive the Eucharist once again.


Lord, do again today what You did for Paul and Silas, when they were imprisoned. We, the Church have been imprisoned again! Oh Lord, we need You. We need You in the Eucharist. We pray for the Church throughout the world, for the Holy Father, for bishops, priests, deacons, religious and lay people. Let the light of Your truth shine forth. Let Your People awaken to see what is happening in the earth today is not "business as usual," but rather perhaps the most vicious attack on the Church in our world's history yet. Let us see and know Your presence by the Holy Spirit, in these troubled times. But, Lord, we pray specifically, knowing that "wherever two of you on earth agree in asking for anything it will be granted to you by my Heavenly Father." (Matt. 18:19) We agree in faith, asking in Your Name, Jesus, that the churches be unlocked. Let Your People come back to the Most Blessed Sacrament. Let the governments of the earth repeal their sanctions, their persecution of the gathering of Your People. Remove every obstacle to the Holy Mass, and all Eucharistic devotion. Let us once again be allowed to receive Jesus in the Eucharist, and to adore Him in the churches and chapels. Lord, if the governments of the earth refuse to be obedient to Your law, let the bishops and priests begin to take the Blessed Sacrament underground, as they once did, risking their lives for the salvation of the souls of Your People. Let not the source and summit of our faith be held away from us any longer. Give Your bishops and priests the insight and enlightenment from the Holy Spirit of how to feed God's People. Give them the courage to give their lives for the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 15:26)


In Jesus' precious Name we pray, calling upon the intercession of Mother Mary, St. Joseph in this Holy Year, and all the angels and saints of God. Let the Eucharist be reverenced once again!


Amen.


"Come, spirit, from the four winds, and blow upon these slain, and let them live again. And I prophesied as he had commanded me: and the spirit came into them, and they lived: and they stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army." (Ezekiel 37:9-10)


Daniel C Devine III, M. Div




"The Church draws her life from the Eucharist. This truth does not simply express a daily experience of faith, but recapitulates the heart of the mystery of the Church. In a variety of ways she joyfully experiences the constant fulfilment of the promise: “Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:20)"

-Pope St. John Paul II


"We cannot separate our lives from the Eucharist; the moment we do, something breaks."

-St. Teresa of Calcutta


"...the Angel was holding in his left hand a chalice and over it, in the air, was a host from which drops of blood fell into the chalice. The Angel leaves the chalice in the air, kneels near us and tells us to repeat three times:


Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore You profoundly, and I offer You the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended. And by the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg the conversion of poor sinners." (link)

-Sr. Lucia of Fatima, on the third visit of the angel of peace