EXCERPTS FROM POPE JOHN PAUL IIS NEW ENCYCLICAL, ECCLESIA DE EUCHARISTIA: ON THE EUCHARIST AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO THE CHURCH,
GIVEN HOLY THURSDAY 2003
"There is a profound analogy between the Fiat which Mary said in reply to the angel, and the Amen which every believer says when receiving the body of the Lord. Mary was asked to believe that the One whom she conceived 'through the Holy Spirit' was 'the Son of God' (Lk 1:30-35). In continuity with the Virgin's faith, in the Eucharistic mystery we are asked to believe that the same Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Mary, becomes present in his full humanity and divinity under the signs of bread and wine. "'Blessed is she who believed' (Lk 1:45). Mary also anticipated, in the mystery of the incarnation, the Church's Eucharistic faith. When, at the Visitation, she bore in her womb the Word made flesh, she became in some way a 'tabernacle'--the first 'tabernacle' in history--in which the Son of God, still invisible to our human gaze, allowed himself to be adored by Elizabeth, radiating his light as it were through the eyes and the voice of Mary. And is not the enraptured gaze of Mary as she contemplated the face of the newborn Christ and cradled him in her arms that unparalleled model of love which should inspire us every time we receive Eucharistic communion?" (55). "In many places, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is also an important daily practice and becomes an inexhaustible source of holiness . . . . Unfortunately, alongside these lights, there are also shadows. In some places the practice of Eucharistic adoration has been almost completely abandoned . . . . The Eucharist is too great a gift to tolerate ambiguity and depreciation. It is my hope that the present Encyclical Letter will effectively help to banish the dark clouds of unacceptable doctrine and practice, so that the Eucharist will continue to shine forth in all its radiant mystery" (10). "The Church has received the Eucharist from Christ her Lord not as one gift--however precious--among so many others, but as the gift par excellence, for it is the gift of [Jesus] himself, of his person in his sacred humanity, as well as the gift of his saving work. Nor does it remain confined to the past, since 'all that Christ is--all that he did and suffered for all men--participates in the divine eternity, and so transcends all times' . . . . This is the faith from which generations of Christians down the ages have lived. The Church's Magisterium has constantly reaffirmed this faith with joyful gratitude for its inestimable gift. I wish once more to recall this truth and to join you, my dear brothers and sisters, in adoration before this mystery: a great mystery, a mystery of mercy. What more could Jesus have done for us? Truly, in the Eucharist, he shows us a love which goes to the end (cf. Jn 13:1), a love which knows no measure" (11). "The worship of the Eucharist outside of the Mass is of inestimable value for the life of the Church . . . . It is the responsibility of Pastors to encourage, also by their personal witness, the practice of Eucharistic adoration, and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in particular, as well as prayer of adoration before Christ present under the Eucharistic species" (25).
Our Lady said: "Do whatever He tells you" (Jn. 2:5). The only request Jesus ever made of His apostles is "Could you not Watch one hour with me?" (Mt. 26:40) Please do what Jesus and Mary ask and start Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration in your parish today!
St. Joseph the Worker, Spouse of Mary and Patron of Carpenters--Feast, May 1 "At Nazareth Joseph's days were filled with work which necessarily took him away at times from his Infant God. During these hours Mary replaced him, but when evening brought him home again, he would pass the entire night in adoration, never tiring, only too happy for the chance to contemplate the hidden riches of Jesus' divinity. For he pierced the rough garments the Child wore, until his faith touched the Sacred Heart. In profound adoration he united himself to the special grace of each one of the events in the life of Jesus. He adored our Lord in His hidden life and in His Passion and Death; he adored in advance the Eucharistic Christ in His tabernacles: there was nothing that our Lord could hide from Saint Joseph . . . . Saint Joseph . . . obtain for me the grace to love, adore, and serve Christ Eucharistic as you did" (St. Peter Julian Eymard).
Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady of Fatima--Feast, May 13 "It is from this fruit that other generation of this Immaculate Heart is to be fed, as Jesus said: 'I am the bread of life. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As [...] I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me' (Jn 6:48, 56-57). And to live thus because of Christ is also to live because of Mary, since Jesus had received his body and blood from Mary. It was in this Heart that the Father placed his Son, as if in the first Tabernacle. Mary was the first pyx that held him, and it was the blood of her Immaculate Heart which communicated to the Son of God his life and his human nature from which we all, in turn, receive 'grace upon grace'" (Jn 1:16). (Sister Lucia of Fatima)
St. Isidore and St. Maria, Married, Parents (A.D.1160)--Feast, May 15 This married couple were poor farmers from Spain, with a great love of God which was passed on to them by their parents. They rose early to attend daily mass and commune with God. They continued their faithful love of God even after their only son died young. They devoted their lives to God through prayer and service to the poor!
St. Paschal Baylon, Patron of Eucharistic Congresses (1540-1592)--Feast, May 17 From Spain, he wrote, "God is as really present in the consecrated Host as He is in the glory of Heaven." One day, before St. Paschal was old enough to walk, no one could find him! His mother searched for him unsuccessfully and went to pray at the Church. When she walked in, she saw little Paschal on the steps in front of the tabernacle! Even as a boy he desired to be with Jesus in the Sacred Host. When he tended the sheep in his father's fields, and could not go to Adoration, he knelt in the direction of the Church and united himself to Jesus. Paschal offered prayers to Jesus Eucharistic. He became a Franciscan brother so that he could go to Mass and spend time in Adoration of Jesus daily.
St. Bernardine of Siena (d. 1444), Priest and Patron of Advertisers--Feast, May 20 From Italy, "The last degree of love is when he [Jesus] gave himself to us to be our food; because he gave himself to be united with us in every way, as food and he who takes it are mutually united" (St. Bernardine of Siena).
A Gift for your Mother: Help bring everyone to Mother Mary's Son Jesus, in Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration! Please be generous with your prayers & donations, we need you!
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