January/February/March 2011 Newsletter No. 123
“He shall be peace” (Micah 5:4a).
“The infinite distance between God and man is overcome....He has truly ‘come down,’ He has come into the world, He has become one of us, in order to draw all of us to Himself....He has truly built islands of peace in the world-encompassing breadth of the holy Eucharist. Wherever it is celebrated, an island of peace arises, of God’s own peace. This Child has ignited the light of goodness in men and has given them strength to overcome the tyranny of might. This child builds His kingdom in every generation” (Pope Benedict XVI, Midnight Mass 2010).
Reflections for the Seasons
We go to Him just as we are—for He loves us just as we are. Yet, He always offers us the grace to become better and grow in love. When we can say “yes” to Him and accept His generous love, gifts and graces then we can truly begin to witness the awesome benefits of His transforming love! These gifts will be manifested in and through every area of our life, faith and work to our family, friends and acquaintances. “Christ is truly the Emmanuel, that is,’God with us.’ Day and night He is in our midst, He dwells with us full of grace and truth” (Mysterium Fidei).
“The Eucharist is the sacrament of healing par excellence…. God chose a humble handmaid and granted her to sing the new canticle that still echoes in every Eucharist, when the Savior joins us in his Word and gives Himself as food so that our joy may be perfect…. In Lourdes, the Eucharist is at the center of all pilgrimage-related activities. It alone gives meaning to the charity that is exercised in a special way toward the sick. The Eucharist sets Mary’s visit to Lourdes in its proper place—the place indicated by the feast’s Gospel reading on the wedding at Cana. Mary attentively is at her Son’s side when she says, ‘They have no wine,’ the wine that gives a taste for life; she is thus at the side of all persons in distress. ‘Do whatever he tells you,’ she says, and you will taste abundantly of the wine of the joy of salvation” (The Wonders of Lourdes, Pierre-Marie Dumont).
When we come before Jesus exposed in the Blessed Sacrament we come to Him as we are. He already knows us, He has called us to Himself, He ardently loves us and longs to be with us. Jesus wants to see us ‘Face to face,’ to commune with us ‘Heart to heart,’ not just in long distance calls. He wants to listen to us, to love, heal and care for us. All of our cares are His cares. All of our joys are His joys. All of our concerns are His concerns. All of our loved ones are His loved ones. “Come to Me all of you who are weary and find life burdensome and I will refresh you.” “Cast all your anxieties on Him for He cares about you” (Mt 11:28; Pt 5:7).
Throughout Jesus’ public ministry on earth He healed the sick, He made the blind to see, the deaf to hear, He even raised the dead! Jesus keeps His promises! “Behold I make all things new.” (Rev 21:5)
Mary Magdalene was a great public sinner. Mary heard of Jesus and His tender love for sinners. Mary saw Jesus, His love touched and pierced her heart. Mary Magdalene repented, and converted. He delivered her from the bondage of sin and darkness. Mary was immediately, completely and eternally transformed!
From that day on Mary Magdalene became a disciple of Jesus. Mary Magdalene was so completely transformed that she even followed Him to Calvary! There she stood by Him, with Mary His Mother. Once we have contemplated and experienced His true loving presence, in perpetual adoration of The Blessed Sacrament, we too will be a new creation.
Solemnity, Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God & World Day of Peace—Jan. 1:
“The contemplation of Christ has an incomparable model in Mary. In a unique way the face of the Son belongs to Mary. It was in her womb that Christ was formed, receiving from her a human resemblance which points to an even greater spiritual closeness. No one has ever devoted himself to the contemplation of the face of Christ as faithfully as Mary....When at last she gave birth to him in Bethlehem, her eyes were able to gaze tenderly on the face of her Son, as she wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger (Lk 2:7). Thereafter Mary’s gaze, ever filled with adoration and wonder, would never leave him” (Rosarium Virginis Mariae, Ven. John Paul II).
Solemnity of the Epiphany of Our Lord—Jan. 2:
“Consider the humble sacrifice that the shepherds and the three Wise Men made in their long journey to adore the Christ Child. Only the humble shepherds and the wise astrologers followed the star of faith to Bethlehem. He was the King, much greater than they were. No journey was too long because any trouble they had was infinitely worth the sacrifice. When they saw Him, they bowed down before Him. Where was the rest of the world? Who could understand then that the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes was the hidden Incarnate Word of God? He came quietly and lovingly. Only the humble and wise could see the humble Jesus lying in a manger. The rest of the world passed Him by. Look at how God has never stopped honoring the shepherds and the magi for honoring His Son in Bethlehem. The humble sacrifice of their long journey is praised in Scripture. And around the world in every church and Christian home at Christmas, they are included in every Nativity scene. In the Blessed Sacrament, Jesus comes to us even more humbly than He did before. That is why your sacrifice will give God even greater glory than the glory given Him by the shepherds and the three Wise Men. And God will honor you even more than the shepherds and the three Wise Men for all eternity for honoring His Son” (From our “Value of Sacrifice” pamphlet).
Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus: Blessed be His holy name!—Jan. 3:
“All the nations shall come to adore You and glorify Your name, O Lord” (Ps 86:9).
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Widow, Mother, Convert, Religious, U.S. (1774-1821)—Jan. 4:
St. Elizabeth—a convert to Catholicism—wrote: “God is everywhere, in the air I breathe, yes everywhere, but in His Sacrament of the Altar He is as present actually and really as my soul within my body.”
St. John Neumann, Redemptorist Priest, Bishop, Bohemia (1811-1860)—Jan. 5:
Despite safety concerns and criticism, St. John started 40 hours of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the U.S.. One night, he fell asleep while working at his desk. The candle on the desk overturned and all of his papers burned, except the letter he wrote about 40 hours. God seemed to tell him: “As the flames are burning here without consuming or injuring the writing, so shall I pour out My grace in the Blessed Sacrament without prejudice to My honor. Therefore, do not fear profanation and do not hesitate any longer to carry out your designs for My glory.” St. John began and spread 40 hours, and people came to adore Jesus in droves!
St. Andre Bessette, Br., Miracle Worker, Montreal, Canada (1845-1937)—Jan. 6:
Br. Andre spent hours in Eucharistic Adoration. “If you stay a long time without taking any nourishment how could you live? If you do not go to Holy Communion, you cannot remain long in the state of grace.”
Day of Penance for Violations to the Dignity of the Human Person—Jan. 22:
“If people spent one hour per week in Eucharistic Adoration, abortion would be ended” (Bl. Mother Teresa).
St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest, Doctor of the Church (c. 1225-1274)—Jan. 28:
“I firmly believe that Jesus Christ, true God and true man, is present in this august Sacrament. I adore You, my God and my Redemption” (St. Thomas Aquinas).
St. John Bosco, Priest, Salesian Founder, Italy (1815-1888)—Jan. 31:
“I beg you to recommend to everyone, first adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and then reverence for the most holy Mary” (St. John Bosco).
The Presentation of the
Lord—Feast, February 2:
“Simeon gave back Jesus to His Mother, he was only suffered to keep Him for one moment. But we are far happier than Simeon. We may keep Him always if we will. In Communion He comes not only into our arms but into our hearts” (St. John Vianney).
Blaise, Bishop, Martyr, Patron of Throat Diseases, Armenia (316)—Feast, Feb. 3
St. Blaise was devoted to the Holy Eucharist. While imprisoned for his faith, he ministered to others and saved a child who was choking to death on a fish bone. News of the miracle spread and this led to the custom of the blessing of throats, with two candles, in Church on St. Blaise’s feast. St. Blaise was beheaded for his witness to Jesus.
St. Agatha,Virgin, Martyr, Patroness of Nurses, Breast Cancer, Italy (251)—Feast, Feb. 5
Consecrated to Jesus at a young age, St. Agatha refused the advances of the Roman Governor. She was brutally tortured and mutilated, then left to die. Miraculously healed, the Governor was furious and sentenced her to death by burning. St. Agatha prayed to be faithful to Jesus to the end. Dear Virgin and Martyr, whom the Church recalls in her liturgy, you heroically resisted the temptation of an evil ruler. Subjected to long and horrible tortures, you remained faithful to your heavenly Spouse. Encourage nurses, those suffering from cancer, victims of sexual violence and natural disaster. Help them to find hope, peace and strength in Jesus, like you.
St. Josephine Bakhita, Religious, Africa (1869-1947)--Feast, February 8
Kidnapped from Darfur, St. Josephine was enslaved and tortured. She was later bought by a kind family, freed and went to Italy with them at the age of 21. Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament attracted her to Catholicism. She converted and joined the Canossian Sisters. St. Josephine spent many hours daily in Eucharistic Adoration. She said: “I will send from heaven lots of graces for the salvation of souls.” St. Josephine, please pray for the people of Sudan!
Scholastica, Benedictine, Abbess, Miracle Worker, Italy (480-547)—Feast,
Twin sister of St. Benedict, St. Scholastica was the first abbess of the order of nuns, founded by her brother. Devoted to the worship of the Eucharist at Mass, and Adoration, she remained very closely united to Jesus. When she died, St. Benedict saw her soul depart from her body, in the form of a dove, and ascend up into heaven!
Our Lady of Lourdes, France—Feast,
“Lourdes, where non-Catholics imagine that we accord Mary undue eminence, is no doubt that place in the world where Christ in the Eucharist is most glorified. It is the only place in the world where, under the veil of the Host, Christ mingles in the midst of so many rich people and is as closely pressed by them as He was during His mortal life. His mother prays for these bodies and these souls, and Christ cures them. The procession of the Blessed Sacrament in Lourdes starts from the Grotto to show that Jesus was given to us by the Virgin. And she who stood on Golgotha, at the foot of the Cross of the condemned Man, stands here by the side of the King of eternal glory” (François Mauriac, Holy Thursday).
Novena Devotions: “Lord, we adore Thee! Lord, we believe in Thee! Lord, we hope in Thee! Lord, we love Thee! Jesus, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God! Thou art the Bread which came down from heaven! Thy flesh is food indeed! Thy blood is drink indeed! Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me whole: Lord, Thy will be done!
O Mary, health of the sick, pray for us! O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee!
Queen of Peace, pray for us! Our Lady of Lourdes, bless the Pope, Vicar of Jesus Christ! Our Lady of Lourdes, bless our country! Our Lady of Lourdes, give us holy priests! St. Bernadette, pray for us! Lord, we adore Thee!
Lord, we bless Thee! All peoples of the world, praise ye the Lord! Glory be to Father, etc.”
St. Claude de la Colombiere, Priest, France (d. 1682)—Feast, February 15
Jesuit spiritual director of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, St. Claude was inspired during his adoration before the Blessed Sacrament to promulgate the message of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, as revealed to St. Margaret Mary. He spent many Holy Hours in Eucharistic Adoration.
Bl. Angela of Foligno,
Widow, Mother, Secular Franciscan, Italy (1248-1309)—Feast, February 28
Bl. Angela wrote of the Blessed Sacrament: “O my soul, how can you refrain from plunging yourself ever deeper and deeper into the love of Christ, who did not forget you in life or in death, but who willed to give Himself wholly to you, and to unite you to Himself forever?”
St. Katharine Drexel,
Religious, America (1858-1955)—Feast, March 3:
St. Katharine Drexel, of Philadelphia, gave up her wealth to spend her life for Jesus in the Holy Eucharist in prayer and work for the poor. She founded the order of Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament to serve Native and African Americans. St. Katharine wrote: “I adore You, my Eucharistic God. You are there exposed in the ostensorium [monstrance]. The rays are the rays of Your love for me, for each individual soul. If it wasn’t for Your love, I would be in hell. I return You thanksgiving through Mary, through St. Joseph, through all the Apostles, Martyrs, Virgins and Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament in heaven. And lastly, I thank You through the sacred host on all the altars throughout the world.”
St. John of God,
Religious, Founder of Hospitallers, Portugal (1495-1550)—Feast, March 8
St. John was a holy youth and spent the first part of his life as a shepherd. As a young man St. John joined the military and veered from his faith, but later converted and dedicated his life totally to God. St. John founded the Brothers Hospitallers of St. John of God who tirelessly care for the sick. St. John wrote, “Love our Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist above all things in the world.” He is the patron of those suffering from heart disease.
Louise de Marillac, Mother & Religious, France (1591-1660) —Feast, March 15
Widowed, St. Louise was left alone to raise her son. The spiritual daughter of St. Vincent de Paul, Louise began to help in his work with the poor and the sick. Later, with his guidance, she founded and wrote the rule for the Daughters of Charity. At that time in France, the poor, the sick, and even babies, were often abandoned in the streets. Louise worked to care for them and is often invoked to intercede for pregnant women in crisis and the lives of the unborn. St. Louise wrote of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, from Whom she drew her strength: “Give Yourself wholly to me please, O my God . . . that I adore in this most Holy Sacrament, take entire possession of me. O sweet Jesus! O good Jesus! my God and my all, have mercy on all the souls redeemed by Your precious Blood.”
St. Patrick, Bishop and Patron of Ireland (d. 461)—Feast, March 17:
Kidnapped, brought to Ireland, and enslaved, St. Patrick escaped and later returned to Ireland to bring Christianity. He wrote, “We who believe and adore the true sun that is Christ, Who will never die, nor ‘will those who have done his will’ but abide forever, just as Christ Himself will abide for all eternity: who reigns with God the Father all-powerful, and with the Holy Spirit before time began, and now and through all ages of ages. Amen.”
Joseph, Patron of Universal
Church, Spouse of B.V.M.—Feast, March 19:
“The Blessed Sacrament and St. Joseph. Behold our hope in these perilous times!” (Bishop Pichenot) “Aside from the Blessed Virgin, Saint Joseph was the first and most perfect adorer of our Lord.” (St. Peter Julian Eymard)
Catherine of Genoa, Wife & Mystic, Italy (1447-1510)--Feast, March 22
Known for her love of the Blessed Sacrament, and revelations on the poor souls, St. Catherine wrote, “Sacrament of my God, my Jesus, my life and my love, how I love to be with Thee. Ah, how necessary art Thou to my heart! How sweet and tender are the sentiments Thou excitest in my soul! God of love, divine object of all earthly happiness, what peace I enjoy when near Thee! What holy joy, what transports even amidst the troubles and sorrows of my offenses. Before Thee the universe is in a profound silence! Before Thee all things are as nothing to me; Thou alone, O my Jesus, art all to me.”
Feast of the Annunciation of the
“In an instant the Holy Spirit overshadows her [Mary],
making her a living ciborium privileged to bear within herself for nine months
the Guest who is the Host of the world” (Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen).