By: Laura Worhacz
“Mary, His Mother and the Mother of adorers, made amends to Him for everything, and the love of Jesus found inexpressible satisfaction in receiving her prayers and her tears shed for the salvation of the world.” - Saint Peter Julian Eymard ( Eymard Library Vol. 7, page 130)
Dearest Eucharistic Family,
We are living through an extraordinary time of grace. By keeping our senses aware of Divine Providence and the work of God in our lives, miraculous things will continue to happen for the love of Jesus. Through this time of pandemic, sorrow can so easily take over our existence. It is only through prayer that we can see through the life of the Eucharist and recognize that God is in control of our lives.
Early one morning this week, I thanked God for my prayer routine. I thanked Him for giving me the grace to wake up early, to sit with Him in the silence, and then go for a prayer walk to pray the rosary and the chaplet of Divine Mercy. In preparation for Holy Mass, I pray the joyful mysteries in the morning. As I was praying this week, I stopped for a moment and looked at all of creation… the birds, the grass, the trees, and the animals in my neighborhood. I paused in my rosary offering and continued to walk. I was walking with Jesus and Mary in a special way, thinking. I imagined Mary on her way to the visitation. She walked over 70 miles in haste to the hill country. Our Mother was surely living the rosary; she was probably absorbing the beauty of creation. Her heart was surely excited to see her cousin, to behold her and the lives they were carrying. Mary’s espousal to the Holy Spirit enflamed her prayer with joy! Mary carried the Eucharist, the highest form of prayer. I thought as I went back to my beads, how many of us prepare for Holy Mass? Are we forming our hearts to be open to receive the grace from our prayers? God is with us. The battle is real; we see the evil of hatred, violence, and all sorts of destruction on top of the pandemic outbreak in recent days -- devastating and heartbreaking. We live in our prayer the reality of what is to come and the hope in our relationship with Jesus.
Today we remember Saint Dominic. He knew the power of prayer; the Eucharist and Holy Rosary would change the forces of evil to a pathway to Heaven. Jesus finds inexpressible satisfaction in receiving our prayer; our return of love to Him forms us in the compassion of God. Prayer is the most important part of our day. Let us continue to see God in every facet of our Eucharistic lives and to the best of our ability, PRAY.
By: Ivonne J. Hernandez
“You are the light of the world” (Mt 5:14). I close my eyes and picture Jesus addressing these words to me today and ask, “What does this mean?” The answer I hear in my heart: “It means it is not about you.” Light does not shine for its own sake, but for others. “Your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” (Mt 5:16). …”that they may see…” How can this be? I can’t make anyone else see; I can’t even make myself see. Ah… it’s not about me.
I think this is the source of so many of our problems, of so much frustration…our refusal to give in to this one lesson. So, in what may seem like a contradiction, I must focus on my part, yet remain aware that everything I do is about others. Even my most intimate encounter with God is not about me…it is about God. And love of God always leads us to love of others. “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments” (Mt 22:37-10).
Our world is in darkness. People are searching for hope, for light, for truth. Yet, “they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand. ...But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear” (Mt 13:13,16). I often wonder at the great gift of my faith, at the gift of having been born in a Catholic family and having been baptized as an infant. I didn’t do anything to deserve it; I didn’t do anything to earn it, but I must do everything to keep it.
When a child is being baptized, a candle is lit from the Easter candle, and the celebrant says: “Receive the light of Christ. Parents and godparents, this light is entrusted to you to be kept burning brightly, so that your children, enlightened by Christ, may walk always as children of the light and, persevering in the faith, may run to meet the Lord when he comes with all the Saints in the heavenly court.” So now, as an adult, whether my light was kept burning brightly, or was almost quenched, it is my responsibility to keep the flame of faith alive in my heart. "Having received in Baptism the Word, "the true light that enlightens every man," the person baptized has been "enlightened," he becomes a "son of light," indeed, he becomes "light" himself. "(CCC 1216).
But what about those days when my light is so dim it barely shines? What about when I feel I should just hide it and save it because it is barely enough for me? I must look out and remember…it’s not about me. The image that comes to mind is the twinkling lights of a Christmas tree. They are not all on at the same time; they take turns. When the lights are alternating, it looks like a beautiful dance. We do not see the darkness, just the light. But if you take one out, the whole section goes dark. Some days my light will shine before others, some days the light of others will shine before me. But if we keep the light of faith burning for each other, Christ’s light will shine for all to see.
By: Rick Hernandez
Our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, one Good Friday long ago, for the expiation of our sins, for the redemption of His loved ones. I can't fathom what it would have been like to be there, at the foot of the cross, knowing that the Messiah was going through that much suffering for me. The Gospels tell us of a few people among the multitude that were present during the Crucifixion: The Virgin Mary, Mary of Magdala, and John the Evangelist. These holy persons we know very well from their roles in the life of Jesus, but there were another two men present in Golgotha that day, crucified along with Our Lord, the two thieves: Dismas and Gestas.
We do not know much about Dismas and Gestas. Some of the early Christian writings tell us that they were bandits, men that stole from the people on the road to Jerusalem. Caught by the Romans Auxiliaries, who were tasked with keeping the territory safe, the bandits were sentenced to death by crucifixion. The Gospels tell us that these men were on their own crosses at Golgotha, one to the left of Jesus, the other to His right, and kept addressing Jesus. "'Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.' Those who were crucified with him also kept abusing him" (Mark 15:32). They both doubted Jesus, but then something incredible happened, Dismas’ eyes and heart were opened, and he was able to see the Son of God.
"Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, 'Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us.' The other, however, rebuked him, saying in reply, 'Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.' Then he said, 'Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom'" (Luke 23:39-42).
Dismas, through that encounter with the heart of Jesus, became the "Penitent Thief". He experienced one moment of perfect clarity. He understood and accepted the guilt from his sin, witnessed to Christ's innocence and acknowledged Christ’s power to redeem him. “…Remember me…”. In that moment of true lucidity, Dismas was able to confess to the High Priest, our Lord of Mercy. His admission of fault, true contrition, and acceptance of responsibility allowed his crucifixion to act as his penance. Christ washed Dimas’ soul clean. “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43).
Contrition, theologically speaking, comes directly from the virtue of Charity and it is therefore a gift conferred by God. The acceptance of the gift and its application to our lives (the internalizing of the gift) is an act of our will. That means that contrition is a cooperative act between us and God. We know He is always acting, giving, loving, waiting for us to turn back to Him. Are we consciously asking for and trusting His Mercy? How painfully unaware are we of our faults, our prejudices, our sin. We really depend on our courage. Courage allows us to look inwards with humility and sincerity to examine our conscience. After that, we trust in the sacrament of reconciliation. We trust in God’s Mercy. We can hold-on tight to our Mother Mary and pray for her help and guidance. We have another guide in St. Dismas, that we may be like him and grab onto the opportunities that are presented even at the final moment.
Let us pray, that now and at the time of our deaths, we are gifted with that moment of great clarity, that we can persevere through the temptations to give up on the hope for Heaven, and that while accompanied by Mother Mary, as promised to her consecrated children, we are able to achieve perfect contrition from all our faults and shortcomings. This so we can meekly face Our Lord, and humbly ask "Jesus, please remember me…" Amen.
By: Laura Worhacz
“Take my word: do works of zeal only out of duty, but aspire to the interior life because you are drawn thereto by divine love…Try earnestly to become interior, that is, to live for God, to work in partnership with Him. Manage to thrive on His divine Providence, natural and supernatural, of every moment.” – Saint Peter Julian Eymard (Eymard Library Vol. 6, page 249)
Dearest Eucharistic Family,
July 13th was the 103rd anniversary of the third apparition of Fatima. It was in this appearance from our mother that she opened her hands and rays of light came forth. The light brought the three shepherd children to see; they saw hell, darkness, a place where sin takes us. Our Lady said that day that to prevent this… “I shall ask for consecration of Russia.” Mary allowed the children to know what would become of us without being consecrated to God and His divine love. Mary left us with the words, “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”
I have been immersed in the Fatima message for many years praying with it. Our Mother asked of us to participate in the five first Saturdays and make communions of reparation. The culmination of Mary’s pleading to me is to be in prayer; God’s divine love and grace come forth from this. A fond memory for me is that of Our Lady interceding to save Saint John Paul II when he was shot on May 13, 1981. This miraculous engagement was rooted in love. He lived in the divine. Mary’s zeal was her duty to save. What a moment of grace. Mary’s Divine love and union with Divine Providence called forth the miracle that guided the bullet millimeters away from what would have been fatal.
What is fatally attracting us from our interior life? As we go with fortitude in prayer through the pandemic outbreak, can we see Mary’s hands, the hands opened to the divine light, the light that will bring us to the divine love of Our Father in Heaven? Divine Providence is before us, every moment. In the interior life we come to see every second. Mary’s hands, the light they hold, bring us to Jesus. His Eucharistic life is still breathing within us. It is interior, it keeps us in divine love.
By: Ivonne Hernandez
I have always loved visiting office supply stores. Browsing up and down aisles filled with brightly colored papers and plastic bins of every shape and size touched on a hidden desire of my heart, a desire for order. I bought into the idea that with the right combination of tools, perhaps my days could be organized, my thoughts filed in an orderly manner, easily grabbed at a moment’s need. Over the years I’ve bought bins and binders, pens and markers, calendar and label makers, filing cabinets and colored papers. As I look at the piles of papers and baskets on and around my desk today I wonder…did any of it help? Or am I still the same disorganized mess I was before?
If I were going to write an autobiography, I would probably title it Work in Progress… Pardon My Dust. It seems like my life is always changing and as soon as I adapt to a new phase, the phase is over, and it is time to start new again. Whether it is with our marriage, homeschooling, health and exercise, home projects or spiritual exercises, sometimes it seems life is like laundry…the drudgery of life is never done. And, though there is truth in that statement, it is not quite the whole truth. When you wash a load of laundry, fold it, put it away, and then wear it again, you do not create a new piece of clothing, you just take away the dirt that had accumulated on it. When you are building a life, you are always making something new. “Founding a monastery is a continuous process of sawing to build your design and trying to dispose of the sawdust, while you're always being forced to reconstruct. You have to give it your all and it's never done” (St. Benedict).
This experience of creating something new, does not only apply to the lives we build, or the monasteries monks establish. As temples of the Holy Spirit, we ourselves are works in progress…in the hands of God. “For we are God’s co-workers; you are God’s field, God’s building” (1 Cor 3:9). Each day, each interaction changes us; each day we grow. So perhaps all this dust that so often drives me crazy is there to remind me of the work that has been done and should become an opportunity to give thanks to God. Maybe rather than looking at the bins of unorganized papers I should focus on the work that has been published. Perhaps rather than looking at another unopened calendar I can remember the family activities we had, and all that is yet to come. Yes, I am still a disorganized mess, but, despite that, with God’s help, I’ve accomplished much. So, let us remember what we are building --what God is building with and through us--, and rather than being discouraged by a little dust, let us keep going, persevering, always living in hope.
By: Rick Hernandez
A few years ago, due to my work, I found myself living away from my family, in the Milwaukee suburb of West Allis, during a particularly difficult Wisconsin winter. While I was there, I attended Mass at Mary Queen of Heaven Catholic Church, served by the Missionary Fathers of the Blessed Sacrament. After a few weeks of attending, that wonderful church became for me, a second home. There we had Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament every night in a small intimate space, where I would go and kneel, to tell God of my day and to try to hear his comforting words in my soul.
It was difficult to be away from home, and my loneliness was difficult to overcome as winter kept most people cooped inside, where it was not freezing with below-zero temperatures. Most of my comfort came from praying with my rosary in the Adoration chapel, feeling quite content that I was finally wearing down some of the edges of my rosary beads. Then one day, while working outside, I noticed that I had lost my rosary. I was so sad and hurt over this. I felt deflated and lost. That physical rosary had become so important to me, like it was the one connection to my sanity, the one road to soothing my anxieties over my loneliness, and it was now lost... I shed many tears over this. It is not that I did not have other rosaries. I did. It is just that both habit and the context of my living situation had given much more meaning to that particular rosary. I felt that loss deeply.
I started praying about this, and when I visited Our Lord in his Adoration chapel, I brought forward my questions... “Why did it become like this? Why did that rosary become so important? I have you here right now Lord, and that is of more value than a thousand rosary beads, just material things...” But then, why did it hurt so much? Right at that moment, as I was kneeling there in that little chapel, I felt God placing his soothing hand over my shoulder. With this fatherly gesture, a great calm washed over me; I knew then that it was ok. I understood at that moment that my prayers through that particular rosary helped bring forth both His love for me and my love for Him. That rosary was a token of our relationship, of a love alive, shared freely in both directions; but a token does not define a relationship, the relationship defines the token.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)
I had come to terms with my loss and I felt so grateful for the time that I spent there, and for the gift of understanding that comforted my heart. After a while, I said my goodbyes and left. Hunger reminded me that I had not eaten yet and I decided to stop and pick up something to eat in a pretty famous burger joint, not far from the church. I got out of my car and there in a snow mound I saw it, my rosary waiting for me. How did it get there? Well, that is for the angels to reveal, but I know deep in my heart, that it was another gift, just for me. Like my rosary, I was a little lost, but at that moment I knew that I had been found. What a way to be yet again claimed by the One who loves me!
I pray for all of us, that whenever we are discouraged, lost, anxious or wavering, we are again reminded by the power of His own hand, that we are LOVED, that He is with us, wherever we go. Amen.
By: Laura Worhacz
"Mary was modest in the world. She eagerly sacrificed her privacy and the sweetness of heavenly contemplation in order to go to her cousin Elizabeth, to congratulate her and render her assistance… she gave heed to the call of charity and withdrew when she was no longer needed." - Saint Peter Julian (Eymard Library Vol. 7, page 60)
Dearest Eucharistic Family,
“Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light” (Ephesians 5:14). In a recent conversation with a dear loved one regarding the suspension of Mass, I heard the words: “My family is very happy watching the Mass on TV from our family room.” Yes, we know that some people cannot come back to church with compromised immune systems and the like. There are those who can come back to Mass and will choose not to. Perhaps it is a lack of knowledge that the Bread of Life that comes down from HEAVEN to the Altar is the flesh of the Son of God. We who have been given the gift to know Jesus Eucharistic have a responsibility to make Him known and loved. “Watch carefully how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise” (Ephesians 5:16).
We are living through a special time of grace, one that calls for sacrifice, sacrifice to nurture others into the knowledge of the love of God found in the Eucharist. A drum roll may be necessary, a loud trumpet blast, something that will wake the still baptized life into a flame of hope. Only love can do this. Mary accomplished the waking of the Spirit when she greeted her cousin. The child leapt in Elizabeth’s womb at the sacrifice of Mary.
Jesus is coming again and there is much to prepare. When we make provisions for a celebration, we make calls, reach out, send invitations, explain the event… To whom more is given still more is expected. For us, faithful ones of Jesus Christ, Jesus Eucharistic, sacrifice is needed now more than ever to nurture others back into the pews. This time of sacrifice is one for us to learn from one another, a time to love one another. For some a simple response may be, “it is wonderful we have had the opportunity to live-stream and offer a spiritual Communion prayer”, however, receiving Jesus in Holy Communion is for us the greatest gift this side of Heaven. He is the healing of our souls, the life blood of our baptism, the love of our lives. Sharing the love we have for Our Holy Redeemer, our best friend, and the spouse of our soul Christ Jesus, will invite others to His banquet of LOVE. Our Father in Heaven first sacrificed His Son for love of us and Mary shows us this way to Jesus. We follow Christ Jesus and Mary in our sacrificial love for others, we do this in Remembrance of HIM.
We are Ivonne Hernandez, Rick Hernandez and Laura Worhacz, Lay Associates of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, and brothers and sisters in Christ.