Dearest Eucharistic Family,
This time of year, we have set before us much décor in the fashion of darkness. Souls long to be in the presence of grace and sacramentals that raise our hearts and minds to the heavens.
I recently had the privilege of bringing Holy Communion to a parishioner in rehab healing from brain surgery. As I walked down the facility’s hallway, I passed at least two dozen witch hats pasted to the hall walls, all pointing at me. In the corners of the hallway were stuffed demons and goblins! I walked with my pyx and said, “O my Jesus...”
The glory, the good news, is that we walk through this life with and in Jesus. Praise God for the Eucharist. Jesus is the center of existence through the Liturgy. The Sacramental Church raises us out of this darkness into the light. We can view the things of this world through the light of the Eucharist. Our baptism births us into our childhood of God. Our Blessed Mother, Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament, is here to keep hold of our hands. It is only grace to know the spiritual life. Blessings are available beyond the veil of this world. We desire to have our loved ones, and all we encounter come and know this gift of God’s presence among us. We want all to know there is a way in which we can live that is beyond the darkness.
We have only weeks until the new Liturgical year begins. A new awakening is set before us, and we will once again prepare for the birth of Christ.
Imagine at the consecration being with St. John, Our Mother, and the beloved ones of God. We can think of the water drops poured into the chalice representing our tears. We pray in reparation out of love asking for forgiveness of our sins and those of the whole world.
The transforming blessings of the Holy Spirit change us as we place ourselves on the Altar of God. Grace to suffice for the darkness.
Our beloved human family immersed in the ornaments of destruction only have the hope of our prayers. St. Peter Julian, Apostle of the Eucharist, reminds us to imitate our Divine Master in every way, in the hiddenness.
Jesus’ fiat was to bring forth the Glory of His Father, His love by the power of the Holy Spirit.
All Hallows' Eve is coming!
All Saints and All Souls Day to look forward to. May we be imitators of the light like all the saints of Heaven as we carve our pumpkins and place the votives inside.
Jesus gave Himself even unto death on the Cross, asking for forgiveness of sins.
We are to work out our salvation this side of Heaven through the Eucharist. In hope, let us identify with others by being people of Divine Wisdom and Understanding. May our goodness draw others to desire all that is holy.
One day, in prayer, the Lord brought my attention to an interesting word… penance. To be honest, I wasn’t really excited about that. Penance was not something I wanted to dwell too much on. I wanted to talk about other things… pretty things… consoling things. But God had something else in mind.
When I heard that word, the first thing that came to mind was the penance we receive in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Sometimes a Hail Mary or an Our Father, kind of as an afterthought… not something I have spent much time praying on.
As I thought about it, I realized that the word had kind of a negative implication for me; there was a punitive connotation in my mind… this is not something I get to do, but something I have to do because I sinned. I’ve often heard the term used in other punitive settings, like when a priest is found to have committed grave acts and is removed from ministry and “assigned to a life of prayer and penance.”
I think that in my mind, I had connected penance with punishment. No wonder I didn’t even want to think about it. But God insisted, so I knew He had something for my good in mind.
I sat to pray, and in my mind, I heard an echo coming at once from Fatima and Lourdes: “Penance, penance, penance!” Such an urgent call from Heaven…
The angel and Our Lady were echoing the Word spoken back in Galilee… repent!
The word repent in this passage was translated from the Greek word metanoia. Interestingly, this word does not have any negative connotations for me; I like the word metanoia. I immediately understand it to mean a change of direction that begins in and flows from the heart.
Ok… maybe this penance thing is not what I thought it was. I had thought about it as something that came from outside, but God is calling us to have a change of heart.
To internalize this call to penance, we have to understand the WHY. “Because of hope in Divine Mercy”… Everything always begins and ends with God. It is His Mercy that makes us worthy of His Love. It is His Love that makes us dare to hope and want to change our lives.
“The intention to change one’s life.” That’s it, isn’t it? Are we willing to give up the sin we know, the sin we like? Are we willing to take the steps necessary to walk in the light? This begins with a change of heart, but it must overflow to action, to change… metanoia.
I love the word effort in the quote above… with sweat and tears. This is how we walk in the Way of the Cross. But every journey begins with one step. The penance we are given in the Sacrament of Reconciliation is meant to help us pivot to a new direction and take that first step. To let the sorrow of our contrition be the fuel that propels us to fulfill the promise we made in the Act of Contrition… “to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.
It is like our little boat comes to rest on a shore after being tossed out of route in a storm. It is repaired, restocked, and turned around… pointed in the right direction. Nothing will happen if it remains onshore. It needs a push… a little shove, a concrete external action, and then we can continue to row. We are going in the right direction, but the journey is long, and we grow tired. The undercurrent below threatens to pull us away from God. We cannot continue on our own.
“Penance, penance, penance!”; A clarion call from above...
One of the expressions of penance is prayer; the Mass is the highest form of prayer. Living from Eucharist to Eucharist, we find the strength to stay firm in our intent. It is in the Eucharist that we find the strength to remain in a state of grace.
A life of prayer and penance… doesn’t sound like a punishment to me. Funny how things always work out… I wanted to pray about pretty things, and it turned out penance is more beautiful than I could ever see.
I remember my grandfather teaching me that words have power. Our words, unspoken, are only our own when in the realm of our thoughts, but once we say them out loud, they acquire a life of their own. Once said, our words are out in the world and come and go like the wind, unbound, yet we are still responsible for them... That has always stayed with me, and it has become something that both my wife and I have embraced and taken to heart. We guard our words and make sure that they are words of charity and love once we let them out into the world.
If we only take this wisdom at face value, then the lesson is that "we must think before we speak," which is an excellent lesson to learn, but that is only a superficial lesson. To truly understand the value of this wisdom, we must dig deeper.
Our Lord Jesus teaches his disciples:
Our words indeed have power. They can change reality for someone, affect minds and hearts, even our own. They can help someone find the right way home or misguide them into perdition. Our words can bless or curse. They can lift up or put down. That is power, and we always have a choice on how to use this power.
Today, so many are angry at God, the world, people, and even their brethren. There are not many words of blessing said, but there are many curses. A curse is a thought against another, a word spoken to harm, and it is prevalent in this age. Yet, our Lord was clear on what to do, not to curse, even the ones that do not wish us well:
Some situations are going to be difficult. There are so many of us living in angst. But to lash out indiscriminately is not the solution. Unjust words are not the solution.
"Raqa" can be translated as "idiot"; the word is meant to demean and insult. Even back then, our Lord Christ was clear that calling out names, belittling, and putting down our opponents is not the correct way. If we let anger rule our lives, then we are moving away from our Heavenly calling, which is to " …love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another." (John 13:34)
Feelings are feelings. We will feel what we will feel, yet that is not a reason for acting unjustly, uncharitably, un-lovingly... It is not enough to just control our tongue, though that is a good beginning. We must also transform our hearts. We must not allow feelings to provoke us into acting incorrectly. We must work towards having our hearts be still, free from encumbrances.
We must guide our hearts and minds to develop in a different direction, not to curse but to bless. Through the grace that we receive from our communion with Christ, we must develop hearts of blessing.
Our Lord suffers every possible indignation from our unbelief in the Eucharist. In the total humility of the Bread of Life, He suffers every indignant word, every doubt, every repudiation from those who do not believe, yet His heart is full of love, His WORD truly a gift of blessing to us. His is the example that we must follow. A disciple of Christ must have a heart of blessing. Our lips must speak blessing.
I pray that the people who interact with us can see true hearts of humility, mercy, and charity and that from our witness, they may grow to have words of blessing in both their hearts and lips. May we mature in our faith and understanding, that God's love for us may transform our hearts and minds, that our words and actions then be a living blessing to others.
May our hearts become hearts of blessing. May words of blessing be always on our lips.
Let us pray:
Lord, you know our hearts and minds. Help us that through Your perfect love, we may be able to develop hearts of blessing. Help us that we may live a life of blessing and that our lips may always sing your praises and bring about Your good to the world. Amen.
By: Laura Catherine Worhacz
Dearest Eucharistic Family,
I call upon the angels often. In my daily morning prayers, I pray, "Angel of God my guardian dear to whom God's love commits me here, ever this day be at my side to light to guard to rule and guide," even if I should forget to call upon thee. When the priest comes into the sanctuary, I am in the habit of praying to his angel to be with him through the celebration of the Eucharist. For my husband, children, and in my encounters, my interior calls upon the angels. I wish to call upon the guardian angels more and more.
Today will be a good day to recall the times we have felt the presence of the angels. I remember driving one day, and as I changed lanes, there was a pick-up truck in front of me with lawn care gear. A wheel barrel flew out of the truck the moment I changed lanes. Praise God no one was driving behind me. As I entered the lane next to the tumbling barrel, a tear came to my eye in praise; I knew my guardian angel prompted me to change lanes.
I remember one year; it was in January during the annual March for Life. My now-adult daughter, who was about four years old at the time, was chatting. We were driving in the car, and she said, "Mommy do you see the angels? They are in the clouds." I was praying the rosary and knew my little one was in the clouds with the angels, especially on the day of the March for Life.
So many times, amid groups, I will call upon the angels. Conversations break through the silence, warmth through barriers, grace from the Holy Spirit.
The spiritual realities are beyond the veil of our sight. They live in the baptism of the Kingdom of Heaven now through the Eucharist.
At funerals, we sing, "May the choirs of angels come to greet you may they speed you to paradise…."
In Jesus' agony, He was consoled by angels. Our Father in Heaven has given us everything in the way of grace. Our Blessed Mother, Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Queen of Angels here to behold us in God's love.
This time of year breathes feast days to draw us into the mystery of our Church. Yesterday we celebrated the life of St. Therese' of the Child Jesus. Like so many of you, St. Therese' is so close to my heart. She seemed to live in an interior place, singing with the angels while going about her daily duties. She was concerned with Jesus' suffering, knowing that every beautiful flower of love she placed on His way to Calvary might reflect her gratitude for the Cross. St. Therese' had an angelic spirit. She has revealed to us there is a way to be in the company of Heaven while upon the earth. She found this in the mission to love beyond the ways of the world. To seek the needs of others over her own. To love Jesus in the world, to break through hostilities. Our Lady of the Smile would come to heal St. Therese; this encounter remained with Therese' until her early passing from this life, the angels with her.
May Psalm 91 reign in our hearts:
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We are Ivonne J. Hernandez, Rick Hernandez and Laura Worhacz, Lay Associates of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, and brothers and sisters in Christ.
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