Dearest Eucharistic Family,
Follow the Star by your interior life.
We are in Advent, preparing the Way of the Lord in our souls to find Heaven now through the Eucharist.
What if we heard Jesus say?...
We know from all that has been prophesized that suffering is part of our journey home, self-sacrifice a sign of true love. Divine Providence reveals Itself. We can see when we are open to what is beyond the veil of this life. We follow the STAR through our interior life with Jesus. Blessed to receive Jesus daily in Holy Communion so He may speak to the depths of our existence and keep us securely on the journey to everlasting life. Let us prepare the way of our Lord, His birth and second coming, by finding perfection in God’s Will, allowing the Holy Spirit to help us find God’s Will by “keeping watch of our interior state carefully.” (St. Peter Julian Eymard)
Advent… a time to prepare, a time to expect. Being the mother of three sons, I find it natural to experience Advent thinking of the expectation of Mary. I can relate to being pregnant, to the wait and the hope of seeing the face of the life growing inside. I remember preparing the crib, buying the clothes, and sitting in the nursery waiting, filled with wonder and hope. This year though, I feel a different kind of wonder. This year I find myself wondering… What if?
What if this Advent, letting go of expectations, we become the expectation? What if instead of preparing to receive, we prepare to be received?
My father used to always say, “Christmas is for the children.” He wouldn’t allow my mom to gift us socks or clothes; Christmas was the time to get toys. Growing up before the internet was a thing, before Black Friday sales dictated what the “must-have” items for the season were, preparing for Christmas meant sitting down with the big fat Sears Christmas Wish Book and seeing which toys were available that year. We would help our parents untangle the strings of Christmas lights, help decorate the house, and work on our list for Santa. That was it. We would then wait for Christmas morning, knowing it would be great. I knew what I wanted and who I needed to ask for it, and I trusted he would come through for me… Santa never disappointed me.
As I reflect on these memories, I wonder… when did it become so hard to make a wish list? And I don’t mean one of material things, but my soul’s wish list.
Knowing what you need and what you want is at the core of being childlike. As soon as a child begins to speak, the parent starts asking… What do you need? Are you hungry? Are you thirsty? Are you in pain? If those needs are expressed and then met, the child learns to trust, both the caregiver and himself. The child realizes his needs are valid and, exploring his desires, comes to a greater knowledge of himself. What is your favorite color? What is your favorite food? What do you like to do?
Then life happens… sin enters in. Broken, limited human love disappoints us, and we project that unto God. We spend years creating and nurturing a false self, one who is self-reliant, “adult-like,” less likely to get hurt. Desires that are too lofty and might not be met are numbed down, traded for ones deemed acceptable, tangible, easy to achieve by oneself.
While our faculties are busy taking care of our families, performing our duties, preparing for Christmas, let us allow our souls to rest with Jesus in the womb of Mary, being fed and nurtured, allowing our lungs to expand and develop. Perhaps this Advent we can take some time in prayer to let God affirm us in our identity, to just be and let the truth of who we are sink in. What if we sit in prayer and ask Our Father, What child is this?
It is here where the Spirit will come to our aid and ask for what we truly need.
That is it. We can then wait for Christmas morning, knowing it will be great. Our soul knows what we want and Who we need to ask for it… we just need to remember and trust that, just as He always has, He will come through for us… God will never disappoint.
Have you ever looked closely at a great statue? If we pay attention, we can almost see the artist’s intent in every part of its form. We can glean that the style of the artist is forever engraved in each of the chiseled surfaces. If you can imagine it, bit by bit, stroke by stroke, with perseverance, the image of the work was transferred from the artist’s mind into the marble block, and eventually, after much effort, the work was done. We now have art. We can see the artist’s identity in the work, for a part of him is there, embedded within every line of the work. We can appreciate the sculpture and appraise its value, for it results from both an ability and effort that are beyond most of us.
As I was looking at the world-famous “The Pieta,” I was astonished at the piece’s beauty, and I immediately recognized the extraordinary talent and faith of the artist, Michelangelo. Yet, the thought that stayed with me was neither about the Pieta nor about Michelangelo. What struck me and would not leave me was the idea that the implements used to create this extraordinary work must have genuinely accomplished their purpose well.
Michelangelo could not have made the Pieta without his tools and instruments. There must have been a particular tool to use for every specialized task… many types of hammers, chisels, and rasps. The work could not have been completed without them. They were the conduit for the will of the artist. Yet, for those who look at the finished product, the artist’s implements are hidden.
Nobody looks to see how great a hammer was that transferred the artist’s power to the marble or how excellent the chisels were that carved the lines of the final work. The artist’s implements are not considered important, yet the art’s creator knows their true value. He chooses the perfect tool for the right job. He cares for the instrument, appreciates its characteristics, and uses it to the fullness of its capability.
When we look at the world and all that is faithful and beautiful in it, we might be able to focus on the work that has been made and recognize God as the Creator. His Grace shapes the world. God’s intent as the Creator is to shape the world into the most perfect and sacred creation. But what about his implements?
We are meant to be the implements of God’s Grace.
Can you imagine the tools going against the will of the artist? It would not work very well, and the result of this would be seen in the final product.
Our will must be aligned to God’s will for us. That way, we will allow His Grace to flow into the world and affect His creation in a dynamic way. The world is everchanging… God’s Grace can flow through us if we are willing. We choose to surrender to His will for us and His will for the world.
Even the most minute details are necessary things... The work is not completed until all the details are implemented. Our part in the whole of creation may seem minimal or even insignificant, yet our Lord knows the value of our contribution.
God, our Creator, values His implements. Through the Humble Eucharist at Mass, He provides the care necessary to keep us in working shape. Through the Sacraments, we receive the maintenance that keeps us able to receive and channel His Grace.
Because we have free will, It would be more difficult to complete the necessary work without our consent. If we consent to His will for us, we can offer Him our time and ability in true humility. Then we can be an integral part of shaping His most sacred art. Therefore, the question for us is simple: Do we want to be active participants in our Lord’s efforts to shape the world into its most beautiful form? Are we willing to become His implements of Grace?
Let us pray: Lord of all Creation, we offer you our hands, our minds, and our hearts, that we may be able to become your implements of Grace. That through your life in us, we may be able to help shape the world into your most beautiful Kingdom. Amen.
Dearest Eucharistic Family,
We have Our Lord Jesus Christ with us truly present in the Blessed Sacrament. The AWESOME wonder we are invited to live in falls into the mystery of God. As we pray in thanks and praise, let us take time to renew our spirits. The turbulence of our world will constantly try to sweep us away; it cannot. We have been called from Heaven to know we are created in God’s love. Our response to let others know there is more than this world is challenging; it seems charity is the only key to this Kingdom, a hope to bring assurance of what is to come and confidence to live in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, our mission.
The above psalm should set fire to confidence in our souls in remembrance of the Providence Our Father in Heaven has granted to us.
Recall a time your shoulder has been freed from a burden.
Recall a time a burden has brought you to the foot of the Cross.
Jesus’s hand reaching for us, pulling us up out of the sorrows of our sins, is a good image to have in our minds. How do we obtain the confidence of God’s love under the weight of the Cross? It seems an interior communication by the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The indwelling of grace lives in the hope of what is to come. Joy is found here, and the blessing to serve is our greatest pleasure.
My eldest daughter (26 years old) and I recently had dinner home over a glass of wine. We were having a wonderful conversation with some laughter. She reminded me of when something went wrong when she was little. I would ask her to write several times, I will not... And also, I WILL... We rejoiced in the memory, which led us to a serious conversation about journaling and the ability to ask for God’s grace.
Our Eucharistic vocation leads us to move with Jesus, to come to know His love and know His WILL. Jesus will help us flourish in a communion of the divine life now through our adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. In the above words of St. Peter Julian, he teaches us the vocation of an adorer is the fruit of adoration itself.
The Catholic dictionary on vocation:
In whatever vocation we serve in life, let our first call be to adore the Blessed Sacrament. In adoration, let us come to know Jesus, to be conformed ever more to his humble love. In the Tabernacle, let us go to find ourselves locked in the mystery of our God so He may possess our hearts, and with confidence, we will live by the power of the Holy Spirit.
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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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