By: Laura Worhacz
"Do thou be their mother, O thou strong one. Love them even as thou hast loved Me, as I have loved them. It was through love for them that My Heavenly Father made thee My Mother. It is for them that I am giving My Blood and My life. I love them more than Myself, and I transfer to them all the claims that I have to thy maternal love. Whatever thou dost for them, will be done for Me. I confide to thee the fruits of My Redemption, the salvation of mankind." (Eymard Library, Volume 7 Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Page 95)
Dearest Eucharistic Family,
We are in the third week of our Lenten journey wondering with you if we are receiving all that Jesus has for us in His many gifts of the Eucharist. One of my favorite movies is Lone Survivor. If we get past all the language to the heart of this true story we find the reality of hatred and love, of war and peace. There are so many emotions in witnessing war, so many thanks to give to our service men offering their lives for our beautiful country. Michael Murphy is the main character in the movie. Michael grew up close to my hometown on Long Island, where a monument stands in his honor and it is very real for me to image his life growing up. For me the saddest part of the movie, truly the scene that pierced my heart, is when Michael Murphy’s father finds out his son was killed and throws his Rosary beads in the garbage. Tears fled from my eyes identifying with this man’s pain. We are weeping at the foot of the cross for the sin that still exits through our disobedience and the choice to do evil.
Most of you are aware that I have published a Consecration book to Jesus through Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament. My very favorite part of the meditations, rooted in Saint Peter Julian Eymard’s library, is his reference to Mary as “O thou strong one”. We are reminded in the above excerpt that Jesus has given us His Blood, His life, and that the fruit of His Redemption that we receive is “Salvation”. Salvation remains with us on the Altar of the Lord where every consecration of the host transforms into the Body and Blood of our Savior. God is with us, alive and lamenting with us in our pains. The greatest gift Jesus has given us after His very life is His Mother. He offered Mary to us at the foot of the Cross so she can accompany us. Mary, in the likeness of Jesus, is the strong one. She is the one who absorbed all of the ignorance of humanity with her Son. She wept at the foot of the cross and she experienced death at the foot of the cross. Mary’s life was in Heaven, where the love she offered was waiting in Its fullness.
We are awaiting the celebration of EASTER and it is there where we remember what St. Paul hopes we find, “And if Christ has not been raised, then empty [too] is our preaching; empty too, your faith.” (1 Cor 15:14). Weeping at the foot of the Cross in the hope that exists in the God of the Eucharist. We cling to the “Strong One” offering our Rosaries for all who have lost hope through the pains of their earthly pilgrimage. May our faith not be in vain but in the Resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come, in Jesus.
By: Ivonne J. Hernandez
This past week my husband and I went to visit my aunt, who is very sick at this time. When we entered the room in the facility she is at, we found her husband, falling asleep in a hard hospital chair while she rested on her bed. He looked exhausted. He has been caring for his sick wife for a while now. We stopped by to see her on our way to dinner, and, although it is not how either one of us would have planned to spend the evening of our 27th wedding anniversary, I can see now that God had a better plan.
“In sickness and in health.” The vows we took 27 years ago took on a different tone as I looked at my uncle and was reminded of what they really mean, a total gift of self. It is the reminder that to love is to will the good of the other, at the expense of our own desires, and sometimes even our needs. It is a surrender to the will of God as it is presented in the moment in front of us, and not as we wish it would be. It is in that moment, in the struggle, on the cross, that love shines like the sun.
The lyrics from the hymn Lord Who Throughout These Forty Days come to mind:
"As you did hunger and did thirst,
so teach us, gracious Lord,
to die to self, and so to live
by your most holy Word.
And through these days of penitence,
and through your Passiontide,
forevermore, in life and death,
O Lord, with us abide.
Abide with us, that so, this life
of suffering over past,
an Easter of unending joy
we may attain at last.”
The word abide means to bear patiently; to tolerate. In the words of the hymn above we ask Jesus to abide with us through the dark times; to tolerate us. I know that when I am sick and not feeling well, I am not the best company for my husband. I become intolerant of the situation and become difficult to tolerate in turn. Yet, in bearing patiently with me during those times, the love we have for each other grows.
As we walked out of my aunt’s room, we quietly held hands. Our hearts were heavy, but in that pain, there was gratitude and hope; the hope that through the grace of the sacrament of marriage we will each have what it takes when we are called to put our vows to the test. “Bear one another’s burdens, and so you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Gal 6:2). “"Love one another… As I have loved you” (Jn 13:34).
By: Laura Worhacz
“Let us, then, breathe in Mary’s spirit; it is the same as that of Jesus, for she received it from its Divine Source. She is full of His grace, in order to communicate it to us. She is the only true and perfect copy of His virtues; she labored for three and thirty years with the Divine Original constantly before her eyes. She knows all the secrets of the love of the savior for mankind; she shares His unbounded love for us. Oh! With what tenderness and devotion does Mary love us! She loves us as only a Mother so good and so powerful can love.” (Eymard Library Volume 7 Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, page 94-95)
Dearest Eucharistic Family,
It seems like the world is swept away in anxieties. Good and holy people, hard working people, God’s people, filled with nervousness in all different aspects of the word. We are all experiencing the Agony in the Garden in some way; things that bring us to a place of uncertainty, things that shake us. With all this, where do we turn? Jesus went to the Divine Source while in the Garden of Gethsemane. He sweat blood begging for His cross to be taken; we know He submitted to the Will of God. Jesus went to His Father after His Last Supper. He embraced the reality of the sin of the world. He prayed. Peace is available to us in Jesus, not as the world gives it, but as He gives it. Jesus absorbed all the devilment of mankind to bring us the fullness of life. The acceptance of the Mystery of Our Father’s love calms the pandemonium of our hearts.
The empowerment of God’s love is found in the Eucharist. Jesus remains in the humility He died with, so we may find the peace we are seeking by humbly offering ourselves to God. Saint Peter Julian reminds us that we have a mother; “She knows all the secrets of the love of the savior for mankind”. Mary’s Spirit is her espousal to the Holy Spirit. Living in the breath of the moment of God’s grace enabled her to be the first to be receptive to the peace of Christ. Mary lived with the “Divine Original.” She became the love that was before her eyes. Our Lady had peace through the Passion of Christ; no anxiety beheld her. Tears yes, they flew from her love; still, she had peace. Adoring the Blessed Sacrament during this Lenten Season will help sweep away the anxieties of our lives. Jesus suffered an intense Passion for us; He died for us. We walk these sacred mysteries in this holy season to raise our faith to a yet another level of Resurrected life while still on earth through the Eucharistic peace of Christ our Lord. Amen.
We adore you O Christ and we praise You for by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world.
By: Ivonne J. Hernandez
Brothers and sisters:
I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you,
that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over,
took bread, and, after he had given thanks,
broke it and said, "This is my body that is for you.
Do this in remembrance of me."
In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying,
"This cup is the new covenant in my blood.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup,
you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.
(1 Corinthians 11:23-26)
We have embarked together on another Lenten journey. As the boat leaves the shore, I can still see the silhouettes of what has been left behind. Looking ahead I see the open water, and maybe some dark clouds in the distance. The clouds are still far though, and the anticipation of what is to come fills me with excitement and maybe a little fear. Thinking I might have forgotten something, I go over the things I’ve packed for the journey: sacrifices to offer during Lent (fasting), new or renewed devotionals (prayer), commitments to serve my brothers and sisters (almsgiving). Check, check and check. I look around and see my fellow travelers busily looking through their own luggage and checking their schedules for all the wonderful opportunities available to grow during this journey. Everyone seems too busy to notice the dark clouds ahead, and I wonder if we are truly ready for what lies ahead.
I think it is human nature to forget the “bad stuff” and focus on the good. Each year, when we celebrate Easter, the difficulties of Lent melt away. When my son was born, the pain and difficulties during the pregnancy and labor melted away as I saw this miracle in my arms. But now that he is a teenager, I remind him every now and then of all the sacrifices we made so that he could be born. I do not do this to make him feel bad. On the contrary, I do it to make him feel loved. When I shared with him how my life was at risk during the pregnancy, and how we rearranged our whole lives so he could have a chance to live, he looked at me and said, “I was loved before I was born.” And I told him, “Yes you were my love.” This is what Lent is about. We remember how much God loves us. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life” (Jn 3:16).
I guess we are not ready yet, and that is precisely the point of the journey. Our Church invites us on this journey of growth and preparation. The path through Calvary is narrow, and, in order to make it through, we will need to let go of some of the things we are holding on to. Are we holding on to resentment, anger, or unforgiveness? Are we holding on to fear? Ask God to show you what extra baggage He wants you to get rid of; to show you what is keeping you from running to His love. And then, once He shows you, just let it go. Give it all to Him and watch how it all gets burned away in His love and transformed in His hands. “Do this in Remembrance of Me.”
Now, what did God do for Mary? He associates her with His great mystery. The Father calls her His daughter, the Son loves her as His Mother, while the Holy Ghost guards her as His spouse. She was destined to share in the great work of divine power. She is associated with the empire of God Himself. (Eymard Library Volume 7, page 29)
Dearest Eucharistic Family,
Our Lenten season will begin very soon. We will once again be journeying with Jesus through His passion and death to the glory of Easter. My husband and I were recently reminiscing about times past. In many of these memories were distinct times of uncertainty for the stability of our family. In the unknown, the great mystery, there is a special formation of our souls. Through our acceptance of the mystery, a union with God is created and a trust with Our Father in Heaven is established.
We can ask ourselves the above question: “What did God do for Mary?” We can apply a similar question to our Lenten walk: “What will God do for me through my participation?” We can give up many things, we can offer up all kinds of sacrifices; these are all good practices. However, the acknowledgement of our espousal to the Holy Spirit and His guardianship for our souls, along with nurturing our relationship with Jesus and Mary in prayer and carrying the dignity as a child of God holds a higher offering. Are we allowing God to form our souls? In being God’s precious children are we careful to what we listen to on the radio, watch on the tv, or view with our eyes?
Mary shared in the empire of God Himself, “destined to share in the great work of divine power”. Mary was able to share in God’s life through the receptivity of her life, the awareness that God was forming her soul for the eternal. Mary was attentive to what God did for her; He opened her heart to a love that would live forever in the great mystery that surpassed her earthly journey. Mary lived as a daughter, mother and spouse to the Trinity perfectly since she rejoiced in the stability of her Father’s love. The instability of life did not abandon her to exile; her soul was forever rooted in heaven.
Perhaps this Lent could be for us a time of commitment to prayer, either in the quiet, or prayer brought into our daily duties. Consider making a commitment throughout the Lenten season to get to daily Mass or to offer up a fervent spiritual Communion prayer.
My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the most Holy Sacrament. I love you above all things and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot now receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I unite myself wholly to You; never permit me to be separated from You.
We are Ivonne Hernandez, Rick Hernandez and Laura Worhacz, Lay Associates of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, and brothers and sisters in Christ.