By: Laura Catherine Worhacz
Hosanna, hosanna in the highest!
Every Holy Week, it has been a tradition for my family to watch The Passion of the Christ. One of my favorite portrayals in the film is the flashbacks.
When Jesus is in His Passion, He thinks of running into His mother's arms. When He thinks of His love for us, He thinks of Holy Thursday and leaving us His life in the Eucharist. Saint Mary remembers being saved from being stoned and recalls the hand of God reaching down to her to lift her to the Cross.
How blessed we are to enter Holy Week and celebrate another Palm Sunday tomorrow. What about us? Where do our flashbacks take us?
In the silence, we can go there... Sometimes the places we are taken to are quite painful; sometimes, we recall graces embedded in our hearts that take us to the mystical. All of which create us in the divine plan and help us see God's love in all things.
To identify with all the experiences of life is healing for our souls. We find peace in the acceptance of our lives. We need grace to see the work of God in our lives. The Sacrament of Reconciliation sets fire to our longing to give in return for God's love for us.
What about flashing back to our first encounter with the Eucharist, to the moment we were given the grace to know Jesus in the mystery of the Sacred Host? How did our hearts burn with a desire to be with Jesus? How we longed to be in the presence of the living God.
Holy week is a time to be made holy; there is time for us to grow while still on this earth. On Holy Thursday, we are to remember how Jesus washed the disciple's feet and offered the first Eucharist: "Do this in Memory of ME." On Good Friday, we venerate the Cross and think of the divine person, Jesus Christ, dying for each of us so personally. On Holy Saturday, we wait in preparation for the Easter Vigil when the Resurrection from the dead is revealed to us.
The Sacred Triduum, the mystery of salvation, invites us to live in the Passion, Death, and Rising of Christ. Saint Joseph lived this mystery in intimacy with God. All that was revealed to him Saint Joseph kept sacred. Indeed, he reminisced often, flashbacked to the dreams he had, thought of the terror he fled from and protected his faith in Christ.
May this Holy week bring our lives to the Praise and Glory of Our Father who art in Heaven. Lord help us to be guardians of the Eucharist.
By: Ivonne J. Hernandez
“Saint Joseph is the patron and model of interior souls; his life has been spent in obscurity, the Scripture does not mention any of his words. We have to imitate him, to love the silence and seclusion, to maintain within us the fire, whose flames will then show and illuminate all our actions.” – St. Peter Julian Eymard
“We have to love the silence.” So, what is silence? The dictionary defines it as “complete absence of sound,” “stillness.” It comes from the Latin silentium/sileo, which denotes a state of being, “I am silent.” I find this interesting because it immediately brings to mind the words from Psalm 46:
“Be still and know that I am God!” (Psalm v.11)
God, the great I AM, tells us that we have to be still for us to know who HE IS. We have to BE silent. We have to empty ourselves from all sound so that His Word can enter in.
“For when peaceful stillness encompassed everything and the night in its swift course was half spent, Your all-powerful word from heaven’s royal throne leapt into the doomed land” (Wisdom 18:14-15).
Think about the moment before a masterful orchestra begins to play; there is silence. No one dares speak a word; no one dares to cough. Any sound would ruin the moment. The emptiness of sound makes room for the beauty that is about to fill it.
“Aspire to the spiritual repose of recollection at the feet of your good Master; the silence of love is perfect love.” – St. Peter Julian Eymard
Expectation, our capacity to receive, grows in the silence. Many of us have experienced the sublimeness of being lost in the eyes of our beloved. In that moment of silence, we hear the sound of two hearts speaking.
It is the same in our relationship with God. He is our beloved; we are His beloved. All He wants is for us to get lost in His gaze. It is at those moments, though, when the enemy of our souls will ramp up the storm.
The moment we try to BE silent, a million distractions usually jump at us. It is then the unclean spirits will whisper lies and tell us we must hide from our God. It is at that moment that we need to make a choice.
If we truly want to BE with God, then we let Jesus take care of the distractions. If we let Him, He will silence the unclean spirit and will quiet down the storm.
“Do not fear! Stand your ground and see the victory the LORD will win for you today. For these Egyptians whom you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you have only to keep still.” (Exodus 14:13-14)
A friend, who is studying to become a priest, wrote to me earlier today. He had just finished an hour of Eucharistic Adoration, and he wrote: “Not every silence produces the same sound. He was silent but effective. Wishing you a Happy Feast of St. Joseph. May our man of honor continue to intercede for us.”
After I read his message, I couldn’t tell if he was speaking of the silence of Jesus in the Eucharist or the silence of St. Joseph. And then I realized there was no difference; they are both the same silence.
No wonder St. Joseph was so silent; in his house, there were no unclean spirits; in his house, there were no storms. There was no need to rebuke, for his house was full of love. “The silence of love is perfect love.”
“I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”
Jesus brings His peace; He brings His love. He tells us to BE still, to listen only to His voice. God wants to BE with us, to BE in us, to become one with us. He speaks most eloquently from the silence of the Cross.
By: Rick Hernandez
Every day, sitting at my desk, I welcome the afternoon sun that tells me that the day is progressing. My desk is placed in such a way that the afternoon sunlight comes through, at just the right angle so that sometimes I am bathed in light.
There is a particular awareness that comes from being shined upon. It sharpens the way things look. At that very moment, the gentle strength of the light rays is but a gift for me. I am reminded to give thanks for the light!
One day a ray of light shone from the edge of my desk in such a way that, in my memory, I was transported back to an experience of my years as an altar server. This was a few years after the transition between the old and the new, just after implementing the Second Vatican council edicts in our Diocese.
I was really young but remembered being trained to serve under my parish pastor. My main job was to assist with the preparation of the altar and then ring the bells during Consecration. Father was a good man, a gentle soul, and a good priest. He was always kind with me and with the others that were getting trained as altar servers.
I have to say that anybody who saw me back then knew that I just could not stay put for too long. Curiosity for the world and its wonders was ever-present in me, and I would get distracted easily. Many simple things used to catch my eye; it was part of my personality.
Obviously, this trait of mine was not an asset when I was serving at Mass; Father had to gently motion to me every time I was about to miss my cue. What a loving, gentle, and fatherly priest he was to me… But my lack of focus was a problem, and he had to address it.
“Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others…” (Colossians 3:23)
One day Father sat me down before Mass and said:
“Child, you have ‘chispa’, the spark of life. You have ‘gusto’ for all things and are ever curious. That is ok; it is a gift given to you.
That day at Mass, I prayed for the gift of presence. I tried my hardest to be there fully. How could I not after Father so lovingly explained what my presence there was for? I was gifted that day with the ability to concentrate, to be able to see everything in sharp detail, to perfectly listen to every word.
When the time of Consecration came, I was on my knees looking up at the altar and listening to the words: “Take this, all of you, and eat of it, for this is my Body, which will be given up for you”… and at that moment, light from the upper windows shone through, caught the edge of the altar and bathed our Lord Eucharistic in light.
“See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19).
In an instant, recognition. I realized at that moment why my job was important, and I rang that bell confidently and full of zeal. In my heart, I knew that I was announcing that He was there, fully present. This was it, the light telling every eye, the bell telling every ear, His love telling every heart.
That bell ringing called us to be there present with Him IN the moment, to adore Him, to bring our sufferings and unite them to Him who died and rose for us…. to be there for Him who, for us, conquered death… to be there for Him who, for us, became bread and wine. What an honor it was to announce all this, to have been for that fleeting moment, the ringing bell of recognition.
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
At every Mass, the word “Behold” is said, and Christ Eucharistic is raised. In the great humility of Christ, the Son of God is once again as forever, the Lamb of God, our Lord, our Savior, our Redeemer. He is food for the journey, sustenance for life, true life. And when we partake of Communion, that most intimate act of union is a perfect showing of Love, Faith, and Hope.
We must hear it still, that call to all of us, “Can’t you see? This is important. Pay attention.” Behold! Let us recognize Him. He recognizes us.
Let us pray: Lord, may we be ever attentive to the promptings of your love and mercy. Help us to recognize your guiding hand in all things. Please, let your light shine on us as it ever shines on You. Amen.
Image by By Imgorthand at Canva
By: Laura Catherine Worhacz
“BEHOLD the beautiful month of Saint Joseph! We must spend it well. My only wish is that you develop a great devotion to Saint Joseph…Saint Joseph as the faithful adorer, the perfect model of the life of adoration...We offer it too for our beloved country that Saint Joseph may increase its faith and virtues and above all shower on it the Bread of life the better to revive it and rescue it from spiritual starvation. “
Dearest Eucharistic Family,
Our hope is in the Lord who made Heaven and Earth -- save us from spiritual starvation!
It seems we need a shield in front of our souls at every breath of life. A child in fear takes hold of its parent hands and immediately finds security. Saint Peter Julian reminds us in the above excerpt to behold Saint Joseph... to behold fatherhood and the integrity it was created to be, whole and undivided.
Disheartening is the witness of betrayal. We see and hear of it constantly, marriages collapsing, Holy Orders defiled… The restoration of God’s life begins in the hearts of those who believe in Him, with those who are willing to fall in love with Christ’s redeeming power. The Lenten season calls us to repentance, a time to glimpse into our existence and view our lives, a time to cast away shame and guilt so we may be born into EASTER with the fullness of life through our baptism.
Saint Peter Julian Eymard was always known to carry with him the Gospel of Saint John, another beloved. Saint John, the one who kept his head on the heart of Jesus Christ at the Institution of the Holy Eucharist, was enabled to soar above the darkness of the world through the love of Christ. Saint John, like Saint Joseph, teaches us to find the integrity of life through the desire to return love; this marks them as beloved ones.
The Eucharist leads us to dignity, integrity, fatherhood and motherhood, the sacredness of the sacrament of matrimony, and respect for the holy priesthood. How many men and women deny the vows people make by luring them away from them? BEHOLD Saint Joseph, the one who listened through the deep recesses of his being to be formed anew in God, the one who teaches us integrity illuminated in compassion through humility.
In my early morning rosary walks the joyful mysteries allow me preparation to receive Holy Communion. The birds of the air are chirping loudly; they seem to understand one another. Our prayers keep us in communion with the Kingdom of Heaven. God hears and understands our voices. The world may only hear chirping, yet we understand through our prayer that we are calling to the source of life in whom we seek Our Father.
May our prayers help us to purify our lives throughout these 40 days. May the intercession of our prayer gather many through the beating heart of the Eucharist. Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Saint Joseph, and many beloved ones exemplify the way to salvation through integrity of life. Behold us, Lord, who desire this pathway to HEAVEN. Forgive us of our sins. Amen
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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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