By: Ivonne J. Hernandez
I remember the days of my youth, when summertime meant freedom; freedom from schoolwork and busy schedules, freedom for rest and relaxation. I remember waking up with nothing on my schedule but calling up my neighbor and inviting her to go outside and play. I remember spending hours lying down on our driveway, staring at the clouds in the sky, watching as they formed recognizable silhouettes that slowly drifted away. We would come up with all sorts of games and just enjoy spending time together with friends. Those were the days!
Summertime now is much different. As a mother in charge of others, I don’t get to wake up with nothing to do but play, even in July. Yet, the need for rest is still there. I was hoping we could escape to the mountains for a couple of weeks this summer, but so far, we have not been able to get away. As the weeks pass on by and the “Back to School” ads start to popup, I catch a restlessness creeping in; the thought that I will not get the rest I desire. What amazes me is that, when I remember watching the clouds go by, when I place myself in that moment of my childhood, I feel peace, and my weary soul finds rest. “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28). The peace I feel points to the reality that there was something greater than some random clouds on a summer day, and through the gift of memory, the grace of that moment is available to me today.
“Come away to a deserted place and rest a while” (Mk 6:31). We might not always be able to go physically to a deserted place (as much as we would often love to!), but we can always enter into our inner room, deserted from all external influences, and rest a while. It is in this place where God will speak to our hearts and will remind us of all the moments of grace available to us. He is the Alpha and the Omega; in Him there is no time. In that place the silhouettes of our burdens will disappear like the clouds, and the sun will shine through. “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28).
By: Laura Worhacz
“The Eternal Father and the Holy Spirit sanctified Mary in order to make her a worthy tabernacle for the Divine Word: for this, it was necessary to create another heaven; Mary had to be Immaculate in order to receive the Word into her being.” - St. Peter Julian Eymard
Dearest Eucharistic Family,
I wondered what God would have me do this summer in my spiritual life. Our Lord recently reminded me through prayer of Our Lady’s espousal to the Holy Spirit. Our Mother and the Holy Spirit, one in and through the Body of Christ, wed together, made one... We are the offspring of the spirit of God’s eternal love. Born into our baptized life, into the family of God. We hear our Mother and the fruits and gifts of her spouse if we keep our souls in communion with Jesus. God longs for us to be sanctified, to hear His voice; we are blessed to hear the Word of God, keeping God’s Word close to our hearts, allowing It to create us, like Mary, into “being”.
My family continues to live in the grace of the moment, through the intercession of your prayers, with my husband Raymond’s end-stage liver disease. Last week he was on the verge of another hepatic encephalitic episode (when the brain is affected by the toxins in the body). Submission to God’s will is what we must do to keep our hope alive. We are renewed in the abiding presence through the reminder of Our Lady’s espousal to the Holy Spirit of life, which refreshes the security our souls. The words of the Magnificat can be proclaimed in the midst of sufferings, in the midst of tears and the unknown, “My soul doth magnify the Lord!”
St. Paul in Romans 8:37-39 magnifies the reality of the Eucharistic life we live in with no fear. “No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
We have the promise of Our Father in His Gifts of the Holy Spirit. A forceful breath has been gifted to us. Like Mary, we make a worthy Tabernacle for God’s life in our souls, the breadth of God will reign through us.
The Merriam Dictionary defines Breadth: 1. Distance from side to side: width the height, breadth, and depth of each piece. 2. Something of full width begins with a breadth.
Convinced of the love of Christ Jesus by the breadth of the Holy Spirit sanctify our lives. Amen
By: Ivonne J. Hernandez
I was pondering today on the greatness and vastness of the universe, on how it is like a giant playground for human ingenuity and imagination; how it pulls us through its mystery and invites us to explore and learn more about it, and through that, learn more about ourselves…and about God. When I look at this glorious creation, and how, even every hidden detail is meticulously, and lovingly, crafted, I can only think of the loving hand behind it all. Like an Art student who learns to discern the artist’s invisible fingerprint on every work of art created, we can learn to see God’s hand in everything He created. When I look at a diagram of the known universe, and at the tiny dot our world is within it, I can’t help but wonder if it is all created just for us.
I am a big sci-fi fan and have enjoyed many hours of great imaginative shows of other worlds and civilizations in the far recesses of this universe; yet, the more I ponder the more I wonder. God’s love is so extravagant. The same God who upholds every corner of this vast universe, knows when I sit and when I stand, and understands my thoughts from afar (Ps 139:2). The same God who created the stars we see, meticulously created a tiny flower, hidden in a valley, who no one else but He would ever see; yet I can’t help but think, He made it just for me.
Because if I know He created that flower, who’s beauty and fragrance would only please Him, then I can know that my innermost heart, was also made just for Him. And this universe so vast, so extravagant so perfect, then perhaps fulfills its purpose when it makes me think of Him. Like a lover leaving clues for His loved one to pursue, everywhere I look I hear Him say, “Arise, my friend, my beautiful one, and come!” (Song 2:10). Come and see how much I love you. Come and see what I have done for you.
By: Laura Worhacz
The first fruit of contemplation is the recollection of the soul in our Lord, in which it discovers the mystery of His perfections and the love of this ineffable Gift of the Eucharist.
Saint Peter Julian Eymard (Eymard Library Volume 7, page 123)
Dearest Eucharistic Family,
Heaven exists in our souls through the reception of holy Communion. We may be tempted to look out to seek love, to find God, to grasp the tangible gifts of the world. The fulfillment of our heart’s desire lives within us.
Summer time is a wonderful time to go with God into our souls and find the “mysteries of his perfections” like Saint Peter Julian is reminding us of in the above excerpt. Contemplation is taken with us in the activities of our lives once we have found the gift of the Eucharist. The relationship we nurture with Jesus Eucharistic provides us security in our existence. God is creating something new in us every moment and by our awareness and participation we receive great grace.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus is telling the disciples to not put old wine in new wineskins as the skin will burst and the wine will spill over. The skin will be ruined. “…pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved” (Mt 9:14-17).
To discover the contemplation of our souls we pray. We make a conscious effort by forming a routine that sets time aside for God. New wine? Yesterday is no more. The sacred moment in time we live in, we treasure. What is to come will be manifested in our eternal salvation, found now in God by receiving the Eucharist in the freshness of a new day. A heart that is open to the gifts of the Holy Spirit is one that takes the sacredness of “new wine into fresh wineskins”. We bring the contemplation of the Eucharist with us in every breath of our days.
Contemplation consumes our whole reality and God is found in every facet of our existence.
We are Ivonne Hernandez, Rick Hernandez and Laura Worhacz, Lay Associates of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, and brothers and sisters in Christ.