The other day I asked my son,
“Do you know how much I love you?”
He answered the same way he always does, “A lot,” he said.
This time though, wanting a little more, I asked, “How do you know?”
His answer was simple, perplexing, and profound…. “You breathe.”
He said this without pausing, without thinking about it; it was just a matter of fact.
Puzzled, I said, “I breathe? “… “Yes, mom,” he said, “you just ARE.”
What a profound truth. We are made by love, for love… Love is who we are.
We long to be seen, known, and accepted. To love is to encounter, to experience, to receive the other. This is why rejection is such a painful experience… We are meant to be received, but sin makes us ashamed. It makes us hide. But when we hide the parts we believe are unacceptable and unlovable, we make it impossible for others to receive who we truly are.
Where do we find a remedy for this illness? We find it in the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts. Deep within the heart of the one WHO IS, we find the truth of who we ARE.
Truth tells us we are known…
Truth tells us we are loved…
We must hide there, rest there, wait there… until we experience love.
And then, once we open our hearts and receive His love, we let it overflow.
Then, as we encounter others and receive them, they will experience God’s love through us.
In Him… Just breathe… Receive.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has decreed that starting on the Feast of Corpus Christi (June 19, 2022) and continuing for the next three years, the Catholic community in our country will be immersed in a National Eucharistic Revival. This revival is meant to re-kindle a living, loving and active relationship with Christ Eucharistic. Throughout our different dioceses and parishes, we are called into active discernment and participation in the life of the Church through Communion, Adoration, and all that it means to be Eucharistic, a life of thanksgiving.
The Eucharist is the main treasure of our Catholic faith, and Communion is the banquet we shall attend, where we meet Christ personally, physically, and spiritually. To those who have followed our Eucharistic meditations over the years, we invite you to go deeper into your relationship with the Eucharistic Christ and explore all that it means to live thanksgiving in the light of Christ.
You have probably come to know some of the writings of Saint Peter Julian Eymard, Elisheba’s patron Saint and Apostle of the Eucharist. There is not much I can say that would better present our Eucharistic treasure and joy than to use his words, so I leave you in Saint Peter Julian Eymard’s capable hands.
As we go into this revival, let us always remember how we are called to live, in His goodness, and realize what our due is. We must acknowledge the great gift we have been bestowed. Let us recognize Him in the Eucharist and embrace Him with all that we are.
Let us pray: Lord, You are the Lord of all, yet you humble Yourself to become the Bread of Life, food for our journey home, nourishment for a rich life in You. Help us, Lord, to recognize You in the Eucharist. We pray for those of us that do not know You, do not seek You, and do not acknowledge You. Help us become aware of and thankful for Your great gift to us in the Eucharist. May you be glorified and adored in all the tabernacles of the word. Amen.
One of my favorite psalms that raises my heart to the heavens each time it is prayed in the morning Liturgy of the hours is Psalm 81:
“I freed your shoulder from the burden; your hands were freed from the load. You called in distress and I saved you.”
An invisible force of God’s love is manifested in these words; they have spirit and life in a magnified way. We can meditate with them for a moment to find the inner cenacle of our existence connected to our Eucharistic Lord and comfort in His redemption for us in this psalm of salvation.
As we enter into ordinary time, we hear about false gods in the scriptures; indeed, these cannot free us from the burden.
The Cross is a gift for the Christian.
As we are transcended and identify more with the Crucified One, Jesus Christ, we experience love beyond this world. It does become visible for those who believe. It is visible love ignited in a soul that wants to return and bring to life the love they have found, the freedom they have been given.
“I answered, concealed in the storm cloud...” (Psalm 81)
Saint Peter Julian Eymard, a profoundly contemplative soul, discovered that the way to live in perfection through his humanity is to become a gift of self. Can we look to the other in every breath of life and relationship? The night before our Lord Jesus Christ handed himself over to death, he revealed to us how to glorify Our Heavenly Father. Jesus knelt down and washed his disciples’ feet (John 13:5). The Holy Spirit, the invisible grace, offers us joy in our work. Jesus washed the disciples’ feet with joy, passion, and love.
Jesus teaches us to love one another.
To be “freed” from ourselves and live in the Incarnation of God’s promise, love, and the blessings of the Holy Spirit.
God wants us to be exalted!
Yes, through life’s passions, hardships, and pains, we cling to the Kingdom of Heaven.
The Bishop of St. Petersburg, Bishop Gregory Parkes, is having surgery as I type; he will have part of his leg amputated to save him from a recurring infection in his foot. This has been a heavy burden on our diocese and the Universal Church. It is incomprehensible to think of waking up without part of your body. A dearest sister in Christ is living in the reality that her nine-year-old son’s cancer has returned forcefully into his body. My daughter’s co-worker died in a car accident this past week. Challenging to grasp this level of mystery of suffering.
Yet we believe!
“Let there be no foreign god among you, no worship of an alien god. I am the Lord your God, who brought you from the land of Egypt. Open wide your mouth, and I will fill it.” (Psalm 81)
As we open our mouths to receive the Blessed Sacrament, may we find true freedom in our lives, a place to be strengthened in God’s grace to rise out of this life and live in the Spirit of God’s magnificent love. May we be attentive to others to help shoulder their Cross with our love. Let us be a visible sign in our world of God’s love,
“I freed your shoulder from the burden; your hands were freed from the load. You called in distress and I saved you.” (Psalm 81)
May our Eucharistic love make Jesus present in our midst.
We are convinced that Jesus’ saving grace will help us persevere through the challenges of our times.
In the words of Saint Peter Julian Eymard:
“Patience is a virtue.” We need to be reminded of this often because waiting is hard. Even Jesus, in His humanity, experienced the difficulty of waiting for the fulfillment of God’s plan.
Jesus’ words give us a glimpse of the love and patience of His Sacred Heart. Love sent him down to earth to redeem us, but this required Him to enter time. He had to wait many years to show his disciples His way of life, to teach us His way of love.
Suffering touches us in one way or another every single day. Learning to pick up our crosses as we walk with each other in this valley of tears is the journey of our lives.
Sometimes this suffering will take the form of significant challenges, like an illness or the death of a loved one. But, often, we have a great opportunity to grow if we learn to suffer well through the smaller crosses God sends us every day, like learning to wait for God.
Jesus knew the disciples would scatter after His death. He knew they would doubt His resurrection and tremble in fear behind locked doors after His ascension… so He gave them something to hold on to. The hope of this promise, the promise of the Father, would be the smoldering wick that would sustain them while they waited.
The time between the Last Supper and Pentecost must have felt like an eternity for those disciples who had left everything behind to follow Jesus. The waiting was difficult but necessary. They had to let go of whatever was still left of their own impressions, ideas, and plans. They had to empty themselves completely to make room for God in their hearts.
The night before Pentecost must have felt particularly long and dark. They were almost empty, wondering how long this waiting would last. I imagine them looking to Mary when their hope started to falter, their hearts saying, “Mother, turn your eyes of mercy towards us.” And then, in an instant, they would receive grace to wait a little longer. They would receive hope.
Jesus makes the same promise He made to His disciples to each of us today, and He waits with us. He waits for us. What will we do with the suffering God allows in our lives and in the lives of those we love?
Let us turn to Our Mother, who is never far from us…
A few weeks back, I was abruptly awakened in the middle of the night. As some of you may know, I suffer from chronic pain. Hardly a day goes by without some persistent ache somewhere in my body, joints, muscles, or nerves. I am so used to this discomfort that it takes a lot to make me sit up and take notice. This night, the pain was so intense that it woke me up and kept me up the whole night; I was short of breath and struggling to remain coherent. This was not normal. Prayer and patience got me through the night, and eventually, the pain lessened. I followed up with my doctor in the morning, who ordered a battery of tests.
It is not fun when the nagging worry starts creeping into our minds. I get frustrated about how human I am, but this is silly. What else am I supposed to be? A few hours after my gallbladder ultrasound, the doctor called. The ultrasound revealed a large tumor on my liver. Here we go again, back on the carousel of tests. We had to rule out cancer… no one likes to hear those words.
Few things can sober us quicker than knowing there might be a silent killer going through your system. Usually, that would be the trigger for a world of worry, anxiety, and even despair. My dear wife and I were starting to feel those ill effects, yet something absolutely remarkable happened, something that witnesses to our Faith.
As we shared the news with our precious friends, they shared the news with their beloved friends. Before we all knew it, our brethren in Christ had gone out in force, a dispersed multitude, a legion, to pray a prayer of intercession for us.
Through the intercession of our brethren, the peace that Christ spoke of in the Gospel according to John came to us; the fruit of the Spirit made present from the prayerful sacrifice of all those faithful friends.
And from that moment forward through this journey, we surrendered to God’s will, and we have known peace. We could feel the prayers. Our brothers and sisters took on our cause, our worry, our wait, and in genuine compassion lived God’s charity towards us. With their prayers, they carried the heavy load for us and paid the price for our peace.
We are all the mystical body of Christ. When one suffers, we all suffer. When one rejoices, we all rejoice. This is part of our responsibility, to care, love, and pray for one another. If someone asks you to pray for them, please do. It is not the least we can do, but precisely what we must do. With our prayer, we carry each other through the difficulties.
We know that not every prayer is answered in the way we expect or desire. But we trust that God always knows better than we do, so we submit to His will for us. The Holy Spirit will guide us through any situation. In communion with Christ Eucharistic, we see His hand in action through the love of our community of faith.
After a long weekend of waiting, the tests on my liver came back, indicating that my tumor is benign. I can hear loudly in my soul the roar from the prayerful faithful glorifying God! Glory to You, oh Lord! Hear our prayer of thanksgiving!
Our Lord commands us to pray for one another. Let us take Him at His Word in all humility and with all our trust. To all of you, faithful ones, please continue praying for us. Please be assured of our prayers for you. May the peace of our Lord be with all of us.
Let us pray:
Dearest Eucharistic Family,
The daily scriptures in the Easter Season keep us in flight after the long road of Lent. The Passion of Jesus lives in our existence by the grace of the Eucharist. We hold the death of our Lord deep in our hearts. We walk with Mary to Pentecost and find the immense love of God clearly defined in our Liturgical year.
Our Lady lived without sin, holding all the mysteries of faith by God’s sovereign love. “When we have said Eucharist, we have said everything.”
Where was Mary during the 50 days after the Resurrection of Jesus?
What was she doing, thinking?
Perhaps Mary was preparing for what would come next. Indeed, she remembered all that happened to her Son. Assuredly Our Lady was praying, finding the fullness of grace from the inner cenacle of her heart to the Altar where Heaven and earth meet. Mary’s life passion is Jesus, and He defined her existence. Eastertide; Mary’s spirit of hope enabled her to obtain from God the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
As we journey to Pentecost, let us walk with Mary and pray with Mary. In the Book of Revelation, we have imagined a time when there will be no more mourning and weeping (cf. Revelation 21:4-5). On these Easter days, we are listening to the persecutions of St. Paul and the Apostles. We remember the healing in the name of the Lord Jesus. There will be a new birth streaming from our baptism to the birth of our Catholic Church at Pentecost.
As we keep our eyes fixed on the clouds, think of Mary, who beheld the death of Jesus, which would mold her into the perfect model of Christ, her Son. Pentecost is coming. The fruit and gifts of the Holy Spirit are for us to become by our yes and openness to God’s life in us. The mystery is humbling; it is found in a gift of self by submission to God’s Holy Will. Mary saw God’s Providence in every aspect of her life. Mary’s espousal to the Holy Spirit made her become Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Knowledge, Fortitude, Piety, and Fear of the Lord through her love.
Blessings in this Easter Season.
*PLENARY INDULGENCE if recited on the first of January or on the feast of the Pentecost (accompanied by the three prerequisites of a plenary indulgence). Otherwise, a partial indulgence is granted to those who recite it.
FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA:
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.
FOLLOW IVONNE ON SOCIAL MEDIA: