By: Laura Catherine Worhacz
Dearest Eucharistic Family,
How do we live out of this world and in the life of Jesus Christ? It is by the Holy Eucharist. With Mary and Saint Joseph, we have the model of the Eucharistic life.
I recall an encounter with a very holy woman of faith I knew years ago. I was pregnant with my second daughter, and this woman gently said to me, “so you are dying a second death.” It was an unusual congratulations for the news of pregnancy. However, I was already attending daily Mass and appreciated the blessing so much! Die a second death.
As we celebrate Father’s Day to reflect upon the greatest models of dying to self, we look to Saint Joseph and Mary. The Holy Family lived for the service of Jesus.
We read in the above excerpt Saint Joseph died in Jesus’s arms. This should be our center to live a happy death by way of Saint Joseph, now through the Eucharist. Saint Joseph will show us how to live in the seclusion of our contemplation while busy at work. The interior can be secured in God Our Father’s will, going about our daily duties in the peace of Christ while busy on earth. Here we find the way to live out of this world and in Heaven now through the Eucharist.
Yes, the privilege of bringing forth life is a call to die to self, a new death with each child, to live for another.
Our parenting comes with responsibilities that are only equipped through Christ. In our imperfections, love can still shine through, charity can find its way to a child, and they will know they are loved.
There are so many young people that are not practicing the faith, even though they came from sacrificial parents. If this is your heartbreak, please trust that all you have given your child will be made known to them by your prayer. With hope, they will return to the faith, and the experience they have had will strengthen them evermore to discern the spirits.
Father Angelus Shaughnessy OFM Cap. has passed on. He was a favorite priest of my heart. I loved to listen to his homilies on EWTN and learned so much from him. He often shared stories of his upbringing. He was born into a large Catholic family; some of his siblings also entered religious life. He said one of his greatest memories was of his father calling his mother “Sweet love.” This is something that echoes in my mind. He said the greatest gift parents can give their children is to genuinely love each other.
With all the challenges life may bring, financial stress, family disagreements, and sickness, Christ will get us through. Making daily Mass the center of our lives is essential to find this pathway to death, now through the Eucharist.
Saint Joseph, father and guardian of a happy death, help us now, while on earth, to die to ourselves so we may live for others and leave a mark of faith in this world by the witness of our love for the Blessed Sacrament.
Remember to wish your pastors and all the special priests in your life a Happy Father’s Day. Remember all who have served as father figures and our own fathers for doing the best they could do in raising us. We remember and pray for all who have lost their fathers to death from this life. May their presence be alive and well and with us in the Eucharist. Speak to them there in the quiet of the beating heart of Jesus Christ, where we find the relationship not gone but changed into the resurrection!
“DIE IN MY LOVE”
Praise God Our Almighty Father
Growing up, my mom would often say to me:
“Lo mejor que Dios hizo fue un día detrás del otro.” …which roughly translates to: “The best thing God did was to make one day after the next.”
I usually heard this nugget of wisdom really late at night, when some unfinished task stared me in my weary eyes -- when I had done everything in my power to finish something, yet it was not enough.
“Go to sleep, my darling; tomorrow will be another day.” Sometimes I was so tired that I listened. But often, I would go on a bit longer…try just a little bit more.
For most of my life, I have described myself as a “night owl”. Even as a young girl, I found that the hours between midnight and 2am were the most productive. I would usually rearrange my bedroom furniture then -- when the silence of the night allowed bouts of creativity to flow uninterrupted. Later in college, I would do my best studying during those hours, often pulling “all-nighters” with my friends. I would then sleep in the whole weekend and catch up on rest.
After I became a mom, my “night-owl” status, while handy for a little while (i.e., late-night feedings), started to become a hindrance in my life. I found myself caught up in a catch-22. I was too tired to be creative, yet… for some reason, I felt the need to stay up. So, without me knowing exactly when, my status changed from “night-owl” to “insomniac”. I went from actively choosing to be up because inspiration was flowing to finding myself flipping through cable channels (or later social media), waiting to be overcome by sleep.
I’ve gotten better at going to bed at a reasonable time, but the other night, my husband, who was trying to fall asleep as I kept “reading” (phone browsing), asked me…
“Why do you fight falling asleep?”
I was taken aback… The truth was staring me right in the eyes.
Did you ever have to wrestle a baby long enough until he/she stops fighting against sleep? I remember feeling them slowly melting into my arms, giving in…finally falling asleep. That was me!
After praying about it, I realized what was holding me back… fear of death -- but not of actually dying during the night. Going to sleep requires a kind of surrender, a loss of control. I was afraid of letting go.
The Night Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours has the following prayer:
We also pray the last words Jesus spoke from the Cross before He died:
There is something of death each time we go to sleep….but we know that is not the end of the story…
So yes, there is a kind of death each night, but it is not a death we should fear or avoid; it is the kind of death that brings life.
“Give us this day our daily bread….” What we receive from God each day must be offered back to Him each night. Jesus, the Bread of Life, wants to come and be buried in the ground of our hearts.
I think I can safely say, “My mom was right!” What a gift it is that God made one day after the next and that we have an opportunity to do this every day. Each day, a little at a time, as we grow in holiness, our hearts are cleansed and purified.
I do not know if learning to peacefully surrender my spirit into the arms of God each night is preparing me for the final surrender of my earthly life, but I do know that there is great wisdom in taking things one day at a time.
So what will I do when night falls, and well-dug patterns of sinful behavior beckon me to not let go? I will come running to the arms of my Mother. I will grab my rosary beads and ask Mary to rock me to sleep while singing her song. I will tell her of my day, of every unfinished task I am afraid to let go of. Little by little, Hail Mary after Hail Mary, I will let go of my fears and hold on to hope. It is in the safety of her Immaculate Heart where I will learn to trust and let go.
Image by Pixabay
By: Rick Hernandez
Of the many gifts I have been privileged to receive on this Earth, I am genuinely grateful for each of the many great teachers that have left their mark in my life. From their efforts, I like to think that I have learned to be open-minded and curious. I have learned to hypothesize and test, searching deeper when an answer eludes me or is unsatisfactory. I have learned that where work and effort are required, there is an opportunity for growth.
A good teacher can en-kindle these fires in your mind to search for meaning, to search for truth, and we know these are things that can definitively change the course of any life.
Growing up in the Catholic faith, I always thought of Christ Jesus as “My Lord.” That was the title that always stuck to my mind whenever I figured Jesus on this Earth.
I imagined this benevolent King, working and sacrificing for the good of His people, a servant King. As truthful and beautiful as that image is, it is incomplete, for Christ Jesus is more than a King.
Our Lord Jesus is “Priest, Prophet, and King.” This is called the “Threefold Office” of Our Lord. This is important to know because it presents a much more complete description of the mission of Christ Jesus.
A servant king works for the good of his people; he provides the kingdom subjects with safety and comfort, but not necessarily with growth. For that, we need something different from a king.
A priest sacrifices for the people, providing the flock with a means to make amends for wrongdoings and giving thanks but does not necessarily foster personal growth. For that, we need something different from a priest.
Personal growth is usually nurtured by “teachers,” not “kings” nor “priests,” and that is where Christ Jesus’s office of “Prophet” comes to the forefront.
The word “prophet” translates from the Ancient Greek word “prophḗtēs” as “one who speaks for a God,” or more formally as “one who speaks with Godly authority.”
“Rabbi” is the title most often used in the Bible to address Christ Jesus. “Rabbi” is an Aramaic word that can translate directly to “great one” (one who deserves respect) or more to the point to “teacher” (one who deserves to be heard).
Christ Jesus, as a Prophet, teaches us the way to a faithful and moral life. Our Lord came to establish the Kingdom, redeem us from our sin, and teach us the way to Heaven. With His most sacred life, he offers the perfect example of righteous living.
During His time on Earth, He was a Prophet, for He taught with His Godly authority; He was a Great One, deserving of great respect and was, most of all, worthy of being heard, a teacher to us all. With His words, we are taught the way to Him. He is the most perfect teacher indeed.
But... any good teacher will tell us that they can only teach us if we are willing to learn. A keen open mind is the bare minimum requirement for becoming a student. But as always, minimums are not enough with Our Lord.
Our Lord is not looking for students but for disciples. A Master/Disciple relationship is freely chosen by both teacher and disciple and bonds to the same level as a father and son. Jesus pulled His disciples from all walks of life. He called out to them and asked if they were willing to follow, to learn, to suffer...
Jesus called His disciples to greatness, and He was going to personally teach them.
Like it was for the original twelve Apostles, to be a disciple of our Lord means being called to something greater. It is a call that is not free or without effort. We are called to eagerly bring all that we are, our strengths and weaknesses, and offer ourselves to Our Heavenly Master. We obediently submit to His teachings. Sacrifices will be asked of us. We are no longer ours but His.
The standards for our lives become different from the non-believers. When we are disciples of our Lord Jesus, our lives are meant to be faithful, hopeful, loving, and consistent. The world needs His disciples.
When we internalize Christ’s teachings, we go beyond discipleship and are called into the apostolic life. We go from disciples (those who learn) to apostles (those who are sent, those who teach). When the students are ready and know the material well, they are now able to teach.
Are we learning well? There is a whole world out there that is waiting for our apostolic work. Our Mother Church is waiting to teach us well, in communion with one another. The Eucharist is waiting to nourish us and provide us with the Grace needed for every day. With the help from the Holy Spirit now within us, it is time to work for the Kingdom.
Our Heavenly Teacher is calling us to greatness. How will we respond?
Let us pray:
Our Good and Mighty Teacher, we offer You our very lives that You may impart in us Your great teachings, that we may learn to be like You, that we may be able to love like You. Help us to do this with a joyful heart and a willing mind. May we be always open to the promptings of Your Holy Spirit, that we may be true disciples, new apostles sent into the world. Amen.
By: Laura Catherine Worhacz
Dearest Eucharistic Family,
The above excerpt draws us into the mystery of our faith, the Cross and Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Our humanity seeks to belong to a family. We look for things to make sense. Heaven reveals consolation found in the Word of God and the Sacrament of the Eucharist. As we receive the Sacred Body of Jesus Christ in Holy Communion, all we have ever longed for is found.
My 20's were years without the fullness of the sacraments. I recall the interior turmoil that lived within the brokenness, covered by things that busied life to keep me from reality. The soul can be shattered, yet the exterior not always reveals this.
Jesus asks of us in Mark's Gospel, "What do you want me to do for you?" (v.10:46-52).
In this passage, Jesus heals the blind. He restores sight, tells us to take courage and to go, for faith has saved us.
I was blessed to begin my daily Mass journey at age 33. We find a home in our Catholic churches. We are bonded in a communion of love, sisters and brothers striving to help one another to see and grow in the virtue of God.
Illumination is here now, accessible through the Sacraments to bring forth life, here for us to live with Jesus. Shattered souls are made whole in love and constancy of faith, persevering to see more and more the glory of God. Clarity comes to us in our apostolic work.
St. Peter Julian Eymard, deeply contemplative, was aware that his existence was in the abiding presence of God.
St. Peter Julian knew he lived in a home that needed many repairs. There was much work; he lived to bring the light of faith, the eyes of Heaven, to believers now through the Eucharist. He longed for us to see what God allowed him to see. He had a divine vision and desired to set a Eucharistic fire to the earth.
In his work, he found his place in the home, preparing his room and the rooms of God's children. He found Mary; she brought him ever closer to Jesus, the Kingdom of Heaven. St. Peter Julian worked tirelessly. His contemplative life was brought to the fullness of life in his apostolic zeal for the Blessed Sacrament.
The journey begins with Our Mother, who welcomes us into the house of God. We come with luggage, bags filled with unnecessary items. Mary sets the suitcases down for us. She leaves them behind to take hold of our hands.
Mary is with us when we receive our garment of grace, new clothing. Our Lady is with us at Baptism, smiling with the angels of Heaven. The old dress is no longer needed; there is a new fashion that shimmers down the runway at home, the cenacle of our hearts affixed to the Altar of God. There is a spotlight on our souls that is glorified by a family that truly loves.
Every morning after Holy Mass, we are blessed at my parish, where the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament resides, to have Eucharistic adoration. We sing, "O Saving Victim open wide the Gates of Heaven to us below…."
We are living in our eternal home now through the Eucharist. A City of God moving with the grace of the Holy Spirit, where the children of God find a roof to cover. A glorious mansion is filled, and many rooms are still being prepared.
Humanity is troubled by its burdens like the above excerpt reminds us of, yet peace is here for us in the person of Jesus Christ. The burdens weigh upon us; sinful nature tries to destroy. God sanctifies us in the Sacrament of Reconciliation; the journey is ongoing.
We live in hope and long to draw others to walk this pathway to Heaven.
Our Lady was troubled by the angel's announcement; peace came through her yes. Mary was blessed to live in the divine vision of God and longs for us, her children, to live the same blessings through the heart of the Eucharist.
If we did not receive Mary's yes, the warfare St. Peter Julian mentions would be an oppression beyond our imagination. Mary has brought us to the divine vision. We live in the hope of trust, suffering, and grace. The glorification of God is given to us by the Life of Jesus Christ. Praise God!
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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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