I have always loved swimming. It is the one exercise I can do well despite the physical limitations I experience with CMT (Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease). I love everything about it. I love how the water feels against my skin and how the sun feels against my face. I love to go underwater, and for a few moments, experience the stillness and the silence. In the water, I am weightless and graceful.
In the water, I feel free… free from wearing the ankle-foot orthoses that allow me to walk, free from the cane that helps with my balance, free from the walker and wheelchair that support me when I get tired. And even though I am grateful for all these devices that help me move and give me freedom, it feels great to be in the water… just me.
I love to swim as fast as I can, for as long as I can, and feel my heart beating inside my chest, my lungs expanding, my muscles working. In those moments, my soul says:
This is what I told my husband when, after years of weighing pros and cons and making budgets and projections, I suggested it was time to take the plunge (pun intended) and build a pool in our tiny backyard. What could he say to that? …of course, he said yes!
You might be wondering why it took me years to decide to build it when swimming brings so much joy to my life. Two main things were holding me back.
First, the thought of the mess, noise, and disruption for months, especially since our bedroom window leads to the backyard. And second, our space is minimal, so to fit a pool, we would have to give up our beautiful, extended patio… a place we had enjoyed very much up till now. It took me a long time to be ready to give it up.
I settled for something good for a long time, even when my desire was for so much more. This is similar to what we experience in our spiritual lives.
God places holy desires in our hearts, desires to guide us to something greater, but we often let things hold us back. We know deep inside that we are created for more, that there is something that will bring us greater joy, but we hesitate.
We look in our hearts, and we think, “This works well enough… I’m not sure if I’m ready to give this up. I hear a promise of Living Water, but… Do I really want the Holy Spirit to come in and dig a huge hole? What about the mess? What about the noise? What about the neighbors?” After all those questions, we might say to God, “Let’s not change anything yet… I think what I have now is good enough.”
Before the pool digging crew arrived, we removed the fence, the plants, and the patio pavers. We had to let go of what we had been holding on to, so we could make room for something more.
The process has been messy and has required our patience and the patience of those who live around us. At times we looked out and wondered if we made the right choice, but we looked at the pool rendering (which we kept by the back door) and held on to hope. And now, with just a few weeks to go, the hard part is over…we are close to our goal. The yard is still messy, but the pool is mostly finished.
I squint my eyes and imagine it all done. I can see myself swimming, and I’m ok waiting a little bit more.
It is almost time for Pentecost. God wants to dig a big hole in our hearts, but it won’t be empty for long. He wants to prepare us to receive Him. We just have to deal with the mess for a time while He heals what is below.
He wants to fulfill our holy desires. He comes bearing gifts, Living Water, but we must be willing to let go of whatever is not from God. And then, when the hard work begins, and there is just a big ugly hole, we remember His Promise…we look at the Cross, and we hold on to hope.
The tears will be wiped, the dirt will be hauled away, and we will thirst no more. The Holy Spirit is coming… are we ready for more?
By: Rick Hernandez
As a Eucharistic person, I often picture in my mind the time of the Institution of the Eucharist, especially when I hear the words from the Gospel according to Luke:
Remembrance? Who can have a more perfect remembrance of Our Lord than Our Lady, Mother Mary? This is not difficult to see. For her, remembrance meant the whole of her life with Jesus, every moment, every thought, every feeling, all the instances of motherly life.
For Mother Mary, remembrance is alive, true love in action, all the moments of joy and sadness.
It is the wholeness of her life, via her most perfect humility, that became Mary's sublime offering to God the Father. We know that along with her opening to the Holy Spirit and her caring for Our Lord Jesus, she also offered her life to mother the Church across all of time...
Our Lady knew we were not to be orphans, neither fatherless nor motherless… not then and not now.
Saint Peter Julian Eymard gave Our Mother Mary the beautifully insightful title of “Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament.” From that first Mass in the Upper Room, Our Lord Jesus kept being with Our Lady in the same way that He is now with us.
As the “Lady of the Blessed Sacrament,” Mary is the most perfect example of the Eucharistic life in Christ for the Church. Mother Mary lived what it means to remain in Him who loves us, a perfect, intimate union achieved in the Eucharistic communion.
Saint John Paul II writes in his Encyclical “Ecclesia Eucharistia”:
Mother Mary birthed Jesus, becoming the first one to know Jesus in the flesh, but she was also one of the first to become one with Jesus Eucharistic. As Mary is, so we are called to be, one with Our Lord…
Today, so many of us struggle with recognizing Jesus in the Eucharist. Is it because we have not seen? Well, “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed” (John 20:29). If we are called to truly recognize Jesus Eucharistic so that we may believe, should we not ask Mother Mary for help? She can help us see.
The Blessed Virgin Mary knows the way. Our Mother Mary patiently waits for us to seek her counsel. She is the Mother of Good Counsel. She holds the key to many Graces for us, for she is “Full of Grace” (Luke 1:28). We only have to ask...
Mother of Mercy and Mother of Grace …Through Our Mother, we access Jesus’ Mercy and partake of His Grace.
Mother of Hope and Virgin Most Faithful …Through Our Lady, we access the fullness of Hope. We learn fidelity at the foot of the most faithful of the faithful.
Refuge of Sinners and Comfort of the Afflicted …The first adorer, Mary, teaches us, sinners, how to commune with Christ. As Mother, she comforts us, takes us by the hand to Jesus.
I remember hearing as a child that Mary was the “Fountain of Grace.”
A fountain does not produce water; the water comes from somewhere else, but the fountain manages the water to create beautiful displays and to help combat thirst. Such is Our Lady, Full of Grace.
Mary manages the graces from Our Lord and displays them in the fullness of her beautiful life, an example to be followed, and yet, out of her love for God and us, she also distributes the graces so that we may not wilt. In this, as in everything she does, Mother Mary points to Our Lord Jesus.
If we open our hearts to her, our Mother accompanies us on the road home, on the path to Heaven.
Gentle Mother, faithful servant, fearless general, Fountain of Grace. Our Lady has a great many titles, the greatest one being “Mother of God,” but I like to think that, as she looks upon her children in the world, her sweetest one is “Our Mother.”
Let us pray:
By: Laura Catherine Worhacz
Dearest Eucharistic Family,
The month of May comes with so many blessings. Every day we rejoice in the gift of Our Blessed Mother, yet especially, we honor and invoke her in May. She is our Mother, Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
Mary is the first to live in a pattern of prayer in our Church. She shines forth what sacrificial love will expect of us. Mary watches over our lives with motherly affection and embraces us through our prayer. Our rosaries offered connect us to the fruit of her womb. We celebrate Mother’s Day in remembrance of Mary; we thank you, mom.
The daily scriptures during the Easter Season have been building us up in hope. We are inspired by faith, given grace to be poured out to allow God’s life to live through us. The above excerpt from St. Peter Julian goes deep within.
Who inspires us?
Jesus, why are we here before You in the Blessed Sacrament?
Why are You here?
Why are we here together?
Jesus will fill our hearts, ”May he give you the desires of your heart” ( Psalm 20:4). Jesus teaches us all things, how to live and move and be. Immersing our prayer into the sacrificial love Christ offers us from the Cross helps us find our center. Knowing we are so loved by God allows us to live in forgiveness, in return for Christ’s love.
Jesus is here for us, in a humble piece of bread; He teaches us to become one in His person, to abide in His love. There have been so many times I have knelt before the Blessed Sacrament, carrying the weight of the world. Instantly, hope transforms the burdens into a silent conversation with the Lord that soothes, clarifies, and guides us to peace.
Why are we here together? We are the Body of Christ.
After leaving our adoring time, who do we rely upon this side of Heaven?
Who can depend upon us? Is there a center of love in this life?
The Blessed Sacrament at the center of our lives forms us and inspires us to be what Jesus is to us for others. Rejoice! What do we rejoice in? I rejoice in the gift of my faith, in the blessing to know Jesus Christ truly present in the Blessed Sacrament.
My husband, daughters, my entire extended family… My sisters in Christ, my brothers in Christ…The gift of our Blessed Mother, who loves us beyond telling… St. Joseph... This is the Kingdom of Heaven, and it is with us now in the Eucharist. Upon our reception of Holy Communion, we are in Heaven while on earth.
Our world was left a mark of faith from Mary, forming the center of her life through Jesus. She rejoices in carrying out God’s will by helping her children live in the same pattern of prayer through the heart of the Eucharist.
People far from the faith or receiving without hope may need to see our compassion and love to know Heaven is real. The divine reality of Eternal Life will be upon us. Burdens, sadness, and sorrow are real; loss comes with a heartache God alone brings to light. May our Eucharistic Adoration bring Heaven to Earth so others may be removed from despair and REJOICE.
We all have obstacles preventing us from fully receiving the love God wants to give us, sins that block the flow of grace to us. The life of a Christian is one long process of restoration. Our Father constantly invites us to give every part of our lives over to Jesus so He can redeem our brokenness, every wound, every sin, and transform us into Himself. The process is long and often painful. We need to learn to trust Him with the parts of our hearts that have been trampled on, hoping that His promises are true… That He is the way and the life, that He is the Truth, and that the TRUTH will set us free.
When we tell God, “please come into my life, please take away this sin that is hurting me, that is hurting those I love,” He comes right up to that wall we spent so much time building up, that wall that is keeping us from feeling the pain we are not ready to deal with…and he knocks. We hear Him calling; we want to let Him in, but we cannot find a door. There was a door there once, but we sealed it shut. In trying to keep the pain away, what we did is block ourselves from receiving the only thing that can heal us…the love of God.
This encounter with Truth is a moment of tension. On one side of the wall, we are trapped, oppressed, burdened by our sin. On the other side is God, calling us to come to Him, asking us to let Him break down the wall. But we are attached to the wall. It has become our comfort, our support. And even though it hurts us, it is scary to think it won’t be there anymore. What will happen to the parts of us that are attached to the wall? How will we get through the pain of that separation, of that stripping away of all the things we placed as substitutes for God? So God patiently waits and lets us wrestle with Him until we reach the point of surrender and finally say,
Mary, who had no walls between her and God, silently offers these words with every breath of her life. Never is that silence more eloquent than when her heart speaks them at the foot of the Cross. It is there that her Immaculate Heart is pierced open with pain for each one of us, her children. It is there where she brings us when we hold her hand in prayer, to a place of encounter with Her Son.
Today, as we begin the month of May, the Church invites us to walk with Mary, “our life, our sweetness, and our hope.” It also lifts our eyes to St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse. Pondering on this Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, we see that the rest found in God is not one of inactivity but one of life and creativity. We find rest when we take up His yoke. We find rest when we surrender to God.
With Mary, at the foot of the Cross, we find the strength and courage to surrender. It is there where we find our rest. This rest is not something we can provide for ourselves; it is the gift He wants to give us. And, although we live in the hope that one day we will be in a place of eternal rest in Heaven, where there will be no more sorrow or pain, we can experience His peace while we are still in this valley of tears. At the Last Supper, Jesus says:
What did Jesus leave us during the Last Supper? The Eucharist, the gift of Himself …His Body broken for us… His Blood poured out for us…
We know how the story ends, so we give thanks. We know the promises are fulfilled; we know the tears are wiped. When we look at the Cross and see the price paid for us, we hear Him say to each one of us:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.”
There is no reason to despair; no part of you is broken beyond repair.
You are worthy of restoration. “Come to me… and I will give you rest.”
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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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