By: Laura Worhacz
“Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.” (Psalm 3:12,13)
Dearest Eucharistic Family,
It seems more important than ever that we unite in a spirit of love and fidelity, a spirit of communion; a spirit that comes from Heaven’s grace, poured out from our Father, through the life of His Son, Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Today the Catholic Church commemorates The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist. As I immersed into prayer trying to imagine John the Baptist, his relationship with Christ, and the life he lived, fidelity came strongly to my heart. John loved God so much, he put the Lord above and before himself. John taught us that Christ must increase and we should decrease (John 3:30). His love was so intense that the truth could not be concealed; he preached God’s truth. Saint John the Baptist’s fidelity overtook his existence. He could not stand witnessing the ungodly, the deceit of unfaithfulness.
The Gospel tells us that Herod had John imprisoned yet liked to listen to him. It seems Herod made the choice to be faithful to sin; the deception of taking what did not belong to him ruled. Herod was in a battle within, liking John’s words yet choosing what was contrary to truth. God would have wanted Herod to find a new way of living. Saint John’s proclamation of the truth was poured out in love. Saint John the Baptist was crying out to bring sin to a new life, a life of fidelity to God.
As I was driving home from Mass and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament last week there was a motorcycle in front of me at a red light. The man riding had on a tee-shirt that read, “Forget prayer, no one is listening.” I immediately offered a Hail Mary, knowing in my heart that Our Lady would hear me. I believe (we believe) that our fidelity to God will bring life. I believe this poor soul, who seems to have lost faith, will receive a grace from God that will bring him to truth. We pray with hope to reach hearts longing to hear a voice crying out in the wilderness, make straight the pathway to God (John 1:23).
God is faithful to us. Our fidelity to Our Creator will bring us to everlasting life. Saint John the Baptist did not fear. He was the Baptist. His fidelity was unwavering, his voice crying out. God is listening, He hears the cry of the poor (Proverbs 21:13). The Kingdom of Heaven is with us now in the Eucharist, a fidelity beyond our human understanding. Jesus calls out to us through the silence of our Eucharistic union with Him. Our fidelity will bring us to martyrdom, physically or spiritually, yet our faithfulness to our fidelity will keep us in the truth and love that will bring us to our eternal home, HEAVEN.
By: Ivonne J. Hernandez
I still remember it like it was yesterday….sitting on the passenger side of our motorhome, kids strapped in their seats, car hooked in the back with five bicycles hanging behind on a bike rack, looking out to the house that had been our home for the past seven years… the home where we went from a family of four to a family of five, the home where we began to homeschool, the home we had just sold and was no longer our home. Almost everything we owned was now either inside or being pulled behind this motorhome and it was time to hit the road. We didn’t know where the road would take us, or for how long this house on wheels would be our home, but we were excited and open to new experiences, and God did not disappoint.
Our journey as “full-timers” lasted three years; we collected precious memories, friends, and stories, as we lived a life we could not have imagined before. There is something about living on a home with wheels… it is a daily reminder that at any moment you might go. My husband worked as a consultant and we never knew where his next job would take us, or for how long. We came back to Florida to visit friends and family a few times in between jobs, and I remember, on one of those visits, a friend asking me: how I could be gone for so long? She said that when she goes on a trip, after a few days she just wants to come home. I knew what she was talking about, because I had experienced that feeling before, but this was now different. The RV was our home. We brought home with us wherever we would go.
Just like our home was detached from the ground, set on wheels and ready to go, so must the heart of a Christian be set only on the Will of God. We put down roots and anchors to feel secure, but this world is not our home. No matter how much we seek comfort in its beauty, our hearts will remain restless, because we are meant to go. But God is with us, within us, He’s made our hearts His home. “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him” (John 14:23). So, fear not my friends and let yourself go. Let God detach you from what holds you back from living the life He wants for you. “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you—oracle of the LORD—plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope” (Jer 29:11).
By: Rick Hernandez
Walking towards my bedroom there is, by the door, a small statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I often touch this statue as I walk by, a subtle attempt on my part to firm up in my heart the connection of my daily life to His. It is a means of acknowledging His role in my life and that we are in this, together.
Why is it that “connection” is so often associated with the heart? When we feel compassion, we say that the situation “tugs at our heart”, asking for our attention. When we feel excitement at meeting someone, we say that our “heart flutters”, asking us to be present. When we accompany someone suffering, our “heart aches”, asking us to be aware of and share in their pain. When we encourage someone, we ask them to “take heart”. Whose heart? Ours. So much connection to the heart…
Ever since ancient times, the heart has been the means for connection to others. But connecting to others is not always easy, and in fact, it is often difficult and even scary. Modern society is trying hard to separate us from our communal good and send us towards the individualism and selfishness that severs real connection. Why is it that now that we are more connected than ever through technology, we are lonelier than ever? Why are we, as a society, more selfish? There is no real connection, not without heart, not without presence, not without compassion, not without courage.
Compassion is an old word, derived from the Latin “com pati”, meaning “to suffer with”. Connection is implied here, our hearts united. Another word for compassion is mercy; the Latin word for mercy is misericordia, which comes from “miseri cordi”, meaning “heart in misery”… the heart again! We are meant to unite our heart to others, to achieve connection. But to do this can be scary. To fight against that fear we need courage, fortitude. Courage is also an old word, derived from the Latin “cor age”, meaning “to bring forth your heart”… it’s all about the heart. So, the question then is: How do we transform our hearts, so that we can be present, courageous, compassionate and merciful? “COR UNUM ET ANIMA UNA”, which translates into English as “one heart, one mind”, to beat as one heart. But whose heart? The Sacred Heart of Jesus.
"His Sacred Heart has given men everything: redemption, salvation, sanctification... Through the mystery of this wounded Heart, the restorative tide of God's merciful love continues to spread over the men and women of our time. Here alone can those who long for true and lasting happiness find its secret." (St. John Paul II)
St. Peter Julian Eymard instructs us, "Let us learn to honor the Sacred Heart in the Eucharist. Let us never separate them." The holy gift of the Eucharist can only be fully explained by His perfect love, completely present in His Sacred Heart. When we partake of our Lord’s banquet, when we are united through that most intimate moment in the consumption of the Eucharist, we are infinitely connected to Him, and through His Sacred Heart, connected to all whom He loves. At that moment, from our presence there, we can partake of His courage, of His compassion, of His mercy. May we be transformed; may our hearts be lit on fire…
The Sacred Heart is depicted on fire, signifying the transformative power of His love for us. If we make an offering of our very selves, uniting it to the offering of the Paschal Lamb, the divine fire of His Sacred Heart can both consume and transform us. We are no longer just us, but He who loves us, a perfect connection. One heart, one mind… “The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common” (Acts 4:32). The Sacred Heart, the Holy Eucharist, and Love itself, are one and the same thing: “Cor Unum”. One Heart.
We pray to you, our ever-loving Lord, let your Sacred Heart be our treasure, for where our treasure is, there also will our hearts be. Like Mother Mary’s Immaculate Heart, one heart with Yours. Amen.
By: Laura Worhacz
“Mary, His Mother and the Mother of adorers, made amends to Him for everything, and the love of Jesus found inexpressible satisfaction in receiving her prayers and her tears shed for the salvation of the world.” - Saint Peter Julian Eymard ( Eymard Library Vol. 7, page 130)
Dearest Eucharistic Family,
We are living through an extraordinary time of grace. By keeping our senses aware of Divine Providence and the work of God in our lives, miraculous things will continue to happen for the love of Jesus. Through this time of pandemic, sorrow can so easily take over our existence. It is only through prayer that we can see through the life of the Eucharist and recognize that God is in control of our lives.
Early one morning this week, I thanked God for my prayer routine. I thanked Him for giving me the grace to wake up early, to sit with Him in the silence, and then go for a prayer walk to pray the rosary and the chaplet of Divine Mercy. In preparation for Holy Mass, I pray the joyful mysteries in the morning. As I was praying this week, I stopped for a moment and looked at all of creation… the birds, the grass, the trees, and the animals in my neighborhood. I paused in my rosary offering and continued to walk. I was walking with Jesus and Mary in a special way, thinking. I imagined Mary on her way to the visitation. She walked over 70 miles in haste to the hill country. Our Mother was surely living the rosary; she was probably absorbing the beauty of creation. Her heart was surely excited to see her cousin, to behold her and the lives they were carrying. Mary’s espousal to the Holy Spirit enflamed her prayer with joy! Mary carried the Eucharist, the highest form of prayer. I thought as I went back to my beads, how many of us prepare for Holy Mass? Are we forming our hearts to be open to receive the grace from our prayers? God is with us. The battle is real; we see the evil of hatred, violence, and all sorts of destruction on top of the pandemic outbreak in recent days -- devastating and heartbreaking. We live in our prayer the reality of what is to come and the hope in our relationship with Jesus.
Today we remember Saint Dominic. He knew the power of prayer; the Eucharist and Holy Rosary would change the forces of evil to a pathway to Heaven. Jesus finds inexpressible satisfaction in receiving our prayer; our return of love to Him forms us in the compassion of God. Prayer is the most important part of our day. Let us continue to see God in every facet of our Eucharistic lives and to the best of our ability, PRAY.
By: Ivonne J. Hernandez
“You are the light of the world” (Mt 5:14). I close my eyes and picture Jesus addressing these words to me today and ask, “What does this mean?” The answer I hear in my heart: “It means it is not about you.” Light does not shine for its own sake, but for others. “Your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” (Mt 5:16). …”that they may see…” How can this be? I can’t make anyone else see; I can’t even make myself see. Ah… it’s not about me.
I think this is the source of so many of our problems, of so much frustration…our refusal to give in to this one lesson. So, in what may seem like a contradiction, I must focus on my part, yet remain aware that everything I do is about others. Even my most intimate encounter with God is not about me…it is about God. And love of God always leads us to love of others. “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments” (Mt 22:37-10).
Our world is in darkness. People are searching for hope, for light, for truth. Yet, “they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand. ...But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear” (Mt 13:13,16). I often wonder at the great gift of my faith, at the gift of having been born in a Catholic family and having been baptized as an infant. I didn’t do anything to deserve it; I didn’t do anything to earn it, but I must do everything to keep it.
When a child is being baptized, a candle is lit from the Easter candle, and the celebrant says: “Receive the light of Christ. Parents and godparents, this light is entrusted to you to be kept burning brightly, so that your children, enlightened by Christ, may walk always as children of the light and, persevering in the faith, may run to meet the Lord when he comes with all the Saints in the heavenly court.” So now, as an adult, whether my light was kept burning brightly, or was almost quenched, it is my responsibility to keep the flame of faith alive in my heart. "Having received in Baptism the Word, "the true light that enlightens every man," the person baptized has been "enlightened," he becomes a "son of light," indeed, he becomes "light" himself. "(CCC 1216).
But what about those days when my light is so dim it barely shines? What about when I feel I should just hide it and save it because it is barely enough for me? I must look out and remember…it’s not about me. The image that comes to mind is the twinkling lights of a Christmas tree. They are not all on at the same time; they take turns. When the lights are alternating, it looks like a beautiful dance. We do not see the darkness, just the light. But if you take one out, the whole section goes dark. Some days my light will shine before others, some days the light of others will shine before me. But if we keep the light of faith burning for each other, Christ’s light will shine for all to see.
By: Rick Hernandez
Our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, one Good Friday long ago, for the expiation of our sins, for the redemption of His loved ones. I can't fathom what it would have been like to be there, at the foot of the cross, knowing that the Messiah was going through that much suffering for me. The Gospels tell us of a few people among the multitude that were present during the Crucifixion: The Virgin Mary, Mary of Magdala, and John the Evangelist. These holy persons we know very well from their roles in the life of Jesus, but there were another two men present in Golgotha that day, crucified along with Our Lord, the two thieves: Dismas and Gestas.
We do not know much about Dismas and Gestas. Some of the early Christian writings tell us that they were bandits, men that stole from the people on the road to Jerusalem. Caught by the Romans Auxiliaries, who were tasked with keeping the territory safe, the bandits were sentenced to death by crucifixion. The Gospels tell us that these men were on their own crosses at Golgotha, one to the left of Jesus, the other to His right, and kept addressing Jesus. "'Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.' Those who were crucified with him also kept abusing him" (Mark 15:32). They both doubted Jesus, but then something incredible happened, Dismas’ eyes and heart were opened, and he was able to see the Son of God.
"Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, 'Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us.' The other, however, rebuked him, saying in reply, 'Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.' Then he said, 'Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom'" (Luke 23:39-42).
Dismas, through that encounter with the heart of Jesus, became the "Penitent Thief". He experienced one moment of perfect clarity. He understood and accepted the guilt from his sin, witnessed to Christ's innocence and acknowledged Christ’s power to redeem him. “…Remember me…”. In that moment of true lucidity, Dismas was able to confess to the High Priest, our Lord of Mercy. His admission of fault, true contrition, and acceptance of responsibility allowed his crucifixion to act as his penance. Christ washed Dimas’ soul clean. “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43).
Contrition, theologically speaking, comes directly from the virtue of Charity and it is therefore a gift conferred by God. The acceptance of the gift and its application to our lives (the internalizing of the gift) is an act of our will. That means that contrition is a cooperative act between us and God. We know He is always acting, giving, loving, waiting for us to turn back to Him. Are we consciously asking for and trusting His Mercy? How painfully unaware are we of our faults, our prejudices, our sin. We really depend on our courage. Courage allows us to look inwards with humility and sincerity to examine our conscience. After that, we trust in the sacrament of reconciliation. We trust in God’s Mercy. We can hold-on tight to our Mother Mary and pray for her help and guidance. We have another guide in St. Dismas, that we may be like him and grab onto the opportunities that are presented even at the final moment.
Let us pray, that now and at the time of our deaths, we are gifted with that moment of great clarity, that we can persevere through the temptations to give up on the hope for Heaven, and that while accompanied by Mother Mary, as promised to her consecrated children, we are able to achieve perfect contrition from all our faults and shortcomings. This so we can meekly face Our Lord, and humbly ask "Jesus, please remember me…" Amen.
By: Laura Worhacz
“Take my word: do works of zeal only out of duty, but aspire to the interior life because you are drawn thereto by divine love…Try earnestly to become interior, that is, to live for God, to work in partnership with Him. Manage to thrive on His divine Providence, natural and supernatural, of every moment.” – Saint Peter Julian Eymard (Eymard Library Vol. 6, page 249)
Dearest Eucharistic Family,
July 13th was the 103rd anniversary of the third apparition of Fatima. It was in this appearance from our mother that she opened her hands and rays of light came forth. The light brought the three shepherd children to see; they saw hell, darkness, a place where sin takes us. Our Lady said that day that to prevent this… “I shall ask for consecration of Russia.” Mary allowed the children to know what would become of us without being consecrated to God and His divine love. Mary left us with the words, “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”
I have been immersed in the Fatima message for many years praying with it. Our Mother asked of us to participate in the five first Saturdays and make communions of reparation. The culmination of Mary’s pleading to me is to be in prayer; God’s divine love and grace come forth from this. A fond memory for me is that of Our Lady interceding to save Saint John Paul II when he was shot on May 13, 1981. This miraculous engagement was rooted in love. He lived in the divine. Mary’s zeal was her duty to save. What a moment of grace. Mary’s Divine love and union with Divine Providence called forth the miracle that guided the bullet millimeters away from what would have been fatal.
What is fatally attracting us from our interior life? As we go with fortitude in prayer through the pandemic outbreak, can we see Mary’s hands, the hands opened to the divine light, the light that will bring us to the divine love of Our Father in Heaven? Divine Providence is before us, every moment. In the interior life we come to see every second. Mary’s hands, the light they hold, bring us to Jesus. His Eucharistic life is still breathing within us. It is interior, it keeps us in divine love.
We are Ivonne Hernandez, Rick Hernandez and Laura Worhacz, Lay Associates of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, and brothers and sisters in Christ.