Dearest Eucharistic Family,
In my travels last week to NY, upon entering the plane, a lady was carrying a toy poodle in a pet carrier. She was in a lengthy conversation with another lady about the cuteness of the pup. It was truly adorable. The lady carrying the dog went on about how much she loved him and deeply expressed how faithful the little toy poodle was. She laughed and said again, “he is the only one faithful to me.” There was a reality there for her and a brokenness I detected.
As I was praying my rosary on the plane, our faithful Lord came to my thoughts. In my mind’s eye, through my prayer, I saw the white horse with its rider from the Book of Revelation.
There is so much unfaithfulness in our world, much more than can be controlled, it seems, yet we are called by our God to be faithful and true.
Perhaps in our faithfulness to God through injustice and pains, the world will see that Our God exists and that He is alive and well and with us.
Perhaps by us sharing the WORD of God and by proclaiming His truth, faithfulness will be aroused in others rather than deceit.
Perhaps in forgiving through Jesus, our faithfulness will never be broken, and truth will shine brightly.
Our wholeness is created in love of God and neighbor, the first commitment in our consecration to be made holy. In the Eucharist, we are taken by the rider on a white horse into the heavens now. Inscribed in the heart of God are our names, written in the blood of the lamb of God, Jesus Christ. God has trodden the wine press; His justice will reign forever and ever. HE IS FAITHFUL AND TRUE. We are invited into his banquet of love and called by the heavens to share in his glory. Forgiveness of sins and life in His Spirit, His Holy Spirit is to be found; Gifts beyond the infidelities of this world.
Saint Peter Julian names us in this quote a book of love, “Give, therefore, your preference to that beautiful book...” We can begin with ourselves to be faithful and true and keep a steadfast hope in our King of Kings and Lord of Lords and live in the freedom and joy of his coming.
Who has been an example of faithfulness to you?
Who have you been most faithful to?
What inspiration has accompanied your fortitude?
I can only imagine that for Jesus, the most faithful person through his life on earth would be Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament. The love they shared holds the Divine life for us to long for.
The faithful and true life that will be everlasting will be found in our Gift of Self to God Our Father.
When I first felt the call to write about my spiritual journey, to share my musings and ponderings with the world, I felt apprehensive. My first drafts were good but guarded.
A friend encouraged me to open up and go deeper, to reveal a little bit more of what the Holy Spirit had placed in my heart. With that vulnerability came great grace. People connected with my story, and through my words, the Holy Spirit worked.
As a writer, this is always a challenging thing to discern… How much do I reveal? How much should I share? But this is not only something writers struggle with, but each of us, especially within social media, have to constantly decide what is ok to share.
As human beings, we have a deep desire for connection, for intimacy. God made us this way. We have the capability to relate deeply to others, but ultimately, this desire calls us to relate intimately with Love Himself.
Like every good and holy desire, our fallen nature makes us see things in a distorted way. We look for fulfillment in the wrong places, and then we hide in shame when we are hurt.
One of the greatest obstacles to loving our neighbor is when we know “too much, yet not enough.” We know enough to imagine and judge their intentions, but given that we are not God, we never fully know. Their hearts are only known to God. All this “extra information” gave us is an excuse to judge and withhold mercy, to apply our own ideas of justice, to justify and excuse our lack of love.
Since we can judge an action by its fruits, we can look back and judge where this “extra information” came from.
Curiosity makes us want to look at what we ought not to, to want to know what is hidden, to want to be like God. – (curiositas). This was the sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve. They only knew what was good, but they wanted to also know what was evil.
When we give in to curiosity, we stumble in the dark, hiding, sneaking, wanting to know evil rather than being in the light. This might then bring us to the serious sin of detraction, when we rob others of their dignity by revealing something that was not ours to reveal.
We have two kinds of wounds… the ones that have been touched by Christ and the ones that are still waiting to be transformed. One kind is ok to show the world; the other one needs to be protected with boundaries until it is healed by God.
Opposites pulling, a tug of war between choosing to cover or to reveal. Shame tells us to hide; guilt wants us to show. We show our wounds to God. We let Him reveal His glory in us. Wounds that have been transformed, when shown, bring about hope.
And when friends or strangers reveal their woundedness to us… those wounds that are still bleeding, still hurting, still vulnerable… we must recognize this is holy ground we have been called to accompany them on.
We can’t absolve, but we can listen… and then hold… because these wounds were revealed to Christ in us.
Most of you already know that I had two procedures done on my body in the last month. Two simple procedures became much more complicated than they were meant to be. It is difficult to accept, but that was the road that lay before me and walking it was not optional. Now, for the last few weeks, my life has been all about “recovery,” mostly laying in bed, tired all the time, forcing myself to walk a little, eat without appetite and drink without thirst. I had to take medications at rigorously scheduled intervals with accurate tracking, only taking what was necessary to take the edge of the pain. And all that, as annoying as it sounds, is all grace. I have had so many experiences of His grace that it is truly humbling; let me share this one with you.
It was really early in the morning, probably around 5 am. I was in bed, half-asleep and in pain. I was half-praying and half-watching the TV. (It is funny, but there is a lot of half-whatever going on all the time in recovery). The TV show I was watching was some Industrial designer person talking about fixing a broken piece by using glue. “These two pieces are meant to be together; if we use the correct glue, it will truly repair the damage and be as strong as when it was new. The key to doing this well is to use the correct glue, and then persevere through the hard part… Be patient, and just let the glue dry.”
“Just let the glue dry.” As soon as I heard this, I broke down in tears... What binds us to Christ? We want to be one with Him, but what can we do to be with Him in this “valley of tears”? We have to suffer gladly. We have to accept His will for us, even when it means pain, even when we do not know how long it will take.
Here I am, a little broken and yet a little mended, and I have the opportunity now to accept these little pains with as much love as I can muster so that they can be used to unite myself to Christ. That love and that acceptance of the reality of life, that desire to be like Christ in this present moment, is the glue that can fix us and restore us to greater strength than we had initially. This gets us closer to the exemplary figure of Jesus. So we ask God to heal us, to fix us this way. So how do we do this? Here is one way.
Laying in bed, I remembered all the people, valiant souls, that I have prayed for over the years. Young ones battling cancer, older ones close to death, middle-aged ones having surgery... I remembered the ones who were alone in a hospital because of COVID restrictions and the few who passed suddenly and without warning. All these are still happening to our people, our loved ones, some of them strangers, but loved nonetheless; that gives meaning to our little sufferings. Thinking of them, we propose to our Lord that He may accept our little offerings… the uncomfortable times, the painful moments, the selfless thoughts… the humble realization of our littleness, and unite them to His suffering on the Cross… that it may help atone even a little for our faults and those of anyone suffering and in need.
I have come to accept that our little suffering has to be attached to that of Christ. Our love, consideration, and prayers are the correct glue. Now we must grow in patience and just let the glue dry.
Dearest Eucharistic Family,
Take a moment to go into the depth of your prayer and hear Jesus speak these words to you and me, “I am the living bread...”. They are truly unique, bringing forth life and truth. God is with us, and He is alive and well, giving us Living Bread from the Kingdom of Heaven. We are fed by God, nourished in His love.
Take another moment and think of the most precious gift you have ever received.
Our Father in Heaven gave us his Son and the Promise of the Holy Spirit, spirit and life. I believe we share in response to the greatest gift we have ever received, being Jesus Christ, and our faith in the Resurrection of the dead. Our treasure of religion, our faith, is beyond the sentiment of earthly treasures. We may have many sacramentals and gifts that remind us of the giver, these sentiments are beautiful holy reminders, and without attachment to them, they are gifts from God through people, treasured. Gifts and presents from the sincerity of our hearts become part of our expression of love. Beyond the physical world are the spiritual gifts from above our earthly experience.
Jesus speaks to us so personally, “the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.” In this promise from our Lord is everlasting life.
The Eucharist is the only One to consume the pains of our humanity, the longing of our hearts, and the inspiration for us to hope, live, move and be. By way of the Incarnation, Jesus is part of us; more importantly, we are part of him. What more extraordinary gift can there be other than someone loving us, seeing us, and living with us. This life exalts us to the heavens now. Life comes through forgiveness of sins and our intimate relationship with Christ. At the elevation of the Sacred Host, be consumed with returning love to our Lord. Let us share the gift of the Flesh of the Son of God. The epitome of compassion is given to us in Jesus; this gift is provided beyond our faults and failures.
The greatest gift we have given?
Let this response be our return to the Lord, our gift of faith passed on to others. Compassion dwells in us from our reception of Holy Communion and making known to others how we have received this source of life. Love is the only gift we take to the Heavens when we leave this world. Let us fly over the transcendent sufferings of the present, keeping our eyes fixed on what is to come. Jesus gives us life in the spirit to journey through life. The Eucharist, the Living Flesh of the Son of God, is a treasured gift to carry into the world. We are the bearers of Christ for those of us privileged to receive Him. The Heavens will welcome us one day; love revealed in the abundance of LIGHT. Let us begin now, our purgatory, with love in acknowledgment of the gift of our Triune God.
St. Peter Julian Eymard, our spiritual Father, discovered this gift of the Eucharist. It consumed his existence and empowered his life to be like a fire blazing, a torch reaching the Kingdom of God, awaiting the Eucharistic Kingdom to come again.
St. Peter Julian says:
With Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, we have yet another treasure, our spiritual mother, always with us in the Living Bread, Jesus. It is Mary who helps us to consume our food well, digest, and be consoled to have the fullness of life on this side of the Kingdom.
First, I would like to extend our deepest gratitude for each prayer said for our family this week. My husband, Rick, had major surgery this past Monday, and your prayers have carried us through. His surgery was much more complicated than anticipated, but he did well and is home recovering. Looking back at everything that has transpired during these past few days, I can honestly say it is all grace. Emmanuel… God is with us… a truth, sometimes hidden, yet often felt. This is what your prayers did for me… they helped me remain aware. Aware of His Presence, of His Providence, of His Love, of His Care.
The last thing I said to him was, “I love you,” as they wheeled him off to the OR. I found a chair away from people in the waiting room, grabbed my coffee and my rosary, and settled in to wait for a while. After an hour and a half, I moved to a chair closer to the preop area door. Looking up each time the door opened, hoping it was the surgeon saying they were all done. A surgery that was supposed to take one hour turned into two, then three, then a call from the nurse saying, “There are some complications; try not to worry, we are still working on him.”
A lot goes through one’s mind and heart in those moments. A prayer of begging and surrender…
It was precisely at this moment that I felt the prayers calling down graces to live the present moment. A grace of courage to have a difficult conversation with God. A grace of trust to know that His Will is perfect and good; that no matter what happened, He was, and would always be, with us. He was with Rick in the OR, He was with our kids at home, and He was with me in the waiting room. And, always, a grace of hope.
Shortly after that call from the nurse, a friend texted and asked if I wanted her to bring me Communion to the waiting room. I said, yes, of course! Jesus wanted to be physically present in the waiting room with me. My friend stopped by, gave me Communion, and prayed with me. She was there representing all of you, and I felt your prayers strengthening me. There were moments when I felt afraid, yet I never lost my peace. I didn’t try to escape the moment either; I was able to remain present, in prayer, in the grace of the moment.
Five hours went by when, finally, the surgeon stepped out looking for me. She said he was in recovery and doing well. There had been some complications during surgery, so she still needed to run some blood work and keep him for observation, but she hoped everything would be ok. It would still be a while before I could see him, but I was so grateful. My friend, who was still with me, left, and I sat in a little corner, ate the sandwich I had packed, and just breathed. I breathed in the Holy Spirit and let Him wash over me. I asked for strength for what was just ahead, helping him through recovery, fully aware of my limitations due to my own disability. Once again, I felt the grace of your prayers, carrying the cross like Simon of Cyrene (cf. Matthew 27:32).
I got to bring Rick home the next day, and he is recovering beautifully at home. We are both resting, taking care of each other, and the kids are doing their part to help things run along. Yes, my friends, this is what your prayers have done for us. A highly complex surgery went well, and we are being carried by grace each moment. Like Rick said last week, let us always continue to pray for each other. Prayer works. We have experienced it over and over again. Let us not tire of asking… of offering sacrifices… of calling down grace for each other. Let us bring light to the places in darkness.
When I saw the little pyx containing Jesus in the waiting room, sitting next to me, I wondered who else He was visiting there. I got to be the one to receive Him, but I know He was not there just for me.
As I sit on my bed convalescing for a few days, I find myself grateful. Yes, I do feel ill and hurting, but I also feel comforted by the love of our people. So many have gone out of their way to pray for and support me (and my wife) that I have understood well what it means to love one another and let others care for me.
Like most of us, I tend to be the active one, the one others ask for prayers and support, and I take that very seriously, but this is probably the first time in my life that I require prayers and support from my brethren. And you know what? It is good to provide those close to us with the opportunity to practice their charity, hope, and faith.
In our RCIA sessions, we try to teach our newly called to the faith what it means to care for one another, what it is to be the body of Christ. If one rejoices, we all rejoice; if one suffers, we all suffer. It is good that we can put that into practice, that as we grow to give of ourselves in the name of Christ, we also accept the gift of selves of our fellow brethren.
I was able to be anointed by a dear priest friend, who went out of his way to accommodate me, and I was able to commune with Christ Eucharistic the day before the procedure. What a gift!
I am not out of the woods yet. I still have another procedure scheduled that hopefully will take away most of my long-term pain. Through the grace of God and with the faith and charity of the ones who love us, we continue moving forward.
Pray for one another, care for each other, and reach out to the ones in need, but also let others do the same for you so that the grace of God continues flowing throughout the world.
Thank you for your prayers.
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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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