WHY do our souls become tepid and weak, cold and sleepy?
The answer in part is because we often do not stay near the “Sun” of God, most especially, near to where He is: the Eucharist. It is precisely in the Eucharist that you and I—like St. John—will find the grace and strength to “stand beneath the Cross”…
JESUS IS HERE!
He is here! Jesus is already here! While we await His final return in glory at the end of time, He is with us in so many ways now…
For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matt 18:20)
He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him. (John 14:21)
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)
But the way in which Jesus remains most powerfully, most wonderfully, most tangibly is in the Holy Eucharist:
I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst… For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink… And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age. (John 6:35, 55; Matt 28:20)
HE IS OUR HEALING
I wish to tell you a secret, but it is really no secret at all: the source of your healing, strength, and courage is already here. So many Catholics turn to therapists, self-help books, Oprah Winfrey, alcohol, pain medications, etc. to find a cure to their restlessness and sorrows. But the answer is Jesus—Jesus present to all of us in the Blessed Sacrament.
O Blessed Host, in whom is contained the medicine for all our infirmities… Here is the tabernacle of Your mercy. Here is the remedy for all our ills. —Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary of St. Faustina, n. 356, 1747
The problem is that we simply do not believe it! We do not believe that He is really there, that He is really interested in me or my situation. And if we do believe it, we are rather like Martha—too busy to take time to sit beneath the Master’s feet.
Just as the earth revolves around the sun, depending upon its light to sustain life in every season, so too, your every moment and season of life should revolve around the Son of God: Jesus in the Most Holy Eucharist.
Now, perhaps you can’t go to daily Mass, or your church is locked during the day. Well, just as nothing on the face of the earth is hidden from the light and heat of the sun, so too, no one can escape the divine rays of the Eucharist. They penetrate every darkness, even sustaining those who do not desire Him.
The earth could exist more easily without the sun than without the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. —St. Pio
Yes, even the densest forests have a little bit of light in them during the day. But how sad that we tend to hide in the forest of our flesh rather than coming out into the full light of the Spirit and Jesus radiating from the Eucharist! A wildflower in a field, fully exposed to the sun, grows more beautiful and vibrant than a flower trying to grow in the dark, depths of the forest. Thus, by an act of your will, a conscious act, you can open yourself and come out into the open, into the healing rays of Jesus, right now. For the walls of the tabernacle cannot obscure the divine light of His love…
COMING INTO HIS LIGHT
The most obvious way to receive the power and healing of the Holy Eucharist is to physically receive Him. Everyday, in most cities, Jesus is made present on the altars in our churches. I remember as a child feeling called to leave behind “The Flintstones” and my lunch at noon so I could receive Him at Mass. Yes, you will have to sacrifice some time, leisure, fuel, etc. to be with Him. But what He gives you in return will transform your life.
…unlike any other sacrament, the mystery [of Communion] is so perfect that it brings us to the heights of every good thing: here is the ultimate goal of every human desire, because here we attain God and God joins himself to us in the most perfect union. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, n. 4, www.vatican.va
I would not know how to give glory to God if I did not have the Eucharist in my heart. —Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary of St. Faustina, n. 1037
II. Spiritual Communion
But the Mass is not always accessible to us for many reasons. However, did you know that you can still receive the graces of the Eucharist as if you were present at Mass? The saints and theologians call this “spiritual communion.” “Spiritual Communion, as St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Alphonsus Liguori teach, produces effects similar to Sacramental Communion, according to the dispositions with which it is made, the greater or less earnestness with which Jesus is desired, and the greater or less love with which Jesus is welcomed and given due attention.” —Father Stefano Manelli, O.F.M. Conv., S.T.D., in Jesus our Eucharistic Love. It is taking a moment to turn to Him, whereve He is, and desire Him, welcoming the rays of His love that know no boundaries:
If we are deprived of Sacramental Communion, let us replace it, as far as we can, by spiritual communion, which we can make every moment; for we ought to have always a burning desire to receive the good God… When we cannot go to the church, let us turn towards the tabernacle; no wall can shut us out from the good God. —St. Jean Vianney. The Spirit of the Curé of Ars, p. 87, M. L’Abbé Monnin, 1865
The degree to which we are not united to this Sacrament is the degree to which our hearts grow cold. Therefore, the more sincere and prepared we are to make a spiritual communion, the more effective it will be. St. Alphonsus lists three essential ingredients to making this a valid spiritual communion:
I. An a
ct of faith in the real presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
II. An act of desire, accompanied by sorrow for one’s sins so as to worthly receive these graces as if one were receiving sacramental Communion.
III. An act of thanksgiving afterward as if Jesus was received sacramentally.
You can simply pause for a moment in your day, and in your own words or a prayer like this one, say:
My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen. —St. Alphonsus Ligouri
The third way in which we can draw power and grace from Jesus to re-enkindle our cold hearts is to spend time with Him in Adoration.
The Eucharist is a priceless treasure: by not only celebrating it but also by praying before it outside of Mass we are enabled to make contact with the very wellspring of grace. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Eccelisia de Eucharistia, n. 25; www.vatican.va
You really don’t have to do anything but let the mists of grace wash over you from this “wellspring.” Likewise, just as sitting in the sun for an hour will tan your skin, so too, sitting in the Eucharistic presence of the Son will transform your soul from one degree to the next, whether you feel it or not.
All of us, gazing with unveiled face on the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Cor 3:18)
I don’t know how many times that the words I have written here were inspired before the Blessed Sacrament. Mother Teresa also said that adoration was the source of grace for her apostolate.
The time spent by my sisters at the service of the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, allows them to spend hours of service to Jesus in the poor. —source unknown
Jesus concealed in the host is everything to me. From the tabernacle I draw strength, power, courage, and light… —Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary of St. Faustina, n. 1037
IV. Chaplet of Divine Mercy
The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is a prayer Jesus revealed to St. Faustina specifically for these times in which each of us, sharing in the priesthood of Christ through our Baptism, can offer to God the “Body and Blood, soul and divinity” of Jesus. This prayer, thus, intimately unites us to the Eucharist from which its efficaciousness flows:
Oh, what great graces I will grant to souls who say this chaplet; the very depths of My tender mercy are stirred for the sake of those who say the chaplet… Through the chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with My will. —Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary of St. Faustina, n. 848, 1731
If the Storm of these times are shaking your soul, then it is time to immerse yourself in the graces flowing from the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which is the Holy Eucharist. And those graces flow to us directly through this powerful prayer. Personally, I pray it each day in the “hour of mercy” at 3:00pm. It takes seven minutes. If you are unfamiliar with this prayer, then you can read it here. Also, I have created with Fr. Don Calloway M.I.C. a powerful audio version that is available in CD format from my website, or online at various outlets such as iTunes. You can listen to it here.
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|1.||↑||“Spiritual Communion, as St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Alphonsus Liguori teach, produces effects similar to Sacramental Communion, according to the dispositions with which it is made, the greater or less earnestness with which Jesus is desired, and the greater or less love with which Jesus is welcomed and given due attention.” —Father Stefano Manelli, O.F.M. Conv., S.T.D., in Jesus our Eucharistic Love.|