Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ten Ways to Fall in Love with the Eucharist

The saints are the mad-lovers of Jesus; they were on earth and now are in heaven loving God for all eternity.  In this article, we will give a list of what some saints have said in an excess of love for the most Holy Eucharist. Then we will give ten keys to unlock the treasure-case of gems to love the Eucharist more in our lives! Let us read and meditate on the fire of the saints and the Eucharist:
  •  “Holy Communion is the shortest and the safest way to Heaven.” (St. Pius X)
  •  “If the angels could be jealous of men, they would be for one reason: Holy Communion.” (St. Maximilian Kolbe)
  •  “In one day the Eucharist will make you produce more for the glory of God than a whole lifetime without it.” (St. Peter Julian Eymard)
  •  “How I love the feasts!… I especially loved the processions in honor of the Blessed Sacrament. What a joy it was for me to throw flowers beneath the feet of God!… I was never so happy as when I saw my roses touch the sacred Monstrance.” (St. Therese the Little Flower)
  •  “When you look at the Crucifix, you understand how much Jesus loved you then. When you look at the Sacred Host you understand how much Jesus loves you now.” (Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta)
  •  “From the Eucharist comes strength to live the Christian life and zeal to share that life with others.”  (St. John Paul II)
  •  “This is the bread of everlasting life which supports the substance of your soul.” (St. Ambrose)
  •  “The longer you stay away from Communion, the more your soul will be weak, and in the end you will become dangerously indifferent.”  (St. John Bosco)
  •  “The Eucharist is the consummation of the whole spiritual life.” (St. Thomas Aquinas)
Now let us dive into ten golden keys that can open up the infinite treasure house of jewels so as to derive countless graces and blessings from Jesus’ greatest Gift to the entire world: Holy Mass and Holy Communion, His Body, Blood Soul and Divinity!

Faith.  Beg the Lord for a greater faith in the sublime mystery of the most Holy Eucharist.   Let us say with the Apostles Saint Thomas:  “My Lord and my God.” Let us also so the prayer of the man of the Gospel: “Lord I believe but strengthen my faith!”

Visit. Make it a habit to visit the most Blessed Sacrament as often as is possible.  Hopefully when we die Jesus will not reproach us with these words: “Whenever I see a church I stop to make a visit so that when I die the Lord will not say:  “Who is it!”  Friends meet to chat, talk, and enjoy each other’s company; so should we, in visiting and talking frequently to Jesus.

Spiritual Communion. Highly recommended by St. Alphonsus Liguouri as well as Pope Benedict XVI in his document “Sacramentum Caritatis” is the frequent practice of the Spiritual Communion.   It can be done in a simple manner and as often as your heart desires.   You can say the simple prayer:  “Jesus I believe that you are truly present in the Tabernacle in your Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. Now I cannot receive you sacramentally but come at least spiritually into my heart.”  Then enter into your heart and thank, praise and love the Lord who has come spiritually into your soul.  This can fan the flame of love for our Eucharistic Lord.

Read John 6.  The Gospel of John chapter six has three parts: Jesus multiples the loaves, walks on water, and then He gives a sublime discourse related to the Eucharist; actually it is a Eucharistic prophecy.   Best known as the “Bread of life discourse”, Jesus promises to give us the Bread of Life.  Also Jesus points out in no unclear terms that our immortal salvation depends upon our eating His Body and drinking His Blood, which obviously refers to Holy Communion.  Read and meditate this powerful chapter!

Fifteen Minutes. Years ago there was published a small booklet with the title “The fifteen minutes”.  It is a little gem where Jesus encourages the reader to enter into simple but profound conversation with Him. Basically Jesus wants to be our Best Friend and challenges us to open up the secret mysteries of our heart to Him and only He can truly understand the inner secrets, wounds and mysteries in our heart.   Read and pray through this booklet if possible in front of the Blessed Sacrament!

Holy Hour. Get into the habit of making a daily Holy Hour in front of the most Blessed Sacrament. It will transform your life if you persevere in the practice.  The Great Servant of God, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, who made his Holy Hour faithfully for more than fifty years, called it THE HOUR OF POWER!

Adorn and Embellish Churches & the Eucharist.   The woman lavished her expensive nard on the feet of Jesus; she wept and her tears came pouring forth on the feet of Jesus; finally she wiped Jesus’ feet with her hair (Lk. 7:36-50).   Fulton Sheen points out that this is symbolic of the gestures of love and attention we should manifest in the way we adorn, embellish and beautify the Churches and tabernacles where Jesus abides. Known for his spirit of penance, fasting, and sacrifice, the Cure of Ars would travel long distances and expend big sums of money to purchase the best for his little Church. Why? For the simple reason that Jesus the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords abides in the tabernacle and descends from heaven in the hands of the priest in every consecrated Host. “O come let us adore Him!”

Holy Mass and Holy Communion. Of course the greatest action in the whole universe is the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The greatest gesture any human being can accomplish is to assist at Mass and to receive Holy Communion with faith, devotion, reverence and awe but especially with a passionate love.   Whenever possible, go to daily Mass. Arrive early to prepare yourself. Offer your own private intentions. Participate in Holy Mass fully, actively and consciously.   Receive Holy Communion as if it were your first Holy Communion, last Holy Communion and only Holy Communion. Be exceedingly thankful for your faith in such a sublime and august mystery!   Do not rush out of the Church after Mass, as if your pants were on fire!  Rather, spend some time after Holy Mass to render abundant thanks to Jesus for such a sublime gift. Actually the word Eucharist” means THANKSGIVING!   What a sublime gift, free of charge. The only condition is lively faith and a heart overflowing with love for Jesus the greatest of all lovers!

A.C.T.S—Remember the four principal ends or purpose of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass—A.C.T.S…  A—stands for adoration.  The primary purpose of Holy Mass is to offer adoration to God the Father, by the offering of Jesus the Victim and through the power of the Holy Spirit. C—stands for contrition.  Our hearts should be contrite and humble and repentant for our many sins. It is a great practice to offer our Mass and Holy Communion in reparation for our sins, the sin of our families as well as in reparation for the sins of the whole world.  “For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.” T—stands for thanksgiving.  Everything that we have in this life—with the exception of our own sins—is a pure gift from God. Therefore we should be overflowing and abounding in the thanksgiving. “With the Psalmist let us pray: “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; his love endures forever.”  S–  Stands for supplication; in other words we should offer prayers of fervent intercession and petition for the many needs of the world: the world at large, the Church, the conversion of sinners, the sick, the dying, our own personal family needs, the souls in purgatory, and much more….

Eucharistic Missionary.  As Mary receive Jesus in the Annunciation and promptly and quickly brought Jesus to her cousin Elizabeth, so should we bring Jesus to others and others to Jesus.   This can be done in a very concrete manner by encouraging Catholic lost sheep wandering in the wilderness back to the fold.  The second largest religious group in the United States as well as the Americas are non-practicing Catholics. Find the time, manner, effort and initiative to invite some lost soul back to Church. Hopefully he can make a good confession and return to the reception of Holy Communion and to the loving embrace of God the Father. All this might take place if you simply trust God and take the initiative to welcome Him back!    God is so loving and good!  Share the Good News to the entire world!

Fr. Ed Broom, OMV


Father Ed Broom is an Oblate of the Virgin Mary. He blogs regularly at Fr. Broom's Blog.


Monday, September 29, 2014

Evangelizing Catholics: A Mission Manual for the New Evangelization

by Scott Hahn - published by Our Sunday Visitor, 2014

A Book Review by Father John McCloskey
Scott Hahn is currently perhaps the best-known Catholic evangelizer in the United States — and probably the best American evangelizer since Archbishop Fulton Sheen himself.
A convert and former Presbyterian minister, Hahn is a university professor, lecturer and prolific writer. With God's grace, he has been responsible for multitudes of converts and reverts to the Catholic faith.
His newest book is Evangelizing Catholics: A Mission Manual for the New Evangelization. Its publication could not be more timely, given Pope Francis' emphasis on reaching those beyond the precincts of our faith.
Or, as Hahn pithily puts it, "You can't keep your faith unless you give it away."
He divides the book according to the three aspects of evangelization: the call, the response and the message. After providing a history of evangelization, Hahn offers practical and natural ways for readers to share their own friendship with Christ in their particular situations.
Hahn first explains how to proclaim the Person of Christ by words and deeds. He then moves on to proclaiming the Church Christ founded — not neglecting a favorite theme of his, the fulfillment of God's covenant with his chosen people, which, of course, holds particular significance for our Jewish friends. (I have a little experience in this — it can work!)
However, the primary field of evangelization, naturally, is the Catholic family. Hahn counsels married couples to "strive to live the vows made on their wedding day."
He continues, "Mothers and fathers must become the primary evangelizers of their children," noting, "In the early Church, stable marriages graced by the sacraments and lived out through mutual support and respect helped make converts of millions. They can do the same today."
Under separate headings he counsels, "Families must become places of prayer," "The Mass must become the center of family life," and "The domestic Church must become a haven of charity."
Hahn quotes from Vatican II's "Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity": "[The laity] share in the priestly, prophetic and royal office of Christ and therefore have their own share in the mission of the whole people of God … [through] activity directed to evangelization and sanctification of men and to the penetrating and perfecting of the temporal order through the Spirit of the Gospel."
Like leaven, laypeople are to influence all of society, since everyone we meet needs the truth and love of the Gospel: "They need our witness. They need to know who they are — that they have a dignity that doesn't depend on how they look or what they do or how much they earn. They need to know truth exists, and they need to know how to love in accord with that truth."
This book is a must-read for all Catholics who love their Savior and want to share their faith with family, friends and, indeed, the whole world.
What a joy it will be for us when we reach heaven and find there (rather than someplace much hotter!) relatives, friends and people we barely remember, thanks to our prayer, words and witness.
First appeared on National Catholic Register in September, 2014.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Today's Mass Readings - Sunday, September 28, 2014 with Reflection

1ST READING - Ezekiel 18:25-28
25 Thus says the Lord: You say, “The Lord’s way is not fair!” Hear now, house of Israel: Is it my way that is unfair, or rather, are not your ways unfair? 26 When someone virtuous turns away from virtue to commit iniquity, and dies, it is because of the iniquity he committed that he must die. 27 But if he turns from the wickedness he has committed, and does what is right and just, he shall preserve his life; 28 since he has turned away from all the sins which he committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
P S A L M - Psalm 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
R: Remember your mercies, O Lord.
Your ways, O Lord, make known to me; teach me your paths, 5guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior.(R) Remember that your compassion, O Lord, and your love are from of old. The sins of my youth and my frailties remember not; in your kindness remember me, because of your goodness, O Lord. (R) Good and upright is the Lord; thus he shows sinners the way. He guides the humble to justice, he teaches the humble his way. (R)
2ND READING - Philippians 2:1-11
Brothers and sisters: If there is any encouragement in Christ, any solace in love, any participation in the Spirit, any compassion and mercy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing. Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also for those of others. Have in you the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me.
Matthew 21:28-32
28 Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people: “What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He came to the first and said, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 He said in reply, ‘I will not,’ but afterwards he changed his mind and went. 30 The man came to the other son and gave the same order. He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir,’ but did not go. 31 Which of the two did his father’s will?” They answered, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you. 32 When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did. Yet even when you saw that, you did not later change your minds and believe him.”


Many teenagers struggle with their parents’ instructions and demands. At a time in their life when they seek maturity and their own identity, a parent can often be their frustration and ongoing enemy. Parents only want to offer advice in love. They were once teenagers, too, and feel it is in their children’s best interest to help them out. But many teenagers desire to hold firm to their opinion and this results in anger, misunderstanding and miscommunication.

       The parable of Jesus today reminds me of the relationship between parents and teenagers. The parent in the parable is asking for assistance in the vineyard, and the son, a teenager, doesn’t want to help out initially but obliges later on. The teenager at first will reject the advice of the parent, but after thoughtful consideration may change his mind and heart, as we see in the first person mentioned in the parable today. Jesus explains to thePharisees that many are coming into the Kingdom; albeit they are sinners, excluded from the synagogue worship, they eventually have a change of mind and heart.

       We all have a tendency to initially react negatively to advice, correction or requests because they infringe on our freedom and decision to act. We want to be in control, so we do not like it when one comes asking for assistance that will take our time, energy and effort.

         At first the sinners and the unwelcomed guests were reveling in their own ways following their own will. At the sight of Jesus’ concern and love, they have a change of heart and mind. And this is what Jesus celebrates in His parable — transformation, conversion, a reversal of lifestyle. The stubbornness of the Pharisees is proven, Jesus observes, that even after witnessing this change of heart and mind, they are not willing to change themselves. The call of the Lord is demanding. A part of us stubbornly resists change. We become too comfortable in our sin. The Gospel reminds us to change our ways for the sake of the Kingdom. Fr. Brian Steele, MGL
REFLECTION QUESTION: Do you delight in the will of God or your own will?
Lord of love, make me walk in the way of Your truth. Amen.

St. Wenceslaus, martyr, pray for us.

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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Opus Dei Bishop To Be Beatified Saturday

by Mary Claire Kendall

Just over 20 years after his death, Bishop Alvaro del Portillo will be beatified this Saturday, September 27, in Madrid, his birthplace—the next to last step before canonization.
Successor to St. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, founder of Opus Dei ("Work of God"), Bishop Portillo faithfully followed in the founder's footsteps, retaining the spirit of "The Work," as it is called. When he died on March 23, 1994, Pope John Paul II attended his wake, the only one he ever attended as pope. "I had to come," he said. He had been a good friend to the pope and had played an integral role at the Vatican. In the midst of it all, Don Alvaro (as he was known) lived the virtues to the same heroic degree as the founder, which is rare in the annals of church history, showing that the path St. Josemaria Escriva set out so painstakingly is an efficacious means of finding sanctity by doing one's ordinary work well for love of God.
To capture the essence of Alvaro del Portillo as a person, I recently spoke with four priests of the prelature of Opus Dei, including the Rev. Gregory Coyne, the Rev. C. John McCloskey, and the Rev. John DeBicki, who have served at the Catholic Information Center in Washington, DC, and the US Vicar for the Prelature of Opus Dei, Msgr. Thomas Bohlin.
"The one impression," Coyne had of Don Alvaro was of his "extraordinary serenity." It went deeper than his calm nature and Mexican mother. "He was a saint, I think," said Coyne, one who "grasped perhaps more clearly than any of the rest of us what it means to be a child of God." Portillo had lived through some harrowing times during the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939, he added.
McCloskey also noted Don Alvaro's "serenity" and the contrast with St. Josemaria Escriva, who was "a live wire… Don Alvaro was an engineer," focused on getting things done in Escriva's shadow.
Bohlin said he was "very fatherly in noticing people" and "looking out for their needs." He recalled an occasion when Don Alvaro was visiting Chicago, and he noticed one fellow who was particularly quiet. Learning the man did not speak Spanish, and was also an engineer, he went up to him and said, "We're both engineers, we're colleagues. I hear you're into bridges and things," said Bohlin. "And so [Alvaro] just started making conversation," which delighted the reticent engineer.
Coyne remembered him as "kind, gentle, and intelligent" with "a huge heart." He recalled how "he would always pray for you on your birthday in a special way." "If you were studying in Rome at the seminary of Opus Dei," said Coyne, who was there from 1984-1989, "he would seek you out on your birthday and he wouldn't rest until he found you." One year, Coyne spent his birthday at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross (Santa Croce). "When I got back," he said, "I saw [Don Alvaro] there in the hallway and he had his arms open and he gave me a big embrace and said, 'Where have you been? I've been looking for you all day long to greet you.'"
McCloskey, who arrived in Rome on October 2, 1978, the day of Pope John Paul I's wake and the 50th anniversary of Opus Dei—when the whole question of whether Opus Dei would become a prelature hung in the balance—experienced Portillo's "fatherliness" when the bishop was "going out the door with Don Javier (Bishop Echeverria, the current prelate), his vicar." "It was a custom for people who were studying for the priesthood to talk to the prelate to let him know 'I'd be willing to be ordained if you think I have the qualities,'" McCloskey said. "I was in my work clothes," he continued, "doing some menial work around Villa Tevere (the central house of Opus Dei in Italy) and he stopped me and I said, 'Can I talk to you for a moment, Father?' He said, 'Of course.' And, he turned around and told Javier to go and get the car. He took me for a little walk inside Villa Tevere, and listening to me, put his arm in my arm, and then he was saying what it means to be a priest… and 'I hear you, I'm very glad you're doing this.' Here's this man, who's a very important man, who's in a hurry to go to the Vatican and he took the time to spend with this little old nobody and then he gave me a hug and just went right out the door."
Three years later, the day McCloskey was ordained at Torreciudad, a beautiful Marian shrine St. Josemaria Escriva had shepherded to completion, he drove down to Madrid afterwards with his parents and an aunt and uncle, now all deceased, and visited the headquarters of Opus Dei in Spain, called Diego De Leon. And, of all things, Alvaro del Portillo was there and said to him, "I want you to give me your blessing." After the bishop knelt down, McCloskey gave the prelate the blessing.
The man kneeling in front of him was not only the "head of Opus Dei," who brought the group to 20 countries during his tenure, in addition to having worked for 40 years with Escriva during the foundational era, but he founded Santa Croce at the behest of St. John Paul II. Don Alvaro was also "involved in the Curia in all types of things, much more than we know, that will only come out with time," said McCloskey. "He was in love with the Church."
This Saturday, we will learn the full measure of his love, as Alvaro del Portillo is elevated for all in the Church to look to as an example of holiness, and of supernatural and human warmth.
First appeared on Aleteia.org in September, 2014.

Friday, September 26, 2014

The ONE thing you need to nourish your faith

The Holy Eucharist
has nourished the faith
of Catholics for centuries . . .

. . . but it's all too easy to let routine
dull your sense of the transforming
power of this sacrament.

Reading these pages will
stir the embers of your love
for the Eucharist into a bright
glowing flame.

Fr. John Kane — a holy priest who was
known for his devotion to the Eucharist —
will show you how to experience the Eucharist
as an inexhaustible source of grace, peace,
and comfort.

You'll also discover in these pages . . .
  • How to transform Communion into a dynamic encounter with Jesus
  • How Christ's Presence nourishes your soul even in ways beyond your understanding
  • Christ's secret work in your soul: how you can aid Him in His work through the Eucharist
  • Two obstacles to gaining spiritual fruit from Communion: how to recognize and overcome them
  • Why it's so important for you to spend time in thanksgiving after Communion
  • And much more that will help you know Christ in the Eucharist and love Him more than ever!
"Easily accessible to all — catechist, convert, priest, and laity. Fr. Kane shows us the mystery of the Eucharist in a thousand different ways."
Fr. Romanus Cessario

Transforming Your Life
Through the Eucharist

by Fr. John A. Kane
176 pages - $14.95

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We all pray, but few of us pray well.  And although that's troubling, few of us have found a spiritual director capable of leading us further along the path of prayer.

Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J., is just such a director.  And reading this little book about the four types of prayer will be for you like hearing the voice of the wise and gentle counsellor you long for, but can't find: one who knows your soul well and understands its needs.

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Well, the interior life is in most ways the same — and in lesser ways different — for each of us. The good director understands the ways it must always be the same, and allows for all the ways in which it will be different, uniquely our own.

By showing us in these pages the saints in prayer, their struggles and their insights, and by drawing on 2,000 years of Christian experience, Fr. Plus is here able to make his spiritual advice both concrete and universal: suited to each of us as if we were speaking with him face-to-face.

To read is not always to pray; but to read this book is to be led to the very threshold of prayer.


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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Priest defends Marian veneration


PARAÑAQUE City, September 10, 2014—In a bid to dispel wrong views some people have about the Catholic veneration of Mary, a priest explained the “active role” the Blessed Mother plays in the Divine Plan.

In his sermon on the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lady on Monday, September 8, at the St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe Formation House in Multinational Village, Parañaque City, Fr. JV Acosta, a Conventual Franciscan (OFMConv,), said the best way one can go to Jesus is through Mary, His mother.

He pointed out that while the All-Powerful God could have chosen any other means of entering history, He opted to do so through a humble woman who called herself the “handmaid of the Lord”.

Acosta stressed that if God Himself in all His majesty had condescended to come to humans through Mary, nothing should prevent them from going to God through her.

To make himself better understood, the priest invited his audience to reflect on this cooperative role of Mary in salvation history.

He emphasized that the beginning of the salvation of humanity rested on the Blessed Virgin’s “yes”, her “let it be done according to your Word”.

Due to her “fiat”, St. Irenaeus of Lyons, a Church Father, gave Mary the title “New Eve”.

He said, “It was right and necessary that Adam be restored in Christ … that Eve be restored in Mary so that a Virgin, become advocated of a virgin [Eve], might erase and abolish the disobedience of a virgin by her obedience as a Virgin.”

The Filipino faith has always been marked by a strong Marian devotion. (Photo: CBCP News)

This title was also highlighted by the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II) which mentions, “The Holy Fathers see Mary as not merely a passive instrument in the hands of God, but as cooperating in the salvation of human beings with free faith and obedience.”

“One cannot love Christ and hate His mother… If you love God, love whom He loves,” stressed Acosta.

According to him, Catholics only honor the Blessed Virgin because God honored her first, but this “honoring”—hyperdulia—should not be confused with the worship that must be accorded only to God.

He explained that in choosing Mary to be the mother of His incarnate Son, He raised her above all other creatures.

Echoing St. Polish martyr and Militia Immaculatae (MI) founder St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe, himself a Conventual Franciscan, Acosta said, ““Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did.”

Meanwhile, in a tweet posted September 2, Pope Francis shared, “The Christian who does not feel that the Virgin Mary is his or her mother is an orphan.” (Raymond A. Sebastián)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Rely on Christ When He Seems Distant

Luis M. Martinez 

Through the intuitions of love, more than through the liveliness of the imagination, we have often constructed interiorly an arresting scene: the ominous sky, the wild winds, a little boat tossed by the seething waves of Lake Tiberias, with Jesus asleep in the stern. What a con­trast between the fury of the tempest and the sweet, majestic peace of the divine slumber! The omnipotent, the Most High, He who is infinite activity because He is infinite perfection and unfailing felicity, surrendered to that sure sign of limitation and misery: sleep.

What would the sleeping Jesus be like? St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus states that children please their parents just as well asleep as awake. To souls enamored of Jesus, the Beloved is as beautiful in the silence of His sleep as in the zenith of His activity. Jesus is al­ways beautiful, always great, always divine, “altogether desirable,” as the Song of Solomon declares.

The gentle Virgin Mary often contemplated the ineffable beauty of Jesus asleep. With the eyes of a mother, a lover, and an artist, she enjoyed the celestial delight of that marvelous divine beauty. What mild­ness in that incomparably comely countenance! What harmony in that motionless body! What majesty in that sweet repose! What radiations emanated from that sacred humanity quietly resting there.

Jesus was exceedingly beautiful when He spoke words of eternal life, accomplished wonders, looked with love, pardoned with mercy, and caressed with tenderness. But I would like to have seen Him while He was sleeping because I could have contemplated Him to my heart’s content, without the fascination of His gaze distracting me, without the perfection of His beauty and the glory of His splendor dazzling my eyes and enrapturing my soul. The beauty of Jesus awake is too great for my smallness. Who could support it? I feel it more suited to me veiled by sleep, as the glory of the sun is more adapted to my eyes when I look at it through a translucent lens.

Mary most holy must have watched the sleep of Jesus many times. Mary’s ecstatic eyes would never tire of looking at her divine Son. With holy liberty, she covered Him with the kisses of her virginal lips as her immaculate hands caressed Him tenderly. If we had seen Jesus asleep, small and helpless as we are, we too would have dared to caress Him without reserve and to lull His mystical sleep with our timorous but ardent kisses.

Great artists striving to express the contrasts in­volved in the strength of repose have succeeded in producing the impression of an immobility filled with power, a calm of restrained activity, an activity that is its own mistress. Through the magic of art, incompat­ibles — majestic repose and animated activity — are united.

Through a divine art, this mighty contrast is real­ized in an indescribable manner in Jesus asleep. With the person of Jesus, the phrase of the Song of Solomon, “I slept, but my heart was awake,” is not a figure of speech used in the language of love, but a profound reality of the divine order. His sleep was like ours, be­cause He took on Himself our miseries. His exterior and interior senses during sleep had that mysterious ligature which wise men have not yet explained satisfactorily. Sleep was not for Him, as it is for us, a suspension of our active life mingled with an occa­sional flash or mysterious phantasm of light and action. Although the lower part of His most holy soul was plunged in shadows, the higher part opened fully to the light of glory and the Beatific Vision far beyond the need of bodily aid, nourished in the unfailing tor­rent of the divinity.

The profound understanding of Jesus was flooded with celestial splendor. Beatific love burned in His Heart, enveloping with flames of blessedness and glory that Sacred Heart ever alert for love, ever living to make to His Father the holocaust of His tenderness, ever active to pour into souls the treasures of His mercy.

In the presence of that regal immobility and the divine silence of that most comely body, could one guess the interior glory? Through the delicate, celes­tial veil of human sleep, could penetrating and loving eyes like those of the Virgin discover the deep secret of the interior joy of Jesus? 

From Archbishop Martinez’s When God Is Silent. Click to order.

The Apostles, with their narrow, human judgment, because they had not yet received from the Paraclete the deep sense of the divine, did not suspect on Tiberias the mystery of that Heart which was always watching.

Frightened by the din of the storm, they awakened Jesus to command the winds and the tempest. “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” the Master asked them. They did not yet have it in the plenitude they were to receive in the Cenacle. They did not under­stand that even though we need to be awake to exer­cise our limited activity, Jesus, even as man, concealed under the mystery of His sleep the limitless power of the Beatific Vision.

Who can comprehend the sleep of Jesus? Who can conceive the strikingly beautiful contrast between the summit of that soul bathed in the light of glory and the lower part covered with the shadows of sleep, like the earth immersed in the sun’s glory in one hemisphere and submerged in the calm of night in the other?
Christ works in your soul even as He sleeps

Jesus lives mystically in souls, reproducing in them all the mysteries of His mortal life. With the keen in­tuition of her love, St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus un­derstood the mystery of this mystical sleep, expressing it with her inimitable language, full of ingenuous and truest poetry: “Jesus slept in my boat, as was His wont. But how rarely will souls allow Him to sleep in peace. Wearied with making continual advances, our good Master readily avails Himself of the repose I offer Him, and in all probability will sleep on till my great and everlasting retreat; this, however, rather rejoices than grieves me.”

Who else would have thought of interpreting the dark, painful chasm of spiritual desolation with such amiable, heavenly light? Almost all souls are discon­certed by desolation. They conclude that Jesus has gone away, that the sweet visits of former times, bright and fragrant as a spring garden, were a fleeting dream, an idyl interrupted through their own infidelity and ingratitude. They fear that the love so sweet, so deep, and so sure, to which Jesus invited them, has been turned into hate, as happens to all love that meets with neglect. In their unspeakable agony, these poor souls hold the firm conviction that the Beloved has fled from them, perhaps not to return, bearing away with Him the entrancing perfumes of Heaven, the divine clarity that illuminated life’s pathway, and the holy consolations superior to all earthly joys.

These desolate souls surmise everything except that Jesus is only sleeping within them, just as He slept in the little bark on Tiberias while the wind roared and the tempest raged. Only the pure eyes of the gentle child of Lisieux, only her gaze of love could discover the secret of a lover. Jesus has not gone away, nor will He ever leave, because love, strong as death, never departs, and its divine ardor cannot be extinguished by the torrents of our ingratitude. Jesus continues to live in the soul to whom He pledged love, because His name is Faithful and True. He sleeps sweetly in that soul which belongs to Him, because it surrendered itself to Him, attracted by His irresistible fragrance.

Could that consoling idea of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus be an effort of an ingenuous and charming optimism to cover with a veil of piety the blackness of a terrible pain in order to endure it, or is there hidden under a precious symbolism a profound reality con­cealed from the eyes of the wise and prudent and re­vealed only to the little ones? The exceedingly deep love of the Carmelite virgin for truth and her remark­able sanctity, attested to by the Church, shows unmis­takably that the girl saw clearly and deeply into the divine mystery. Jesus needs to sleep in souls so that they may contemplate the exquisite beauty of His slumber, so that the divine Heart which watches while He sleeps may accomplish in silence the prodigies of purity and love that Jesus ordinarily accomplishes only in the midst of tempests and in the mystery of His sleep.

Like the Apostles, souls want to awaken Jesus when the storm threatens. What will they do without Him? Passions that seem conquered rise with new vigor. A darkness like that of death covers the sky of the soul, once a bright blue. The whistling of a hurri­cane disturbs the soul with gloomy, desolate, despair­ing ideas that seem to come out of Hell. The frail little bark of the soul is about to capsize, and Jesus sleeps. “Master,” the soul cries to Him, like the Apostles on Lake Tiberias, “do You not care if we perish?” And Jesus, when He does awake — the time of trial seems so prolonged — speaks to the soul as to the disciples in the little boat: “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?”

Just as it was unnecessary to awaken Jesus on Ti­berias, it is unnecessary that He be awake in souls to give them life. The words of the Song of Solomon may also be applied to His mystical sleep: “I sleep, but my heart watches.” Yes, Jesus watches solicitously in souls that love, even though they feel that He has abandoned them. Love does not abandon. Jesus is there in the depth of the soul. He seems to sleep because the soul does not hear His refreshing voice, because it does not enjoy His celestial consolations. But the Heart of Jesus is always watching with His inextinguishable love, with His incessant actions, with His tender care more solicitous each day.

If only one might know the fecundity of Jesus in His mystical sleep! He works in the soul with the same efficacy as when awake — perhaps with greater effi­cacy. Divine consolations dilate the heart, calm the passions, and quiet the soul, filling it with the mild­est unction. Desolations also accomplish the work of God — a delicate, profound work of purity, strength, and love. There are certain delicate and intimate op­erations that Jesus does not perform in souls except when He is sleeping. His mystical sleep is not from weariness, but from love. He sleeps because He loves. He sleeps because, while He sleeps, His Heart watches, transforming souls profoundly, although this transfor­mation is imperceptible.

St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus saw secrets of the spiritual life with remarkable clarity, and in order to explain why she was not grieved by her aridity in prayer and her naps during her thanksgivings, she observed that doctors put their patients to sleep in order to per­form operations. It is likewise necessary for Jesus to place souls under a holy sedative, into complete dark­ness, into absolute unconsciousness, to accomplish in them divine operations. When this occurs, the soul thinks Jesus is sleeping.

How would souls be able to endure those awful sufferings which, like double-edged swords, penetrate even to the depths of their being, if Jesus were awake, if that sweetest of voices resounded in them, if the fra­grance of His life penetrated their spirit, if they expe­rienced the divine action clearly and palpably? With Jesus manifest, one does not suffer. Looking at Him and receiving His caresses, the soul becomes a replica of Paradise. When He shows Himself, sufferings are either dissipated like vapor before the heat of the sun, or are turned into a brilliant and beautiful vision. The soul needs to suffer in its innermost being, and to suf­fer for a long time, and to suffer without much conso­lation. In order that the soul may suffer in this way and thus receive special graces, Jesus sleeps.

Editor’s note: This article is adapted from a chapter in Archbishop Martinez’s When God is Silent, available from Sophia Institute Press.

By Luis M. Martinez

Luis M. Martinez (1881-1956) was Archbishop of Mexico City and a philosopher, a theologian, a poet, and a director of souls. He is author of True Devotion to the Holy Spirit, When Jesus Sleeps, and other works.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Eucharistic Healing

Kathleen Beckman

I Thirst

Among many Catholics there is a privation, a sense of absence and even estrangement from true communion with God. This is a paralyzing reality among some believers. How can this be when Jesus is always and truly present in the Eucharist, on the altars and in the tabernacles of the world? Jesus hasn’t abandoned us; He is truly and perpetually present. In His Presence there is healing.

Often we claim to be looking for God, but our back is turned to Him as we look to people and places where God is not found. We have to turn around to look at Jesus — face-to-face in the Eucharist — to make sense of the madness of the world all around us.

There is a great thirst among God’s people, but the thirst of Jesus is far greater. The Heart of the Eternal High Priest is not fickle like the human heart. The Church’s initiatives, including the crusade of prayer for priests suggested by the Congregation for the Clergy, will be fruitful only if we fall in love with Jesus in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the deepest, most life-changing encounter with Jesus the High Priest.

The name Jesus the Eternal High Priest is intimately related to His hour when in Gethsemane Jesus prayed to the Father and to His perfect sacrifice on the altar of the Cross. Jesus is our High Priest, the victim of His own intercession for sinners.
The Eternal High Priest is a “victim offering” to God the Father for the ransom of humanity. Each ministerial priest becomes a victim offering also. Archbishop Fulton Sheen eloquently writes about this to his brother priests:
That moment when the priest lifts up the Host and the Chalice, he is at his best. A bride and groom are at their peak of loveliness and lovability at the moment of marriage. Love is said to be blind because it sees no faults in the beloved. God’s love becomes blind at this moment. He sees us through “the rose-colored glasses” of his Son. Never again will we appear as priestly, as victimal, as deserving of salvation, as we are when the Father sees us through “the rose-colored glasses” of the Body and Blood of his Son as we lift Host and Chalice to heaven. During this holy action, we priests become holy (Exodus 39:29). But we are also victims. We do not just offer Mass; we are also offered. (Those Mysterious Priests)
If we take time to ponder these sublime truths of our Faith, we are struck with awe at the gift of God. He loved us into being, ransomed us from sin and death by laying down His life so that we can live forever, and then perpetuates Himself in the ministerial priesthood so that we can encounter the living Jesus made present by His priests.

The letter to the Hebrews says, “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.” What does it mean to hold fast our confession? We confess that Jesus is Lord; we bear witness by our life and our good works. How can our confession of faith and love for Jesus be convincing if we are not encountering him?

The Healing Power of Eucharistic Contemplation

Communing with the Divine Lover of our soul becomes irresistible joy, not labor. The words of Bl. Teresa of Calcutta inspire us:
“When you look at the Crucifix, you understand how much Jesus loved you then. When you look at the Sacred Host you understand how much Jesus loves you now.” (Quoted in At the Altar of the World: The Pontificate of Pope John Paul II through the Lens of L’Osservatore Romano and the Words of Ecclesia de Eucharistia.)
In 2003, Pope John Paul II laid out a plan for the New Evangelization that starts with contemplating the face of Christ in the Eucharist stating that he would like to “rekindle Eucharistic amazement.” The Eucharist is the central provision of God for interior renewal and inner healing.

Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher to the papal household, beautifully writes about the healing power of “Eucharistic contemplation”:
Eucharistic contemplation also has an extraordinary power of healing. In the desert God ordered Moses to raise a bronze serpent on a pole. All those who were bitten by poisonous snakes and then looked at the bronze serpent were healed (cf. Numbers 21:4-9). Jesus applied the mysterious symbol of the bronze serpent to himself (John 3:14). What we should do, then, when afflicted by the venomous bites of pride, sensuality, and all the other illnesses of the soul is not to get lost in vain considerations or seek excuses, but to run before the Most Blessed Sacrament, to look at the Host and let healing pass through the same organ through which evil so often passes: our eyes.
The only thing the Holy Spirit asks of us is that we give him our time, even if at the beginning it might seem like lost time. I will never forget the lesson that was given to me one day in this regard. I said to God, “Lord, give me fervor and I will give you all the time you desire in prayer.” I found the answer in my heart: “Raniero, give me your time and I will give you all the fervor you want in prayer.”  (This Is My Body)
This is a message for our time because this type of healing is sorely needed. Our eyes are meant to behold what is holy, good, true, and beautiful. Unfortunately, worldly things that are unholy, false, and ugly bombard our eyes. Gazing upon the face of Jesus and contemplating His beauty, purity, and goodness is the healing balm we need for interior renewal, healing and deliverance from evil influences.

Although we may have good intentions, we often fail to pray or visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament because our daily lives are too busy. It is countercultural to come apart simply to be with the Lord. Learning how to rest in God is a gift of prayer called contemplation. Contemplation derives from the Latin word contemplatio, which means, “rest.” In contemplative prayer, we rest in God’s love and let grace work in us.

Contemplative prayer leads to a deep encounter with God. Fr. Cantalamessa writes, “Contemplation is an eminently personal activity; it calls for silence and requires that one be isolated from everything and everyone to concentrate on the object contemplated and to be lost in it.”(This Is My Body, 25.)

Through the gift of faith, we discover the Divine Somebody whose love is incomprehensible, extravagant, healing, and infinitely perfect.  An authentic encounter with Jesus in the silence of prayer leads to conversion of heart and inner healing. Constancy in prayer leads to perpetual conversion; absent prayer, conversion will cease. Through an authentic encounter with Jesus, we change from within. The process of encounter and conversion leads to engagement with Jesus and His Church.

There is an interior progression:
  • Encounter with Jesus: personal experience of Divine Love that heals;
  • Conversion of heart: movement toward God & away from what is not of God;
  • Engagement with Jesus in a relationship of love that leads to service.
An encounter with divine love is a meeting with Jesus, who laid down His life to save you and me — it must become personal and then communal. It is personal to Christ, who hung from the Cross and desires souls to satisfy His perpetual thirst. Jesus is always present for us on the altars of His Church, in the tabernacles of the world. He awaits us there, but He also initiates an encounter with us. What’s more, He also goes out after us — He pursues us to the ends of the earth, seeking after the human family like the Good Shepherd who left the ninety-nine sheep to search 
for the one lost lamb. No matter where we may run or hide, He is there — inviting us to an encounter of love. This is the most touching thing to me. It is not that we have loved Him but that He has loved us first (cf. 1 John 4:10).

Eternal Father, graciously send us a new infusion of the Holy Spirit that we may desire to contemplate Your Son Jesus in the Eucharist and receive healing.

Author’s note: This is an excerpt from a new book: Praying For Priests: A Mission for the New Evangelization now available from Sophia Institute Press.
image: alexey anashkin / Shutterstock.com

Kathleen Beckman


Kathleen Beckman, L.H.S., serves as Co-founder and President of the Foundation of Prayer for Priests (www.foundationforpriests.org). She is an author, radio host and retreat director who frequently speaks to priests, seminarians, religious and laity in the United States and abroad, emphasizing Eucharistic spirituality, healing and deliverance, and the New Evangelization. Frequently featured on EWTN TV and radio, Kathleen hosts the weekly program Living Eucharist, which airs internationally on Radio Maria. Her new book, Praying for Priests: A Mission for the New Evangelization, is available from Sophia Institute Press.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Today's Mass Readings - Sunday, September 21, 2014 with Reflection

1ST READING - Isaiah 55:6-9
Seek the Lord while he may be found, call him while he is near. 7Let the scoundrel forsake his way, and the wicked man his thoughts; let him turn to the Lord for mercy; to our God, who is generous in forgiving. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts.
P S A L M - Psalm 145:2-3, 8-9, 17-18
R: The Lord is near to all who call upon him.
Every day will I bless you, and I will praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord and highly to be praised; his greatness is unsearchable. (R) The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness. The Lord is good to all and compassionate toward all his works. (R) 17 The Lord is just in all his ways and holy in all his works. 18 The Lord is near to all who call upon him, to all who call upon him in truth. (R)
2ND READING - Philippians 1:20-24, 27
20 Brothers and sisters: Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me life is Christ, and death is gain. 22 If I go on living in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. And I do not know which I shall choose. 23 I am caught between the two. I long to depart this life and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 Yet that I remain in the flesh is more necessary for your benefit. 27 Only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ.
Open our hearts, O Lord, to listen to the words of your Son.
Matthew 20:1-16
Jesus told his disciples this parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. Going out about nine o’clock, the landowner saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.’ So they went off. And he went out again aroundnoon, and around three o’clock, and did likewise. Going out about five o’clock, the landowner found others standing around, and said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’ When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and ending with the first.’ 9When those who had started about five o’clock came, each received the usual daily wage. 10 So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage. 11 And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, 12 saying, ‘These last ones worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’ 13 He said to one of them in reply, ‘My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?14 Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? 15 Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?’ 16 Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”


The conversion of St. Paul was dramatic. Even those around him, who once knew Paul as a staunch defender of the Law persecuting Christians and now defending the Christian faith, were astounded to see the effect of grace upon his life. Paul was filled with passion for the Lord — Christ was the air he breathed and the fruit of his ministry. Paul established many faith communities and touched many lives through his teaching and ministry in the power of the Spirit.

       Today’s Second Reading speaks to us of the dilemma of Paul. Filled with passion for the Gospel and desire to be with the Lord, Paul knew within himself that God was in control of his life. If God wanted him to continue his work, then so be it. He had that eternal perspective and counted everything as loss compared to knowing Christ and the power of His resurrection.

       Paul reminds us of the simple truth to live the Gospel. But what does that exactly mean? The Gospel is Good News. The Good News is that Jesus has come to this earth to open heaven for us. Heaven’s door was once shut through the sin of Adam, the disobedience of man. The ministry and life of Jesus was a pleasing sacrifice to the Father because of the Son’s obedience. By His death on the cross, the Father was pleased with the sacrifice and rose Jesus from the dead. This is the good news: Jesus, who died, rose and will come again. This is the mystery of faith that we proclaim at every Mass.

       Paul instructs his converts to avoid anything unworthy of the Gospel. In other words, avoid evil thoughts, words and actions. To shun evil is to avoid selfishness. We desire to be fed with the truth of the Gospel. The Gospel is personified in Jesus. He is the Gospel per se. By surrendering ourselves to His power, to the inspiration of the Spirit, we seek to be filled with Christ and live the way He showed us. Fr. Brian Steele, MGL
REFLECTION QUESTION: Do you live the Gospel?
Lord, may I live according to Your Gospel. May I be good news to others, not bad news. Amen.

St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist, pray for us.

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