Saints of the Blessed Sacrament
All saints are saints of the Blessed Sacrament but some were especially characterised by their love for the Eucharistic Lord. Perhaps one of the greatest of all such saints was St. Peter-Julian Eymard, the Apostle of the Most Holy Eucharist.
In the teachings of St. Peter-Julian Eymard we learn that we should always read the Gospels in the light of the Eucharist since the same Jesus who acts in the Gospel is truly present in the world today, in the flesh, in the Most Blessed Sacrament. In the Holy Tabernacle Christ continues to live the virtues and perfections we behold in the Gospels and He continues to adore His Father and intercede for sinners.
By meditating on the lives of those people who were close to Jesus during His mortal life 2000 years ago we learn how we should relate to Him in His Living Eucharistic Presence today. We also learn something about how the Eucharistic Christ wants to relate to us by studying the words He addressed to His friends when first He walked the earth.
Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament
St. Peter-Julian would say that the first and two most perfect adorers of Jesus Christ were Our Lady and St. Joseph and if we are to become faithful adorers we must ask them to grant us the necessary graces. The Incarnate Eternal Word was their book and they studied this book very well indeed. We should go to Jesus Eucharistic, united to Mary and Joseph and thus enter into that sacred intimacy that was the hidden life of Nazareth, and which we are called to reproduce in our local adoration chapel.
The adoration of Mary, the Woman of the Eucharist, gave more glory to God than the entire celestial court. Never was there a creature so utterly beautiful or so filled with love as Mary Immaculate. This model of pure love knew nothing of the ancient serpent’s influence, her mind was unsullied by the darkness introduced into human thought by the weakness of Eve. Her holy will never turned from its deep interior union with the Holy Will of God. So perfect was she that St. Maximilian Kolbe would call her the quasi-incarnation of the Holy Spirit. Of course we cannot say that the Holy Spirit was made incarnate but what the saint means is that Mary was so deeply possessed by the Holy Spirit that she reflects His pure light and love to us in a way that no other creature can. All saints are like icons of the love of God but this is true in an eminent way of the Spouse of the Holy Spirit. Her immaculate womb became the first perpetual adoration chapel, the first true tabernacle and for nine months the New Adam was adored and loved in that little paradise with a love beyond all telling. What all of humanity had failed to offer to God, namely obedience and love, the New Eve offered up in our name and thus she was indeed human nature’s solitary boast. Then when the fullness of time had come, that Pure Tabernacle of the Divine Presence became for the Magi the First Monstrance as she held in her arms He who is the Desire of All Nations. Upon seeing her loving adoration these three wise men dropped to their knees in awe-filled worship and there in that “House of Bread” the mystery of Eucharistic Adoration was begun. Who better to teach us how to please and adore the Eucharistic King than Mary the Great Mother of God. This Marian adoration would continue right throughout the life and death of Our Incarnate Lord and then would be taken up anew, when upon her sacred knees she adored and received the Eternal Word once again, this time hidden behind the veil of the Sacred Host which John the Apostle placed upon her tongue.
Let us then follow the example of the great Eucharistic Saints and consecrate ourselves to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, so that she may share with us the treasures of her superabundant Eucharistic Love.
OUR LADY OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT
Most Holy Mother Mary, New Eve and
Spouse of the Holy Spirit,
I entrust and consecrate my life and vocation
to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart,
May I be a tiny spark which shoots forth from
the Blazing Furnace of your Beautiful Heart,
to enkindle in this world the fire of love
for Jesus Eucharistic.
May His Innocent Blood continue to
plead for our salvation
in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar,
May His Eucharistic Light pierce the
darkness of our minds,
May His Eucharistic Power heal and
transform the lives broken by sin,
May His Eucharistic Love bring
unity and peace to the Church,
And through your maternal and
queenly intercession may the Lord Jesus Christ
take up his Eucharistic Reign of holiness
and love in every human heart. Amen.
Good St. Joseph
Although the mode of Christ’s presence is different, it is exactly the same Divine Person who worked silently in the workshop of St. Joseph 2000 years ago, that we now encounter truly present and alive in the Eucharist. Thus St. Peter-Julian said that in his day he wanted to be the « St. Joseph of Jesus in His Sacramental State. » Adorers should strive to reproduce that beautiful and simple communion and intimacy with the Eucharistic Jesus, which Joseph enjoyed when first the Lord took flesh and dwelled in the Holy House. Our nearest adoration chapel is the Holy House, it has been sanctified by the presence of the same Incarnate Lord.
St. Joseph leaves us only the legacy of his silence, but in this silence he teaches us the attitude we should have before the Eucharistic Mystery. The silence of St. Joseph is not a silence of emptiness but a silence of contemplation, a silence of awe. Pope John Paul II once told the entire Church that we should have “Eucharistic Amazement” before the Incarnate God of the Blessed Sacrament. Well, St. Joseph lived in this constant state of amazement before the God of Infinite Glory who had become His adopted Son. Every hour of his life with Jesus in Nazareth was a Holy Hour! The humble house of Nazareth was like an outstretched corporal and every word Joseph addressed to the Christ Child was like a word of consecration, for the Eternal Word was obedient to his every command.
At the prayer of Joshua of old, the sun stood still in the sky, but at the command of Joseph, the Sun of Justice and Creator of all that is, stood still in obedience. The angels tremble in the all-holy presence of Almighty God but Joseph was obliged to become his superior in the hidden and beautiful years of Nazareth. Along with Mary it is Good St. Joseph who will teach us how to enter into a deep intimacy with the Word made flesh. He is the patron of all Christians, but above all of adorers who are called to relive the mystery into which he was first privileged to be invited. To the detriment of the Universal Church, the all-powerful intercession of St. Joseph, the Shadow of the Eternal Father is all too rarely invoked. Let us then follow the example of St. Peter-Julian who not only prayed to St. Joseph but who asked him to be his spiritual father and solemnly consecrated the Religious Order he founded, to the paternal heart of Christ’s adoptive father.
Other Biblical Models of Adoration:
In St. Peter-Julian’s writings we also find the following beautiful Eucharistic meditation on two other important Gospel figures: St. Mary Magdalen and St. John the Baptist.
St. Mary Magdalen
Diligebat Jesus . . . Mariam. Jesus loved . . . Mary. (John xi. 5.)
Saint Mary Magdalen was the privileged friend of Jesus. She served Him with her wealth and accompanied Him everywhere. She honored His humanity magnificently with her gifts. She loved to pray at His feet in the silence of contemplation. For all these reasons she is the patroness and model of a life spent in the adoration and service of Jesus in the Sacrament of His love. Let us study Saint Mary Magdalen; her life is full of the very best lessons.
JESUS loved Martha, her sister Mary, and Lazarus; but especially Mary. Certainly He loved the three of them, but He loved Magdalen with a preferential love.
Although our Lord loves us all, He nevertheless has His favorite friends, and He allows us also to have special friends in God. Friends are a natural and even supernatural need. All the Saints had bosom friends, and they themselves were the most affectionate and devoted of friends.
Before her conversion Magdalen was a public sinner. She possessed all the qualities of mind and body and all the gifts of fortune that can lead one to the worst excesses. And she fell into them. The Gospel lowers her to the rank of a public sinner. She was so degraded that Simon the Pharisee felt disgraced when she entered his home. And he even doubted the prophetic power of Jesus because the Master allowed her to remain at His feet.
But after having been forgiven, this poor sinful woman was to take her place among the greatest Saints. See her at work.
HUMAN respect is, more than anything else, what holds back great sinners and prevents them from being converted. “I will not be able to persevere,” they say. “I dare not start what I cannot finish.” And disheartened, they go no further.
But Magdalen learned that Jesus was in Simon’s house. She did not hesitate, but went straight to Jesus and made her confession in public. She dared enter a house from which she would have been shamefully expelled had she been recognized at the door. While at the feet of Jesus, she said not a word; her love spoke audibly enough. Artists have painted her with dishevelled hair and disorderly dress; that is all imagination; it would not have been worthy either of Jesus or of her contrition.
She went straight to Jesus without mistaking anyone else for Him. But where had she known Him? Ah! An ailing heart knows well where to find the One that will comfort and cure it!
Mary dared not look upon Jesus. She said nothing: true contrition acts that way. Look at the Prodigal Son and at the Publican. The sinner who looks God full in the face after having offended Him insults Him. But Mary wept: she “washed the feet of Jesus with her tears and wiped them with the hairs of her head.” Her place is at the feet of Jesus. These feet trod the earth, and she knew she was but the dust of a corpse. The world is extremely fond of beautiful hair; she used hers as a rag. She remained prostrate on the ground, awaiting her sentence. She heard the remarks made by the envious Apostles and Jews, who honored only triumphant and crowned virtue. They did not like Magdalen who was teaching everyone of them a lesson; for everyone of them had sinned, but not one had the courage to ask pardon publicly. Simon himself, bloated with pride and hypocrisy, grew indignant. But Jesus avenged Magdalen. What beautiful words of rehabilitation: “More has been forgiven her because she has loved more. . . . Thy faith hath made thee safe,” said the Savior to her. “Go in peace.” He did not add: “Sin no more.” Jesus had said this to the adulteress, who was more humiliated for having been caught in the act than repentant for having offended God. But Magdalen had no need of that advice; her love assured Jesus of her firm purpose of amendment. What a beautiful and touching absolution! Magdalen must have had a very perfect contrition! When you go to confession, unite yourself to Magdalen and let your contrition, like hers, proceed more from love than from fear.
Magdalen withdrew after having received this baptism of love. By her humility she became more perfect than the Apostles. Ah! Despise sinners now if you dare! One moment is enough to turn them into great Saints. How many among the greatest has not Jesus Christ drawn from the mire of sin: Saint Paul, Saint Augustine, and many others! Magdalen opens the way for them; she ascended to the very Heart of God because she started very low and knew how to humble herself. Who then has a right to despair?
MAGDALEN’S love became active after her conversion. That is an important lesson.
Many converted sinners do nothing else beyond being converted. They want to remain in the peace of a good conscience through fidelity to the Commandments. They dare not follow Jesus, and they end by relapsing into sin. Man cannot live on tears and regrets. You have destroyed the objects to which your heart was so attached and of which you lived; you must substitute something else and live of the life of God. You want to remain at the feet of Jesus? He rises to go; follow Him and walk with Him. And so Magdalen began to follow Jesus; she was never to leave Him. We find her again at His feet, listening to His words and pondering them in her heart. That is the grace of her life. She had no language other than meditation, prayer, and love. She followed Jesus and practiced the virtues proper to His varying conditions of life. A conversion that does not go beyond sentiment is not lasting; Mary shared the different states of Jesus.
During His journeys she procured for Him what He required for His Own subsistence and that of His Apostles. Jesus was frequently to come to the home of His hosts in Bethany; by way of exchange He gave them a food of grace and love. On each occasion Mary sat at His feet and remained there in prayer. Martha became envious of her once, as do all those who think there is only one good state of life, one good way of living. Every state of life is good. The one you have is good; persevere in it, but do not despise the others. When Martha waited on Jesus, she was doing something good; but she was wrong in being envious of her sister.
You know how Jesus answered her and defended Magdalen. It is better to listen to His voice than to wait on Him. It still happens that people engaged in active callings complain of contemplative souls: “You are useless! Come along and work for the salvation of your brethren in charitable undertakings.” But Jesus defends them. Must not one also practice charity towards Jesus Christ, Who is so poor and abandoned in His Sacrament?
Magdalen heard that dialogue and her sister’s complaints; but she did not answer them. She was at the Savior’s feet, and she remained there. Another characteristic trait of Magdalen’s active love is suffering; she suffered with Jesus Christ. No doubt she knew beforehand of her Master’s death; friends have no secrets for each other. And if Jesus revealed His Passion to His Apostles who were so rude, why would He have concealed it from Magdalen?
See Magdalen in her suffering love. She went where men were afraid to go; she ascended Calvary; she forsook her dearly loved family; she followed the suffering Lord to the very end. And we find her with Mary at the foot of the Cross. The Gospel mentions her by name, and she certainly deserves it. What was she doing there?
She loved and sympathized. A friend wants to share the condition of his friend. Love fuses two lives, two existences into one. Magdalen did not stand; she remembered she had been a sinner, and she remained on her knees. Mary alone stood, immolating her dearly beloved Son, her Isaac.
Magdalen stayed there until after the death of Jesus. She returned on the morning of the first day of the week. She knew very well that Jesus was buried; but she wanted still to suffer and to weep. The Gospel praises the zeal of the other women and the magnificence of their gifts; it speaks only of the tears of Magdalen. She is the Christian heroine. More than all the Saints Magdalen shows us the immensity of Divine mercy.
HOLY WRIT speaks no more of Magdalen after the Ascension. According to a venerable and long-standing tradition the Jews placed Martha, Mary, and Lazarus on a dismasted ship and launched it out upon the high seas to have them
meet with certain death. But the Friend of former days still loved them. Jesus became their Pilot and Helmsman. He led them to Marseilles and gave them to the French, His friends and the eldest of His family.
Lazarus died a Martyr. The beautiful land of Provence had to be watered with his blood before the faith could blossom there. Martha went up as far as Tarascon and, gathering a community of virgins about her, performed spiritual and corporal works of charity throughout the surrounding country.
Magdalen withdrew upon a mountain as though to draw nearer to God. There she found a grotto, which without doubt had been prepared by angelic hands. But she soon had too many visitors; and not having enough time to converse with her good Master, she went up higher to a rugged peak and there communed with God alone. There she spent the last days of her life. She prayed, and she continued in her own life the mysteries of Jesus Christ. Jesus was constantly visiting her. Priests brought her Holy Communion. And when she was at the point of death, Saint Maximinus, one of the seventy-two disciples of our Savior, gave her Communion with his own hand. She had accompanied Jesus at His death; this good Savior rendered her the same service and the same honor.
She died in France and we are proud of it. We possess her holy relics. That is one of the strongest proofs of the love Jesus Christ has for France. He sent us His friends; they are in our midst. Let us hope Magdalen’s prayers and merits will entitle France to God’s mercy, provided it imitates her repentance and her love of Jesus Christ, Who lives in France and dwells in its towns and most obscure hamlets. Yes, Jesus Christ loves France as He loved Magdalen and the family of Bethany, with a love of predilection.
(Taken from the talks given by St. Peter-Julian Eymard and published in the book called « The Real Presence » available from Eymard Libraries)
St. John the Baptist
Illum oportet crescere, me autem minui.
He must increase, but I must decrease. (John iii. 30.)
WE SHOULD honor Saint John as a perfect model of adorers. The following beautiful words are the motto of Eucharistic devotedness and service: May the Most Blessed Sacrament increase; may it be known and loved; and may we become as nothing at the feet of our Eucharistic Lord! See how Saint John in the principal actions of his life is a model of adorers. His life seems to have been but one uninterrupted adoration, in which we find the characteristics of the best method of adoration: adoration according to the four ends of the Sacrifice.
ADORATION.—–We begin our adoration by bowing the head and prostrating ourselves to the ground. Through this first act we give recognition to the infinite majesty of the God Who is hidden beneath the Eucharistic veils. We follow this up with the exaltation of His greatness and love.
Saint John’s first grace was one of adoration. The Word was in Mary’s womb. He inspired His Mother to visit Elizabeth; Mary carried to John his Master and King. John could not come, for his mother was too old to undertake that journey; Jesus Christ went to him. He did the same for us: we could not go to God; God came to us.
When Mary “saluted” Elizabeth, she loosened the power of her Divine Son. Today Jesus is still bound and will do nothing without Mary. The Word Incarnate spoke through the voice of Mary. At the sound of that voice John leaped in the womb of his mother and revealed to her the mystery of God’s presence in Mary. It is John who made Elizabeth understand this mystery, as she herself confessed to Mary: Exsultavit in gaudio infans in utero mea. “The infant in my womb leaped for joy.”
At that moment John became the precursor of Christ. He saw his God and adored Him by leaping for joy. He adored Him, and the joy of finding himself in His presence reacted on his mother.
How good our Lord was to John! He wanted to bless him and make Himself known to him from His mother’s womb. How pleasing to Him the adoration of His precursor must have been! It was so spontaneous!
Jesus stayed with him three months. They were both hidden within the maternal tabernacle. John constantly adored his God; he felt His hidden presence. Join in Saint John’s adoration, which was so real and heartfelt in spite of the veils and barriers that separated him from his Lord. Senseras Regem thalamo manentem. “Thou didst sense the King abiding in His nuptial chamber.”
THANKSGIVING.—–Thanksgiving is based on the love and goodness of Jesus Christ. It sees only His gifts and blessings. The grateful soul humbles herself in order to exalt her Benefactor. She rejoices for herself as also for the blessings and favors granted to others, to the whole Church.
This feeling gladdens the heart. John manifested this twofold feeling of joy and of gratitude at the Jordan. Notice first of all the grace with which our Lord favored him; for thanksgiving is always born of a favor received and is based on humility. Now, John was on the point of Baptizing our Lord. He had not as yet ever seen Him. The Heavenly Father had given him a sign by which to recognize Him. Jesus presented Himself in the crowd of sinners who were waiting for John’s Baptism and were listening to his austere exhortations to penance. Jesus waited for His turn along with publicans and soldiers, He, a King, the Son of God! He claimed no privileges or exceptions. Understand that well, O adorers, and have no protector other than our Lord. Saint John cast himself at the feet of Jesus Christ. “What is this? I ought to be Baptized by Thee, and comest Thou to me?” Ego a Te debeo baptizari et Tu venis ad me? That is humility and truth! The Saints never think themselves perfect. And John does not speak of his ministry. Venis ad me? “Comest Thou to me?” He does not say: “Comest Thou to my Baptism?”
What delicacy of feeling! Mentioning his ministry would have set up a little throne for himself; but there must be nothing of that in the presence of our Lord.
And Jesus Christ said to him: “Proceed. Carry out My Father’s orders.” Like a truly humble man, John obeyed and baptized Him. A lesser humility would have advanced fifty reasons not to, but John obeyed. And when our Lord withdrew, he did not follow Him; he remained at his post of duty. What humility!
See how he returned to our Lord all the honor and glory of the sublime function he had just performed. His disciples, the worst kind of flatterers, who sought their own glory in that of their master, pointed out to him that everybody was following Jesus. “Oh! How happy you make me!” replied Saint John. The friend of the Bridegroom remains close to Him and stands in front of Him, but the bride is for the Bridegroom only. The souls are for Jesus Christ only. The friend is there only to wait on the Bridegroom. John was happy to see the Divine Bridegroom find so many loving souls. “This my joy is fulfilled on seeing Him increase. He must increase, but I must decrease!”
Nothing for himself, everything for Jesus! To make our Lord increase should be the object of our endeavors. What a pity we can not erect a throne for Him in every heart! We bow down before our Lord, we decrease, and we raise our Lord up on His throne. Oportet Illum crescere. “He must increase.” In practice this is far-reaching. Today we are insignificant, but some day there may be remarkable men among us adorers. Oh! It is then they will have to be told: “Be very careful! Do not stand on the tip of your toes! Do not pride yourself on your talents! Lower yourself so that the Master alone may appear!” Our vocation is so beautiful and its aim so exalted I People will suppose we have all the virtues, as indeed we should to be worthy of our vocation. Woe to him that wants to remain standing in the presence of our Lord! No! Down on your knees! Down to the ground! Oportet Ilum crescere, me aut em minui. “He must increase, but I must decrease!”
Oh! What a good thanksgiving is that of a soul who accepts the gifts of God, but acknowledges she had no hand in them and refers all the glory to God!
PROPITIATION OR REPARATION.—–Propitiation consists in making amends to our Lord and in consoling Him. That is what our mission as adorers largely consists in. We ought to make reparation; we ought to be mediators and penitents for the sins of men. The world is so wicked that there is almost greater need of reparation than of thanksgiving.
John made reparation when he said: Ecce Agnus Dei, ecce qui tollit peccatum mundi. “Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him Who taketh away the sin of the world.” He preached and showed the atoning Victim. He wept and sorrowed over the indifference of men toward the Savior. Listen to his complaint: Medius vestrum stetit, quem vas nescitis. “There hath stood One in the midst of you, Whom you know not.” He grieved to see that the great and learned refused to follow Jesus Christ, Who was surrounded only by a few poverty-stricken people. He made public amends to Him and adored Him as Victim. He exalted Him for those who despised Him: “But I am not even worthy to loose the latchet of His shoe! ” How well he makes up for man’s disdain!
SUPPLICATION OR PRAYER.—–John had been thrown into prison for his courage in rebuking a guilty king. We hardly dare tell the plain truth to kings; we are afraid. What a sorry plight. it is for one to live with kings! Some disciples who did not yet believe in Jesus Christ came to see John in prison. John did his utmost to effect their conversion. That is the true apostolate: bringing back souls to Jesus Christ and binding them to Him alone without any thought of self-interest. John asked our Lord to receive them. He sent them to Him that the sight of His kindness and power might convert them. Jesus Christ showed them the greatest miracles; but they did not adore Him. Oh! How stupid is the human heart when it is infected with prejudice! Their envy suggests to them that if Jesus increases, John will lose prestige. They do not want to decrease with him. Theirs is a pride of caste, pride of clique; they thrive on the glory that surrounds their master.
However, this visit to our Savior sowed the grace of faith in their hearts, and after Saint John’s death they came to our Lord. Their conversion was due to Saint John’s prayers.
Saint John was a good adorer. You should love him since our Lord loved him so much. Our Lord mourned his death; for John was His cousin, His friend, His first apostle. Adore and make reparation like Saint John. Be ready to sacrifice yourself like him for our Lord’s glory. John died martyred by the crimes which stir up God’s anger the most: the crimes of a king. And never forget these words which are the motto of Eucharistic service and holiness: Illum oportet crescere, me autem minui. May Jesus Hostia be exalted, and may I be humiliated!
(Taken from the talks given by St. Peter-Julian Eymard and published in the book called « The Real Presence » available from Eymard Libraries)