Holy Eucharist: June 2012 Archives

Venerable Fulton J. Sheen

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In a private audience yesterday with the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, Cardinal Angelo Amato, His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI approved the "heroic virtue" of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, thereby officially opening the well-loved radio and television preacher's cause for canonization.

When Fulton J. Sheen was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Peoria, Illinois in 1919, he promised to make a Holy Hour each day before the Most Blessed Sacrament. He remained faithful to his promise for the entire sixty years of his priesthood. It was during his Holy Hour that he learned to listen to the voice of Our Lord and abandon himself to the love of His Heart. Archbishop Sheen was a tireless promoter of the daily hour of Eucharistic adoration, particularly among priests. Concerning this practise, he wrote:

I keep up the Holy Hour to grow more and more into His likeness... Looking at the Eucharistic Lord for an hour transforms the heart in a mysterious way as the face of Moses was transformed after his companionship with God on the mountain.
The Holy Hour is not a devotion; it is a sharing in the work of redemption. 'Could you not watch one hour with Me?' Not for an hour of activity did He plead, but for an hour of companionship.
The purpose of the Holy Hour is to encourage deep personal encounter with Christ. The holy and glorious God is constantly inviting us to come to Him, to hold converse with Him and to ask such things as we need and to experience what a blessing there is in fellowship with Him. One of the by-products of the Holy Hour was the sensitiveness to the Eucharistic Presence of Our Divine Lord.


128. The divine Redeemer is ever repeating His pressing invitation, "Abide in Me."[121] Now by the sacrament of the Eucharist, Christ remains in us and we in Him, and just as Christ, remaining in us, lives and works, so should we remain in Christ and live and work through Him.

129. The Eucharistic Food contains, as all are aware, "truly, really and substantially the Body and Blood together with soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ."[122] It is no wonder, then, that the Church, even from the beginning, adored the body of Christ under the appearance of bread; this is evident from the very rites of the august sacrifice, which prescribe that the sacred ministers should adore the most holy sacrament by genuflecting or by profoundly bowing their heads.

130. The Sacred Councils teach that it is the Church's tradition right from the beginning, to worship "with the same adoration the Word Incarnate as well as His own flesh,"[123] and St. Augustine asserts that, "No one eats that flesh, without first adoring it," while he adds that "not only do we not commit a sin by adoring it, but that we do sin by not adoring it."[124]

131. It is on this doctrinal basis that the cult of adoring the Eucharist was founded and gradually developed as something distinct from the sacrifice of the Mass. The reservation of the sacred species for the sick and those in danger of death introduced the praiseworthy custom of adoring the Blessed Sacrament which is reserved in our churches. This practice of adoration, in fact, is based on strong and solid reasons. For the Eucharist is at once a sacrifice and a sacrament; but it differs from the other sacraments in this that it not only produces grace, but contains in a permanent manner the Author of grace Himself. When, therefore, the Church bids us adore Christ hidden behind the Eucharistic veils and pray to Him for spiritual and temporal favors, of which we ever stand in need, she manifests living faith in her divine Spouse who is present beneath these veils, she professes her gratitude to Him and she enjoys the intimacy of His friendship.

132. Now, the Church in the course of centuries has introduced various forms of this worship which are ever increasing in beauty and helpfulness: as, for example, visits of devotion to the tabernacles, even every day; benediction of the Blessed Sacrament; solemn processions, especially at the time of Eucharistic Congress, which pass through cities and villages; and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament publicly exposed. Sometimes these public acts of adoration are of short duration. Sometimes they last for one, several and even for forty hours. In certain places they continue in turn in different churches throughout the year, while elsewhere adoration is perpetual day and night, under the care of religious communities, and the faithful quite often take part in them.

133. These exercises of piety have brought a wonderful increase in faith and supernatural life to the Church militant upon earth and they are reechoed to a certain extent by the Church triumphant in heaven which sings continually a hymn of praise to God and to the Lamb "who was slain."[125] Wherefore, the Church not merely approves these pious practices, which in the course of centuries have spread everywhere throughout the world, but makes them her own, as it were, and by her authority commends them.[126] They spring from the inspiration of the liturgy and if they are performed with due propriety and with faith and piety, as the liturgical rules of the Church require, they are undoubtedly of the very greatest assistance in living the life of the liturgy.

134. Nor is it to be admitted that by this Eucharistic cult men falsely confound the historical Christ, as they say, who once lived on earth, with the Christ who is present in the august Sacrament of the altar, and who reigns glorious and triumphant in heaven and bestows supernatural favors. On the contrary, it can be claimed that by this devotion the faithful bear witness to and solemnly avow the faith of the Church that the Word of God is identical with the Son of the Virgin Mary, who suffered on the cross, who is present in a hidden manner in the Eucharist and who reigns upon His heavenly throne. Thus, St. John Chrysostom states: "When you see It [the Body of Christ] exposed, say to yourself: Thanks to this body, I am no longer dust and ashes, I am no more a captive but a freeman: hence I hope to obtain heaven and the good things that are there in store for me, eternal life, the heritage of the angels, companionship with Christ; death has not destroyed this body which was pierced by nails and scourged, . . . this is that body which was once covered with blood, pierced by a lance, from which issued saving fountains upon the world, one of blood and the other of water. . . This body He gave to us to keep and eat, as a mark of His intense love."[127]

135. That practice in a special manner is to be highly praised according to which many exercises of piety, customary among the faithful, and with benediction of the blessed sacrament. For excellent and of great benefit is that custom which makes the priest raise aloft the Bread of Angels before congregations with heads bowed down in adoration, and forming with It the sign of the cross implores the heavenly Father to deign to look upon His Son who for love of us was nailed to the cross, and for His sake and through Him who willed to be our Redeemer and our brother, be pleased to shower down heavenly favors upon those whom the immaculate blood of the Lamb has redeemed.[128]

136. Strive then, Venerable Brethren, with your customary devoted care so the churches, which the faith and piety of Christian peoples have built in the course of centuries for the purpose of singing a perpetual hymn of glory to God almighty and of providing a worthy abode for our Redeemer concealed beneath the eucharistic species, may be entirely at the disposal of greater numbers of the faithful who, called to the feet of their Savior, hearken to His most consoling invitation, "Come to Me all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will refresh you."[129] Let your churches be the house of God where all who enter to implore blessings rejoice in obtaining whatever they ask[130] and find there heavenly consolation.

Thank you, Father Blake

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The Problem of Frequent Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament

Father Ray Blake, writing after a splendid experience of the Forty Hours Devotion in his Church of Saint Mary Magdalene, Brighton, says something that I have long wanted to say: "I am not in favour of frequent exposition".

One might wonder why I, of all people, would have a problem with frequent exposition. I am, after all, a monk professed with an explicit and solemn dedication to adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament. First, read what Father Blake wrote:

. . . I am not in favour of the current trend for frequent Exposition, it seems to encourage a type of receptionism and undermine the fact that Lord is truly present and able to be adored when reserved in the tabernacle. I think there is a real danger in promoting a piety that says that he can only be adored or treated with reverence when he is exposed in the monstrance. In part I suspect this is result of the confusion after the Council about reservation in a side chapel. In many places diocesan bishops demanded the removal of the Blessed Sacrament to a side chapel, with the consequence that many even the basics of Eucharistic piety were not only lost but undermined.
Exposition and Benediction were traditionally high points, always involving putting out more candles, having servers, using incense, a priest wearing cope and for Benediction a humeral veil. The modern directory on Eucharistic Devotion seems to downplay all these, having no more candles than at Mass, for example, and often the exposing and reposing is done by an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, with no priest present, and even if one is present it is often done without Benediction. The problem is making something which should be done with as much solemnity as possible worker-day and prosaic.
I do appreciate the intentions of those who try to encourage devotion to the Blessed Sacrament but starting with Exposition rather than the reception of Holy Communion and reverence to the reserved Blessed Sacrament seems to me a dangerous mistake.

Solemn and Festive

It should be noted that, until the post-conciliar chaos, exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance was always considered a particularly solemn and festive occasion, a kind of condensed expression of the jubilant feast of Corpus Domini. Exposition called for an array of candles, flowers, incense, and sacred ministers. It was considered special, out of the ordinary, and the occasion of a lavish outpouring of graces for those who would come to adore.

Adoration Before the Closed Tabernacle

Perpetual adoration neither requires nor presupposes perpetual exposition. In fact, where there are no priests to expose the Most Blessed Sacrament, the faithful do well to adore, even perpetually, before the closed tabernacle, beseeching Our Lord to raise up a new generation of priests who will, humbly and gladly, expose the Sacred Body of Christ in the monstrance, and abide in the radiance of HIs Eucharistic Face.

In the Light of Recent History

Historically, even the first religious and monastic congregations vowed to perpetual adoration, practiced that adoration before the Blessed Sacrament concealed in the tabernacle. Such was -- and remains today in most monasteries -- the regular practise of the Benedictines of the Perpetual Adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament, founded by Mother Mectilde de Bar in 1653. Only on Thursdays, celebrated as a weekly Corpus Christi with the Votive Office and Mass of the Most Holy Eucharist, and on a certain number of greater feastdays in the year, was the Blessed Sacrament exposed in the monstrance.

The Fathers of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary of Perpetual Adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar (Picpus Fathers), founded in 1800, adopted the same sobriety with regard to exposition; adoration was made, habitually, before the closed tabernacle, with reference to the humble, hidden life of Our Lord at Nazareth.


Only with Saint Peter Julian Eymard did prolonged, even perpetual, exposition become the normative practise, and this by the concession of a rare and precious privilege to the Congregation of the Most Blessed Sacrament. Exposition in the churches entrusted to the Blessed Sacrament Fathers was a lavish display of homage to the King of Kings, enthroned in the monstrance on an awe-inspiring and lofty throne.

The Loss of Awe

The multiplication of chapels of perpetual adoration -- in themselves praiseworthy and holy endeavours -- has led, in far too many places, to a loss of "Eucharistic amazement" and of awe in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed. Exposition is taken for granted. Instead of a precious privilege calling for a sacrificial investment of our resources -- lovely clean white altar linens, including a special corporal under the monstrance; the illumination of multiple burning candles (six, twelve, or fourteen!); flowers, the humble offering of the earth; incense, fragrant as it rises before the Most Holy -- it has become banal. Often there are no more than two burning candles. Sadly, I have seen altars with no more than cheap paraffin votive lights burning in plastic jars. I have even seen exposition with no lighted candles, no flowers . . . and, worst of all, no one watching in adoration.

It must be said, straightway, that such negligence is not the result of economic penury. It is the result of the decline in reverence for the Most Blessed Sacrament that began over forty years ago, a decline manifested and precipitated by:

• the reduction of the Eucharistic Fast to the point of it becoming, in practise, non-existent;
• the demolition of the Communion rail and opening of the sanctuary to all and sundry;
• the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice facing the people;
• the introduction of Holy Communion in the hand;
• the most unfortunate and universally abused authorization for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion;
• the disappearance of the genuflexion and of an "adoring silence" in church.

The promotion of perpetual adoration and of frequent exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament must go hand-in-hand with an ongoing mystagogical catechesis on the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist and by:

• the retrieval of the Eucharistic Fast and frequent Confession;
• the reclaiming of the sanctuary for the priest and sacred ministers alone;
• the restoration of the Communion rail;
• the universal abrogation of Holy Communion in the hand;
• the abrogation of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion in all but circumstances of extremely critical need, such as persecution, imprisonment, or the total lack of priests and deacons.
• the restoration of the genuflection and of an "adoring silence" in church.

At a Marian Shrine

While visiting an international Marian shrine a few years ago, I hastened to the "Adoration Chapel", eager to spend some time before Our Lord's Eucharistic Face. At the appointed hour, the sacristan, a layman, emerged from the sacristy in his work uniform, removed the Blessed Sacrament from the tabernacle and, rather unceremoniously, exposed It in the monstrance on the altar. This happened in a Marian shrine where there are a number of priests in service. What saddened me more than anything else was that a priestly service that is so sacred and exalted should be delegated to a layman employed in the sacristy.

A Solution?

Am I against exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament? Not at all. Anyone who has heard me speak on the subject knows that I cherish it as an immense grace and privilege. I will not, however, defend or promote the practise of exposition at any cost. Liturgical minimalism is never a good thing. Minimal liturgical practise leads inexorably to minimal engagement with the Mystery of Faith. The whole question needs to be addressed by pastors of souls, for the glory of Our Lord who waits for us in the Sacrament of His Love, and for the spiritual good of those who come to adore Him.

Here at Silverstream Priory, under the vigilance of Our Lady of the Cenacle, we do indeed have a prolonged exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament daily, making use of all the means at our disposal to express the reverence, jubilation, and love that so great a Mystery calls forth from our hearts.


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Prayer of Reparation to the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus

O Lord Jesus Christ present in this wonderful sacrament,
I desire at this hour to make reparation to Thy Eucharistic Heart
and to open myself to Thy Love
for the sake of priests grown lukewarm in Thy friendship
and for those who refuse or ignore it.

Increase Thou my faith,
that I may believe firmly
in the truths and mysteries Thou hast revealed to Thy Church,
for the sake of those who do not believe.

By my attention to Thy Eucharistic Heart,
I desire to make up for indifference to Thy Love,
for coldness, and for irreverence in Thy sacramental presence.

By my gratitude to Thy Eucharistic Heart,
I desire to make up for ingratitude toward Thee
Who remainest hidden and forgotten
in the tabernacles of so many locked churches.

By my trust in Thy Eucharistic Heart,
permit me, sinner though I am ,
to make up for those who do not trust Thee,
for those who are afraid to trust Thee, and for those whose trust in Thy Love
has been weakened by sins of scandal,
by the weight of life's hardships,
or by the painful losses they have endured.

By my hope in Thy Eucharistic Heart,
I desire to help those tempted to despair of Thy Mercy.
Allow me, I beseech Thee,
to hope for those who have no hope
and, because Thou didst pour out Thy Blood for them,
let not one of them be lost (cf. Jn 17:12).

In spite of my weakness and inconstancy,
I desire, by this humble act of reparation
to obtain for all who yearn for Thy friendship,
a share in the unspeakable sweetness
experienced by Thy beloved disciple Saint John
when he rested his head upon Thy Heart
on the night before Thy Sacred Side was opened by the soldier's lance.

By surrendering myself to the Love of Thy Eucharistic Heart,
grant that I might serve to repair
the brokenness of those who, among Thy priests,
are the most wounded and fragile.

By the mysterious workings of Thy Holy Spirit,
and the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
let the prayer of reparation and adoration
Thou hast inspired me to offer in Thy presence
bring reconciliation to those alienated from Thy Church,
healing to souls in need of Thy mercy,
and choice graces to all Thy priests. Amen.

Corpus Domini

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The Octave of Corpus Domini, culminating on the solemnity of the Sacred of Jesus, is a time of immense graces for the Church and, in particular, for priests. Hail, Festival Day! Here is a meditation for Corpus Domini that I wrote and preached in 2006:

Hail, Festival Day!
Hail, Day of Sion's sweetest hymns!
Hail, Day of timeless adoration!
Hail, Day of lavish jubilation!
Hail, Day of our most fragrant incense!
Hail, Day of flowers strewn before their Maker!
Hail, Day of flames dancing in the presence of the Fire!
Hail, Day of a silence that is song!
Hail Day of a song become silence!
Hail, Day made radiant by the Face that shines like the sun in full strength!
Hail, Day made lovely by the Face of the fairest of the children of men!
Hail, Day rising to see the Face once hidden in the tabernacle of the Virgin's womb!
Hail, Day rejoicing in the Human Face of God concealed in bread and wine!

Hail, Eucharistic Face reflecting the Glory of the Father
and bearing the very stamp of His nature!
Hail, Eucharistic Face, Living Icon of the Father!
Hail, Eucharistic Face, Epiphany of the Father's Love!
Hail, Eucharistic Face, Kindly Light amidst the gloom!

Hail, Eucharistic Face of the Crucified in the Sacrament of Your abiding presence!
Hail, Eucharistic Face of Life conquering death!
Hail, Eucharistic Face of Mercy rising in the night with healing in your rays!
Hail, Eucharistic Face, Sweetness leaving no bitterness!

Hail, Eucharistic Face of the Risen One,
filling earth and heaven with glory
from the rising of the sun even to its setting
in the offering of your pure and eternal Oblation!
Hail, Eucharistic Face raising the dead to life!
Hail, Eucharistic Face breathing peace into every troubled place!
Hail, Eucharistic Face, revelation of a Heart full of mercy and ready to forgive!

Hail, Eucharistic Face of the Ascended One!
Hail, Eucharistic Face of the High Priest interceding for us beyond the veil!
Hail, Eucharistic Face of the Victim reconciling heaven and earth!
Hail, Eucharistic Face all ablaze with the Holy Spirit's fire!

Hail, Eucharistic Face of the King who will return in glory!
Hail, Eucharistic Face hidden from the powerful, the clever, and the wise!
Hail, Eucharistic Face revealed to the pure of heart!
Hail, Eucharistic Face familiar to little children and to those like them!

Hail, Eucharistic Face of the Divine Wayfarer!
Hail, Eucharistic Face, unrecognized and unknown in the midst of men!
Hail, Eucharistic Face shrouded in silence,
and with us always, even unto the consummation of the world!

Hail, God-With-Us!
Hail, God-Turned-Toward-Us!
Hail, God who with immense yearning desire to share your Pasch with us!
Hail, God-in-Search-of-Those-Who-Hunger!
Hail, O inexhaustible and precious Chalice!

Hail, Day of the Altar and of the Blood!
Hail, Day of the new and everlasting covenant!
Hail, Day that calls us anew to obedience:
"All that the Lord has spoken we will do,
and we will be obedient" (Ex 24:7).
"This is my Body which is given for you.
This Chalice poured out for you is the new covenant in my Blood.
Do this in remembrance of me" (cf. Lk 22:19-20).

Hail, Day of the Blood without which there is no pardon!
Hail, Day of the Blood poured out for the refreshment of the weary!
Hail, Day of the Blood that flows, a river of mercy in the wastelands of sin!
Hail, Day of the Blood that vanquishes demons!
Hail, Day of the Blood that consoles in sorrow!
Hail, Day of the Blood that cleanses the entire world of sin!
Hail, Day of the Blood of Christ, Victim and Priest!
Hail, Day of the Blood presented in the sanctuary not made by hands!
Hail, Day of the Blood offered on earth as it is in heaven!

Hail, Precious Chalice lifted up for all to see!
Hail, Precious Chalice, thanksgiving sacrifice worthy of God!
Hail, Precious Chalice held to the lips of the martyrs!
Hail, Precious Chalice strengthening every witness!
Hail, Precious Chalice making pure the impure!
Hail, Precious Chalice containing the Fire of the Divinity!
Hail, Precious Chalice, the antidote for every poison!
Hail, Precious Chalice, the remedy for every ill!

Hail, Day of the Upper Room made ready for eternity!
Hail, Day of the Pasch without end!
Hail, Day of the Bread lifted up in Christ's holy and venerable hands!
Hail, Day of the blessing uttered by His sacred lips!
Hail, Day of the Body forever given and of the Blood forever poured out!
Hail, Day of the Cenacle opened to every nation on earth!
Hail, Day of the Mystical Supper open to the poor, the sick, the lame, and the blind!
Hail, Day of Heaven's open door!
Hail, Day of the Supper of the Lamb!

Hail, Day that sees us prostrate before the Eucharistic Face of God!
Hail, Day on which men do the work of Angels!
Hail, Day on which Angels stand amazed
before the Mystery set before the children of men!
Hail, Day that passes too quickly and never passes!
Hail, Day that begins in time the joys of eternity!
Hail, Day that fills the earth with a foretaste of heaven!
Amen. Alleluia.

Deus Absconditus

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Observe Me in the Sacrament of My Love.
The Sacred Host that you see is silent,
still, humble, poor, and hidden.
Imitate Me in the Sacrament of My Love.
Become silent, still, humble, poor, and hidden.

Hide yourself in Me
as I am hidden in the tabernacle,
and as I am hidden beneath the appearance of the Sacred Host.

Outside of Me there is nothing for you,
and with Me,
in My presence,
is all that your heart desires.
Do not look outside of Me
for anything to fulfil your heart's desires.
Instead, hide yourself in Me,
as I hide myself for love of you
in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.

How I love hidden souls!
In them I see a reflection of My Mother's hiddenness,
and of the hiddenness of Saint Joseph,
My human father on earth.

Hiddenness is the virtue of those who adore Me hidden
in the Sacrament of My Love.
I am a hidden God,
but I reveal myself face-to-face
to those who hide themselves in Me.

Withdraw more and more from the sight of men.
Seek to go unnoticed.
Hide yourself in Me and with Me
in the bosom of My Father.
Rest in Me,
and be content to abide
where you are not seen, or known, or praised.

Do the work that I entrust to you,
and then be content to disappear,
once you have led souls to the contemplation of My Eucharistic Face
and to the love of My Eucharistic Heart.

The grace of hiddenness and silence
is not given to all,
but it is the grace by which I mark souls
destined to a Eucharistic life,
to a life of adoration
in which they grow in resemblance to Me
hidden in the Sacrament of My Love.
This does not happen all at once;
but it will happen to all who give their consent
to the work of My love in their souls,
and who are faithful to the adoration of My hidden Face,
My Eucharistic Face.

This hiddenness cannot be imposed from without,
nor can it be taught as one would teach a skill.
It is My gift,
and the realization of My likeness
in the souls I have called to a life of Eucharistic adoration.

See how hidden I am in the Gospels,
even when I reveal myself, I remain hidden.
Only the Father knows Me
and those to whom the Father gives the knowledge of My hiddenness.

I am a hidden God
and those whom I call to adore Me
must hide themselves in Me,
becoming hidden from the eyes of the world,
and hidden even from themselves,
having a pure gaze fixed upon Me alone,
even as My pure filial gaze is fixed upon My Father in heaven.

Learn what it means to be hidden:
it is to be free of preoccupations with yourself,
with the opinions of others,
and with what the world may say
of you or of Me.
It is to live for Me alone
even as I live for the Father.

Hide yourself in Me
as I am hidden in the glory of My Father.
Hide yourself in Me
as I am hidden in the bright cloud of the Holy Spirit.
Hide yourself in Me
as I am hidden in the sacred species.
Hide yourself in My Heart
as I am hidden in the tabernacles of the world,
unseen, unknown, and forgotten by men.

I call you to this hidden life
because I am the hidden God
and because My Eucharistic life in your midst is a hidden life.

Those who would be My adorers
must consent to live in My tabernacle hidden with Me
and, at the same time,
loving as I love:
loving the Father as I love Him,
loving souls as I love them,
suffering coldness, rejection, misunderstanding
and abandonment
with Me and for Me.

Understand these things
and you will have begun to understand the Eucharistic life
to which I call you more and more.
Apart from those souls
whom I call to this life of adoration,
such a hiddenness will appear foolish and inhuman,
but it will act as a leaven upon the whole mass of dough
until it rises and becomes a perfect loaf fit for My oblation.
It is a spark of light being kept burning
for a world plunged into darkness.
It is a drop of divine sweetness
in a sea of bitterness and misery.
It is a presence of Love
in a world from which love is absent.

Love My hiddenness
and hide yourself in Me.
Withdraw from all that solicits your attention,
your energy, and your time
into the secret of My Eucharistic Face.
There I will show you
how best to do the things I ask you to do.
There I will give you a peace
that no one will perturb or take from you.
There I will use you
for the sanctification of My priests
and for the consolation of My Church.
Do you want this?

From In Sinu Iesu, The Journal of a Priest

Come Unto Me

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Intercession for other souls is a work of love.
It consists in placing oneself with Me before the Father,
with a boundless trust in the merits of My Passion
and in the wounds that I present to the Father
on behalf of all who approach Him with confidence,
through Me.

I live in the Sacrament of My Love
as I live in heaven,
in a ceaseless state of intercession
for all who believe in Me
and come to Me with the weight of life's burdens and sorrows.
There is nothing that I will not do
for the soul who approaches Me with confidence.

For this reason did I wish to remain present
in the Sacrament of My Love
until the end of time:
so that souls might know where to find Me,
and approach Me easily,
certain of being heard,
and trusting in the mercy of My Heart
for a world marked by suffering
and ravaged by sin.

There is no form of intercessory prayer more efficacious
than that of the soul who approaches My Eucharistic Presence
certain of finding Me,
and certain of being heard.
I am not distant from souls in need.
I have made Myself close to them,
as close as the nearest tabernacle.
Would that my people understood this!
My churches would be filled to overflowing
at every hour of the day and night.
I would never be left alone in the Sacrament of My Love.

The exercise of faith increases faith.
The exercise of confidence causes confidence to grow.
One who approaches My tabernacle in faith
is giving evidence of a complete reliance on My Merciful Love.
The Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar is My Heart
open to receive those who will respond
to My timeless invitation:
Come unto Me,
all you that labour, and are burdened,
and I will refresh you.
Take up My yoke upon you, and learn of Me,
because I am meek and humble of heart,
and you shall find rest to your souls.
For My yoke is sweet, and My burden light.

One who approaches Me frequently
in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar
will discover that he is yoked to Me
by an unbreakable bond of love.
He will discover, by personal experience,
that I share in all his sorrows,
that I bring him relief in afflictions,
that I carry his burdens with him,
and that he is never, not even for a moment,
forsaken or left to himself alone.

What I am teaching you
is more than the simple visit to Me in the Sacrament of My Love;
it is a way of approaching Me marked by absolute confidence
in My intercession with the Father.
It is an act of faith in My Merciful Love,
and a way of disposing oneself to receive
the waters of life that stream abundantly
from My open Side.

Do souls believe in My Real Presence
in the tabernacles of My churches?
Have they altogether forgotten
who I am and where I am to be found?
Has the faith of My priests in the Sacrament of My Love
grown so tepid and so weak
that the souls entrusted to them
have lost the simple instinct of the believing heart,
that is, to seek Me out
in the Most Holy Eucharist,
and to abide in My presence,
loving Me, and allowing Me to love freely
those who come to Me,
to heal their wounds,
and to draw them into the sanctuary
of My open Side?

The emptiness of My churches
is an affront to My Love,
to the Love that compelled Me to give Myself,
by the hands of My priests,
under the forms of bread and wine,
so that no one might perish from hunger or thirst
on the road to eternity.

I am all Love in the Sacrament of My Love.
My Heart is open to receive all,
even those who have in their souls
no more than the faintest spark of faith
in My Real Presence.
Let them come to Me,
and that little spark will become a shining flame
giving joy and hope to all who perceive its light.

The emptiness of My churches
apart from the hours of the liturgical offices,
is an indictment,
first of all, of My priests,
and then, of my faithful.
My Eucharistic Presence meets with coldness,
with indifference, and with a chilling ingratitude,
even on the part of My priests
and of consecrated souls.
They fail to recognize in the mystery
of the Most Holy Eucharist
the pearl of great price,
the treasure once hidden in the field,
but now offered freely
to all who would partake of its inexhaustible riches.

I am left alone in a world where so many lament their loneliness.
If only souls would come to Me
and would tarry in My presence,
they would discover a Love that fills the heart so completely
that it dispels every loneliness
and becomes wondrously fruitful
in the live of those who accept it.

Your life, your vocation, your mission now
is to abide in My sacramental Presence.
It is to console My Eucharistic Heart
and to expose your soul to the radiance of My Eucharistic Face
for the sake of so many of your brother priests
who stumble about in a darkness
that no earthly light can dispel.

From In Sinu Iesu, The Journal of a Priest


I preached this homily some years ago. Here it is again. The icon depicts Our Lady of the Cenacle's adoration of the Eucharistic Face of her Son.

Genesis 14:18-20
Psalm 109: 1, 2, 3, 4
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Luke 9:11b-17

A Eucharistic Triptych

Today’s Liturgy of the Word forms a Eucharistic triptych. It sets before our eyes three icons, three windows into the mystery. In each panel of the triptych we see what the Servant of God Pope John Paul II called, “the Eucharistic Face of Christ” (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, art. 7).


In the first panel we see the mysterious Melchisedech; his name means, “my king is justice” (cf. Heb 7:2). He is king of Salem, that is, “king of peace” (cf. Heb 7:2). The Letter to the Hebrews tells us that Melchisedech is “without father or mother or genealogy, and has neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever” (Heb 7:3). In some shadowy way, “the Eucharistic Face of Christ” appears first in Melchisedech, priest and king.

First Holy Communion 1959.jpg

This photograph was taken on the day of my First Holy Communion. Left to right: my dear little neighbour friend Brigitte Folz, at that time recently come from Germany; myself, my little sister Donna Marie; my brother Daniel; and little Monika Folz.

A Certain Thursday in June

I received my First Holy Communion 53 years ago today, on June 4th, 1959, from the hands of the Right Reverend Monsignor Vincent J. McDonough in Saint Francis Church, New Haven, Connecticut.

June 4th fell that year on Thursday, the Octave Day of Corpus Christi, and the day before the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I was far from imagining then the place that every Thursday -- day of the Priesthood and of the Most Holy Eucharist -- and the mystery of the pierced Heart of Jesus -- would come to hold in my life.

Mark, Danny, Donna June 4 1959.jpg

We second graders had prepared for the great day by singing a little gregorianish hymn (in Latin!) from our "music readers." I still remember it, and can still sing it lo all these years later:

Veni, Domine Jesu,
Veni, Domine, Jesu,
Veni, veni, veni,
Et noli tardare!

I remember the thrill and the fear of kneeling before the white marble neo-gothic high altar on a prie-dieu covered in white satin, and the glint of the large golden ciborium in Monsignor's hands. Returning from the altar one had to keep one's hands folded while walking straight on the white line inlaid in the church's tile floor. The Sisters of Mercy prepared us well for our First Holy Communion, and even instructed on how to make a suitable thanksgiving with our little faces hidden in our hands. Inevitably, there was the temptation to "peek" through one's fingers.

Adoration,Thanksgiving and Reparation

I celebrated this 53rd anniversary in adoration, thanksgiving, and reparation, mindful of all the times I have received Holy Communion over the past 53 years. I am grateful to Our Lord for having brought me, after 53 years, to to this day in my life, and to this hour, and to this place. In spite of myself, my life these 53 years has been a Eucharistic life, not because I have made it so, but because Our Lord is faithful, and merciful, and relentless in the pursuit of the little ones upon whom He has set His Heart.

I can only ask Him today, in His merciful love, to make the remaining years, or days, or hours of my life wholly Eucharistic. I count on Him to make me the adorer and the priest whom He created me and called me to be.

About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

Donations for Silverstream Priory