INTRODUCTORY PRAYER (To be said before each Visit to the Most Blessed Sacrament)
My Lord Jesus Christ, I believe that you are really here in this sacrament. Night and day you remain here compassionate and loving. You call, you wait for, you welcome everyone who comes to visit you. Unimportant though I am, I adore you. I thank you for all the wonderful graces you have given me. But I thank you especially for having given me yourself in this sacrament, for having asked your own Mother to mother me, for having called me here to talk to you.
I am here before you today to do three things: to thank you for these precious gifts, to make up for all the dis?respect that you receive in this sacrament from those who offend you, to adore you everywhere in the world where you are present in this living bread but are left abandoned and unloved.
My Jesus, I love you with all my heart. I know I have displeased you often in the past; I am sorry. With your help I promise never to do it again. I am only a miser?able sinner, but I consecrate myself to you completely. I give you my will, my love, my desires, everything I own. From now on do what you please with me. All I ask is that you love me, that you keep me faithful to the end of my life. I ask for the grace to do your will ex?actly as you want it done.
I pray for the souls in purgatory-especially for those who were close to you in this sacrament and close to your Mother Mary. I pray for every soul hardened in sin. My Savior, I unite my love to the love of your di?vine heart, and I offer them both together to your Fa?ther. I beg him to accept this offering in your name. Amen.
You are kneeling before a fountain. From its calm depths a voice whispers: If you are thirsty, come to me. It is Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. From this foun?tain of love he pours out upon the world all the merits of his sufferings. From it the saints drink deeply. The prophet predicted it: You shall drink with joy from the Savior?s fountain.
A Spanish Poor Clare loved to make long visits to the Blessed Sacrament. The other nuns asked what she did during those long silent hours. “I could kneel there forever,” she answered. “And why not? God is there. You wonder what I do in the presence of my God? I marvel, I love, I thank, I beg. What does a tramp do when he meets a millionaire? A sick man when he sees a doctor? A starving man when he sees food? What does a dry-throated hiker do at a drinking fountain?”
My Jesus: You are my Life, my Hope, my Treasure, my soul’s only Love. A cruel death was the price you paid to be here in this sacrament today. And even now you suffer insults from those who ignore you. Yet, you remain because you want our love. Come, my Lord, implant yourself in my heart. Lock its door forever. I want nothing cheap to enter it and take away the love that belongs to you. You alone must run my life. If I swerve from you, steer me straight once more. Make me search for one pleasure: the pleasure of pleasing you. Make me yearn for one joy: the joy of visiting you. Make me crave for one delight: the delight of receiving your body. So many people chase after such hollow things! But all I care about is your love, and I am here to beg it from you today. Let me forget myself and keep you ever be?fore my mind. Amen.
SPIRITUAL COMMUNION (To be said after each Visit)
My Jesus, I believe you are really here in the Blessed Sacrament. I love you more than anything in the world, and I hunger to feed on your flesh. But since I cannot receive Communion at this moment, feed my soul at least spiritually. I unite myself to you now as I do when I actually receive you. Never let me drift away from you.
VISIT WITH MARY
We have another fountain to drink from too … our Mother Mary. Saint Bernard said that Mary is so rich in graces that everybody shares in them: “Of her fullness we have all received.” Mary was literally filled with grace, as the angel said when he greeted her. God filled her with such tremendous riches so that she could share them with her children. Cause of our joy, pray for us!
CONCLUDING PRAYER (To be said each day)
Most Holy Immaculate Virgin and my Mother Mary, to you who are the Mother of my Lord, the Queen of the world, the Advocate, the Hope, the Refuge of sin?ners, I have recourse today-I, who am the most miser?able of all. I render you my most humble homage, 0 great Queen, and I thank you for all the graces you have conferred on me until now, particularly for having de?livered me from hell, which I have so often deserved. I love you, 0 most amiable Lady; and for the love which I bear you, I promise to serve you always and to do all in my power to make others also love you. I place in you all my hopes; I confide my salvation to your care.
Accept me for your servant and receive me under your mantle, 0 Mother of Mercy. And since you are so pow?erful with God, deliver me from all temptations, or rather obtain for me the strength to triumph over them until death. Of you I ask a perfect love for Jesus Christ. From you I hope to die a good death. 0 my Mother, by the love which you bear to God, I beseech you to help me at all times, but especially at the last moment of my life. Leave me not, I beseech you, until you see me safe in heaven, blessing you and singing your mercies for all eternity.
Amen. So I hope. So may it be.
(From Visits to the Most Blessed Sacrament and the Blessed Virgin Mary)
THE HIDDEN GOD
We can understand why the Son of God loved man enough to become man Himself; the Creator must have been set on repairing the work of His hands. We can also understand how, from an excess of love, the God-Man died on the Cross. But something we cannot understand, something that terrifies those of little faith and scandalizes unbelievers, is the fact that Jesus Christ, after hav?ing been glorified and crowned, after having com?pleted His mission here below, wanted still to dwell with us, and in a state more lowly and self-abasing than at Bethlehem, than on Calvary itself.
With reverence let us lift the mysterious veil that covers the Holy of Holies, and let us try to under?stand the excess of love which our Savior has for us. This veiled condition of existence is the most
glorious one for the Heavenly Father; for thus Jesus renews and glorifies all the states of His mor?tal life. What He cannot do in the glory of heaven, He does on the altar through His state of self-abase?nent. What looks of complacency must not the Heavenly Father cast upon the earth where He sees His Son, Whom He loves as Himself, in a state of poverty, humility, and obedience!
Our Lord has found the means of perpetuating and renewing unceasingly the sacrifice of Calvary. He wants His Father to have constantly before His eyes the heroic deed by which His Son gave Him infinite glory-when He immolated Himself in order to destroy the kingdom of His enemy, satan.
Jesus Christ continues to wage against pride the war that will vanquish it. As there is nothing so repugnant to God as pride, so there is nothing that glorifies Him so much as humility. His Father’s glory is there, the first reason for the hidden state of our Lord in the Eucharist.
JESUS CHRIST is working in His hidden state at the task of my sanctification. In order to be?come a saint I must conquer pride and replace it with humility. In the Eucharist, Jesus gives me the example and the grace of humility. The hidden state of Jesus strengthens me against my weakness. I may draw near to Him, speak to Him, and look upon Him without fear. If His glory were re?splendent, who would dare speak to Jesus Christ, when even the Apostles fell to the ground terror? stricken for having seen a ray of His glory on Tabor? Jesus veils His power which would frighten man; He veils His sanctity, the sublimity of which would discourage our little virtues. A mother lisps with her child and comes down to his level so as to lift him up to her own. In the same way Jesus makes Himself little with the little in order to lift them up to Himself, and through Himself to God.
The Eucharistic veil perfects our faith. Faith is a pure act of the intellect, unhampered by the senses. In the present case, the senses are of no use; there is nothing they can do. This is the only mystery of Jesus Christ in which the senses must be reduced to absolute silence. In every other mystery, for example, in the Incarnation, in the Re?demption, the senses see God as a child, they see Him as a dying God; but here, nothing save an im?penetrable cloud. Faith alone must act, for it is the realm of faith. This obscurity requires of us a very meritorious sacrifice, the sacrifice of our reason and of our in?tellect. We must believe even against the testimony of our senses, against the ordinary laws of nature, against our own personal experience. We must be?lieve on the mere word of Jesus Christ.
LIFE OF ADORATION IN UNION WITH MARY
In considering attentively the reasons that induced our Lord to leave us His Blessed Mother and so separate Himself from her, it seems to me that He did so be?cause He was distrustful of our weakness and inconstancy. Our Lord feared that men, not knowing how to find and adore Him in His Sacrament, would become dis?couraged and would forget Him. The child, as we know, does not search long for some?thing he wants; if he does not find it at once, he gives up and seeks something else. This is what our Lord feared for us; so He left us His Mother whose mission it is to take us by the hand and lead us to His Tabernacle. The Blessed Virgin, then; became our Mother, in view of the Eucharist. To her is entrusted the task of showing us how to find our Bread of Life, of making us appreciate and desire that Heavenly. Food; it is her mission to form us for adoration.
After our Lord’s Ascension, she gathered about her a community of pious women at Jerusalem; she dwelt with them, sharing with them her treasure of grace and love. Her influence extended to the disciples and to the first Christians. Like a true Mother, she trained her children to be faithful to the duties of their state and to practice virtue. What Mary did then, she will do for us now. She will instruct us, show us our Lord in the Eucharist, causing us to take part in her pious devotion to His Service?for all that a mother possesses belongs to her children. Mary being our Mother, will educate us. Mary will instill into you her method of adoration; she will even make your adoration in and for you, for only she can inspire you with the spirit of true and fervent adoration. It is only a mother’s heart that can make itself perfectly under?stood by her child. The Blessed Virgin will say to you: “Come, adore with me.”
Our Lord has given us Mary to be the bond of union between Him and us. Mary gives us the first attraction to Jesus. Before we knew the Eucharist, we knew the name of our Mother and we already loved her. Mary attracted us to herself: she trained us in the virtues necessary for the Eucharistic life. It was fitting that it should be thus, and it is evi?dent to me that there will be no true voca?tions to the Blessed Sacrament, no real devotion to the Holy Eucharist, except those that have been formed by Mary.
August 4th: St. John Mary Vianney
Patron Saint of Parish Priests
Catechism on the Real Presence
OUR LORD is hidden there, waiting for us to come and visit Him, and make our request to Him. See how good He is! He accommodates Himself to our weakness. In Heaven, where we shall be glorious and triumphant, we shall see him in all His glory. If He had presented Himself before us in that glory now, we should not have dared to approach Him; but He hides Himself, like a person in a prison, who might say to us, “You do not see me, but that is no matter; ask of me all you wish and I will grant it.”
He is there in the Sacrament of His love, sighing and interceding incessantly with His Father for sin?ners. To what outrages does He not expose Him?self that He may remain in the midst of us! He is there to console US; and therefore we ought often to visit Him. How pleasing to Him is the short quarter of an hour that we steal from our occu?pations, from something of no use, to come and pray to Him, to visit Him, to console Him for all the outrages He receives! When He sees pure souls coming eagerly to Him, He smiles upon them. They come with that simplicity which pleases Him so much, to ask His pardon for all sinners, for the outrages of so many ungrateful men. What happiness do we not feel in the pres?ence of God, when we find ourselves alone at His feet before the holy tabernacles!
Ah! If we had the eyes of angels with which to see Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is here present on this altar, and who is looking at us, how we should love Him! We should never more wish to part from Him. We should wish; to remain al?ways at His feet; it would be a foretaste of Heaven: all else would become insipid to us. But see, it is faith we want. We are poor blind people; we have a mist before our eyes. Faith alone can dis?pel this mist. Presently, my children, when I shall hold Our Lord in my hands, when the good God blesses you, ask Him then to open the eyes of your heart; say to Him like the blind man of Jericho, “0 Lord, make me to see!” If you say to Him sincerely, “Make me to see!” you will cer?tainly obtain what you desire, because He wishes nothing but your happiness. He has His hands full of graces, seeking to whom to distribute them.
Catechism on the Blessed Virgin
THE FATHER takes pleasure in looking upon the heart of the most Holy Virgin Mary, as the masterpiece of His hands; for we always like our own work, especially when it is well done. The Son takes pleasure in it as the heart of His Mother, the source from which He drew the Blood that has ransomed us; the Holy Ghost as His tem?ple. The Prophets published the glory of Mary before her birth; they compared her to the sun. Indeed, the apparition of the Holy Virgin may well be compared to a beautiful gleam of sun on a foggy day.
The heart of this good Mother is all love and mercy; she desires only to see us happy. We have only to turn to her to be heard. The Son has His justice, the Mother has nothing but her love. God has loved us so much as to die for us; but in the heart of Our Lord there is justice, which i? an attribute of God; in that of the most Holy Virgin there is nothing but mercy. Her Son being ready to punish a sinner, Mary interposes, checks the sword, implores pardon for the poor criminal. “Mother;’ Our Lord says to her, “I can refuse you nothing. If Hell could repent, you would obtain its pardon.”
The most Holy Virgin places herself between her Son and us. The greater sinners we are, the more tenderness and compassion does she feel for us. The child that has cost its mother most tears is the dearest to her heart. Does not a mother always run to the help of the weakest and the most exposed to danger? Is not a physician in the hospital most attentive to those who are most seri?ously ill? The Heart of Mary is so tender towards us, that those of all the mothers in the world put together are like a piece of ice in comparison to hers
The Ave Maria is a prayer that is never weari?some. The devotion to the Holy Virgin is deli?cious, sweet, nourishing. When we talk on earthly subjects or politics, we grow weary; but when we talk of the Holy Virgin, it is always new. All the saints have a great devotion to Our Lady; no grace comes from Heaven without passing through her hands. We cannot go into a house without speaking to the porter; well, the Holy Virgin is the portress of Heaven. All that the Son asks of the Father is granted Him. All that the Mother asks of the Son is in like manner granted to her. When we have han?dled something fragrant, our hands perfume what?ever they touch: let our prayers pass through the hands of the Holy Virgin; she will perfume them.