|The Eucharist: THE PRESENCE OF MERCY
In His great love for us, the Lord Jesus gave us a great miracle of mercy: the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist
Christ’s Resurrection into glory was not the final reason for the Incarnation, when God became man. The Incarnation looked forward to Jesus remaining with us to the end of time in the Eucharist. By this greatest miracle of His love, Jesus remains with us under the form of bread and wine, not only for our spiritual nourishment, but to be kept company by us as well.
In the Eucharist, Christ is fully present as He is in Heaven. The Eucharist, explains Pope Leo XIII, contains, “in a variety of miracles, all supernatural realities” (Encyclical Mirae Caritatis).
The Eucharist is central to devotion to the Divine Mercy, and many of the elements of the devotion are essentially Eucharistic – especially the image, the chaplet, and the Feast of Mercy. The image, with its red and pale rays, presents the Eucharistic Lord Jesus, whose Heart has been pierced and now pours forth blood and water as a fountain of mercy for us. It is the image of God’s sacrificial gift of mercy made present in every Mass.
Several times in her Diary, St. Faustina writes of seeing the red and pale rays coming, not from the image, but from the Sacred Host; and once, as the priest exposed the Blessed Sacrament, she saw the rays from the image pierce the Host and spread out from it all over the world (see 441). So too, with the eyes of faith, we should see in every Host the merciful Savior pouring Himself out as a fountain of mercy for us.
This concept of the Eucharist as a fountain of grace and mercy is not only found in the Diary, but also in Church teaching. The Church clearly teaches that all the other sacraments are directed towards the Eucharist and draw their power from it. In the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (#10), for example, we read: “Especially from the Eucharist, grace is poured forth upon us as from a fountain.” And, in a note in the Catechism of the Council of Trent, pastors are urged to “compare the Eucharist to a fountain and the other sacraments to rivulets. For the Holy Eucharist is truly and necessarily to be called the fountain of all graces, containing, as it does, after an admirable manner, the fountain itself of celestial gifts and graces, and the Author of all the sacraments, Christ our Lord, from whom, as from its source, is derived whatever of goodness and perfection the other sacraments possess.”
No wonder, then, that Blessed Faustina was so devoted to the Eucharist and wrote so powerfully about it in her Diary: “Oh what awesome mysteries take place during Mass! … One day we will know what God is doing for us in each Mass, and what sort of gift He is preparing in it for us. Only His divine love could permit that such a gift be provided for us … this fountain of life gushing forth with such sweetness and power (914) …
“All the good that is in me is due to Holy Communion (1392) … Herein lies the whole secret of my sanctity (1489) … one thing alone sustains me and that is Holy Communion. From it I draw all my strength; in it is all my comfort … Jesus concealed in the Host is everything to me…I would not know how to give glory to God if I did not have the Eucharist in my heart (1037) …
“O living Host, my one and only strength, fountain of love and mercy, embrace the whole world, fortify faint souls. Oh, blessed be the instant and the moment when Jesus left us His most merciful Heart” (223)!
Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world (475).