THE YEAR OF THE EUCHARIST
“The blood [of christ] assures our entrance into the sanctuary” (Heb 10:19).
“Let us fix our eyes on Christ’s blood and understand how precious it is to his Father,
for, poured out for our salvation it has brought to the whole world the grace of repentance” (St. Clement of Rome).
“Render homage to Christ in the sacrament of his love.” “Catholics worldwide are invited to renew their awareness of the great gift that Christ left us in the Last Supper.” “In the bread and wine, becoming in the Holy Mass the Body and Blood of the Lord, the Christian people find the nourishment and support to journey on the path to holiness” (Pope Benedict XVI, May 13, 2005). “Because he [God] himself is present in the Eucharist, adoration has always been an essential part . . . . Receiving him can only mean to bow before him, to glorify him, to adore him. And even today it is not contrary to the dignity and freedom and status of man to bow his knee, to be obedient to him, to worship him and glorify him” (Pope Benedict XVI, God is Near Us).
O Jesus, King of all peoples and all ages, accept the acts of adoration and praise which we, your brothers by adoption, humbly offer you. You are the “living Bread which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world” (Jn 6:33), Supreme Priest and Victim. On the Cross you offered yourself to the Eternal Father as a bloody sacrifice of expiation, for the redemption of the human race, and now you offer yourself daily upon our altars by the hands of your ministers, in order to establish in every heart your “reign of truth and life, of holiness and grace, of justice, love and peace.”
O King of glory, may your kingdom come! Reign from your “throne of grace” (Heb 4:14), in the hearts of children, so that they may guard untainted the white lily of baptismal innocence. Reign in the hearts of the young, that they may grow up healthy and pure, obedient to the commands of those who represent you in their families and schools and in the Church. Reign in our homes, so that parents and children may live in peace in obedience to your holy law. Reign in our land, so that all citizens, in the harmonious order of the various social groups, may feel themselves children of the same heavenly Father, called to co-operate for the common good of this world, happy to belong to the one Mystical Body, of which your Sacrament is at once the symbol and the everlasting source.
Finally, reign, O King of kings and “Lord of lords,” (Deut 10:17) over all the nations of the earth, and enlighten all their rulers in order that, inspired by your example, they may make “plans for welfare and not for evil” (Jer 29:11). O Jesus, present in the Sacrament of the Altar, teach all the nations to serve you with willing hearts, knowing that “to serve God is to reign.” May your Sacrament, O Jesus, be light to the mind, strength to the will, joy to the heart. May it be the support of the weak, the comfort of the suffering, the wayfaring bread of salvation for the dying, and for all the “pledge of future glory.” Amen. (Bl. John XXIII)
Ideas inspired by Ecclesia de Eucharistia to help celebrate the Year of the Eucharist:
Week 39 “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof” (Mt 8:8; Lk 7:6). “The Eucharistic Banquet is truly a ‘sacred’ banquet, in which the simplicity of the signs conceals the unfathomable holiness of God” (48). Offer a Mass in honor and thanksgiving to the Body and Blood of Jesus in the Eucharist.
Week 40 “At that moment Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said: ‘I offer You praise, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth’” (Lk 10:21). “The Eucharist, while shaping the Church and her spirituality, has also powerfully affected ‘culture’” (49). Sing a Eucharistic song of praise and worship at Mass.
Week 41 “Father . . . I pray that they may be [one] in us, that the world may believe that You sent Me” (Jn 17:21). “A hope, and even a pledge, of the desired fullness of communion in faith and in celebration . . . [demands] a profoundly Eucharistic Church” (50). Offer a Mass and a Holy Hour for unity between all Christians of the East and West.
Week 42 “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ instruction and the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42).“The Eucharist offers sustenance not only to individuals but to entire peoples” (51). Include a Mass intention that all people know and love Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.
Week 43 “This cup is the new covenant in My blood” (1 Cor 11:25). “No one is permitted to undervalue the mystery entrusted to our hands: it is too great for anyone to feel free to treat it lightly and with disregard for its sacredness and its universality” (52). As the Church prepares to celebrate World Youth Day, invite youth to offer special Holy Hours, with music, prayers and reflections for the success of this awesome event.
Start Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration in your parish today!
Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, Patron of World Youth Days, Italy (1901-1925)—July 4
Bl. Pier Giorgio was a popular youth, who was talented at sports and enjoyed mountain climbing and spending time with his friends. Called by Pope John Paul II “the man of the beatitudes,” Bl. Pier Giorgio asked his parents permission to attend daily Mass at a young age. His love for the Holy Eucharist and Our Lady led him to join the Blessed Sacrament and Rosary Societies, and he often prayed the Rosary at Adoration in the middle of the night. Bl. Pier Giorgio drew his strength to serve the poor and sick, share his faith and live a chaste life from daily receiving the Holy Eucharist and praying the Rosary. Bl. Pier Giorgio is the patron of all Italian confraternities.
St. Maria Goretti, Patroness of Youth and Children of Mary, Italy (1890-1902)—July 6
Martyr of Purity, from the Holy Eucharist and Mary St. Maria drew strength to remain chaste unto death. She obtained permission to make her First Holy Communion early. Maria was killed, for refusing to sin against purity with a young man named Alessandro, who stabbed her fourteen times. She received communion just weeks before. Maria forgave Alessandro who latter converted. St. Maria’s mother and Alessandro attended her canonization by Pope Pius XII in 1950. More people were present than at any canonization before. He urged youth and parents to live pure lives, and avoid temptations against chastity which prevail in modern society. Pope Pius XII stressed the connection between Eucharistic devotion and purity in Sacra Virginitas, “The more pure and chaste is a soul, the more it hungers for this Bread, from which it derives strength to resist all temptations to sins of impurity, and by which it is more intimately united with the Divine Spouse; ‘He who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood, abides in Me and I in him.’”
St. Benedict, Patriarch of Western Monasticism, Patron of Europe (c. 480-547)—July 11
Inspired as a young adult to live an authentic Christian life, St. Benedict (which means blessed) became a hermit and was asked to lead a community of monks. He founded a monastery and wrote the Benedictine rule, which spread throughout Europe. A great restorer of the faith and religious life, St. Benedict’s motto was “ora et labora.” St. Benedict sought to live always in the presence of God, and centered his life around the Holy Eucharist, through prayer and meditation. He urged Eucharistic Communion and devotion. St. Benedict died immediately after receiving his last Holy Communion. Many miracles were attributed to him and the St. Benedict’s medal, which is blessed with special prayers for protection against evil, and is still worn by many today.
Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha, Virgin, North America (1656-1680)—Feast, July 14
Bl. Kateri did not want to miss spending one moment with her best friend Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, so she visited Him whenever she could throughout the day. She attended all of the Masses and learned everything she could about Jesus. Her face became so beautiful when she received Holy Communion that everyone wanted to be close to her. She showed Jesus her love through prayer and sacrifice: “I offer my soul to Christ the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and my body to Christ in the Lord, hanging on the Cross” (From our updated Stories of the Eucharist book).
Our Lady of Mount Carmel—Feast, July 16
When the Carmelite order was persecuted, St. Simon Stock prayed for Our Lady’s intercession. Mother Mary appeared to him on July 16, 1251 in Aylesford, England with the gift of the scapular, promising salvation to all who wear it, live a chaste life, and practice Marian devotion. Our Lady appeared with the Scapular again at Fatima in 1917, in which she asked for prayer at Eucharistic Adoration and the Rosary. Our Lady of Mount Carmel lead us to Jesus, your Eucharistic Son!
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