Reflections for the Seasons
In his temple now behold him, In the arms of her who bore him,
See the long expected Lord; Virgin pure, behold him lie,
Ancient prophets had foretold him; While his aged saints adore him
God has now fulfilled his word. Ere in faith and hope they die.
Now, to praise him, his redeemed Alleluia! Alleluia!
Shall break forth with one accord. Lo, th’ Incarnate God most high. (Henry John Pye)
“Whether we are walking or nailed to a bed of suffering; whether we are walking in joy or languishing in the wilderness of the soul (cf. Num 21:4): Lord, take us all into your Love; the infinite Love which is eternally the Love of the Father for the Son and the Son for the Father, the Love of the Father and the Son for the Spirit, and the Love of the Spirit for the Father and the Son. The Sacred Host exposed to our sight speaks of this infinite power of Love manifested on the glorious Cross. The Sacred Host speaks to us of the incredible abasement of the One who made himself poor so as to make us rich in Him, the One who accepted the loss of everything so as to win us for His Father. The Sacred Host is the living, efficacious and real Sacrament of the eternal presence of the Saviour of mankind to His Church .
“The immense crowd of witnesses who have allowed themselves to be embraced by His Love, is the crowd of saints in heaven who never cease to intercede for us. They were sinners and they knew it, but they willingly ceased to gaze upon their own wounds and to gaze only upon the wounds of their Lord, so as to discover there the glory of the Cross, to discover there the victory of Life over death. Saint Pierre-Julien Eymard tells us everything when he cries out: “The holy Eucharist is Jesus Christ, past, present and future” (Sermons and Parochial Instructions After 1856, 4-2.1, “On Meditation”) .
“All of you who see before you the infinite abasement of the Son of God and the infinite glory of the Resurrection, remain in silent adoration of your Lord, our Master and Lord Jesus Christ. Remain silent, then speak and tell the world: we cannot be silent about what we know. Go and tell the whole world the marvels of God, present at every moment of our lives, in every place on earth. May God bless us and keep us, may He lead us on the path of eternal life, He who is Life, for ever and ever. Amen” (Pope Benedict XVI, Sept. 15, 2008, Lourdes, Homily).
“There is nothing so great as the Eucharist. If God had something more precious, he would have given it to us” (St. John Vianney, Patron of Priests).
Solemnity, Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God & World Day of Peace—Jan. 1:
“O radiant child! You brought healing to human life as you came forth from the womb of Mary” (Antiphon).
Ss. Basil the Great & Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops, Drs, Cappadocia (4th c.)—Jan. 2:
St. Gregory recounts the story of his sister, Gorgonia, who when falling ill: “betook herself to the Physician of all and “fell before the altar with faith calling on Him who is honoured thereon with a great cry and every kind of entreaty, and pleading with Him .like one who of old bedewed the feet of Christ, and declaring that she would not let go until she be made well.” She was healed at Eucharistic Adoration. Solemnity of the Epiphany of Our Lord—Jan. 3:
“[Jesus] became our Savior by being born of a mother. Of his own will he was born for us today, in time, so that he could lead us to his Father’s eternity, God became man so that man might become God. The Lord of the angels became man today so that man could eat the bread of angels” (St. Augustine). Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus—Jan. 3:
“To pray ‘Jesus’ is to invoke him and to call him within us. His name is the only one that contains the presence it signifies” (CCC 2666). Blessed be His holy name!
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Widow, Mother, Religious, U.S. (1774-1821)—Jan. 4:
Before converting, St. Elizabeth recalled: “How many thoughts on the happiness of those who possessed this, the blessed faith of Jesus still on earth with them, and how I should enjoy the heavenly consolation of speaking heart to heart with Him in His tabernacles, and the security of finding Him in His churches.”
Bl. Angela of Foligno, Third Order Franciscan, Mystic, Italy (c. 1248-1309)—Jan. 4:
“Should the soul not look and ponder before receiving this eternal and infinite Good, created and uncreated, this sacramental food which is the sustenance, treasure and fountain for the life of both soul and body.”
St. John Neumann, Redemptorist Priest, Bishop, Bohemia (1811-1860)—Jan. 5:
“As soon as he entered the house his first visit was to the chapel, where, as he knelt before the altar his whole soul seemed absorbed in God and that air of devout recollection, so habitual to him, became doubly intensified by his faith in the Sacramental Presence” (Mother St. John Fournier, Superior of the Sisters of St. Joseph).
Bl. Br. Andre Bessette, Br., Miracle Worker, Montreal, Canada (1845-1937)—Jan. 6:
Br. Andre spent hours in Eucharistic Adoration. “If you stay a long time without taking any nourishment how could you live? If you do not go to Holy Communion, you cannot remain long in the state of grace.”
Feast of the Baptism of the Lord—Jan. 10: “What then could be a greater proof of kindness and benevolence than that he who washes with water should set the soul free from uncleanness? Or that he by anointing it with chrism should grant it reign in the heavenly kingdom? Or that he as the Host of the banquet should provide his own Body and Blood?”
(Nicholas Cabasilas, 4th century monk).
St. Victorian of Asan, Abbot, Italy (d. 558)—Jan. 12:
Due to his love of the Holy Eucharist, we know that perpetual adoration took place at Lugo, Spain in the 6th century. “In this [chapel], more frequently and fervently, he [daily] poured forth his prayers before that indescribably Sacrament of divine goodness, and commended to God the health of the whole Church.”
St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, Virgin & Religious, France (1620-1700)—Jan. 12:
A native of France, St. Marguerite was called by God to travel to Canada and teach during exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. She founded the Sisters of Notre Dame to instruct girls and formed them in modesty.
St. Agnes, Virgin & Martyr, Rome (3rd or 4th century)—Jan. 21:
As a girl, St. Agnes promised to be the Bride of Christ. When a Roman prefect sought her as his wife, she refused. His father tried to make her worship a goddess. St. Agnes remained steadfast in her faith. The Romans sent her to a brothal as torture; she was miraculously surrounded by light, hearts were transformed and the house became prayerful. The prefect died but St. Agnes interceded, at his father’s behest, and he was raised from the dead. Fearing the mob, the legate ordered her to be burned to death and her throat pierced by a sword. St. Agnes is depicted with a lamb because her name means lamb and, martyred at the age of 12, she emulated the unblemished Lamb Jesus who offered Himself for the salvation of the world.
Day of Penance for Violations to the Dignity of the Human Person—Jan. 22: “Devotion to the Eucharist leads one to a devotion to life and a devotion to life leads one to the Eucharist .We receive our strength for our labors for life from the Good News of Jesus Christ and from Holy Eucharist. This is the food that nourishes us for the tasks at hand .The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith and respect for life is our faiths first precept” (Justin Cardinal Rigali, Oct. 3, 2004).
St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest, Doctor of the Church, Italy (c. 1225-1274)—Jan. 28:
“Christ’s true body, born from the Virgin Mary, is contained in the sacrament of the altar.”
The Presentation of the Lord—Feast, February 2: “United by the Spirit, may we now go to the house of God to welcome Christ the Lord. There we shall recognize him in the breaking of the bread until he comes again in glory” (Magnificat, Feast of the Presentation 09).
St. Agatha,Virgin, Martyr, Patroness of Nurses, Breast Cancer, Italy (251)—Feast, Feb. 5
St. Agatha made a promise of virginity to God. After refusing the advances of a consul, St. Agatha was sent to a house of prostitution. She stood firm in her faith, not sacrificing to idols as commanded, and was brutally tortured. An earthquake shook the city, ending her torture. St. Agatha’s intercession is invoked for protection against volcanoes, earthquakes, and by victims of torture. A bread is baked on her feast, portraying her role as a woman and intercessor, then blessed as a sacramental to prevent fire.
St. Paul Miki, Jesuit Religious, & Companions, Martyrs, Japan (d. 1597)—Feast, Feb. 6:
St. Paul was the first Japanese religious and martyr. Following the missionary life and death of St. Francis Xavier, Christians in Japan numbered 200,000. Missionaries were ordered to leave the country. St. Paul, the son of an affluent Japanese military chief, and the majority of Jesuit missionaries remained clandestinely. The Jesuits did not want to leave the faithful without the Holy Eucharist and Sacraments. St. Paul was a gifted speaker and defended the faith against Buddhists, while preparing for the priesthood. St. Paul was crucified along with two other Jesuits and 23 other Christians.
Bl. Josephine Bakhita, Religious, Africa (1869-1947)—Feast, February 8
“Seeing the sun, the moon and the stars, I said to myself, ‘Who could be the Master of these beautiful things?’ I felt a great desire to see him, to know him and to pay him homage.” Following her release from slavery, St. Josephine became a Catholic and Religious, spending many hours in Eucharistic Adoration. She prayed for the conversion of souls and helped all in need. St. Josephine pray for the people of Africa!
St. Scholastica, Benedictine, Abbess, Miracle Worker, Italy (480-547)—Feast, February 10: St. Scholastica was a great prayer warrior. Her life was centered on the Holy Eucharist and the recitation of the psalms. Prayer asking St. Scholastica’s help: O God, to show us where innocence leads, you made the soul of your virgin Saint Scholastica soar to heaven like a dove in flight. Grant through her merits and her prayers that we may so live in innocence as to attain to joys everlasting. This we ask through our Lord.
Our Lady of Lourdes, (France)—Feast, February 11: “All the shrines of Mary, scattered throughout the world, have become above all centers of devotion to the Eucharist, as if the Mother of Jesus had appeared, here or there, in order to lead the faithful to the adoration and love of her blessed Son” (Bl. John XXIII).
St. Claude de la Colombiere, Priest, France (d. 1682)—Feast, February 15
This confessor of St. Margaret Mary wrote: “Full of confidence in the mercy of my God, I have made it a law for myself to procure by all means possible the execution of what I was ordered by my adorable Master concerning His most precious Body in the Blessed Sacrament, in which I believe Him to be truly and really present. Filled with sweetness which I have been able to taste and receive from the mercy of my God without being able to explain it....I have come to recognize that God wishes that I serve Him by procuring the accomplishment of His desires concerning the devotion [to the Sacred Eucharistic Heart of Jesus].”
Ash Wednesday—February 17:
“O Lord, hear my prayer...let my cry come to you. Do not turn your face away from me. When I feel abandoned and lonely, listen to my troubles...hear me right away” (Ps 101). Let us redouble our spiritual fervor by attending daily Mass and Eucharistic Adoration during Lent, remembering all those in need.
St. Margaret of Cortona, Mother, 3rd Order Franciscan, Italy (1247-1297)—February 22:
St. Margaret was a repentant sinner. She wrote of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist: “This morning my soul is greater than the world since it possesses You, You whom heaven and earth do not contain.” St. Gabriel Possenti, Patron of Clerics & Youth, Italy (1838-1862)—Feast, Feb. 27: “O Mother of Sorrows, by the anguish and love with which thou didst stand at the cross of Jesus, stand by me in my last agony. To thy maternal heart I commend the last three hours of my life. Offer these hours to the Eternal Father in union with the agony of our dearest Lord, in atonement for my sins. Offer to the Eternal Father the most precious blood of Jesus, mingled with your tears on Calvary, that I may obtain the grace of receiving Holy Communion with the most perfect love and contrition before my death, and that I may breathe forth my soul in the adorable presence of Jesus. Dearest Mother, when the moment of my death has at last come, present me as your child to Jesus. Ask Him to forgive me for having offended Him, for I knew not what I did. Beg Him to receive me into His kingdom of glory to be united with Him forever. Amen.” (Prayer of St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows)
St. Katharine Drexel, Religious, America (1858-1955)—Feast, March 3: “My sweetest joy [is] to be in the presence of Jesus in the holy sacrament.” “All is yours when you have our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.” “Lose no opportunity for kind thoughts, kind words and kind actions like the mercy Jesus exercises in the Blessed Sacrament. He has a welcome for all.” “The offspring of this intensity of love for our Eucharistic Lord should be a consuming zeal for the gathering of souls into the fold of Christ.” “May you be instruments more and more to implant in their souls virtues taught and practiced by our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.”
St. Casimir, Prince, Patron of Youth, Poland (1458-1484) —Feast, March 4:
Devoted to a life of prayer from his youth, St. Casimir rose early and awoke at night to prostrate himself before the Lord. In the coldness of winter, St. Casimir was often found on his knees, in front of the Church, waiting to pray before the Blessed Sacrament. Known as the “Father of the Poor,” due to his great concern for them, St. Casimir led an exemplary life of holiness. He is also known for his love of Our Lady.
St. John of God, Religious, Ptn. of Heart Patients, Portugal (1495-1550)—March 8
“The Son of God came for sinners, and we are obliged to promote their conversion, to exhort them, and to sigh and pray for them.” St. John of God’s love of the Blessed Sacrament was so great that once he spent so much time in adoration that he had to be carried away. Although he strayed from his faith as a youth, St. John returned and spent his life in total care of the poor, sick and suffering.
St. Frances of Rome, Ptn. of Laity, Widows, Oblates, Motorists, Italy (1384-1440)—Mar. 9:
St. Frances lost two of her three children to the plague at an early age. She was later widowed and became a religious, founding the Congregation of Mt. Olivet. She led a life of deep faith, prayer and devotion, at the foot of the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, even while fulfilling her duties as a lay person. She had mystical experiences, including a vision of Mary and the Baby Jesus, as well as her guardian angel.
St. Dominic Savio, Patron of Children, Italy (1842-1857)—March 9: “I see him always praying, even remaining in Church after the others; every day he leaves recreation to visit the Blessed Sacrament; when he is in Church, he is like an angel in Heaven” (Words of Mamma Margaret, St. John Bosco’s mother, speaking of St. Dominic Savio).
St. Patrick, Bishop and Church Doctor, Patron of Ireland (d. 461)—March 17: St. Patrick wrote: “I give unceasing thanks to my God, who kept me faithful in the day of my testing. Today I can offer him sacrifice with confidence, giving myself as a living victim to Christ, who kept me safe through all my trials.” After he was freed, St. Patrick returned to Ireland and brought the true faith.
St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, Palestine (c. 313-386)—March 18:
“Having learned this and being assured of it, that appears to be bread is not bread, though perceived by the taste, but the Body of Christ, and what appears to be wine is not wine, though the taste says so, but the Blood of Christ . . . strengthen thy heart, partaking of it as spiritual (food), and rejoice the face of thy soul.”
St. Joseph, Patron of Universal Church, Spouse of B.V.M.—March 19:
“Like Mary and Joseph I am living with Jesus, so near me in the Blessed Sacrament” (St. Katharine Drexel). “You have a special relationship to the priesthood because you possessed a wonderful power over our Savior Himself. Your life and office were of a priestly function and are especially connected with the Blessed Sacrament. To some extent you were the means of bringing the Redeemer to us—as it is the priest’s function to bring Him to us in the Mass—for you reared Jesus, supported, nourished, protected and sheltered Him. You were prefigured by the patriarch Joseph, who kept supplies of wheat for his people. But how much greater than he were you! Joseph of old gave the Egyptians mere bread for their bodies. You nourished, and with the most tender care, preserved for the Church Him who is the Bread of Heaven and who gives eternal life in Holy Communion” (From the Novena to St. Joseph).
Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord—March 25: At the Annunciation, Our Lady became the first tabernacle of Jesus. “When the Hail Mary is properly understood, we come to see clearly that its Marian character is not opposed to its Christological character, but that it actually emphasizes and increases it. The first part of the Hail Mary, drawn from the words spoken to Mary by the Angel Gabriel and by Saint Elizabeth, is a contemplation in adoration of the mystery accomplished in the Virgin of Nazareth” (Rosarium Virginis Mariae, John Paul II, 33).
St. Margaret Clitherow, Wife, Mother, Martyr, England (d. 1586)—March 26: St. Margaret is called a Martyr of the Eucharist, because she was tortured and executed during the Catholic persecution for hiding priests and providing a place for them to secretly celebrate Mass. It is because of the great courage of martyrs like St. Margaret that the Catholic faith remains today.
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