“Jesus Christ has made us a kingdom of priests to serve his God and Father:
glory and kingship be his for ever and ever. Amen” (Rv 1:6).
“The Holy Cure d'Ars made ‘the church his home,’ to lead men to God. He lived radically the spirit of prayer, the personal and intimate relationship with Christ, the celebration of Mass, Eucharistic adoration and evangelical poverty, appearing to his contemporaries as such an evident sign of the presence of God, as to drive so many penitents to approach his confessional” (Pope Benedict XVI, March 11, 2010, Audience).
Eucharistic Meditations of St. John Marie Vianney, Cure of Ars
As the Year of Priests draws to a close, we offer the following reflections in honor of St. John Vianney, who will soon be declared the patron saint of all priests, and in honor of all priests—living and deceased.
“Great value is attached to objects which have been laid in the porringer of the Blessed Virgin and the child Jesus at Loreto. But the fingers of the priest which have touched the adorable Flesh of Jesus Christ, been dipped in the chalice which has held his Blood, and in the ciborium which has held his Body—are they not more precious? The priest is to you as a mother, as a nurse to a baby. She gives him his food; he has only to open his mouth. ‘There, my little one, eat’, the mother says to her child. ‘Take and eat’, the priest says to you: ‘this is the Body of Jesus Christ; may It keep you and bring you to eternal life!’...A child rushes to his mother when he sees her So in the presence of the priest your soul springs naturally towards him; it runs to meet him, but is held back by the bonds of the flesh in men who give all to the senses and live only for the body. At the sight of a spire you may say, ‘What is there? The Body of our Lord. Why is it there? Because a priest has been there and has said holy Mass.’ The priest is everything, after God!...Leave a parish for twenty years without a priest, and beasts will be worshiped there. When men want to destroy religion they begin by attacking the priest, because where the priest is no more, there is no more sacrifice, and where there is no more sacrifice, there is no more religion’”(Cure of Ars).
“Pause for a moment and think of the long hours which St. John Vianney spent in the beginning of his pastoral life, alone in his church before the Blessed Sacrament; think of the outpourings of faith and love of this great soul at the feet of his Master, and of the marvelous fruits of sanctity which he and so many others received as a result of these ardent Eucharistic prayers. There is no doubt that a flood of graces would descend on your families and on your country if more and more souls, enlightened and supported by the example of their shepherds, would become docile pupils in the school of the holy Cure of Ars” (Pope Bl. John XXIII).
“The Cure of Ars was particularly mindful of the permanence of Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist. It was generally before the tabernacle that he spent long hours in adoration, before daybreak or in the evening; it was towards the tabernacle that he often turned during his homilies, saying with emotion: ‘He is there!’ It was also for this reason that he, so poor in his presbytery, did not hesitate to spend large sums on embellishing his church. The appreciable result was that his parishioners quickly took up the habit of coming to pray before the Blessed Sacrament, discovering, through the attitude of their pastor, the grandeur of the mystery of faith .
“Dear brother priests, the example of the Cure of Ars invites us to a serious examination of conscience: what place do we give to the Mass in our daily lives? Is it, as on the day of our ordination—it was our first acts as priests!—the principle of our apostolic work and personal sanctification? What care do we take in preparing for it? And in celebrating it? In praying before the Blessed Sacrament? In encouraging our faithful people to do the same? In making our churches the House of God to which the divine presence attracts the people of our time who too often have the impression of a world empty of God” (John Paul II).
Feast of Divine Mercy—April 11: Go to Mass, Adoration, Confession, & Pray the Chaplet!
“[Daily] adore in the Most Blessed Sacrament My Heart, which is full of mercy.” “I do not want to punish an aching mankind, but desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful Heart” (Jesus to St. Faustina, Divine Mercy Diary, 1572 and 1588).“Enthroned in His house is the Lord, awaiting us that we may enter and implore His mercy. It is not an ordinary dwelling, but a heaven upon earth, because the Lord of heaven resides therein” (Balaeus).
World Day of Prayer for Vocations—April 25
“Priestly, religious, and missionary vocations will stem from this meeting with Christ in the tabernacle, and will bring the light of the Gospel to the ends of the earth; in this crucible of the ‘Love of loves,’ will be forged the apostolic spirit of lay Christians, witnesses to Christ amid temporal realities; in the intimacy of the tabernacle, the values that must reign in homes will receive new strength to make the family a meeting place with God, a centre that radiates faith, a school of Christian life” (Ven. Pope John Paul II, 6/5/94).
St. Louis Mary de Montfort, Priest, Missionary, France (1673-1716)—April 28
St. Louis was greatly devoted to the Holy Eucharist and Mary. He wrote: “It was you, Virgin Mary, /Who gave us this body and blood / Which raises our status so high / that it is beyond the reach of the angels. May you be blessed throughout the world / For giving us such a great gift” (Hymns, 134:11).
St. Gianna Beretta Molla, Wife, Mother, Doctor, Italy (1922-1962)—April 28
St. Gianna wrote “Smile at Jesus who you approach at Mass, in Holy Communion and in Eucharistic Adoration.” She brought the love of Jesus Eucharistic to her family, patients and youth in her care.
St. Peter Chanel, Priest, Martyr, & Missionary, France (1803-1841)—April 28
St. Peter drew strength from the Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady to help transform a neglected post-Revolution country parish into one of fervent faith. When the Marist order formed, he joined and was eventually sent to minister to the people of Oceania. St. Peter administered the Sacraments, and helped attract many conversions as well as future missionaries. He was martyred by enemies of the faith.
St. Catherine of Siena, Virgin, Church Doctor, Ptn. of Italy (1347-1380)—April 29
St. Catherine defended the Body of Christ. “How can you say to me that if you hurt a body, you do not hurt the blood that is in that body? Do you not know that the Church holds in itself the Blood of Christ?”
St. Joseph the Worker—May 1
“St. Joseph believed unhesitatingly in the mystery of the Incarnation, in the fruitful virginity and in the divine maternity of Mary. We too should recognize Jesus in the frail Host that is offered to us at the altar. Here He is even smaller than at Bethlehem, more hidden than in St. Joseph’s workshop. Still it is He” (Bishop Peter Anastasius Pichenot).
St. Damien Joseph of Molokai, Apostle to the Lepers, Belgium (1840-1889)—May 10
St. Damien spent his life totally in serving the lepers. “The Blessed Sacrament is indeed the stimulus for us all, for me as it should be for you, to forsake all worldly ambitions. Without the constant presence of our Divine Master upon the altar in my poor chapels, I never could have persevered casting my lot with the lepers of Molokai; the foreseen consequence of which begins now to appear on my skin, and is felt throughout the body. Holy Communion being the daily bread of a priest, I feel myself happy, well pleased, and resigned in the rather exceptional circumstances in which it has pleased Divine Providence to put me.”
Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady of Fatima—May 13
Our Lady of Fatima told people to go to Jesus, make sacrifices and pray, pray, pray especially the Holy Rosary for peace and the conversion of sinners. Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament pray for us!
The Ascension of The Lord—May 13
“You should want to recall and remember devoutly, by hearing Mass, the entire blessed life of Jesus Christ.For this reason the priest, when elevating the chalice, says: ‘As often as you shall do these actions, do this in memory of Me.’ He does not say: ‘In memory of my passion,’ but ‘in my memory,’ signifying that the Mass comprehends not only the sacred death of Jesus Christ, but also, quietly [tacite] his blessed life, beginning from his incarnation up to the holy Ascension” (St. Vincent Ferrer).
St. Isidore and St. Maria, Spouses, Parents (A.D.1160)—Feast, May 15 This married couple of poor farmers from Spain, had a great love of God which was passed on to them by their parents. They rose early to attend daily mass. They continued their faithful love of God even after their only son died young. They devoted their lives to God through prayer and service to the poor!
St. Paschal Baylon, Patron of Eucharistic Congresses (1540-1592)—Feast, May 17 From Spain, he wrote, "God is as really present in the consecrated Host as He is in the glory of Heaven." One day, before St. Paschal was old enough to walk, no one could find him!His mother searched for him unsuccessfully and went to pray at the Church.When she walked in, she saw little Paschal on the steps in front of the tabernacle!Even as a boy he desired to be with Jesus in the Sacred Host.When he tended the sheep in his father’s fields, and could not go to Adoration, he knelt in the direction of the Church and united himself to Jesus. Paschal offered prayers to Jesus Eucharistic. He became a Franciscan brother so that he could go to Mass and spend time in Adoration of Jesus daily.
St. Bernardine of Siena (d. 1444), Priest and Patron of Advertisers—Feast, May 20 From Italy, “The last degree of love is when he [Jesus] gave himself to us to be our food; because he gave himself to be united with us in every way, as food and he who takes it are mutually united” (St. Bernardine).
St. Rita of Cascia, Wife, Mother, Nun, Ptn. of Impossible, Italy(1381-1457)—May 22
St. Rita was devoted to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. She went into ecstasy during Adoration and once lived on Holy Communion. The Eucharist strengthened St. Rita as a widow & mother who lost her two sons.
St. Philip Neri, Priest, Patron of Rome, Oratory Founder, Italy(1515-1595)—May 26
As a youth, St. Philip enjoyed spending time in Adoration. When he grew older, St. Philip made long thanksgivings after Holy Communion and sometimes levitated. Some of his last words reflected his love of the Blessed Sacrament: “Behold my Love, Behold my God! Give me my love! Come, Lord, come!”
The Most Holy Trinity—May 30
O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, & Holy Spirit I adore Thee profoundly! I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference by which He is offended. By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg the conversion of poor sinners. Holy Father, Holy Son and Holy Spirit have mercy on us and on the whole world!
The Visitation of the Virgin Mary to Elizabeth—May 31
“If we were honored by a visit from the Blessed Virgin our hearts would overflow with joy, and we would cry out with St. Elizabeth, ‘Whence is this to me that the Mother of God should come to me?’ But now it is not only Mary, it is her divine Son himself who deigns to come down on the altar during Mass and to remain with us afterwards! How is it possible not to rejoice in this merciful visit, and not to relish in his gracious presence!” (St. John Vianney).
The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus—June 11
“Make reparation for the ingratitude of men. Spend an hour in prayer to appease divine justice, to implore mercy for sinners, to honor Me, to console Me for My bitter suffering when abandoned by My Apostles,
when they did not watch one hour with Me”(Jesus to St. Margaret Mary).
The Immaculate Heart of Mary—June 12
“No invocation responds better to the immense desire of my Eucharistic Heart to reign in souls than: Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, may your kingdom come through the Immaculate Heart of Mary” (Words of Jesus to Bl. Dina Belanger). “Our Lady of the Eucharistic Heart, I beg you to give Jesus to souls!” (Bl. Dina Belanger). HEAVENLY FATHER: Lord of the harvest, we earnestly ask you to bless our diocese and our world with many priests who will love you fervently, and gladly and courageously spend their lives in service to your Son’s Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We pray that their lives may be always centered on our Eucharistic Lord, that they may be always faithful to the Holy Father, and that they may be devoted Sons of Mary, our mother, in making you known and loved; and that all may attain heaven. Bless our families and our children and choose from our homes those whom you desire for this holy work. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
St. Aloysius Gonzaga, Patron of Youth, Italy (1568-1591)—June 21 St. Aloysius came from a wealthy family in Italy. He had a very fervent devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and made frequent visits daily, communing with Jesus for hours. St. Aloysius had a great love of the sick, and often cared for them, imagining that he was tending to the wounds of Jesus. He had an ardent desire to become a priest. St. Aloysius was a Jesuit seminarian when he died, of the plague, on the Eve of Corpus Christi (the Body of Christ), at the age of 23.
St. Thomas More, Husband, Father, Ptn. of Lawyers, England(1478-1535)—June 22 St. Thomas was a husband, father, lawyer and Chancellor of England. He refused to pass a law making King Henry VIII head of the Catholic Church in England, so he (King Henry) could divorce and remarry. Strengthened by daily reception and adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, St. Thomas upheld his Faith, the Pope, and The Church even though it cost him his life, by martyrdom! St. Thomas More, pray that the laity may always uphold andbe true to the Faith and not succumb to the great apostasy!
St. John Fisher, Bishop and Martyr, England (1469-1535)—Feast, June 22 Faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church, St. John Fisher defended the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist—dedicating one of his writings to this purpose—the authority of the Holy Father and the Sacrament of marriage. His unwillingness to recognize Henry VIII’s remarriage led to his beheading, in the same year as St. Thomas More’s. St. John Fisher pray for the clergy!
The Birth of St. John the Baptist—June 24:“Behold the Lamb of God!” Adore Him!
“To adore Jesus Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament is first of all to acknowledge him truly, really and substantially present therein by the humble sentiment of a lively and spontaneous faith: humbly surrendering our feeble reason to the divinity of this sublime Mystery; asking neither to see or touch, like the unbelieving Apostle, before accepting the truth of Jesus Hostia; merely waiting, to prostrate ourselves at His feet, for the infallible and gentle word of the Church telling us like Saint John the Baptist: ‘Look, this is the Lamb of God; look, this is he who takes away the sin of the world’” (St. Peter Julian Eymard).
St. Irenaeus, Bishop, Church Father, Apologist, France (2nd century)—June 28
“How can anyone say that our bodies, which are nourished on the flesh and blood of Christ, are brought to perdition? Our bodies, tasting of the Eucharist, are no longer corruptible, but have the hope of resurrection” (St. Irenaeus).
Sts. Peter and Paul—June 29
“St. Paul tells us that when he was in Athens he found written on an altar: To the unknown God. But I, alas! might say the contrary to you. I preach to you a God whom you do not adore, and whom you know to be your God. Alas! how many Christians are pressed for time, and only condescend to come for a few short moments to visit their Saviour who burns with the desire to see them near him and to tell them that he loves them, and who wants to load them with blessings” (St. John Vianney).
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