Patron of Arthritis Sufferers—Feast day, August 1
Photo Attribution: Andreas F. Borchert (Creative Commons Attribution-Share license)
Photo: Carlow Cathedral, Ireland. Bottom of a right stained glass window, depicting St Alphonsus kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament.
"Outstanding among the forms of prayer fervently recommended by St. Alphonsus is the visit to the Most Blessed Sacrament or, as we would say today, adoration--brief or prolonged, personal or in community--of the Eucharist. 'Certainly,' wrote Alphonsus, 'among all the devotions this one of adoration of the sacramental Jesus is the first after the sacraments, the dearest to God and the most useful to us. O, what a beautiful delight to be before an altar with faith and to present to him our needs, as a friend does to another friend with whom one has full confidence!'" (Pope Benedict XVI, March 30, 2011, General Audience)
"Nowhere have holy souls made more admirable resolutions than here at the feet of their hidden God. Out of gratitude to my Jesus, veiled in this great Sacrament, I must declare that it was through this devotion, visiting Him in the tabernacles, that I withdrew from the world where, to my misfortune, I had lived until the age of twenty-six. Happy will you be if you can separate yourself from it earlier than I did and give yourself wholly to that Lord who has given Himself wholly to you."
“Suppose that our Lord, Jesus Christ, would be present in only one church in the whole world . . . . What a beautiful tabernacle would be built! What lighting would be placed there! With what immense respect would respond all who succeeded to get close! Well, Jesus is now in every Catholic Church where there are consecrated hosts!”
"To souls enamored of God, hours spent before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament appear moments."
"This (Blessed) Sacrament above all inflames the soul with divine love. 'God is love' (1Jn.IV,8). And He is the fire which consumes in our hearts all earthly affections: 'The Lord thy God is a consuming fire' (Dt.IV,24). Now the Son of God came precisely to kindle this fire of love: 'I am come to cast fire in the earth'; and He added that He did not desire other that to see ignited this holy fire in our hearts: 'and what will I, but that it be kindled?' (Lk.XII,49). And oh what flames of divine love Jesus Christ ignites in each one who devoutly receives Him in this Sacrament!
"Certainly amongst all devotions, after that of receiving the sacraments, that of adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament holds the first place, is the most pleasing to God, and the most useful to ourselves. Do not then, O devout soul, refuse to begin this devotion; and forsaking the conversation of men, dwell each day, from this time forward, for at least half or quarter of an hour, in some church, in the presence of Jesus Christ under the sacramental species. Taste and see how sweet is the Lord."
"My Jesus, what a lovable invention this Holy Sacrament is that You would hide under the appearance of bread to make Yourself loved and to be available for visits by anyone who desires You."
"Before the coming of Jesus Christ, men fled away from God and, being attached to the earth, refused to unite themselves to their Creator. But the loving God has drawn them to Himself by the bonds of love, as He promised by the prophet Osee [Hosea]: 'I will draw them with the cords of Adam, with the bonds of love' (11:4). These bonds are the benefits, the lights, the calls to His love, the promises of Paradise which He makes to us, but above all, the gift which He has bestowed upon us of Jesus Christ in the Sacrifice of the Cross and in the Sacrament of the Altar..."
"O God-Man present in this sacrament for me — what a comfort, what a privilege to know I kneel before God! And to think that this God loves me!... Mary, my mother, help me to love him in return."
“We have always with us in this land of miseries our God made Man, who, by His real presence, is with us all the days of our life, and comforts and helps us with the greatest affection and compassion.”
“Jesus seems continually to exclaim from the altar: Come to me, all you who work hard and who carry heavy burdens and I will refresh you (Matthew 11:28). Come, He says, come you who are poor; come, you who are infirm; come, you who are afflicted; come, you who are just and you who are sinners, and you shall find in me a remedy for all your losses and afflictions. This is the desire of Jesus Christ: to console every person who calls upon Him.”
"You may be sure that of all the moments of your life, the time you spend before the divine Sacrament will be that which will give you more strength during life and more consolation at the hour of your death and during eternity."
"My Lord Jesus Christ, who, for the love You bear to mankind, do remain night and day in this Sacrament, full of pity and love, awaiting, calling, and receiving all who come to visit You; I believe that You are present in the Sacrament of the Altar; I adore You from the depths of my own nothingness; I thank You for the many graces You have given me, and especially for having given me Yourself in this Sacrament."
"Why hidest Thou Thy face? Job feared when he saw that God hid his face: but to know that Jesus Christ veils his majesty in the Most Blessed Sacrament should not inspire us with fear, but rather with greater love and confidence; since it is precisely to increase our confidence, and with greater evidence to manifest his love, that he remains on our altars concealed under the appearance of bread. Novarinus says 'that while God hides his face in this Sacrament, he discloses his love.' And who would ever dare approach him with confidence, and lay bare before him his affections and desires, did this King of heaven appear on our altars in the splendor of his glory?"
"Each day I will . . . visit the Blessed Sacrament, especially where it is exposed."
"Behold, I stand at the gate, and knock" (Apoc. iii. 20) O most loving shepherd, who, not satisfied with sacrificing Yourself once to death on the altar of the cross for the love of Your sheep, has moreover been pleased to hide Yourself in this divine Sacrament on the altars of our churches, to be always near, and to knock at the doors of our hearts, and thus obtain Your admission!"
"Ah, did I but love You, did I but really love You, my most amiable Sacrament, I also should wish never to leave the foot of a tabernacle either night or day; and fixing myself near Your majesty, concealed under the apparent shadow of the sacred species, I also should find that divine sweetness and that happiness which souls enamoured of You find."
"Jesus Christ finds means to console a soul that remains with a recollected spirit before the Most Blessed Sacrament, far beyond what the world can do with all its feasts and pastimes. Oh, how sweet a joy it is to remain with faith and tender devotion before an altar, and converse familiarly with Jesus Christ, who is there for the express purpose of listening to and graciously hearing those who pray to him; to ask his pardon for the displeasures which we have caused him; to represent our wants to him, as a friend does to a friend in whom he places all his confidence; to ask him for his graces, for his love, and for his kingdom; but above all, oh, what a heaven it is there to remain making acts of love towards that Lord who is on the very altar praying to the Eternal Father for us, and is there burning with love for us. Indeed that love it is which detains him there, thus hidden and unknown, and where he is even despised by ungrateful souls! But why should we say more? 'Taste and see.'"
"Ah, my Jesus! what loving invention was this of the Most Blessed Sacrament, to hide Thyself under the appearance of bread, in order to make Thyself loved and that Thou mightest be found on earth by all who desire Thee! The prophet was right in saying that men should speak and raise their voices throughout the world, in order to make known to all men to what an excess the inventions of the love of our good God go for us: 'Make His works known among the people.'"
"'The voice of my Beloved knocking: Open to Me, My sister, My love, My dove, My undefiled' (Song 5:2). Such are the words which Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament speaks to those who love and desire him. Open to me, he says, O soul, thy heart, and there I will come to unite myself to thee; so that, being one with me, thou mayst become my sister by resemblance, my friend by participation in my riches, my dove by the gift of simplicity, my undefiled by the gift of purity, which I shall communicate to thee. And then he goes on to say, 'Open to me, for my head is full of dew and my locks the drops of the night.' As if he said: Consider, my beloved, that I have waited for thee all the night of the bad life thou has led in the midst of darkness and error. Behold, now, instead of bringing scourges to chastise thee, I come in the Blessed Sacrament, with my hair full of heavenly dew, to extinguish in thee all impure desires towards creatures, and to kindle in thee the happy fire of my love. Come, then, O my beloved Jesus, and work in me what Thou wilt."
"The Most Holy Sacrament is a gift which has proceeded from pure love. For our salvation it was necessary, according to the decree of God, that the Redeemer should die, and, by the sacrifice of his life, satisfy divine justice for our sins; but what necessity was there that Jesus Christ, after having died for our redemption, should leave himself to us for our food? But this his love wished to do. He, says, St. Laurence Justinian, instituted the Eucharist for no other purpose than to show his great charity, for no other purpose than to make us understand the immense love which he bears us. This is precisely what St. John has written: Jesus, knowing that His hour was come that He should pass out of this world to the Father: having loved His own, He loved them to the end. (JN 13:1) Knowing that the time of his departure from this earth had arrived, he wished to give us the greatest proof of his love, by bequeathing to us this gift of the Most Holy Sacrament. This is the precise meaning of the words, He loved them to the end; that is, according to Theophilactus and St. John Chrysostom, 'he loved them with an extreme love.'"
"Loving souls can find no greater delight than to be in the company of those whom they love. If we, then, love Jesus Christ much, behold we are now in his presence. Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament sees us and hears us; shall we, then, say nothing to Him? Let us console ourselves in His company; let us rejoice in His glory, and in the love which so many enamoured souls bear Him in the Most Holy Sacrament. Let us desire that all should love Jesus in the Holy Sacrament, and consecrate their hearts to Him; at least let us consecrate our affections to Him. He should be all our love and our whole desire."
"To cast fire upon the earth—that is my mission! And how I wish it were already blazing fiercely! Nothing in the world can set hearts ablaze with love for God like the Blessed Sacrament. That is why this divine bread has been pictured as a furnace of love. Saint Catherine of Siena saw far-reaching flames coming from this furnace of love and spreading throughout the world. Seeing this, Catherine simply could not understand how so many people could live without loving God.
"'Rejoice, and praise, O You habitation of Sion; for great is He that is in the midst of thee, the Holy One of Israel.' (Isa. xii) O God, and what joy ought not we men to conceive, what hopes and what affections, in knowing that in the midst of our land, in our churches, near our houses, the Holy of holies, the true God, dwells and lives in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar! He who by his presence alone renders the saints in heaven blessed! He who is love itself."
"'It is not so much that he has love, as that he is love itself,' says St. Bernard. This Sacrament is not only a sacrament of love, but is love itself it is God himself, who, for the immense love which he bears his creatures, calls himself, and is, love itself, 'God is love.'" (John iv, 16).
"But I hear You complain, O my Sacramental Jesus: I was a stranger, and you took Me not in (Matt. xxv. 43); that You came on earth to be our guest for our good, and that we have not welcomed You. You are right, Lord, You are right; and I am one of these ungrateful creatures who have left You alone, without even visiting You. Chastise me as You please; but not by depriving me of Your presence, which is the chastisement I deserve. No, I will repair my fault, and the indignities which I have heaped upon You. From this day forward I will not only visit You often, but will remain with You for as long a time as I can."
Jesus in the Holy Eucharist is “present on our altars as on a throne of love and mercy, to dispense graces and there to show us the love which he bears for us by being pleased to dwell night and day hidden in our midst.”
"O most compassionate Savior, be pleased to make me faithful to You and grant that I may also, by my example, excite others to keep You company in the Most Blessed Sacrament. I hear the Eternal Father, who says: 'This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.' (Matt. iii, 17) A God, then, finds all his complacency in You and shall not I, a miserable worm, find mine in dwelling with You in this valley of tears! O consuming fire, destroy in me all affections for earthly things; for they alone can render me unfaithful, and take me away from You. You can do so, if You will it: 'Lord, if You will, You can make me clean.'" (Matt. viii., 2)
"Behold, I give myself all to Thee: I now dedicate the whole remainder of my life to the love of the Most Blessed Sacrament.”
"You have already done so much for me, do this also: banish from my heart all love which does not tend towards You. Behold, I give myself completely to You: I now dedicate the whole remainder of my life to the love of the Most Blessed Sacrament. You, O Sacramental Jesus, have to be my comfort, my love in life, and at the hour of my death, when You will come to be my Viaticum and my guide to Thy blessed kingdom. Amen, amen. So do I hope; so may it be!"
"If you desire to find Him immediately, see--He is quite close to you. Tell Him what you desire, for it is to console you and grant your prayer that He remains in the Tabernacle."
"My Redeemer, present in this Most Holy Sacrament, behold me near Thee: the only favor which I ask of Thee is fervor and perseverance in Thy love. I thank Thee, O holy faith; for thou teachest and assurest me that in the divine Sacrament of the Altar, in that heavenly bread, bread does not exist; but that my Lord Jesus Christ is all there, and that He is there for love of me."
"My Lord and my all, I believe that Thou art present in the Most Holy Sacrament; and though unknown to eyes of flesh, by the light of holy faith I discern Thee in the consecrated Host, as the monarch of Heaven and earth, and as the Savior of the world. Ah, my most sweet Jesus! as Thou art my hope, my salvation, my strength, my consolation, so also I will that Thou shouldst be all my love, and the only object of all my thoughts, of my desires, and of my affections."
"I rejoice more in the supreme happiness which Thou enjoyest, and wilt enjoy forever, than in any good thing which I could ever have in time or in eternity. My supreme satisfaction is, that Thou, my beloved Redeemer, art supremely happy, and that Thy happiness is infinite. Reign, reign, my Lord, over my whole soul; I give it all to Thee; do Thou ever possess it."
"May my will, my senses, and my faculties be all servants of Thy love, and may they never in this world serve for anything else than to give Thee satisfaction and glory. Such was thy life, O first lover and Mother of my Jesus! Most Holy Mary, do thou help me; do thou obtain for me the grace to live henceforward, as thou didst always live, in the happiness of belonging to God alone."
“What joy ought not we men to conceive, what hopes and what affections, in knowing that in the midst of our land, in our churches, near our houses, the Holy of holies, the true God, dwells and lives in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar! He who by his presence alone renders the saints in heaven blessed! He who is love itself.”
"You have commanded that all who approach the altar to honor You should present a gift: 'Thou shall not appear empty before Me." (Exod. xxiii. 15) What, then, am I to do? Am I no more to appear before You? Ah no, this would not please You. Poor as I am, I will approach You; and please do provide me with the gifts which You desire me to have. I see that You dwell in the Sacrament, not only to reward Your lovers, but also to provide for the poor out of Your riches."
"Could anyone ever have been able to imagine that the Word become flesh would take on the appearance of bread to become our food unless he himself had already done so?"
"Even though we cannot see him in the Eucharist, he sees us and is really present there. He is present so that we can possess him, but hidden in order that we might desire him. Until such time as we come to our homeland, Jesus wishes to give himself completely to us and to remain completely united with us."
"Upon her entrance into heaven, our dear Mother humbly presented herself before God himself. She adored him and thanked him for all the graces bestowed upon her in life. Then our almighty God embraced his beloved daughter, blessed her, and declared her Queen of the universe, exalted above all the angels and saints."
"When our dear Savior left this world, he did not wish to leave us alone, and therefore he devised a means of remaining with us in the Holy Eucharist to the end of time, that even here below we may enjoy his sweet company."
*Many of the quotations are from St. Alphonsus Liguori's books The Holy Eucharist and Visits to the Blessed Sacrament and the Blessed Virgin Mary.
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