St. Peter Julian Eymard - Apostle of The Eucharist
Feast day, August 3
“Behold the Lamb of God. Behold God Himself! Adore Him!,” resound the words of St. Peter Julian Eymard who heralded the Presence of Christ as St. John the Baptist did over 1800 years before him. He proclaimed to the people with heartfelt belief and emotion, “Jesus Christ is there! Hence everybody to Him!”
From an early age the young French Saint exuded a tender love for the Eucharist. When his mother was pregnant for young Peter Julian, she would go to adoration at the nearby Church and dedicate her son to Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament. After his birth, she continued to bring him to adoration of the Holy Eucharist each day and when he was only four years old, he could be found praying there alone. Like a young love going to meet their lover, St. Peter Julian Eymard ran to the Church to spend time with Jesus in the Sacred Host. One day, having searched all over for the child, his half sister found him there kneeling on a stool behind the altar deep in prayer. When she asked him what he was doing he replied, “Saying my prayers. I am nearer to Jesus and I am listening to Him!” The Beautiful love and simplicity of this story are the hallmarks of St. Peter Julian Eymard's spirituality and life. “How happy I will be,” he wrote, “if I keep my heart free from attachment to anyone, and chained to Jesus, my God, alone... I will devote all my efforts to this end....I will go before the Blessed Sacrament, and there sign these resolutions with my blood.”
Upon becoming a priest Fr. Eymard entered the Marist order. Yet, over the course of the next ten years, Our Blessed Mother led him into deeper unity with her Eucharistic Son. He wrote “I feel a very strong attraction towards the Eucharist. It was never so strong before. This attraction impels me to bring everybody to love Our Lord and to preach only Christ, and Christ in the Eucharist.” Faithfully, he stormed heaven with prayers for discernment and the answer came. Jesus spoke these words to his heart, “Ask permission to establish religious society of Perpetual Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament.”
As he began working for the foundation of such a society, Pope Pius IX said, “I am convinced that this work comes from God. The Church needs it. Every means should be taken to make the Eucharist known.” A year later St. Peter Julian presented the matter to several Bishops who replied, “God's will has manifested itself too clearly in favor of this Eucharistic undertaking. The Lord Himself has settles the matter. You must devote yourself to this Work without delay.” A few years later, his order was given official approval from Rome. With great fervor the Saint writes “People call me founder; but I have not founded anything, neither have I invented anything new. You cannot invent the Eucharist, or public worship, or adoration.”
The mission of the Fathers, then, was to inflame the world with the “burning coal of the Eucharist.” For he writes that “we shall have Exposition everyday. That will be a continuous heaven!” St. Peter Julian Eymard's message to the faithful echoes that of St. John the Baptist, “There hath stood One in the midst of you Whom you know not!” And, “He must increase, and I must decrease! Nothing for me, everything for Him!”
For as St. Peter Julian wrote with resurgent wisdom and power:
“The spread of the Eucharistic Kingdom of Christ is necessary for the salvation of society.
The Eucharist is the life not only of the individual Christian, but of nations as well. We
know well that an age flourishes or degenerates in accordance with its worship of the
divine Eucharist. It is the life and measure of its faith, charity, and virtue. The Eucharist is not only for personal piety; it is essential to social life, for it is the very life of the world.
We must take Christ from the solitude of His tabernacle, so that He may place Himself
at the head of Christian society, to guide and save it. We must build stately palaces, royal
thrones, organize a court of faithful servants, a family of friends and a host of adorers and
apostles. Such a public and solemn protestation of our faith in the kingship of Christ, in the reality of His sacramental presence is a prime necessity of our day.”
The words of this Eucharistic apostle ring loud and clear in our world today. Will we work to spread the Kingdom of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament? Will we set the world on fire through Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration of Him? Whether our world “flourishes or degenerates” depends upon our response to the call of this great lover of Christ to honor and adore the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus. For He is waiting... He is here.
With St. Peter Julian Eymard, Apostle of the Eucharist, let us proclaim, “Today solemn exposition of the Blessed Sacrament is the grace and need of our time. Society will be restored and renewed when all its members group themselves around our Emmanuel.” And, “Adore and visit Jesus, abandoned and forsaken by men in His Sacrament of Love. Man has time for everything except for visits to His Lord and God, WHO IS WAITING AND LONGING FOR US in the Blessed Sacrament.”Then we will have answered the call of Our Mother and lead all souls to her Eucharistic Son. For as St. Peter Julian prayed, “Pray for us, O Virgin Immaculate, Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament. That the Eucharistic Kingdom of Jesus Christ may come among us!”
St. Peter Julian Eymard - Apostle of Eucharistic Love - pray for us, lead us to the heart of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament. Inflame the world with love for the Divine Son who is waiting to be loved, in our midst.
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