This week I continue with our series on the writings of St. Peter Julian Eymard in his classic book: How to Get More Out of Holy Communion. The theme for this series seeks to answer a common comment I hear from Catholics: ‘Holy Mass is boring’ or ‘I did not get anything out of attending Holy Mass’.
One of the remedies that St. Peter Julian Eymard offers to this dilemma is to remember at each Holy Mass and during times of Eucharistic adoration that Jesus is the Bread of Life (Gospel of John 6:35) who gives each of us profound strength to live in the spiritual life of the Holy Spirit. St. Peter emphases this beautiful reality in the following words:
“Material bread nourishes and sustains life. Lest we faint away, we must keep up our strength by taking food, of which bread is very essential. It is more substantial to our bodies than any other nutriment and sufficient alone for life. The soul, in its natural life, must live forever; it has received that immortality from God. But the life of grace received in Baptism, and regained and renewed in the sacrament of Penance, that life of sanctity, more noble by far than the natural life, cannot be maintained without sustenance; and its principal nutriment is the Eucharistic Jesus. The life restored by holy Penance will be brought to fruition in some sort by the Eucharist, which will cleanse us from our affections to sin, will blot out our daily offenses, will give us strength to carry out our good resolutions, and will remove from us the occasions of sin.”
It is our Lord Jesus, truly present in the Holy Eucharist, who will make us His true disciples. St. Peter writes, “Jesus said, ‘Follow me,’ (Gospel of Matthew 16:24) but that is difficult; it takes effort and demands the practice of Christian virtues. We remember that he alone who abides in our Lord will bear much fruit. And how shall we abide in Him if not by eating His Flesh and drinking His Blood?” (Gospel of John 6:56)
Another reason to go to Jesus in the Eucharist for a remedy to this difficulty is found these words of St. Peter: “God desired to nourish our spirit, so He gave it His Bread, the Eucharist, announced by Holy Scripture: ‘He will feed them with the Bread of life and understanding.’” (Ecclus. 15:3)
St. Peter continues with theme and wrote: “Now, there are no greater joys on earth than the joys of the spirit. Contentment of heart is less lasting because it is based on feeling, and feeling is apt to be inconstant. True joy is of the spirit and consists in the quiet knowledge of the truth…
Jesus Christ exercised the prerogative that was His to give us experience of true joy through Himself alone. The soul that only seldom receives Communion gives God no opportunity to dwell in it in a completely efficacious way. The one, on the contrary, that receives Him frequently will be longer and more often in His presence and, seeing Him and contemplating Him freely, will learn to know Him well and will end by enjoying Him.”
My friends, these are wonderful words of encouragement for us. Jesus calls us to come to Him every day, especially whenever we can in the Holy Eucharist. He is the answer for all our spiritual ailments. He will fill our hearts with joy and give each of us the meaning and sense of purpose that the deepest place in each of our souls desires. The world cannot do this. Only Jesus can. Let us continue to deepen our desire to come closer to Jesus whenever we can be in His Eucharistic Presence. Let us open our hearts to Him in those precious moments and readily welcome Him!
Through the intercession of Mary, the Mother of God, St. Joseph, and St. Columbkill, may God bless you, your families and our parishes!
In Christ through Mary,
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