The Power of the Eucharist
Mother Teresa once said, “I would not be able to work one week if it were not for
that continual force coming from Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.” This beautiful statement
reflects the powerful graces that await us in the Sacrament of Holy Communion.
The great saints in history have realized the deep relationship Christ invites us to
have with Him through the reception of His body and blood in the Eucharist. St. Catherine
of Siena has been called the Saint of the Eucharist. She experienced visions and ecstasies
after taking Communion, and Pope Gregory XI issued a Bull allowing her to have a priest and
altar always present so that she could hear Mass and receive Communion upon request. Suffering from illness at the end of her short life, Catherine could not stomach ordinary food, yet survived for seven years on nothing but consumption of the Eucharist.
St. Peter Julian Eymard founded the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament to help form Catholic communities dedicated to the Eucharist. Eymard had become convinced of its importance as the central focus of Christian life after being introduced to the practice of Eucharistic adoration during an 1849 trip to Paris. Shortly thereafter, he founded the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament and started communities that worked to promote an awareness of God’s mercy and love through a relationship with Christ in the Eucharist.
Eymard’s message led many people to pursue a more fervent devotion to the faith and also drew non-practicing Catholics back to the sacraments. In 1862, the artist Auguste Rodin took refuge in one of Eymard’s communities shortly after the death of his sister. Rodin later produced a sculpture depicting Eymard as a strikingly holy, ascetic figure, holding a scroll with words from Eymard’s prayer, “O Sacrament Most Holy, O Sacrament Divine, all praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine.”
Like Rodin, artists from all backgrounds have been inspired by devotion to the Eucharist. For instance, author and mystic J.R.R. Tolkien once wrote in a letter, “Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament… There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves upon earth.”
The Eucharist is a well-spring from which we can draw sustenance to fortify our souls during all circumstances of life. This is the miraculous gift that Christ has given to the Church, yet it is a gift that requires faith to enter fully into its mystery. The desire to contemplate this mystery more fully has led to the practice of Eucharistic adoration.
Mother Teresa once said, “Perpetual adoration is the most beautiful thing you could ever think of doing.” Adoration is a practice that draws us closer to God through a profound expression of reverence for the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. When we take the time to worship God in this way, we open our hearts to understand more fully His miraculous hand in the workings of our everyday lives. And this is why Christ instituted the Eucharist, because He wanted us to grow close to Him and to have Him present in all we do. This is a tremendous gift! Resolve never to let anything stand in the way of your closeness to Christ in the Eucharist, and you will follow in the footsteps of the saints who found strength to persevere in all circumstances of life.
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