Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Even Demons Believe and Tremble – A Eucharistic Story

Even Demons Believe and Tremble – A Eucharistic Story

Msgr Charles Pope
St Mary's, Washington, D.C. 
It was almost 15 years ago. I was at Old St. Mary’s here in D.C. celebrating Mass in the Latin (Extraordinary Form). It was a solemn high Mass. I don't suppose I thought it any different than most Sundays but something quite amazing was about to happen.
As you may know the ancient Latin Mass is celebrated ”ad orientem” (towards the Liturgical East). Priest and people all face one direction. What this means practically for the celebrant is that the people are behind him. It was time for the consecration. The priest is directed to bow low, his forearms on the altar table the host between his fingers. As directed I said the venerable words of Consecration in a low but distinct voice, Hoc est enim Corpus meum (For this is my Body). The bells rang as I genuflected, but behind me a disturbance of some sort, a shaking or rustling in the front pews behind me to my right. And then a moaning or grumbling. What was that? It did not really sound human, more like the grumbling of a large animal such as a boar or a bear, along with a plaintive moan that did not seem human. I elevated the host and wondered, What was that? Then silence. I could not turn to look easily for that is awkward for the celebrant in the ancient Latin Mass. But still I thought,  What was that?
But it was time for the consecration of the Chalice. Again, bowing low and pronouncing clearly and distinctly but in a low voice:  Hic est enim calix sanguinis mei, novi et √¶terni testamenti; mysterium fidei; qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem pecatorum. Haec quotiescumque feceritis in mei memoriam facietis (For this is the cup of my Blood, of the new and eternal covenant; the mystery of faith; which will for the many be shed unto the remission of sins. When so ever you do this, you do it in My memory). But then, I heard another sound this time an undeniable moan and then a shriek as someone cried out: Leave me alone, Jesus! Why do you torture me?” Suddenly a scuffling as someone ran out with the groaning sound of having been injured. The back doors swung open, then closed. Then silence.
I could not turn to look for I was raising the Chalice high over my head. But I knew in an instant that some poor demon-tormented soul had encountered Christ in the Eucharist and could not endure his Real Presence displayed for all to see. And the words of Scripture occurred to me: Even demons believe and tremble (James 2:19).
But just as James used those words to rebuke the weak faith of his flock I too had to repent. Why was a demon-troubled man more aware of the true Presence and astonished by it than me? He was moved in the negative sense to run. Why was I not more moved in a positive and comparable way? What of the other believers in the pews? I don't doubt that any of us believed intellectually in the true Presence. But there is something very different and far more wonderful in being moved to the depth of your soul! It is so easy for us to be sleepy in the Presence of the Divine, forgetful of the miraculous and awesome Presence available to us.
But let the record show that one day, almost 15 years ago, it was made quite plain to me that I held in my hands the Lord of Glory, the King of heaven and earth, the just Judge and Ruler of the kings of the earth. Is the Lord truly present in the Eucharist? You'd better believe it, even demons believe that!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Experience Him!


“This mystery lights up the whole of the earth and sky. It sanctifies places far away from where the sacrament is reserved. …

And this I think is what the whole Eucharistic presence of Jesus of Nazareth is about.   It doesn't need to be defended, or even explained very much.  The presence of Jesus the Christ needs only to be experienced.”

Fr Benedict J Groeschel, C.F.R.
From In the Presence of Our Lord
The History, Theology, and Psychology
of Eucharistic Devotion (Pgs 289 -90)

Monday, February 27, 2012

So sweet, sweet...

“There is more sweetness
in one hour of prayer before
Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament
than in all the world’s crowded theaters,
and brilliant drawing rooms,
and giddy diversions, and social gatherings.”
St Gabriel Possenti
Passionist clerical student
Italy ~1838-1862
Exemplary devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows
Feast Day: February 27
Love Mary! She is lovable, faithful, constant. She will never let herself be outdone in love, but will ever remain supreme. If you are in danger, she will hasten to free you. If you are troubled, she will console you. If you are sick, she will bring you relief. If you are in need, she will help you. She does not look to see what kind of person you have been. She simply comes to a heart that wants to love her. She comes quickly and opens her merciful heart to you, embraces you and consoles and serves you. She will even be at hand to accompany you on the trip to eternity.” ~ St Gabriel Possenti

 Saint Gabriel is remarkable because he obediently and willingly converted in a very short time from a life of excess, devoted to the pleasures of this world, to becoming inextricably linked to the Passion of Our Lord. He shows us that we are all blessed with the graces to fall in love with Our Lord, no matter what the cost.

Gabriel died at age 24 of tuberculosis and was buried the day of his death. companion in the novitiate, Bernard Mary of Jesus, exclaimed:
“Tears come to my eyes and I am filled with shame for having been so far from the virtues that he attained in such a short time.”
MORE on St Gabriel:

St Gabriel, ora pro nobis!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Denying satan

First Sunday of Lent 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fruit of fasting

  Ultimately all fasting and abstinence
have a Eucharistic finality.

“He who comes to Me shall not hunger,
and he who believes in Me shall never thirst” (Jn 6:35),
says the Lord. 

Fasting is doing what it is supposed to do
when it sends us hungering and thirsting
to the Word of God
and to the Holy Mysteries of the Altar.

Fr Mark Kirby. o. Cist

Friday, February 24, 2012

To persevere in virtue

"Make use of devotion to the Blessed Sacrament
as a means of persevering in the practice of virtue. 
Let us go to Him toward evening and tell Him
about our shortcomings, let us ask Him for help
and forgiveness.  Our Lord loves us, constantly,
and His glance follows us every moment of the day."
Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val
Servant of God
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Colossians 3:13-14 
In this holy Lenten season, rich with graces, make frequent and good Confessions.  There are priests praying and waiting for your visit.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Source of pardon and salvation

Communion Antiphon   (Today's Liturgy)

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and
renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Ps 51:10)

Prayer After Communion  (Today's Liturgy)

Having received the blessing of Your heavenly gifts,
we humbly beseech You, almighty God,
that they may always be for us a
source both of pardon and of salvation.

Through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

St Polycarp of Smyrna
Disciple of apostle St John
Friend of Ignatius of Antioch
Bishop of Smyrna, Martyr
Exemplary in catechesis
69-155 AD
FEAST DAY - February 23

Polycarp was denounced to the government, arrested, and tried on the charge of being a Christian. When the proconsul urged him to save his life by cursing Christ, he replied: “Eighty-six years I have served Him, and He never did me any wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?” 

Earlier, in a Letter to the Philippians...
“Stand fast, therefore, in this conduct and follow the example of the Lord, ‘firm and unchangeable in faith, lovers of the brotherhood, loving each other, united in truth,’ helping each other with the mildness of the Lord, despising no man.”

And wrote on another occasion...
“If we pray to the Lord to forgive us, we ourselves must be forgiving; we are all under the eyes of our Lord and God, and every one of us must stand before the judgment-seat of Christ, where each of us will have to give an account.”

St Polycarp, ora pro nobis!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Even now, says the Lord, return to Me with your whole heart ...
 Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly;
gather the people. Sanctify the congregation; assemble the aged;
gather the children, even infants at the breast. Joel 2:12+ 
    "Give me, good Lord, a full faith and a fervent charity, a love of You, good Lord, incomparably above the love of myself; and that I love nothing that displeases You but everything for the sake of You.

    Take from me, good Lord, this lukewarm -- or rather cold-hearted -- way of meditation and this dullness in praying to You.  And give me warmth, delight, and life in thinking of You. 

    And give me grace to long for Your holy Sacraments, and specifically to rejoice in the presence of Your Blessed Body, sweet Savior Christ, in the holy Sacrament of the altar, and duly to thank You for Your precious visitation through it; and at that high Memorial, may I have grace to remember and consider Your most bitter passion with tender compassion."

St. Thomas More

*Ash Wednesday is solemnly observed by the Church to mark the beginning of the forty days of penance in the Lenten season. The faithful who attends the Mass on this day will be marked on the forehead with a CROSS of ASHES as a sign of conversion, penance, fasting and human mortality.

The marking of the forehead with a cross made of ashes reminds each that (1) God made the first human being by breathing life into dust, and without God, human beings are nothing more than dust and ashes, (2) the phrases often used when the ashes are administered remind Christians of the doctrine of original sin and (3) the cross of ashes may symbolize the way Christ's sacrifice on the cross as atonement for sin replaces the Old Testament tradition of making burnt offerings to atone for sin.

As the ashes are being administered, the priest utters one of the following phrases:
    "Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel."
    "Remember (O man) that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return."
    "Repent, and hear the good news."

And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him;
and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. ~ Ecclesiastes 4:12
During Lent, we are called to prayer, fasting and almsgiving. They are the "three-fold cord" spoken of in Ecclesiastes 4:12. Satan will not prevail against us if we follow Christ's call to use this three-fold cord as a basis for our Christian walk.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Powerful, protective, precious Blood

On one occasion St Peter Damian wrote to a young nephew:

“If I may speak figuratively, drive out the roaring beasts from your domain; do not cease from protecting yourself daily by receiving the Flesh and Blood of the Lord.  Let your secret foe see your lips reddened with the Blood of Christ.  He will shudder, cower back, and flee to his dark, dank retreat.”

St Peter Damian
Reformer, Cardinal
Doctor of the Church
Italy ~ 1007-1072
 MOTTO:  “Do not prefer anything to the love of Christ.”
FEAST DAY - February 21

Christ cannot be accused of forgetfulness: Christ does not enjoin things contrary to His commands.  He is the Bread that came down from heaven, which is daily brought to the table of the Church, as a heavenly food, which is broken for the forgiveness of sins, which feeds and nourishes unto life everlasting them that eat the same.” ~ St Peter Damian
St Peter Damian, ora pro nobis!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Everyday - one!

Detail: Bartolomé Esteban Murillo - Infant Jesus Distributing Bread to Pilgrims

“Jesus has prepared not just one Host,
but one for everyday of our life.
The Hosts for us are ready.
Let us not forfeit even one of them.”

St Peter Julian Eymard

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The heart

"Above all, the Eucharist should be the heart of every vocational journey: it is here that the love of God touches us in Christ's sacrifice, the perfect expression of love, and it is here that we learn ever anew how to live according to the 'high standard' of God's love. Scripture, prayer and the Eucharist are the precious treasure enabling us to grasp the beauty of a life spent fully in service of the Kingdom."

Pope Benedict XVI
Message for World Day of Prayer for Vocations 2012

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Most noble, profitable, sweetest

“The devotion to the Eucharist is the most noble
because it has God as its object;
it is the most profitable for salvation,
because It gives us the Author of Grace;
it is the sweetest,
because the Lord is Sweetness Itself.”

Pope St Pius X

Friday, February 17, 2012

How do I end a Holy Hour?

You turned my wailing into dancing;
You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing to You and not be silent. 
O Lord my God, I will give You thanks forever. ~ Psalm 30:11-12

A good way to end a Holy Hour is to thank the Lord.  Thank Him for His presence, for His Love, for all that He has done and will do in your life.  You can call to mind and thank Him for the specific graces or resolutions you received during the hour. 

Then, again, express your adoration with your whole body and soul, and renew your commitment to try to live each moment of your life in such a way that you will be a living sign of His presence, of His mercy to the world.

Fr. George W Kosicki, CSB

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Letting go of distractions in Adoration

The LORD gives strength to His people;
the LORD blesses His people with peace.  Psalm 29:11

“Anytime you come into the Eucharistic presence of the Lord and find that you are distracted and anxious about situations in your life, you can begin your prayer time with a litany of mercy as a way of letting go of all these thoughts.

How?  Let me suggest a method that has helped me.  Simply begin by asking the Holy Spirit to pray in you, and then respond to each of the distractions and anxieties – from whatever source – with short prayers such as: ‘Jesus, mercy’ or ‘Jesus, I trust in You.’

Imagine that each of the distractions, anxieties, fears, or hurts is a slide-show.  Project one ‘slide’ at a time on the wall and pray your response, and then move on to the next ‘slide.’  You will be surprised when suddenly you have run through all your slides and are at peace in the presence of the Lord.”

Fr George W Kosicki, CSB

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Daily rations

Holy Mass - US Army troops - WWII

"The day's food for the day's march...
that is what Holy Communion is meant to be."

Msgr Ronald Knox

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

But you will see Me...

 I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you. 
Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more,
but you will see Me;
because I live, you will live also.  John 14:18-19
"No tongue is able to declare the greatness
of the love that Jesus bears to every soul;
and therefore this Spouse, when He would leave this earth,
in order that His absence might not cause us to forget Him,
left us as a memorial this Blessed Sacrament,
in which He Himself remained;
for He would not that there should be any other pledge
to keep alive our remembrance of Him than He Himself."
St. Peter of Alcantara

Monday, February 13, 2012

Christian faith is...

"The Eucharist is at the very center of our life; such was the teaching of Jesus.
When commenting on the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves He told His apostles that He Himself is the Living Bread that came down from heaven. He called on the twelve for an act of faith and it was Peter who answered in the name of all: 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of everlasting life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God' (John 6:69).
Christian faith is faith in the Eucharistic Christ." 
Jean Galot, S.J.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Loyalty of heart


"O my Jesus, I adore thee everywhere thou dwellest
in the Blessed Sacrament.  Where thou art despised,
I stand by thee.  I love thee for those who do not love
I make amends for those who offend thee.
Come into my heart."

Bl. Alexandrina da Costa

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Above all: Eucharistic devotion

FEAST of Our Lady of Lourdes*
February 11

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us
and especially the sick and suffering.

 Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, France

“All the shrines of Mary,
scattered throughout the world,
have become above all
centers of devotion to the Eucharist,
as if the Mother of Jesus had appeared,
here or there,
in order to lead the faithful to the
adoration and love of her blessed Son.”

Pope Bl. John XXIII


*Lourdes, France has become a place of pilgrimage and healing, but even more of faith.  It is a continuation of Jesus’ healing miracles. Many who visit Lourdes return home with renewed faith and a readiness to more generously serve God. There still may be people who doubt the apparitions of Lourdes. Perhaps the best that can be said are the words that introduce the film, Song of Bernadette:

“For those who believe in God,
no explanation is necessary.

For those who do not believe,
no explanation is possible.”