Knights of the Holy Eucharist Call Us to Genuine Eucharistic Faith
"I witness many Catholics who are facing difficult crosses and are turning to adoration," said Brother David Mary. Amid the turmoil of our modern day, "Confidence in our own abilities is running thin, and I see an increase in total dependence upon God. People now feel that only God can rescue us from our self-destruction."
Brother David Mary said his own devotion began in his mid-to-late 20s as he listened to audio tapes of the late Bishop Fulton Sheen on the value of Eucharistic adoration. The eminent and beloved retreat master's exhortations drew Brother David Mary to spend more and more time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.
"The more I would visit [Jesus], the more He drew me to Himself," recalled Brother David Mary. "Spending time in the presence of Our Lord made my life enriched and gave me much peace."
The pious practice even became a talking point between him and his roommate. "My roommate was a bodybuilder and went to the gym almost every evening," he said. "I, in turn, would go to adoration. We would both leave at the same time and return at the same time. This made him very curious, to say the least; and it naturally drew us into many discussions about the purpose of life and our journey toward God."
For Brother David Mary, the regular practice of Eucharistic adoration is far more vital to his spiritual health and strength than weightlifting was to his friend's physical fitness. "I can't imagine living my life without adoration, for my goal in life is to spend eternity with the one whom I love," he explained.
Likely because of his own response to Bishop Sheen's spiritual influence, Brother David Mary views the leadership of those in ordained and consecrated ministry as key to the revival of Eucharistic devotion. "We need holy priests who are in love with our Eucharistic King," he said. "Many of us in consecrated life were led by the holy examples of priest and nuns."
The Knights of the Holy Eucharist seek to provide just such examples in their apostolate among the faithful who visit the monastery and its magnificent shrine, where they serve as caretakers, sacristans, and servers. Even non-Catholics are drawn to the presence of Christ as reflected in the beauty of the environment and the reverence demonstrated there.
"I can say that the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament draws many who are seeking a deeper union with our Eucharistic Lord. We continue to receive large numbers of Protestants who are looking for answers," he said. "They sense the presence of God once they enter our gate; they continue that journey in search of their divine Lord."
The Knights themselves truly "practice what they preach" by spending significant time daily in Eucharistic adoration. In addition to his participation in the Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours, and the communal praying of the Rosary, each Knight daily spends two hours before the Blessed Sacrament.
Furthermore, the Knights help maintain reverence for the Blessed Sacrament by ensuring that pilgrims are modestly attired, that a sacred silence is maintained in the church, and that the environment as a whole evokes a sense of peace and serenity conducive to meditation and contemplation.
"How we pray is how we believe," he said, citing a key principle of faith and prayer. "Catholics have the greatest opportunity to share their faith when they live what they believe. I have heard Protestants say that they don't have any chance of converting the 'Shrine Catholics' because they are sincere in what they believe.. I feel that is because holiness is attractive. The spirit of the world fills us with anxiety, whereas Our Lord grants us peace, joy, and the desire to pursue heaven."
Amid the widespread confusion over belief in the Real Presence, Brother David Mary sees its resolution as a key focus for his brother Knights. "As time goes on, I see the Knights continuing to promote and foster reverent devotion to our Eucharistic Lord. It is important that we share our lives with others so that they can enrich their own lives," he pointed out.
Every little gesture in the course of the celebration of the Eucharist can enhance or detract from that reverence. This reality is reflected in the U.S. bishops' directives in recent years reaffirming the need for a gesture of reverence-a slight bow, the Sign of the Cross, or other physical sign-on the part of the faithful just before they receive Holy Communion. Encouraging such reverence at all times while in church helps point to the awe due to the Real Presence of Christ.
"When the Knights serve Holy Mass, perfection in the way we process, walk, and serve is of highest importance. If we really believe in the Real Presence, then our actions will demonstrate to the people what we believe," said Brother David Mary. "Even when we are sitting in church, our posture is very important. We must stop and think about where we are and with whom we are sitting."
As a fledgling community, the Knights of the Holy Eucharist are always seeking men who may be interested in joining their community. Their superior is confident that increasing devotion to the Blessed Sacrament among Catholics will bring about more vocations to the Church generally and to the Knights specifically.
"Once we begin to spend time with Our Lord," he added, "we will begin to grow wings that one day we might soar to the heights of heaven like the saints of old."
Gerald Korson (firstname.lastname@example.org) has been a Catholic editor and journalist for more than 28 years. For more information on the Knights of the Holy Eucharist, visit their website
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Knights of the Holy Eucharist, Eucharistic adoration, Blessed Sacrament, Gerald Korson, EWTN, Holy Communion, Mass, vocations, perpetual adoration
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