Let Us Love God As We Ought And As He Deserves - Part II
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[Let me begin Part II of this post by repeating the ending of Part I. You can read Part I in its entirety here.]
Let our boldness continue by allowing the Truth of the following words of St. Peter Julian Eymard to sink in:
"How many among the best Catholics never pay a visit of devotion to the most Blessed Sacrament to speak with Him from the heart, to tell Him their love? They do not love our Lord in the Eucharist because they do not know Him well enough. But in spite of knowing Him and His love and the sacrifices and desires of His heart, they still do not love Him. What an insult!
Yes, an insult.
For it amounts to telling Jesus Christ that He is not beautiful enough, not good enough, not lovable enough to be preferred to what they love.
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Harvesting The Fruits of Contemplation (https://harvestingthefruitsofcontemplation.blogspot.com/)
2/27/2020 (8 months ago)
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If you have not yet read The Power of Silence -- Against the Dictatorship of Noise by Robert Cardinal Sarah, you must do so as soon as possible. What a treasure!
Let me share a few gems that will serve you well when you spend time with our Lord:
"In modern society, silence has come into disrepute; this is the symptom of a serious worrisome illness. The real questions of life are posed in silence. Our blood flows through our veins without making any noise, and we can hear our heartbeats only in silence."
"We encounter God only in the eternal silence in which he abides. Have you ever heard the voice of God as you hear mine?"
"In silence, not in the turmoil and noise, God enters into the inner-most depths of our being."
"The desire to see God is what urges us to love solitude and silence. For silence is where God dwells. He drapes himself in silence."
"In silence there is a collaboration between man and God."
"Man must make a choice: God or nothing, silence or noise."
Time in Adoration provides one with the silence we all need and that Cardinal Sarah describes and recommends.
How blessed are those parishes which have some form of weekly or daily Hours of Adoration. So few parishes do - even though St. John Paul II asked that every parish in the world have Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration chapel!
We don't need any more committees or study groups. We have made things far too complicated. All God has ever been asking us to do is to get down on our knees in His Presence and to worship and adore Him. -- to just gift Him with our time and presence. He can and will do the rest.
But far too many of us have been too proud, too arrogant to obey and believe Him. We don't believe that the turmoil in our world, Church, families and personal lives can and will be solved by simply obeying His request to spend time with Him.
We scoff at such a simple suggestion as did Naaman the Syrian leper who initially refused to take a dip in the Jordan river in exchange for God's promise to heal him of his leprosy.
Fortunately for Naaman, he came to his senses and surrendered his will to God. The good news is that it is not too late for us either.
Imagine the impact on the world and all the souls who inhabit it, if on the same day and at the same hour, every Catholic Church in the world held an Hour of Adoration and everyone who called or ever called themselves Catholic came, knelt, and thanked God for His Presence among us... Just imagine!
May never happen on that scale but what about in our own lives? Where will we find the time? many ask, forgetting that He has given us 168 hours a week.
Are any of us as busy as were St. John Paul II, Venerable Fulton J Sheen or Mother Teresa, all of whom spent at least an hour in adoration daily? Were their lives or ministries impeded in anyway by such a generous sacrifice of their time and the gift of their loving presence? Not at all. Adoration enhanced their lives and work.
It can be difficult for many of us and impossible for a limited few to offer the gift of one hour each week, but let me put one hour of weekly Adoration in perspective for you by borrowing and adapting a few interesting statistics offered by the late Father Oscar Lukefahr, CM.:
If you live to be eighty, you would have spent about three years reading, five years talking, six years riding in a car, seven years eating, eleven years in recreational activities and twenty-seven years sleeping.
If you offered an hour of Adoration each week, you would have given our Lord less than six months of your time. Add attendance at Sunday Mass for an hour every week and praying for five minutes every day to your weekly hour of Adoration, we are still talking of offering Him less than one year of our life.
My Own Experience
My former parish struggled to hold 12 hours of Adoration on the First Friday of each month. In an inexplicable moment of courage (others have said insanity) I suggested to our pastor that we start Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration (PEA) -- a preposterous proposal on its face given our inability to fill 12 hours and the fact that our parish was in a Village of less than 5,000 people.
But God suffers fools. He knows what we need and what He wants. To make sure we understood this, a few months after our chapel opened a total stranger gifted us with a Monstrance blessed by St. John Paul II on the Sunday before he died. Go figure!
Now more than 18 years later our little Chapel remains open -- though admittedly it has been a real struggle to cover all the hours these past few months. -- Satan has been at work, reducing the pool of those Catholics who really believe Jesus is Hidden behind the Sacred Host. He will never win!
How one spends an Hour of Adoration with the Lord is dictated by one's personal preferences and where one is in their spiritual development and prayer life.
Some souls may simply kneel and/or sit in silence, gazing upon the tabernacle or monstrance, content in a silent interchange between two hearts.
Others may spend time reciting the Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet, or reading and pondering Scripture or other spiritual works.
Many spiritual experts suggest dividing your time into four fifteen-minute periods -- Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving and Supplication.
However you approach your time with God, be sure you don't do all the talking. Let Him speak to your heart and listen to what He has to say.
Here is a sampling of what some Adorers have said:
"I feel a warmth that surrounds my heart, so much love. I don't have this feeling anywhere else. I know Jesus is in me always, but to be in His Real Presence, in our Chapel, is the best hour of my day. I truly love coming, never mind subbing and never feel that it is an inconvenience. After all the years of coming, I still feel excited when I know I am going to do Adoration."
"Adoration has given me that moment each week to better focus my life, to be close, one-on-one with Jesus. To feel love and return it to my friends and family. To have the ability to ask and pray to Jesus for others in need along with myself. Adoration has opened my heart and has allowed me to see more clearly the miracle of 'The Mass' and Jesus is so much alive in all of us!"
"Adoration is a resting place for my tired, hurried body and mind. Our dear God is my therapist, Who gives me peace. It is almost like I am transformed into a better person but then I'm turned out into the world and by the next week, I am ready for adoration and to be renewed."
I am a Lay Dominican. Love for the Eucharist is enmeshed in our DNA! It must be the source and summit of our daily lives. We must each become a fleshly monstrance, drawing others toward and into the Most Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus.
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Look at some of our forebears in the Order.
Our Father Dominic spent many a sleepless night in front of tabernacles begging for the salvation of souls.
St. Rose of Lima enjoyed daily Adoration and reception of Holy Communion. When Dutch pirates intended to desecrate the Church in which she and others had taken refuge, St. Rose confronted them holding a monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament and they fled.
St. Martin de Porres spent long hours in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament and received communion as often as he could.
St. Catherine of Siena received permission from Pope Gregory XI to have a priest at her disposal to absolve her and administer communion to her whenever and wherever she liked. For the seven years prior to her death, she took no food into her body other than the Eucharist.
St. Thomas Aquinas, the composer of the most beautiful Eucharistic hymns and prayers in the Church's treasury "Practically entered the Tabernacle, so to speak," writes Jean Baptiste Chautard, OCSO, 'when he wanted to work out a problem; he would also go and tell his troubles to the Divine Guest.'"
It Is Not Difficult to See How Adoration Can Encompass and Empower All Four Pillars of our Lay Dominican Vocation
Prayer -- Prayer before the Eucharist is the most efficacious form of prayer. Intercessory prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, St. Peter Julian Eymard tells us, is an effective and necessary personal apostolate.
Study -- How does one come to know another? By spending time in the presence of that person, talking, listening to and confiding in each other. What better way to come to know our Lord and ourselves than to gaze in silent adoration and contemplation of Him.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen and St. Thomas Aquinas prepared their sermons and writings in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Our own meditation, study and understanding of what we read in Scripture and other spiritual books will be enhanced there as well
Apostolate -- Adoration is the essential fuel that will empower, make fruitful and sustain our apostolic work.
Mother Teresa made these two observations:
"If my sisters did not spend so much time in prayer, they could not serve the sick and the poor at all."
"When the Sisters are exhausted, up to their eyes in work; when all seems to go awry, they spend an hour in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. This practice has never failed to bear fruit: they experience peace and strength."
Jean Baptiste Chautard, O.C.S.O. re-enforces Mother Teresa's comments:
"The efficacy of an apostolate almost invariably corresponds to the degree of Eucharistic life acquired by a soul. Indeed, the sure sign of a successful apostolate is when it makes souls thirst for frequent and fruitful participation in the Divine Banquet. And this result will never be obtained except in proportion as the apostle himself really makes Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament the source and center of his life."
Community -- There is no more intimate a community than an Adorer in union with Jesus Christ, and through prayer, with a worldwide network of other Adorers, unknown to each other, but embraced by the Lord they all adore. The love our Lord showers on His Adorers is intended to be shared with all those with whom the Adorer will later interact with.
One More Quotation from Stirring Slumbering Souls Before My Final Challenge and Exhortation
"It is in our churches, in this tabernacle, that the living body of the Savior rests. He was but nine months in the womb of Mary, three hours on the Cross, three days in the tomb. Yet He is always in our churches. This is why they do not empty of angels, archangels, and seraphim unceasingly adoring Him. They adore Him with signs of respect, with prostrations that, if we could perceive them, would strangely confound us. Our churches, if we might speak in such a way, are like an annex of paradise; there the Creator is adored, there the resurrected Savior finds a body and a soul, thereto the heavenly spirits journey, and there they delight in the same happiness savored beyond the firmament."
(Saint Claude de la Colombiere, Christian Reflections)
We must, however, remember that it is not enough to visit, confide in, talk to and listen to Jesus in the silence of our time at Adoration. We have to bring Him to others when we leave His Eucharistic Presence.
Let us not forget that God uses simple people to draw others to Himself -- but some choose instead to draw souls away from Him.
May we listen very carefully to the words of Father Denis Lemieux as he reminds us of the impact our words and actions have on other souls:
"Those of us who do know what the Bread of life truly is, who know at what Table we can receive the very life of God in a fashion that is concrete, physical, touchable, tasteable, literal food and drink that bears God's innermost being into our innermost being, have a deep responsibility to not merely receive Communion, but to be indeed taught by it.
We have a responsibility to be formed by it and shaped by it so that our lives are truly indistinguishable from His, that the way we live is in fact a perpetual and ongoing Eucharist, love poured out, life given for the world.
I am afraid that so many people never find their way to the sacred Table to receive that most sacred Food because so many of us who do, show so little sign of it in how we live our lives. We eat and drink God -- do our lives reflect that fact?"
(Who Will Be Saved? from July 25, 2018 issue of Restoration)
What kind of sign have you and I been? What kind of sign will we be?
I will pose the same question asked by Father Francis Hudson, S.C.J. which I shared in Part I of this post and recommend again that you ponder his words today and in the days to come:
What if God loved you only as much as you loved Him?
Now let us all go love and treat our Lord as we ought and how He deserves!
[Modified version of Presentation by Mr. Michael Seagriff, O.P. to St. Thomas Aquinas Chapter of The Lay Fraternities of St. Dominic Charlottesville, Virginia Saturday September 8, 2018]
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