A couple of months before his death Bishop Fulton J. Sheen was interviewed on national television. One of the questions was this: “Bishop Sheen, you have inspired millions of people all over the world. Who inspired you? Was it a Pope?”
Bishop Sheen responded that it was not a Pope, a cardinal, another bishop, or even a priest or a nun. It was a little Chinese girl of eleven years of age. He explained that when the Communists took over China, they imprisoned a priest in his own rectory near the Church. After they locked him up in his own house, the priest was horrified to look out of his window and see the Communists proceed into the Church, where they went into the sanctuary and broke into the tabernacle. In an act of hateful desecration, they took the ciborium and threw it on the floor with all of the Sacred Hosts spilling out. The priest knew exactly the number of Hosts in the ciborium; thirty-two.
When the Communists left, they either did not notice, or didn’t pay any attention to a small girl praying in the back of the Church who saw everything that had happened. That night the little girl came back.
Slipping past the guard at the priest’s house, she went inside the Church. There she made a holy hour of prayer, an act of love to make up for the act of hatred. After her holy hour she went into the sanctuary, knelt down, bent over and with her tongue received Jesus in Holy Communion, since (at that time) it was not permissible for laymen to touch the Sacred Host with their hands.
The little girl continued to come back each night to make her holy hour and receive Jesus in Holy Communion on her tongue. On the thirty-second night, after she had consumed the last and thirty-second host, she accidentally made a noise and woke the guard who was sleeping. He ran after her, caught her, and beat her to death with the butt of his rifle. This act of heroic martyrdom was witnessed by the priest as he watched grief-stricken from his bedroom window.
When Bishop Sheen heard the story he was so inspired that he promised God he would make a holy hour of prayer before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament every day of his life. If this frail, little child could give testimony and witness to the world concerning the real and wonderful Presence of her Savior in the Blessed Sacrament, then the Bishop was absolutely bound by all that was right and true, to do the same. His sole desire from then on was to bring the world to the burning Heart of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
The little girl showed the Bishop what true courage and zeal really is; how faith could overcome all fear, how true love for Jesus in the Eucharist must transcend life itself. What is hidden in the Sacred Host is the glory of His love. The sun in the sky is symbolic of the Son of God in the Blessed Sacrament. This is why most monstrances are in the form of a sunburst. As the sun is the natural source of all energy, the Blessed Sacrament is the supernatural source of all grace and love.
It was a wet and windy Sunday morning and I was standing inside the Church door, out of the rain, waiting for a lift to do some study in the University as exams were on the horizon. Mass was not something that interested me much, since my Confirmation. Mass was going on as I stood in from the rain. During the Mass a man was invited by the priest to speak to the congregation. He kept talking about Adoration. At one point during the talk he pointed at the Tabernacle and said very slowly ‘He is there. Jesus is there’, quoting some saint. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. My lift never arrived and I waited until Mass was over to challenge the speaker. I felt he was just saying ‘He is there’ for effect and to get the people to listen.
I went straight up to the speaker and blurted out ‘did you do that for effect, to get the people to listen when you said and pointing to the tabernacle ‘He is there’. The reply with a smile was calm and definite. I meant everything I said and Jesus is there. Come around to the Adoration Chapel and I will show you Jesus, true God and true man, in the Monstrance, the same Jesus who walked the Holy Land just over 2000 years ago, the same Jesus that performed all the amazing miracles there.
I was gobsmacked and got a bit emotional at this point. I asked him if he would be speaking at the evening Mass and saying the same thing, as my parents usually go to that mass. He said, why do you ask me that? Well I feel that my parents don’t know that Jesus is there in the Tabernacle or in the Monstrance, and that it is really Him. Why do you say that? He asked. Because my parents never told my brother or myself. If they knew I feel they would have told us. I found myself going back to that evening Mass with my parents and from then on Mass has become a must for me. I really enjoy telling others about my journey back to my faith again. I now understand why people love to go to Adoration. I now drop in when passing to the Adoration Chapel.
~Testimony by Mary (not her real name)
I have been praying during my weekly hour of Adoration, over many years, for my husband to return to Mass and the Sacraments as he has been away from them for 26 years. He didn’t even enter the church when our children were making their first Holy Communions and Confirmations. On a wet and very cold winter’s day he dropped me down to the Adoration Chapel for my holy hour and asked me to hurry out after the hour as he wanted to go to an important meeting. After the hour he came to collect me and waited outside in the car. After waiting for an extra twenty minutes, he lost patience and ran into the Adoration Chapel to hurry me out. I pretended not to see him and he sat down very impatiently for some minutes. Finally I got up and left and he came speedily after me. I was expecting a lot of anger and complaints because I stayed longer than the hour and kept him waiting. Having got into the car he turned to me, and said, calmly and quietly, ‘I am not going to that meeting I mentioned but instead I am going to see the priest in the Parochial house and ask him to hear my confession. Something came over me as I entered that Adoration Chapel, and I feel God calling me back again’. He got confession that day and became a daily mass goer and a weekly Adorer for the very first time. I put this down to the power of prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
My name is Michael (not my real name) a married man in my thirties with two children. Christmas Eve 2012 I was in town alone, feeling very lonely, sad and at times suicidal and wanted someone to talk to. I was very low and didn’t want to go home and let my family see me like this. I had an old religious card in my wallet and there was a number on it. I rang this number not having a clue whose number it was. I told Jim (not his real name) who answered the phone promptly that I was suicidal and wanted to talk. I asked him to come in and meet me. Jim kept talking to me trying to calm me down and said he couldn’t meet me but that he knew who could. He asked me where exactly I was and then went on to explain to me where I could go to talk to the person he had in mind. I didn’t listen very much to what he was saying and got a bit annoyed that he wouldn’t come in to talk to me. He emphasised that help was quite near where I was standing, in fact just 50 metres down the street. Jim said that help was in a room around the side of the Church and that I would see a light on in this room window and to just go in and sit down quietly and to tell him all you told me. Who is this him I asked. It is Jesus, the one who can do great things for you. I got a bit hyper and loud and cross, when he said this to me, thinking he was having me on. However after arguing and listening to Jim for half an hour I set off to get this help. I went into this room and saw three other people there sitting on chairs. I did likewise and watched what others were doing. They were all looking in the one direction. (later I was to discover that it was the Blesssed Sacrament in a Monstrance that they were looking at) I did the same. I started thinking what Jim had said and suddenly found myself talking silently and pouring out all my troubles and problems. About an hour or more passed and I felt a lot better and much calmer. I went outside and rang Jim again. I just said thanks, and I feel better now and I put down the phone. Finally I went home. That encounter with Jesus that night has changed my life. I won’t say all my problems are solved but I am in a much better place now. I visit this Chapel of Adoration regularly now and I get great peace and contentment there. Thank you Jim, thank you Jesus.
In the morning, when you wake, go in spirit to the foot of the Tabernacle where during the night, Jesus remained out of love for each one of us.
Make an offering of your day to this gentle Savior, ask him to bless you, to preserve you from all sin and to give you his love.
When beginning your morning prayer, place yourself in spirit before the Tabernacle.
Ask Jesus who is there praying for you, to present your petitions to God the Father, and under his gaze tell, him of your plans for the day, asking him to bless them.
If at all possible, attend Mass every morning. The days when this is impossible choose a moment — preferably after morning prayers — to be present in spirit at the Holy Sacrifice. Go in spirit before the Tabernacle and place yourself in the Heart of Jesus.
Unite yourself to the Masses which are being offered up at that moment — since there is not a minute of the day or night that the Holy Sacrifice is not being offered in some part of the world — and offer Jesus to the Heavenly Father, as a Victim, begging him to pardon in his name, all sinners, particularly yourself, and ask him to enkindle his love in all hearts to increase the number of Saints.
Never begin any work or occupation of any kind, never perform any action, nor go out mornings, afternoons or evenings, without having first gone in thought to the Tabernacle, to ask Jesus for his blessings.
Before and after your midday and evening meals, withdraw for a moment and kneel down. At least never omit to go at these times in thought, to greet Jesus, whose presence is so much forgotten by so many of our Catholic people. Recall to your mind the thoughts, which have come to you at his feet.
Send a loving thought towards the Tabernacle several times a day — for example, when the clock strikes. Tell him how much you wish to love him, ask him to help you, and say the “O Sacrament,” etc. or “Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.”
Form the habit of a daily visit to the Most Blessed Sacrament even if it should have to be when you are on your way to work, so that at the hour of death, Jesus will in his turn visit you. If time permits, profit by this visit to put in practice the directions of Rule Nine.
If it should happen that you cannot make your usual visit to the Blessed Sacrament, make a spiritual visit before retiring and remain a few minutes in Adoration thinking of him who is in the Tabernacle only because of his great love for you.
When you begin your night prayers, place yourself (as in the morning) in spirit before the Tabernacle. Ask Jesus to help you pray; and then under his gaze, humbly examine your conscience. Think that it is Jesus himself who recalls to your memory what you have done during the day.
The Most Important Of All
1. Go and place yourself at least in spirit, before the Tabernacle under the gaze of Jesus.
2. Read over one of the questions, which you will find following this Rule.
3. Pause and reflect for a moment, and think of what your answer will be.
4. Then looking with the eyes of your soul at Jesus who knows your thoughts, say to him:
“Lord, make me understand, make me see, speak to my soul. Speak Lord and thy servant shall hear.”
Ask the God of the Eucharist to speak to your mind and heart, even as he did to those who came to him when he was on earth, and be careful to keep in your mind the question that formed the subject of your meditation, asking Jesus to fill and penetrate your soul with it.
If during the day, some trial or trouble should come to you, go at once in spirit to the Tabernacle and confide it to Jesus. In contradictions speak to him at once, asking him to make you patient. If you should happen to be alone, go in spirit to keep him company. He is so often, abandoned by us, in his Tabernacle. Your own isolation will then seem to you less painful. If you are suffering go and rest your tired head on his Heart, and tell him your trials.
In your thoughts, accustom yourself to stay as constantly as possible under the gaze of Jesus — under this grace, this all-powerful virtue, which comes from the Tabernacle.
Show him your soul, and with you the souls of all dear to you. As the Jews of old brought their sick to him to be healed, so will you go to him, being content to offer him from time to time the following fervent supplication:
“Lord, you know my desires, Lord, heal my soul! Lord, make me see! Lord, make me love you”
Work without ceasing to realize in your thoughts the Real Presence of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament.
Give him your first thought, your first glance when you enter the church. Let him be the center of all that takes place there, prayers or ceremonies, sermons or instructions.
Let all your prayers pass through his lips for he is present in the Sacred Host. Place in his Heart all your good thoughts and wishes. Learn to adore him in his Eucharist that you may know how to adore him in Heaven. Perform all your pious exercises under his gaze, for he is watching you from the Tabernacle. Under his gaze receive the Sacrament of Penance. Have but one desire, to approach the Holy Table daily and strive with all your might to realize your desire. May the Eucharistic God become daily more and more your best Confidant and your most intimate Friend. Pray, work and live in him, by him, with him, in order to live with him for all eternity.
Canonized: December 9, 1962
Beatified: July 12, 1925
Venerated: June 22, 1922
Peter Julian Eymard was born on February 4, 1811 in La Mure, France. He grew up in a poor family in Europe after the French Revolution, a time when Catholicism was not looked upon kindly.
There is a story about Peter from when he was only about five years old. His sister was caring for him and he disappeared. She was frightened and began to search the whole town, looking for the little boy. She finally looked into the village church, where she saw that her brother had pulled a small ladder over to the tabernacle and had his ear up against its door. When she scolded him and asked what he was doing, the child told her, “I can hear Him better this way.”
Before his first communion at the age of 12, the young boy wrote a small book of prayers. The prayer to be recited after communion was written as follows:
My dear Jesus,
I thank you for the grace
which you have given me
that you have come to dwell in my heart.
It was clear from an early age that Peter wanted to be a priest, although his father was not happy with that idea. After he entered the seminary, illness forced him to leave. But he persisted and was finally ordained for the Diocese of Grenoble when he was 23. A few years later he heard some Marist Priests preach. The Marist order is dedicated to Mary, the Blessed Mother. Their message appealed to Father Eymard, and he eventually joined their congregation. He traveled through Europe, giving retreats and missions.
As time passed, he felt very drawn to Jesus through the Eucharist and decided that there needed to be priests who urged devision to this. In 1856, Father Eymard founded the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament. The men who joined the congregation guarded the Blessed Sacrament 24 hours a day and soon attracted lay persons to do the same. This practice of prayer and devotion before the Blessed Sacrament became known as Eucharistic devotion.
The congregation struggled and was very poor. But Father Eymard did not give up. Despite continuing problems with his health, he even helped form the Sister Servants of the Blessed Sacrament with one of the women who came to him for direction, Marguerite Guillot. Along with the men and women of these congregations he visited the poor and those in prison and tried to Catholics in the teachings of the faith.
In 1868, at the age of 57, Father Eymard died. He was canonized 1962 by Pope John XXIII. He has been referred to as “the Apostle of the Eucharist.”