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The Source and Summit


“What is Jesus doing in the Blessed Sacrament?” our retreat director, Fr. John, a Dominican priest from Ireland, asked the sisters in the middle of a conference. To our surprise he did not give a definition from the Catechism or even from the Summa of St. Thomas Aquinas, but he offered an answer that was more like balm to our hearts. “Jesus is doing the same thing He is doing in heaven – loving you! Delighting in you! Smiling upon you!”

 

Think of the person you love the most.  When you see that person what do you do?

You smile! Why? Because that person brings you joy.  Every time you walk into a Catholic Church and approach the tabernacle, Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament reacts the same way towards you. He smiles upon you! He is so happy that you came to visit Him!

 

Do we really believe this? Do we really believe that Jesus loves us in this way?

You might ask yourself: “Have I truly experienced this type of affectionate, warm, life- giving love from the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament?”

 

          The Vatican II document, Lumen Gentium, states, “The Eucharist is the source and summit of the whole Christian life.”   To put it another way, the Eucharist is the fount and apex, the beginning and end of all things, the starting line and the finish line.  An icon of our time of someone who deeply understood this is St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta. 

 


Listen to her own words, “Our lives are woven with Jesus in the Eucharist.  From Jesus in the Eucharist we learn how much God thirsts to love us, and how He thirsts for our love and for the love of souls in return.  From Jesus in the Eucharist we receive the light and strength to quench His thirst.  In Holy Communion we have Christ under the appearance of bread; in our work we find Him under the appearance of flesh and blood.  It is the same Christ.  I was hungry. I was naked. I was sick. I was homeless.”

 

Mother Teresa taught us that Jesus does not call us to love and serve the poor and imagine He is in the poor, but that He is the poor!   To help us understand how Mother Teresa embraced this truth with deep faith, St. John Chrysostom, one of the early church fathers  wrote so succinctly, “He who said: “This is My body” is the same one who said, “Whatsoever you did to the least of My brothers that you did also to Me.”

 


A number of years ago, I had my own eye-opening experience of my life being woven with Jesus in the Eucharist as Mother Teresa put it.  A few minutes before Holy Hour ended one evening, the doorbell rang.  One of the sisters left the chapel to answer the door.  I heard the door open and a couple moments later close.  Then I heard the low hiss and rumble of water boiling in the kettle in the kitchen.  I then knew it must be one of our neighbors in need of a warm drink, a friendly smile and a kind word.  “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’”   Holy Hour ended, and as I approached the sanctuary to repose the Blessed Sacrament, an inspiration went through my mind as I thought of the sister serving someone at the door and myself approaching the monstrance, “We’re both touching Jesus.”   The Lord Jesus hidden in His Beloved Poor.  The Lord Jesus hidden sacramentally in the Holy Eucharist.   Yes, we were both “touching Jesus” in the mystery of His revealed Truth.  Suddenly the promise Jesus gave us at His ascension struck me in a whole new and unforgettable way, “Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of time.”


Sr. Catherine, CFR

 

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