Lives Woven Around the Eucharist

Saint Teresa of Calcutta poured out her life in service to the poor and was born into eternity on September 5, 1997. Although more than twenty years has passed since her death, her smile and the legacy of her tireless efforts to feed the hungry and comfort the dying remind us of Christ’s call for us to do likewise.

But the pressing question is where did the kind of strength, stamina and courage come from to live as she lived? Mother Teresa was no ordinary social worker. She was a Missionary of Charity who understood well her utter dependence upon the Lord to do what she strove to do. She found her strength in her Eucharistic Lord: not only in receiving Holy Communion daily but also in quiet adoration of the Sacred Host.

She had a way of saying things so simply and meaningfully: “Our lives must be woven around the Eucharist; fix your eyes on Him who is the light; bring your hearts close to His Divine Heart; ask Him to grant you the grace of knowing Him, the love of loving Him, the courage to serve Him. Seek Him fervently.” This is not just something she said, but something she lived. She did not set out to love as Christ loved without having pondered and received His Divine Love at Mass.

Many in our parish have discovered the truth of these words and how much grace can be found by spending time in Christ’s Eucharistic Presence in our Adoration Chapel in the Holy Cross Convent. Adoration is the ultimate implication of the truth that the Eucharist is Christ, the Son of God.

A few years ago, I wrote an article encouraging Eucharistic Adoration by using the very words of testimony from parishioners who had experienced the power of prayer before the monstrance. Along with Mother Teresa’s words, perhaps these reflections can beckon to us to consider spending time in Eucharistic Adoration, to ensure that our lives are woven around the Eucharist.

“Our earthly worries and concerns dissipate and our trust in God increases.”

“Eucharistic Adoration: We go, we see, we wonder, we doubt, we pray, we cry, we smile, we beg, we argue, we doubt some more, we read, we confess, we talk, we listen, we are loved, we love.”

“When I spend an hour each week in Adoration in the presence of Jesus we look at one another with love and I share my thoughts, prayers, hopes and dreams; I know I have found my treasure.”

“Being silent and still opens my mind to whatever Jesus might put before me, if anything, and to a feeling of calmness, contentment and joy.”

“I recommend adoration to anyone, especially to those searching for answers…It is in the silence that I hear Jesus speak most clearly.”

“I now find myself stopping for Adoration frequently after work, even if it were for a few minutes. My faith is renewed and I feel rejuvenated in my silent adoration, conversing with my Jesus about all the events of my day, thanking and praising Him for His numerous little miracles in my daily life…It is amazing how fast time goes – so much to pray for, in the world! I thank and praise you Lord for your priceless gift of the Holy Eucharist!”

“Nothing distracts this time with the Lord – to praise Him; to express sorrow for my sins and to ask for His grace not to fail again; to lift up family, friends, those who are hurting, the needy, our Church, Country and the Nations – all in need of His Mercy.”

“I started dropping by the Chapel on Wednesdays around lunch time to pray and give some time during the week back to the Lord in thanksgiving…I knew that if I wanted to seriously grow in my relationship with Jesus I should make a commitment to him and so I did…I also now find myself sometimes attending Mass on Mondays or Fridays. I have come to realize how much I need this rich nourishment throughout the week.”

“To sit with Him in His presence is such a blessing! I come because He waits for me. Without Him I can do nothing. With Him I can do everything! What a joy it is to know how much we are loved!”

These are heartfelt reflections from those who have turned to the Lord in quiet and trust. They have found—they do find—you too can find—what you are longing for! Some years ago, adoration at Holy Cross was perpetual (day and night) throughout the week. Although the number of hours the chapel is open have been reduced in recent years, we hope to continue to see growth in the hours that adoration is available. One of the central concerns that I have for all of our parishioners is that we cultivate a habit of adoration, reverent and conscious participation at Mass, and willingness to linger in thanksgiving after Mass. Only the flowering of Eucharistic faith in our parish and neighborhood will bring about the full potential for our parish to be as the tiny mustard seed in this Sunday’s Gospel became, “the largest of plants, [putting] forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade” (see Mk 4:26-34).

A couple of notes about our ongoing efforts to foster a deepening of our parish’s Eucharistic faith:

+ Thanks are due to our Adoration Committee and to our regular adorers, subs and drop-ins. Consider weaving adoration into your life and weaving your life around the Eucharist: both in Sunday Mass and in visits to the Blessed Sacrament. We anticipate extending the hours of Eucharistic Adoration beginning sometime this fall. O come, let us adore Him!

+ The 14th Annual NE Eucharistic Procession was a great success in terms of weather, attendance and smoothness. Even more, it was a personal highlight of my first year in Northeast to carry Christ through our neighborhood streets and be encouraged by the collaborative teamwork that made it so splendid.

+ How we dress says a great deal. Allow me to offer an encouragement that dressing for Mass or coming into church, especially in the hot season of the year, should always take into account who it is we encounter in the Eucharist: Christ Himself. Please be respectful and reverent, realizing that revealing clothes and beachwear are not appropriate for church.

+ Stay tuned in the next couple of weeks for the unveiling of some new and adjusted confession times and a couple of additional weekday Masses and devotions that will be offered beginning in July. Some of these will be initiated on a trial basis throughout the summer and into the early fall. I have been very encouraged to watch growing attendance throughout our weekday Masses, and we believe that some additional varied times will help.

To once again quote Mother Teresa, one of the Church’s newest canonized saints: “The time you spend with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the best time you will spend on earth.” Do you believe her? I do. Let’s come before the Lord and see!

Father’s Day greetings to those men in our lives who reveal for us the love and providence of our Heavenly Father. May they always look to St. Joseph as an example of selfless fatherhood. We especially pray for any who have become fathers in this past year, that they may rise to the high call to loving their families as Christ loves the Church.

God bless,

Fr. Howe