Presence of God
O Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar, and I adore You. Increase my faith.
I. In the Canon of the Mass, the Eucharist is called Mysterium fidei, the Mystery of faith; indeed, only faith can make us see God present under the appearances of bread. Here, as St. Thomas says, the senses do not help at all—sight, touch, and taste are deceived, finding in the consecrated Host only a little bread. But what matters? We have the word of the Son of God; the word of Christ, who declared : This is My Body... This is My Blood, and we firmly believe in His word. Credo quidquid dixit Dei Filius, nihil hoc verbo Veritatis verius. I believe everything the Son of God has said; nothing can be truer than this word of Truth (Adoro Te Devote). We firmly believe in the Eucharist, we have no doubts about it; unfortunately, however, we must admit that our faith is often weak and dull. Although we may not live far from a church, although we may perhaps dwell under the same roof with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, it is easy to become rather indifferent, or even cold, in the presence of this great reality. Alas, our coarse nature gradually grows accustomed to even the most sublime and beautiful realities, so that they no longer impress us and have no power to move us, especially when they are near at hand. Thus it happens that while we believe in the ineffable presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, we pay little or no attention to the greatness of this reality, and we fail to have the lively, concrete appreciation of it which the saints had. Let us then repeat, very humbly and confidently, the Apostles’ beautiful prayer : Domine, adauge nobis fidem, Lord, increase our faith! (Lc. 17, 5).
II. When Jesus announced the institution of the Eucharist, many of His hearers were scandalized, and some of His disciples, who had been following Him up to that time went back and walked no more with Him (Jo. 6, 67). But Peter, in the name of the Apostles, gave this beautiful testimony of faith : Lord... Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we have believed and have known, that Thou art the Christ, the Son of God (Jo. 6, 69-70). Belief in the Eucharist, therefore, seems to be the touchstone of the true disciples of Jesus, and the more intense this belief, the more it reveals a profound and intimate friendship with Christ. Anyone who like Peter firmly believes in Christ, also believes and accepts all His words, all the mysteries of His life, from the Incarnation to the Eucharist. We know that faith is first of all a gift of God. In the discourse in which He promised the Eucharist—which is, more than any other mystery, a mystery of faith because, more than any other mystery, it transcends every natural law—Jesus repeatedly affirmed the necessity and gratuity of faith, declaring to the incredulous Jews that no one could come to Him, or believe in Him, except the Father...draw him (Jo. 6, 44). He added : And they shall all be taught of God ((Jo. 6, 45)). To have a living faith in the Eucharist, as in every other mystery, we must have that attraction, and that interior instruction which can come from God alone. Nevertheless, we can and should dispose ourselves, both by asking for this grace in humble, trusting prayer, and by an active practice of faith. In fact, since God infused this theological virtue into us at Baptism, and since faith is a voluntary adherence of the intellect to revealed truth, we can make acts of faith whenever we wish : it depends on us to will to believe and to put into this act all the strength of our will. In the measure that our faith increases, it will enable us to penetrate the depths of the Eucharistic mystery, to have vital contact with Jesus in the Host, and to enjoy His presence. The more intense our faith, the more it will appear in our attitude toward the Blessed Sacrament. Then when Jesus looks upon us from the tabernacle, He will never be able to make the sad reproach He several times made to the Apostles : Ye of little faith! (Mt. 8, 26), one which so many Christians in our day deserve, because they have so little respect for His divine presence. May our conduct in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament always be a living testimony of our faith.
Praise and thanks to you, O blessed faith! You tell me with certitude that the Blessed Sacrament of the altar, the heavenly Manna, is no longer bread, but my Lord Jesus Christ who is wholly present there for love of me.
One day, O Jesus, full of love and of goodness, You sat beside the well to await the Samaritan woman, that You might convert and save her. Now, You dwell on our altars, hidden in the consecrated Host, where You wait and sweetly invite souls, to win them to Your love. From the tabernacle you seem to say to us all : ‘ O men, why do you not come to Me, who love you so much? I am not come to judge you! I have hidden myself in this Sacrament of love only to do good and to console all who have recourse to Me ’; I understand, O Lord; love has made You our prisoner; the passionate love You have for us has so bound You that it does not permit You to leave us.
O Lord, You find Your delight in being with us, but do we find ours in being with You? Especially do we, who have the privilege ofdwelling so near Your altar, perhaps even in Your very own house, find our delight in being with You? Oh! how much coldness, indifference, and even insults You have to endure in this Sacrament, while You remain there to help us by Your presence!
O God, present in the Eucharist, O Bread of Angels, O heavenly Food, I love You; but You are not, nor am I, satisfied with my love. I love You, but I love You too little! Banish from my heart, O Jesus, all earthly affections and give place, or better, give the whole place to Your divine love. To fill me with Yourself, and to unite Yourself entirely to me, You come down from heaven upon the altar every day; justly then, should I think of nothing else but of loving, adoring, and pleasing You. I love You with my whole soul, with all my strength. If You want to make a return for my love, increase it and make it always more ardent! (St. Alphonsus).
Topics in this meditation:Faith
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