My Personal Prayer after Receiving Holy Communion

Over the last twelve years, my understanding of the Holy Eucharist has developed and changed drastically from the many preceding years. Most importantly, I learned that the Holy Mass is about giving thanksgiving to God rather than me getting something specific out of it. I also learned that each time we go to Mass we are renewing the Covenant that Christ established for us in Luke 22…the Mass is covenant renewal!

I think many of us have the wrong idea about Mass when we say – I didn’t get anything out of Mass, the homily was boring, I didn’t receive anything for this week, or the message wasn’t good. Where do these questions and attitudes stem from?

I think they come from the perspective that Mass should give us something instead of us giving back our thanksgiving to God, because as I stated above already – Going to Mass is us giving thanks to God, not about us getting something from God. Furthermore, I also think these attitudes stem from our view of what church is according to many non-Catholic circles these days. We are saturated with the big stadium, non-denominational gospel message, which seems to be about what God is going to give you to help you get through the week (I once lived next door to two girls in Austin who told me this is why they go to church).

The reason I am writing about this today is because tomorrow we celebrate Holy Thursday and the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. The night we commemorate Jesus giving us his Body and his Blood in the Holy Eucharist. Furthermore, this subject has been on my heart for some time now and I have wanted to write about it, because once I learned that Holy Mass was about thanksgiving and not about receiving something, my prayer after receiving Holy Communion also changed.

For years, after receiving Holy Communion, I would return to my pew and begin this litany of petitions of things that I wanted God to answer for me – family, friends, my own wants and needs, prayers for the sick, for the dead, etc. Don’t get me wrong – prayers of petition are important, there’s a reason we ask the Blessed Mother and all the Saints to pray with us, but I thought to myself at one point – is after receiving Holy Communion the best time for me to ask for all these prayers or it is about giving thanksgiving to God for allowing me to receive his Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist?

Although the second stanza of my personal prayer asks for petitions from the Angels and Saints in Heaven, I simply ask that I may be drawn into a deeper and more profound relationship with the Holy Eucharist. It’s not about asking for my particular petitions, but about falling more in love with Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. Furthermore, my disposition is directed and focused on the Eucharist, not on my individual petitions. At this time in the Mass, it’s all about Jesus in the Eucharist!

I first “wrote” this prayer about 5-6 years ago in my head, although it has developed a bit since that time. Today is actually the first time I typed it out “on paper”, if you can believe it. If you are familiar with St. Thomas Aquinas’ Prayer After Mass, you will see some of his elements in my prayer.

Sign of the Cross

O Lord Jesus Christ, I give you praise and thanksgiving for allowing me to receive your Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, in this Holy Eucharist today. I pray that this Holy Eucharist is not a condemnation on my soul but will give me the grace and strength to live a life of heroic virtue. I ask for the intercession of Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament to pray for me and to always lead me closer to this Sacrament of All Sacraments.

I pray to the Angels, who have perpetually adored you for all eternity, for their prayers and constant intercession which may lead me closer to you in this holy Sacrament. I also ask that the Saints in heaven, who once received you in this Holy Eucharist here on earth, and are now in your Heavenly presence, for their prayers and intercessions.

 Hail Mary…

 Amen.  

May we all grow closer and fall more in love with Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist.

Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament…Pray for Us. 

Our Lady of the Host by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres

Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament

Most people today will be celebrating the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, but the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist will be celebrating their primary feast day – Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament. The Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration also regard this day as equally important. Before we discuss the role Our Lady has in relation to the Blessed Sacrament, let’s first briefly talk about the Holy Eucharist and Eucharistic Adoration.

The Holy Eucharist is one of the most profound teachings within the Catholic Church. As Catholics, we believe that simple bread and wine through the words of consecration said by a priest truly become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. The Doctrine of Transubstantiation proclaims that the nature of the bread and wine is transformed into Christ’s body, blood, soul, and divinity.

While the bread and wine remain in appearance, the natures of the two substances have been transformed into Jesus Christ himself. The sacrifice on the Cross-and the Passover meal Christ presided over at the Last Supper are united to form the New Eucharistic Covenant that He gave to his Apostles and the entire Catholic Church.

In his Encyclical Letter, Ecclesia de Euchrasistia (On the Eucharist In Its Relationship to the Church), Pope St. John Paul II says,

“The Church has received the Eucharist from Christ her Lord not as one gift – however precious – among so many others, but as the gift par excellence, for it is the gift of himself…When the Church celebrates the Eucharist, the memorial of her Lord’s death and resurrection, this central event of salvation becomes really present and “the work of our redemption is carried out”…The Eucharist thus applies to men and women today the reconciliation won once for all by Christ for mankind in every age. “The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice”” (#11-12).

Besides receiving our Lord in the Holy Eucharist during Mass, we have the ability to adore the Holy Eucharist through the Blessed Sacrament at Adoration outside of the Mass. This is where we sit and adore the consecrated host – truly Jesus Christ present in the monstrance). The average Adoration time is to stay with our Lord for one hour (Read Mt 26:40). Many parishes around the world practice Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. This is a practice that many of the saints of the Church practiced on a common basis.

Saint Alphonsus Ligouri said, “Of all devotions, that of adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the greatest of all after the sacraments…”

So how does Mary play a role in relation to the Blessed Sacrament? To answer this questions, we turn our attention to Chapter Six of Ecclesia de Eucharistia – At the School of Mary, “Woman of the Eucharist.”

Mary and Eucharist

In order to understand the importance that the Eucharist has in relation to the Church, we must not forget about the role of Mary within the Church. As Mary guides us in our relationship with Christ; so she can help us with our relationship with the Blessed Sacrament. The Gospels don’t say much about Mary in relation to the Passover Meal (Last Supper), but we do know that she would have participated with the Apostles and the early Church when they broke bread.

Pope St. John Paul II says, “Mary is a “woman of the Eucharist” in her whole life”” (53). From her Fiat at the Annunciation when the Holy Spirit came upon her to the death of Christ on the Cross-, “Mary lived her Eucharistic faith by the very fact that she offered up her virginal womb for the Incarnation of God’s Word. The Eucharist, while commemorating the passion and resurrection, is also in continuity with the incarnation” (55).

Beyond the Incarnation and Passion and Death of Jesus Christ, Mary displays her “Eucharistic faith” by interceding at the Wedding at Cana and going up to the hill country to visit Elizabeth with the Word made flesh in her womb. At Cana, her words of “Do whatever he tells you,” says to us that we must trust Jesus and that he is truly present in the Holy Eucharist (54). In regards to the hill country, Pope St. John Paul II says, “…she became in some way a “tabernacle” – the first “tabernacle” in history – in which the Son of God, still invisible to our human gaze, allowed himself to be adored by Elizabeth, radiating his light as it were through the eyes and voice of Mary” (55).

While standing at the foot of the Cross-, Mary experienced an “anticipated Eucharist” or a “spiritual communion” that united her with Jesus while he suffered his passion and death. It must have been a great joy for Mary to receive the Eucharist for the first time, because it was the same body that she carried in her womb for nine months, and the same body she watched suffer on Calvary for three hours (56). As she is taken into the home of Saint John, she comes into our homes even more so. After Calvary, Mary is the Mother of the Church and all humanity. Just as she intercedes for our prayers, she also mediates and leads us to Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament. She is truly present at all the Eucharistic celebrations of the Church – both West and East (57) throughout all of time.

It’s through Mary’s Magnificat where we can come to fully understand the relationship between the Eucharist and the Church. “This truth can be understood more deeply by re-reading the Magnificat in a Eucharistic key. The Eucharist, like the Canticle of Mary, is first and foremost praise and thanksgiving”(58). When she praises the Lord and Savior, she is essentially praising Jesus with a “Eucharistic attitude.” As she sings her canticle praising the works of God, Mary teaches us that we need to know the Holy Eucharist in this world and for the world to come (58).

Just as Mary said “yes” at the Annunciation, said “yes” to God’s plan at Calvary, and said “yes” to being the Mother of all humanity, we must take on the Marian disposition and say “yes” to Our Lord in his Most Blessed Sacrament.

As Catholics, we must believe with our hearts and minds, that Christ is truly present  – Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist. We must also say “yes” to Our Lord by sacrificing one hour a week to adore Him in the Blessed Sacrament. Let us pray that Mary in her titled as, Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament, will assist us in our love and commitment to the Eucharist.

Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament…Pray for Us. 

12 Words from St. John Vianney to the 21st Century on Corpus Christi

Today, in the Western lung of the Catholic Church, we celebrate the great Solemnity of Corpus Christi – the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. We commemorate the great sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, a sacrament that Jesus Christ gave to us on the night before he died during the Last Supper with the Apostles. The Holy Eucharist is the Sacrament of all sacraments!

Jesus & Eucharist - EWTN

Drawing from Lumen Gentium 11, the Catechism of the Catholic Church 1324 states,

“The Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life.’ ‘The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are orientated toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.’”

Knowing the importance the Saints have played in the life of the Catholic Church throughout the centuries, it has always been a goal of this blog to provide my readers with the lives and words of the saints. Because of the great love many parish priests I know today have for the Holy Eucharist, I give you the Patron of Parish Priests, Saint John Vianney and 12 words of his to the 21st century on Corpus Christi.

Please share these with your family and friends on your social media sites. As Catholics, we must never be ashamed to be CATHOLIC. Tell the world how much we love Jesus Christ and how much we love, adore, and defend the Holy Eucharist. Sign-up for Eucharistic Adoration if your parish has it and if your parish does not have it, encourage your Pastor to begin Eucharistic Adoration.

1. “Although the good God does not allow us to see Him, He is nonetheless present in the Blessed Sacrament; nonetheless ready to grant us all we ask.” – Sermon for Corpus Christi

2. “Everyone is ready to run after the latest novelty. …But as for Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, He is deserted and forsaken…” – Sermon for Corpus Christi

3. “Could one find a great honor than to be allowed to make reparation to Jesus Christ for the outrages which He receives in the Sacrament of His love? – Sermon for Corpus Christi

4. “When we go to Communion, we experience an extraordinary feeling of comfort which seems to envelop us entirely. What is this but Our Lord communicating Himself to every part of our being, and making us thrill with joy? We are obliged to exclaim like St. John: ‘It is the Lord!’” – Inner Life of the Cure d’ Ars

5. “People talk about Lazarus who had the joy of entertaining the Divine Savior in his home; but Lazarus only had Him by his side, while we, if we will, may have Him in our heart just as often as we wish.” – On Communion

6. “Jesus Christ found a way by which He could ascend into Heaven and yet remain on the earth. He instituted the adorable Sacrament of the Eucharist so that He might stay with us, and be the Food of our soul; that He might console us and be our Companion.” – Sermon on Communion

7. “Ah! if we had the eyes of Angels with which to see Our Lord Jesus Christ present on the Altar and looking at us, how we love Him! – Catechism on the Real Presence

8. “We ought to ask the Blessed Virgin, the Angels, and the Saints to pray for us that we may receive the good God as worthily as it is possible for us to receive Him. – Sermon on Communion

9. “When we receive Holy Communion, we receive our joy and our happiness.” – Catechism on Communion

10. “If you keep your thoughts fixed on Our Lord after Communion, you will feel for a long time that consuming fire which will inspire in your heart the desire for good and a shrinking from evil.” – Catechism on Holy Communion

11. “To receive the Blessed Sacrament worthily, one must have a great desire for union with Jesus Christ.” – Sermon on Communion

12. “One’s everyday life ought to be both a preparation and a thanksgiving for Communion. By one Communion you give glory to God than if you gave away one hundred thousand francs.” – On Communion

For more catechesis on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi and the Holy Eucharist, I would encourage you to read my posts from 20122013, 12 Words from St. John Vianney on the Blessed Sacrament, and “Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

Jesus, in the Most Precious and Holy Sacrament of the Altar…Pray For Us!

Holy Eucharist

 

 

 

The Place Within: The Poetry of Pope St. John Paul II

On my 32nd birthday in 2006, my friends Michael and Laura (Parks) Garibaldi gave me the book titled, The Place Within – The Poetry of Pope John Paul II. Only days before receiving this gift from them, Michael and I were talking about reading French poetry to significant others and how romantic the whole idea seemed.  He wrote in the book, and I quote, “well brother, not exactly French poetry, but any lady worth her salt will want our Papa read to her before anyone else…”

It’s been eight years since this text was given to me and a year doesn’t go by when I at least pick it up a few times to read through the many great poems written by the soon-to-be saint, Pope John Paul II. Many of these poems, written between 1939 and 1978, were published under pseudonyms and were not recognized as John Paul II until after his election to the Chair of Saint Peter.

I know many of you have read the plethora of his papal writings, but have you read his poetry? Do yourself a favor and purchase this book before April 27. You will be glad you did. Please share this post with your family and friends too. I imagine many will not be aware that Pope St. John Paul II wrote poetry.

I leave you with the poem that shares the same title with the book  – The Place Within. It speaks of Jesus Christ, the cross, and “the source and summit of the Christian faith” – the Holy Eucharist.

“My place is You, your place is in me. Yet it is the place of all men. Am I not diminished by them in this place. I am more alone – more than if there were no one else – I am alone with myself. At the same time I am multiplied by them in the Cross which stood on this place. This multiplying with no diminishment remains a mystery: the Cross goes against the current. In it numbers retreat before man.

In You – how did the Cross come to be?

Now let us walk down the narrow steps as if down a tunnel through a wall. Those who once walked down the slope stopped at the place where now there is a slab. They anointed your body and then laid it in a tomb. Through your body you had a place on earth, the outward place of the body you exchanged for a place within [emphasis mine], saying: ‘Take, all of you, and eat of this.’

The radiation of that place within relates to the outward places on Earth to which I came on pilgrimage. You chose this place centuries ago – the place in which You give yourself and accept me.”

For those of you unable to purchase the book, as we get closer to Lent, reach the Easter season, and celebrate his canonization, I will post a few more of his poems that correlate with the correct season.

Pope St. John the Paul the Great, Lover of Humanity…Pray For Us!

“The Church Draws Her Life From The Eucharist”

“The Church draws her life from the Eucharist”, comes from the Introduction of Ecclesia de Eucharistia written by Pope Saint John Paul. He continues by saying,

“This truth does not simply express a daily experience of faith, but recapitulates the heart of the mystery of the Church. In a variety of ways she joyfully experiences the constant fulfillment of the promise: Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:20), but in the Holy Eucharist, through the changing of bread and wine into the body and blood of the Lord, she rejoices in this presence with unique intensity. Ever since Pentecost, when the Church, the People of the New Covenant, began her pilgrim journey towards her heavenly homeland, the Divine Sacrament has continued to mark the passing of her days, filling them with confident hope.

The Second Vatican Council rightly proclaimed that the Eucharistic sacrifice is “the source and summit of the Christian life.” “For the most holy Eucharist contains the Church’s entire spiritual wealth: Christ himself, our passover and living bread. Through his own flesh, now made living and life-giving by the Holy Spirit, he offers life to men.” Consequently the gaze of the Church is constantly turned to her Lord, present in the Sacrament of the Altar, in which she discovers the full manifestation of his boundless love.”

Being able to begin my new job as the Director of Adult Evangelization and Catechesis at Saint Mary Magdalene Catholic Church each day with Daily Mass is a great blessing. It focuses me on where my attention needs to be all day long  – on the Person of Jesus Christ in the Most Precious and Holy Sacrament of the Altar. The Holy Eucharist gives me the necessary supernatural grace I need to endure the every day human trials. When we receive the Eucharist, each of one us is sanctified by Jesus Christ – Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

If you have not see this video yet, watch it. If you have seen it, watch it again. Please share the video or this blog post with your Catholic friends or your friends who could be thinking about converting to Catholicism.

WARNING: This video will fire you up for the Catholic Mass and the Holy Eucharist. 

10 Words from St. John Vianney to the 21st Century on the True Presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament

Although today is the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, in the Church’s Roman Liturgical Calendar it’s also the memorial for Saint John Vianney. He is known as the Cure D’Ars, the Priest of Ars. He converted thousands to the Catholic faith during this lifetime as a priest. Pope Pius XI declared him the “Patron of Parish Priests” in 1929.

As a good priest should, he loved celebrating Holy Mass and had a profound devotion to the True Presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. He spent countless hours in the Confessional for he loved the souls under his care.  He received grace and strength from the Blessed Sacrament.

Below are 10 words from St. John Vianney to the 21st century on the True Presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.

Holy Eucharist in Monstrance

  1. “How pleasing to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is the short quarter of an hour that we steal from our occupations, from something of no use, to come and pray to Him, to visit Him, to console him.”
  2. “Do not be afraid of people saying that going to Mass on a weekday is only for those who have nothing to do…Are you ashamed to serve God for fear of being despised?”
  3. Our Lord is hidden in the Blessed Sacrament, waiting for us to come and visit Him.”
  4. “After the reception of the Sacraments, when we feel the love God growing cold, let us instantly make a Spiritual Communion.”
  5. “What happiness do we not feel in the Presence of God, when we are alone at His feet before the Sacred Tabernacle!…Redouble your fervor, you are alone to adore your God; His eyes rest upon you alone.”
  6. “When we want to obtain anything of the good God, let us, after Holy Communion, offer Him His well-beloved Son, with all the merits of His Death and Passion; He will be able to refuse us nothing.”
  7. When a soul has received the Sacrament of the Eucharist worthily, it is humble, mortified, charitable, and is capable of the most sublime sacrifices. In short, it is no longer the same.”
  8. “When we come from our Communions, if anyone said to us: “What are you taking home with you?” we should be able to reply: “I am carrying away Heaven!
  9. “To what outrages does Our Lord expose Himself in the Blessed Sacrament that He may remain in the midst of us! He is there to console us, and therefore we ought often to visit Him.”
  10. “Happier than those who lived during His mortal life, when He was only in one place, we find Jesus Christ today in every corner of the world, in the Blessed Sacrament.”

Let us pray: Heavenly Father, you gave us the great parish priest, St. John Vianney, who was full of pastoral zeal and grace. Through his intercession, help us to win more souls for Jesus Christ so that we all may attain Heavenly and eternal glory with you. Amen. 

This post is dedicated to Bishop James S. Wall, Bishop of Gallup, New Mexico; Rev. Chad King, Parochial Vicar of Saint Gabriel the Archangel in Phoenix, AZ; Rev. Daniel Liu, Campus Minister at Saint Peter Catholic Student at Baylor University, Texas; and Rev. Daniel Pattee, TOR, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio.

Thank you for all you do as PRIEST.

Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament with Pope Francis

At 8:00 A.M. Arizona Time, tomorrow morning (11:00 A.M. EST), Pope Francis will gather with the universal Church on the Feast of Corpus Christi to adore the Most Blessed Sacrament in Adoration. This historic event in the life of the Church is bringing many graces and giving the people of the Church energy in times of great distress. It’s the event in the Year of Faith uniting Catholics worldwide as one. See the National Catholic Register – Adoration with the Pope Energizing Catholics Worldwide. I encourage you to locate a parish that is offering Adoration tomorrow so you can join Pope Francis and Catholics worldwide in prayer.

Holy Eucharist

Personally, I love the practice of Eucharistic Adoration (currently every Monday night at 8:00 P.M.). I first learned of it when I was an adolescent at my parish here in Arizona when our pastor at the time built an adoration chapel. The parish exploded with great faith, enthusiasm, and love for the Body and Blood of Jesus Church as Perpetual Adoration (24 hours a day) began at the parish. Throughout my life, Eucharistic Adoration has been an important part of my prayer life. From my days in the Saint Ignatius Institute at University of San Francisco as an undergrad to my days as a graduate student at Franciscan University of Steubenville, adoring the Most Blessed Sacrament has been fundamental for my personal friendship with Jesus Christ, His Blessed Mother, and the universal Church.

Although in Adoration most people often pray during their one-hour time with Jesus, I have found myself often reading spiritual books or studying in front of the Blessed Sacrament. I know I am in good company since many of the great Saints and Doctors of the Church did the same thing. St. Thomas Aquinas would often write before the Blessed Sacrament and when he really had a difficult time with a theological concept, would rest his head upon the Tabernacle. It has not come to that for me as of yet, but of course I am nowhere near the theologian Thomas was in his day (not even close!!).

If you don’t sign up for Adoration, you will never go! I say this from experience.

If your parish does not host Perpetual Adoration, then go to your Pastor and ask him to start it. It’s his responsibility to do so!  If he refuses, locate another parish and attend Adoration there.

JP II and Holy Eucharist

To conclude, I give you the words of Blessed John Paul II from his Encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, in the hope that his words will give you the strength to spend one hour a week with Our Lord Jesus Christ in His Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar –

“”The worship of the Eucharist outside of the Mass is of inestimable value for the life of the Church. This worship is strictly linked to the celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice…It is the responsibility of pastors to encourage, also by their personal witness, the practice of Eucharistic adoration, and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in particular, as well as prayer of adoration before Christ present under the Eucharistic species…This practice, repeatedly praised and recommended by the Magisterium, is supported by the example of the saints…St. Alphonus Liguori, who wrote: “Of all devotions, that of adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the greatest after the sacraments, the one dearest to God and the one most helpful to us”” (#25).

Let us pray that we come to love and adore the Most Blessed Sacrament of our Lord Jesus Christ more each day through the celebration of the Holy Mass but also through the worship and adoration of His most precious Body outside of the Liturgy. We ask all the Saints and the Blessed Mother under title of Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament to intercede and pray for us each day.