Jesus, Our Eucharistic Love
by Father Manelli, O.F.M. Conv., S.T.D.
Father Manelli, O.F.M. Conv., S.T.D., has been a priest for about twenty-five years, and is now the Superior of the Friary he founded. His religious community, inspired by Blessed Maximilian Kolbe’s idea of the “City of the Immaculate”, tries to follow ever more closely the ideals and rule of St. Francis of Assisi.
The printing facilities and radio station of Father Manelli’s “Casa Mariana” (House of Mary) continue to expand and are used exclusively to make Jesus and Mary better known and loved.
Father Manelli, who has his Doctorate in Sacred Theology, is well known in Italy. His book, Jesus, Our Eucharistic Love has gone through at least five editions in Italy and over 100,000 copies have been printed.
Although some of his other works have been published elsewhere in English, this is the first time that this very solid and devout work has been published in North America. Father was pleased to give us permission to publish his work in English as he looks forward to being able to reach even more souls through the mass media to bring them, through Mary, to the sweet yoke of Christ. At this time we will be publishing Father’s book in serial form and we hope to publish it soon in booklet form and give it away to all who want to know more about the Divine Love of the Eucharistic Jesus. We are happy and proud to present this work to you. We hope you will like it, as those who have already read it attest that it is a powerful and edifying book.
“The devotion to the Eucharist”, St. Pius X, the Pope of the Eucharist, said, “is the most noble, because it has God as its object; it is the most profitable for salvation, because it gives us the Author of Grace; it is the sweetest, because the Lord is Sweetness Itself.”
The devotion to the Eucharist, together with the devotion to the Blessed Mother, is a devotion of Paradise, because it is the devotion which the Angels and Saints of Heaven also have. “There is a school in Heaven”, the mystic, St. Gemma Galgani, used to say, “and there one has only to learn how to love. The school is in the Cenacle; the Teacher is Jesus; the matter taught is His Flesh and His Blood.”
The Eucharist is Love Itself, identical to Jesus. Therefore, it is the Sacrament of Love, the Sacrament that overflows with charity. It truly contains the true, living Jesus — the God Who “is Love,” (John 4:8) and Who loved us “unto the end.” (John 13:1)
All expressions of love, even the highest and the most profound, are verified in the Eucharist. Thus, it is a Love that is crucified, a Love that unites, a Love that adores, a Love that contemplates, a Love that prays, a Love that delightfully satisfies.
The Eucharistic Jesus is a Love that is crucified in the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, in which He renews the immolation of Himself for us. In sacramental and spiritual communion He is a Love that unites, making Himself one with the person who receives Him. He is a Love that adores in the holy tabernacle, where He is present as a holocaust of adoration to the Father. He is a Love that contemplates in His encounter with souls who love to be “at His feet”, like Mary of Bethany. (Luke 10:39) He is a Love that prays in “always living to make intercession for us” before the Father. (Hebrews 7:25) He is a Love that delightfully satisfies in the heavenly exhilarations of nuptial union with His favored spouses, (virgins of both sexes); whom He draws to Himself in an exclusive Love, as He drew to Himself St. John the Evangelist, the virgin Apostle and the only one who “leaned on His breast” in the Cenacle. (John 21:20)
“To be possessed by Jesus and to possess Him — that is the perfect reign of Love”, wrote St. Peter Julian Eymard. The Eucharist achieves this “perfect reign of Love” in all who are pure of heart, approach the Holy Tabernacle and unite themselves to Jesus in the Host with humility and love. In the Eucharist, Jesus sacrifices Himself for us, He gives Himself to us, He remains among us with infinite humility and love.
“For One in such a lofty position to stoop so low is a marvel that is staggering”, exclaimed the Seraphic Father, St. Francis. “What sublime humility and humble sublimeness, that the Lord of the Universe, the Divine Son of God, should so stoop as to hide Himself under the appearance of bread for our salvation! Behold the humble way of God, my brothers. Therefore, do not hold yourselves to be anything of yourselves, so that you may be entirely acceptable to One Who gives Himself entirely to you.”
And St. Alphonsus Liguori adds with his usual affectionate tenderness, “My Jesus! What a lovable contrivance this holy Sacrament was — that You would hide under the appearance of bread to make Yourself loved and to be available for a visit by anyone who desires You!”
May some remembrance of the priest, who every day gives us Jesus, and of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus Our God and all priests, be always in our affections toward the Most Holy Sacrament; for the Eucharist, Our Lady, and the priest are inseparable, just as Jesus, Mary and St. John the Evangelist were inseparable on Calvary.
Let us learn all this in the school of the Saints. They lived in a way that was ardent and sublime, as true seraphims of Love for the Eucharist. These are the ones, as Vatican II declares (Lumen Gentium, n. 50), who are the “most safe path” to the Eucharistic God of Love.
Eucharistic Jesus is Emmanuel, that is, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23)
O DIVINE EUCHARIST!
• Eucharistic Jesus is God among us.
• How to know, love and live the Eucharist.
• Eucharistic Jesus Is God Among Us
When St. John Mary Vianney arrived at the obscure little village of Ars, someone said to him with bitterness, “Here there is nothing to do.” “Therefore, there is everything to do,” replied the Saint.
And he began immediately to act. What did he do? He arose at 2:00 a.m. in the morning and went to pray near the altar in the dark church. He recited the Divine Office, he made his meditation and he prepared himself for Holy Mass. After the Holy Sacrifice, he made his thanksgiving; then he remained at prayer until Noon. He would be always kneeling on the floor without any support, with a Rosary in his hand and his eyes fixed on the Tabernacle.
Things continued this way for a short time.
But then … he had to start changing his timetable; and things reached a point requiring radical changes in his program. The Eucharistic Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary, little by little, drew souls to that poor parish, until the Church did not seem big enough to contain the crowds, and the confessional of the holy Curate became swamped with endless lines of penitents. The holy Curate was obliged to hear confessions for ten, fifteen and eighteen hours a day! How did such a transformation ever come about? There had been a poor Church, an altar long unused, an abandoned tabernacle, an ancient confessional and a priest of little talent with no means to do anything. How could these things achieve such a remarkable change in that obscure village?
We can ask the same question today regarding San Giovanni Rotondo, a town in Gargano, Italy. Until a few decades ago it was an obscure, unknown place amid the rough crags of a promontory. Today, San Giovanni Rotondo is a center of spiritual and cultural life and its reputation is international. Here, too, there had been an unpromising, sickly friar, an ancient, dilapidated little Friary, a small neglected Church, with altar and tabernacle left ever alone to this poor friar, who wore out his beads and his hands in the untiring recitation of the Holy Rosary.
How did the change come about? What caused the wonderful transformation that came to Ars and to San Giovanni Rotondo, so that hundreds of thousands, and perhaps millions, of persons have come there from every part of the earth?
Only God could work such transformations using, according to His ways, “the things that are not, to bring to nought the things that are.” (1 Corinthians 1:28) It is all due to Him, to the divine and infinite power of the Eucharist, to the almighty force of attraction which radiates from every tabernacle, and which radiated from the tabernacles of Ars and San Giovanni Rotondo, reaching souls through the ministry of those two priests, true “Ministers of the Tabernacles” and “dispensers of the mysteries of God.” (1 Corinthians 4:1)
Let us ask the question: What is the Eucharist? It is God among us. It is the Lord Jesus present in the tabernacles of our churches with His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. It is Jesus veiled under the appearance of bread, but really and physically present in the consecrated Host, so that He dwells in our midst, works within us and for us, and is at our disposal. The Eucharistic Jesus is the true Emmanuel, the “God with us”. (Matthew 1:23)
“The faith of the Church”, Pope Pius XII teaches us, “is this: That one and identical is the Word of God and the Son of Mary Who suffered on the Cross, Who is present in the Eucharist, and Who rules in Heaven.”
The Eucharistic Jesus is here with us as a brother, as a friend, as spouse of our souls. He wishes to enter within us to be our food for eternal life, our love, our support. He wants to make us part of His Mystical Body in which He would redeem us and save us, and then take us into the Kingdom of Heaven to settle us in an everlasting bliss of love.
With the Eucharist, God has truly given us everything. St. Augustine exclaimed: “Although God is all-powerful, He is unable to give more; though supremely wise, He knows not how to give more; though vastly rich, He has not more to give.”
To the Eucharist, then, we should go. To Jesus we should turn — to Jesus, Who wishes to make Himself ours in order to make us His by rendering us “godlike”. “Jesus, Food of strong souls”, St. Gemma Galgani used to say, “strengthen me, purify me, make me godlike.” Let us receive the Eucharist with a pure and ardent heart. This is as the Saints have done. It should never be too much trouble for us to grow familiar with this unspeakable mystery. Meditation, study and reflection on the Eucharist should have an important place each day on our time-table. It will be the time of our day richest in blessings.
• Knowing, Loving, Living the Eucharist
|At Fatima God taught us to have great respect and devotion for the Eucharist. Above, the Angel of Fatima adores the Most Blessed Sacrament. He taught the children to do the same, especially before receiving Holy Communion. This lesson of adoration of the Eucharistic Jesus before Communion was recently re-affirmed by Pope Paul VI’s Encyclical “The Mystery of Faith”.|
In order to explore at least some of the immense riches stored up in the Mystery of the Eucharist, let us undertake an exercise which, while one and constant, uses the mind, the heart and the will.
First, it uses the mind. Here one meditates in an attentive, orderly way on the Eucharist. This may be done with books which lead us to personally uncover and deeply ponder this Mystery of Love. A simple booklet which is rich in content is St. Alphonsus M. de Liguori’s Visits to the Blessed Sacrament and to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Also, there are the two precious booklets by St. Peter Julian Eymard entitled, The Real Presence and Holy Communion.
We should, above all, turn to the school of St. Peter Julian Eymard, who was unequaled as an Apostle of the Eucharist. His vocation and mission was to lead all Christians to the Eucharist. When he founded the Congregation of Priests of the Blessed Sacrament, he offered his life for the Eucharistic reign of Jesus. At that time he wrote these ardent words: “Here, dear Jesus, is my life. Behold me ready to eat stones and to die abandoned, just so that I may succeed in erecting a throne for Thee and give Thee a family of friends, a nation of adorers.”
If we but knew the gift of God Who is Love and Who gives Himself to us as a Gift full of Love! “The Eucharist”, said St. Bernard, “is that love which surpasses all loves in Heaven and on earth.” And St. Thomas Aquinas wrote: “The Eucharist is the Sacrament of Love: It signifies Love, It produces Love.”
One day an Arabian prince, Abd-ed-Kader, while passing through the streets of Marseille with a French official, met a priest who was carrying Holy Viaticum to a dying man. The French official stopped, uncovered his head, and knelt. His friend asked him the reason for this gesture.
“I adore my God, Whom the priest is carrying to a sick person”, replied the good official.
“How is it possible”, the prince said, “for you to believe that God Who is so great, makes Himself so little and lets Himself go even to the homes of the poor? We Mohammedans have a much higher idea of God.”
The official answered, “It is because you have only an idea of the greatness of God; that you do not know His Love.”
In confirmation of this, St Peter Eymard declares, “The Eucharist is the supreme proof of the love of Jesus. After this, there is nothing more but Heaven itself.” Yet, how many of us Christians do not know the vast extent of the love contained in the Eucharist.
Second, to explore the riches of the Eucharist, we use the heart. If every Christian must love Jesus Christ (“If any man love not Our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema.” 1 Corinthians 16:22) Love for the Eucharist must spring from the heart and be ever alive in us all. Now even love needs exercise. The heart needs to be exercised to love the true God, to long for “The Author of Life”. (Acts 3:15)
Holy Communion represents the loftiest point of this exercise of love, Whose consuming flames unite the heart of a creature and Jesus. St. Gemma Galgani could exclaim in this regard, “I can no longer avoid the thought that in the wonderful scope of His Love, Jesus makes Himself perceptible and shows Himself to His lowliest creature in all the splendors of His Heart.” And what may we say about the “exercises” of the heart of St. Gemma, who desired to be a “tent of love” in which she would keep Jesus always with her? She longed to have a “little place in the ciborium” to be able to stay always with Jesus. She asked that she could become “a flaming ball afire with love” for Jesus.
When St. Therese of the Child Jesus had become quite ill, she dragged herself with great effort to Church to receive Jesus. One morning, after Holy Communion, she was in her cell, exhausted. One of the Sisters remarked that she should not exert herself so much. The Saint replied, “Oh, what are these sufferings to me in comparison with one Holy Communion?” Her sweet complaint was that she could not receive Holy Communion every day. (It was not permitted in her times.) She ardently pleaded with Jesus: “Remain within me, as You do in the Tabernacle. Do not ever withdraw Your presence from Your little Host.”
When St. Margaret Mary Alacoque left the world and consecrated herself to God in the cloister, she made a private vow and wrote it in her blood, “All for the Eucharist; nothing for me.” It is useless to attempt to describe the Saint’s burning love for the Eucharist. When she was not able to receive Holy Communion, she broke out in ardent expressions of love like these: “I have such a desire for Holy Communion that if I had to walk barefoot along a path of fire to obtain It, I would do so with unspeakable joy.”
St. Catherine of Siena said often to her confessor: “Father, I am hungry; for the love of God give this soul her food, her Lord in the Eucharist.” She also confided: “When I am not able to receive my Lord, I go into the church, and there I look at Him … I look at Him again … and this satisfies me.”
This we call “exercise of the heart”.