We call the Sacrament of the Eucharist The Most Blessed Sacrament. And rightly so. But have we ever paused a bit and asked why we call the Eucharist The Most Blessed Sacrament?
I shall present the following reflections on the Eucharist given to us by great saints throughout the ages and let them speak to us to show us why we call the Eucharist The Most Blessed Sacrament.
If souls but understood the Treasure they possess in the Divine Eucharist, it would be necessary to encircle the tabernacles with the strongest ramparts for, in the delirium of a devouring and holy hunger, they would press forward themselves to feed on the Bread of Angels. The Churches would overflow with adorers consumed with love for the Divine prisoner no less by night than by day (Blessed Dina Belanger).
Christ held Himself in His hands when He gave His Body to His disciples saying: ‘This is My Body.’ No one partakes of this Flesh before he has adored it (St Augustine).
What happiness do we not feel in the Presence of God, when we are alone at His feet… Redouble your fervor; you are alone to adore your God; His eyes rest upon you alone (St John Vianney).
I felt a great dislike to journeys, especially when they were long. But once I had started, I thought nothing of them, thinking of Him for Whose service they were undertaken and remembering that Our Lord would be praised and the most Holy Sacrament would dwell in the house I was going to found… It should be a great consolation to us – though many of us do not think of it – that Jesus Christ, true God and true man, dwells as He does in so many places in the most Holy Sacrament (St Teresa of Avila).
I have chosen for my emblem a Star, representing the Virgin Mary, and the Eucharist. Those who know me as a professor of theology will remember my passion for the Eucharist from our classes. Blessed be God for this madness… We must live our commitment to society steeped in the Eucharist. We must take the Eucharist to the streets, both in the heart of the city and on the outskirts, to the poor neighborhoods and to hospitals… In order to obey the Resurrected Christ, I dare say with Pope John Paul II: ‘Open wide the doors of your heart to the Holy Spirit (From the address of Nicolas Cotugno, Archbishop of Montevideo, Uruguay at his installation ceremony on December 20).
Consider the humble sacrifice that the shepherds and the three Wise Men made in their long journey to adore the Christ Child. Only the humble shepherds and the wise astrologers followed the star of faith to Bethlehem. He was the King, much greater than they were. No journey was too long because any trouble they had was infinitely worth the sacrifice. When they saw Him, they bowed down before Him. Where was the rest of the world? Who could understand then that the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes was the hidden Incarnate Word of God? He came quietly and lovingly. Only the humble and wise could see the humble Jesus lying in a manger. The rest of the world passed Him by. Look at how God has never stopped honoring the shepherds and the magi for honoring His Son in Bethlehem. The humble sacrifice of their long journey is praised in Scripture. And around the world in every church and Christian home at Christmas, they are included in every Nativity scene. In the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus comes to us even more humbly than He did before. That is why your sacrifice will give God even greater glory than the glory given Him by the shepherds and the three Wise Men. And God will honor you even more than the shepherds and the three Wise Men for all eternity for honoring His Son in the Blessed Sacrament with the humility of your sacrifice!” (From the pamphlet “The Value of Sacrifice“).
The Holy Eucharist is a need of the heart of Christ, just as it is a need of our hearts. Sanctify and dedicate yourselves in all things in the spirit of love which prompted Our Lord to institute the Holy Eucharist, wherein He perpetuates the gift of His love to the glory of the Father (from the writings of St. Peter Julian Eymard).
O most admirable banquet, to which it is an unspeakable favor to be invited! O banquet that saves and gives delight! Nothing can be conceived which is of greater value. What is served is not the flesh of calves and kids, as in the Old Law, but Christ himself the true God. What is more wonderful than this sacrament! No other sacrament accomplishes more for our souls. It takes away sin, strengthens virtue and enriches the soul with the abundance of all spiritual gifts. It is offered in the Church for the living and the dead in order that all may benefit from what was meant for all. There is no language adequate to describe the joy one experiences through this sacrament which draws sweetness from its very source and keeps alive in us the memory of the love, of which Christ gave proof during his passion (St Thomas Aquinas).
When the Sisters are exhausted, up to their eyes in work; when all seems to go awry, they spend an hour in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. This practice has never failed to bear fruit: they experience peace and strength (Blessed Mother Teresa).
Sweet Sacrament Divine
Sweet Sacrament Divine,
Hid in Thy earthly home;
Lo! round Thy lowly shrine,
With suppliant hearts we come.
Jesus to thee our voice we raise
In songs of love and heart-felt praise
Sweet Sacrament Divine.
Sweet Sacrament Divine.
Sweet Sacrament of Peace,
Dear home of every heart,
Where restless yearnings cease,
And sorrows all depart.
Here in Thine ear, all trustfully,
We tell our tale of misery,
Sweet Sacrament of Peace.
Sweet Sacrament of Peace.
(Irish Traditional Hymn).
How sweet, the presence of Jesus to the longing, harassed soul! It is instant peace, and balm to every wound (St Elizabeth Seton, about Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament).
When Our Lord sees pure souls coming to visit Him in the Blessed Sacrament He smiles on them. They come with the simplicity that pleases Him so much. The interior life is like a sea of love in which the soul is plunged and is, as it were, drowned in love (St John Vianney).
The surest, easiest, shortest way is the Eucharist (Pope St. Pius X).
You [God] are a fire that takes away the coldness, illuminates the mind with its light, and causes me to know your truth and I know that you are beauty and wisdom itself. The food of angels, you give yourself to man in this fire of your love (St Catherine of Siena).
Love tends to union with the object loved. Now Jesus Christ loves a soul that is in a state of grace with immense love; He ardently desires to unite Himself with it. That is what Holy Communion does (St Alphonsus Ligouri).
Of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist it is written: “This morning my soul is greater than the world since it possesses You, You whom heaven and earth do not contain,” (St Margaret of Cortona).
O Blessed Host, in golden chalice enclosed for me, That through the vast wilderness of exile I may pass – pure, immaculate, undefiled; Oh, grant that through the power of Your love this might come to be. O Blessed Host, take up Your dwelling within my soul, O Thou my heart’s purest love! With Your brilliance the darkness dispel. Refuse not Your grace to a humble heart. O Blessed Host, enchantment of all heaven, Though Your beauty be veiled And captured in a crumb of bread, Strong faith tears away that veil (From the Diary of Saint Sr. Faustina (Kowalska) of the Blessed Sacrament, titled Divine Mercy In My Soul).
To converse with You, O King of glory, no third person is needed, You are always ready in the Sacrament of the Altar to give audience to all. All who desire You always find You there, and converse with You face to face, (St. Teresa of Avila).
Our way of thinking is attuned to the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn confirms our way of thinking, (St. Irenaeus).
The Eucharist is everything, because from the Eucharist, everything is, (St. Peter Julian Eymard).
The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life, (Pope John Paul II).
And now that you have read all these splendid reflections on the Eucharist why do you personally call this most august sacrament the Most Blessed Sacrament?
Fr Mario Attard OFM Cap