Emmitsburg Council of Churches

The Year of the Holy Eucharist

Father John J. Lombardi

Last week a beautiful little girl in a lovely dress and those crinkly socks came to the Grotto--to make a Confession. She left even brighter than her arrival-she was preparing for her First Holy Communion in the spring. Like the Virgin Mary, she was making an "interior Manger" in her soul for Jesus to rest His Head. In this year of the Eucharist she reminded this Chaplin of the Call to Holiness.

Question: Why Did the Pope Make this The Year of the Eucharist?

Answer: When you receive a beautiful present, you want to share it with others . And when you receive a Holy Lasting Gift of Sacred Presence-you, hopefully, want to give and share that with others.

In this Year of the Eucharist and Season of Advent, let us meditate on Jesus, the Bread of Angels in the Holy Eucahrist.

Remember, He said: "I will never leave you orphan" ( ). He is the bread come down from Heaven (Jn. ). Mass and Communion is a foretaste of Heaven-a way of training our souls into Union with Him. So, here are some Lessons on Divine Love…

Extend Him-Evangelize: Martin "Skip" Barry, who once was "way into the world" and a fallen-away-Catholic, was so impressed by the Lord's Love and Mercy, esp. in Holy Communion-that he gave a "ton" of money to Immaculate Conception church in Towson, Md., to build a chapel. And? They did. They built a Perpetual Adoration Chapel where souls can go the Eucharistic Savior anytime-24/7, to love the Lord. And to this day, his children and grandchildren go there, along with many friends and other disciples-all because of this man's comeback and great desire for others to come back to Him, especially in the Eucharist.,

Desire for the Divine: Cultivate a sacred desire for Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. One time a single-parent mom came late for Mass-just as I was saying after-Mass prayers. She kneeled by me and I eventually learned that the hood of her old, rugged van flew off while driving down the highway on her way to Mass. She stopped, picked it up and then continued-to Mass, Holy Communion-with her two children after a thirty-mile trip. So, upon arrival at Church,a little ruffled, she asked, humbly: "Father, could I receive Holy Communion?" I was delightfully ecstatic after learning about her travails and persevere-and sacred desire for Jesus. So, now, you desire the Messiah…Likewise, I learned more about his sacred desire while on a pilgrimage to France. At eh many beautyfil, historic churches I continually witnessed my friends, Father's Farmer (a great fisherman) and Livigni (longest hair priest of the diocese) making an incessant be-line to the Lord Jesus in the tabernacle. in all those beautiful French cathedrals. Then they would tour and see all the beautiful stained glass, statues and towering art architecture. Go right for Jesus!

Mystery and Light: Pope John Paul has given us new Rosary Mysteries of Light, the Fifth one being Institution of the Holy Eucharist. Mediate upon this. What is meditation. A drug-addict recoverer keeps reminding me, just about every time I visit the treatment center, , about what meditation is: "Within: seek and Savor Him." Translation: Inside your soul think about and love Him, the Lord. Practice this, as you image thru all your senses, Jesus Giving Us Himself, Eucharistically, both in the Upper Room of the Last Supper and He hung upon the Cross -the essence: Christ gives us His Very Self.

Catechism for Youth: Recently a gentleman from Spain published a "Catechism of the Eucharist for Youth" to help them believe and adore the Lord in the Eucharist. Ascertain this helpful resource and train your children regarding the Eucharist young and often. IF there's one thing I've learned from some holy people is that Yes they can go to daily Mass, frequent Confession and live virtuously IF you train them young and consistently-then religion, Mass Confession are not a burden but rather a natural Faith-filled response and action cultivated in the soul and, yes, essential to life. IF they see you praying they will more likely pray; if they see you going to Mass and Confession then they will follow-but its harder fro teens to follow if they've not been trained early and often. Go to Adoration for a little while with your children-be patient as they squirm and play with dinosaurs, and then possibly extend the length of prayer over time. A holy hour is not impossible-been there done that-with families of six and eight. Point to Jesus.

Freeing Trust: Fr Peter Ryan gave a retreat one for a priest group. He spoke about the freedom and relief that Jesus is always there in church, always Present and that you don't' have to squirm or force a belief he is there (such as you might have to do in bad art or faulty church music or the like). No, he is there no matter what you think or time of day or how you feel: Eternally present. Fr Ryan also said he felt sorry for some Christians that they don't have this Sacramental reality-they rather have to go on their feelings and emotions or self-will-all these- of course, eventually run out; they don't' last. But Jesus Does in the Blessed Sacrament. "Don't just do something, just sit there."

Phil-Philia: One time a priest asked his bishop to move the tabernacle form the side altar to the center. They waited and waited and…a pilgrim remarked: "Don't you think He (Jesus in the Eucharist) deserves to be in the center of our Church." No brainer for some.

Union: Padre Pio lived a life of Christ-discipleship so well he received the stigmata-the wounds marks of Christ upon his body. They often bled during Mass. One time a pilgrim asked him: You must get very tired standing there saying Mass with the blood." The Franciscan replied:" I'm not standing there, I'm hanging there."

Holy Hour: One time I was making a holy hour with a family while on vacation-near a lake. Well, we were praying-and someone forgot to close the lakeside door all the way. After some time of silence a chipmunk burst through the room and everyone jumped in ecstatic trembling. A few tried to catch it while others took guard of Jesus in the Eucharist. You never know what's going to happen during some holy hours-be ready for surprises.

Be Heroic: Mother Seton was an outcast, persecuted widow and wanted to become a Catholic. She finally made the jump. Why? Because of the Eucharist and the Virgin Mary. Do you have the Eucharist and Mary in your life? One time a friend went to make a holy hour. Church closed. No problem. He knelt down for an hour outside the glass door s and prayed to Jesus thru the doors-remember, He does go thru doors (Jn. ). Be heroic in your pursuits and dispelling of Jesus in the Eucharist.

When the Pope visited Baltimore-Camden Yards in 1993 he took a siets at Cardinal Keeler's Rectory. The bodyguards got a break, too. Eventually these professionals went to find the Holy Father and couldn't find him in his room after and exhausting day .They searched and panicked and they finally found him: he was praying in the chapel before the blessed Sacrament.

Eucharist and Interpenetration: I just sit there and he looks at me and I look at Him." Seek Him in Adoration; surrender to Him in silence and stillness; and singe with Him

Fasting and Pure Manger: This Advent especially, and all thru the year, we can prepare for Jesus by pulling out the bad straw of sins, inordinate attachments and faults, and place in the inner crib new, fresh straw for the Baby Jesus in the Eucharist to lie upon-our virtues and holy habits, our sacrifices, our sacred desire

Make an act of Consecration-praying: "Lord Jesus Christ/ I know you are truly Present here/ Body and blood/ Soul and Divinity/ In the Blessed Sacrament of the altar./ May Your Eucharistic Body/ Lift up my Body/ May Your Divinity/ Refresh my humanity….Jesus I trust in You. Mary I take refuge in you. Amen." Memorize, repeat, and impress Him within.

Life is Dramatic…So, Repent

The Bible, Jesus and Saints all teach one thing in common: life is dramatic. Just look at John the Baptist-the hero of today's Gospel: He walked barefoot, ate what was naturally around him in the desert-grasshoppers and ---called a spade sin: repent. He called Herod, an adulterer, on the carpet, and thereby lost his head (cf. ). John further implies we have made holy and natural things crooked. The Baptist, the prophets, and our Lord, of course, are fiery creatures: the Good News is Good (salvation and Heaven),yes, precisely because the Bad News is Bad-we are sick, we are sinners, our situation-despite pollyanist-is desperate. Hell and eternal damnation is an option Sometimes we "sterilize" situations-they're not as bad as we think or want to admit; St John and prophets stir

What is Crooked?: spiritual sexuality (legitimate within marriage) becomes materialistic sensuality-promiscuous dating =sexual mating; abuse of women (TV shows serving up unhappydom to make money and manipulate culture);

Sexuality: perhaps you are choking off God implanting a soul in a new baby by your use of contraception-you can straighten this out (get Janet Smith's tape at Grotto or elsewhere: "Conception: Why not" ; tubil legation or vasectomy-no worry-see book: ; or promiscuity or thru homsexualism-God can save you thru groups like Courage which help persons with homosexuality heal and reconcile

Stem cell and Gory or Glory?: Horror, violence illicitly sensuality, propogpragy are glorified today-because people are subtlety attracted to it-entertainers know this .But the thrills come and go-incessantly. God offers something far more beautiful and almost incredible-Glory, Splendor, union with Him and one another, bliss: Jesus prays to the Father: "And I gave them (disciples)the Gory You gave Me so they may be one as We are One. I in them and You in Me, that they may be one as We are One" (Jn. 17:22-23).

Family: perhaps you have an "unstraightened relationship" you romeone needs to straighten out, reconcile: be the first to repent and reconcile

Strangled Soul: warped by, and wrapped up in, material things (possessions) and metaphysical

Gnarly Narcissim:culture of Self or Disciplined Desire-repent and let Jesus straighten you out. Much of the culture wants to appeal to your "self-fulfillment," 'self-gratification," self esteem: this is endless and crooked Straighten up: Deny yourself and pick up your cross daily and follow Me" (Lk. 9:23).

Magic-Witchcraft: this is a contortion of the innate desire within us to seek and extend metaphysical powers, but thru wrongful, evil ways: by Satan and not the Sacred trinity. Everyone is susceptible, especially your children. . Fr Torres recently visited here from Tijuana Mexico and described how some black magic people desecrated their Altar and Eucharist. The Missionary of Charity priests are straightening this out by making reparation-doing penances for the sinners: so can you. Also: you can taro cards, horoscopes and some rap and metal bands are discreet and discriminate lead-ins to deeper diabolical activities-all which an be healed and straightened if persons repent.

Dramatic solutions: repent means a turn about, U-turn-direct opposite direction. Take out old straw and put in new, fresh straw

Sports Idoltry: Youth especially are under this athletic addiction. But: healthy stars like Bret Favre, quarterback of the Green Bay Packers can be both sports and spirituality minded. His wife, who has breast cancer-they've been sweethearts since high school-says: Yeah-it's not about the streak (of two hundred games) , but it's about him. He's become a healthy human being, a good father, husband and family man." Frenzied football is not fanatical for this star, detracting form his marriage, but is helping it-how about you?

Read other reflections by Father John J. Lombardi