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Saints Who Loved the Eucharist

Jesus gave us a Promise!!

 

 

“All power has been given to me in Heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you.  And know that I will be with you always, until the end of time”. Matthew 28:19-20

Family, we have a Treasure, of so great a magnitude it has kept our Church alive and strong and protected against millenniums of struggle with the devil who has been trying to destroy us since he tempted Jesus on the Mount of Temptation in Jericho.  And how has He been able to keep that promise to us, that promise of being with us, living within our souls, giving us strength to stand up against the powers of hell? He is always with us in the Sacrament of His Body and Blood, the Eucharist.  He gave us that gift freely while He was on earth. He was actually preparing us for the time when He would not be with us physically.  At Capharnaum He taught us:

 “I Myself am the living bread, come down from Heaven.  If anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; the bread I will give is My Flesh, for the life of the world. [1]

And then on Holy Thursday evening, in the upper room in Jeerusalem, He handed each of the Apostles bread, blessed and broken.  “Then taking bread and giving thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying: ‘This is My Body to be given for you.  Do this as a remembrance of Me.’ He did the same with the cup after eating, saying as He did so: ‘This Cup is the New Covenant in My Blood which will be shed for you. Truly I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the Kingdom of God.[2]

On Easter Sunday, after He had risen from the dead, and appeared to the Apostles in the Upper Room, Our Lord Jesus walked with two disciples who were returning home to Emmaus, thinking that Jesus was dead as was His movement.  Jesus walked alongside of them, although they did not recognize Him as being Jesus.  He spoke softly but firmly to them.  He explained that Jesus had to do what He did to fulfill scripture.  He quoted the scripture passages which affirmed what He was saying.  When they arrived at Emmaus, He kept going, as if He were continuing on His journey.  They pleaded with Him to stay with them.  “Stay with us; it is nearly evening – the day is practically spent.  So He went in to stay with them.  When He had seated Himself with them to eat, He took bread, pronounced the blessing, then broke the bread and began to distribute it to them.  With that their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; whereupon He vanished from their sightThey said to one another, ‘Were our hearts not burning inside us as He talked on the road explained the Scriptures to us?”[3]  But they recognized Him in the breaking of the bread, the Eucharist.

Our belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist has been the binding force and the cause of great struggle for Christians since the beginning.  Down through the centuries, Saints and Holy People have shed their blood to defend the Eucharist.  The first who comes to mind, a Saint of the early Church is St. Ignatius of Antioch, who as he was being dragged off to Rome to be sacrificed to wild lions in the Coliseum, wrote letters to St. Polycarp asking him to correct the errors being made with reference to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.  Another famous story is that of the young Roman boy, St. Tarcisius, who volunteered to bring the Body of Our Lord Jesus from the Catacombs after Mass to Christian prisoners in the Coliseum.  He wrapped the Holy Pix tightly around his neck and carried it near his heart.  On his way, he was stopped by friends who asked what he was carrying around his neck, near his heart.  He would not tell them.  They began to beat him, trying to pry loose the pix he carried around his neck with the Consecrated Hosts inside.  Try as they might, he would never let loose of the pix.  His hands were locked.  Finally, they beat him to death.  A centurion, who was Christian, saw what was happening and chased the boys.  When he went over to Tarcisius, the dead boy’s hands opened easily.  The centurion took the little martyr and the Consecrated Hosts back to the Catacombs.

Saints and their love for the Eucharist has been the cornerstone of our Church.  They continue to defend the Church to this day.  In this book, we want to share with you some of those special friends of Jesus, who loved Him so much, who yearned to have Him in their bodies through the Eucharist, who spent hours before the Blessed Sacrament, especially in times of need, who found their strength in Jesus in the Eucharist.

Our prayer is that for those of you who have this kind of relationship with Jesus in the Eucharist, it will continue, no matter how adverse the situation, and for those who have not accepted this special gift from Our Savior from the very beginning, you will take advantage of receiving Jesus often in the Eucharist, and spending time with your best friend, Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration, or just kneeling in front of the Tabernacle, where you know He is waiting for you, just you, to listen to your problems, and yes, also to tell you what to do.

 

[1] John 6:51

[2] Mark 14:22-26

[3] Luke 24:29-31

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