Thursday, October 8, 2009

St. Jean Vianney's Love for Jesus in the Eucharist

St. Jean Vianney, formerly patron of parish priests and recently proclaimed patron of all priests by Pope Benedict XVI, was born and raised in a small, poor village in France. Despite having educational disadvantages that made it difficult to study for the priesthood, and despite suffering the humiliations involved in lagging behind his fellow students, St. Jean was ordained to the priesthood.

St. Jean's first assignment as pastor was at Ars, a very small, poor, village whose few inhabitants were indifferent to religion, but were absorbed in worldly pleasures. It is doubtful that any other priests envied him his assignment. St. Jean walked about nineteen miles to reach Ars. Upon entering the parish boundary, he knelt and prayed before continuing on to his new home.

St. Jean wasted no time in becoming acquainted with his parishioners. He was quickly able to discern the spiritual impoverishment of his people. He had no disadvantages when it came to what was most important in being a good pastor of souls. When a neighbor man satisfied his curiosity as to what the pastor was doing at church so early every morning, he discovered St. Jean prostrate on the floor or kneeling with outstretched hands groaning and weeping in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, begging God to convert His people of Ars.

Through his example and preaching, St. Jean inspired his parishioners to attend Mass and receive Holy Communion frequently, and to make visits to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, knowing that love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is a powerful means of spiritual renewal. He was known for his ardent love of Jesus in the Eucharist, and when his people needed him they knew where to find him, because he was usually in church. Some of his sentiments about our Eucharistic Lord follow:

"...if we had the eyes of angels with which to see Our lord Jesus Christ Who is here present on this altar and who is looking at we should love Him!"

"What happiness do we not feel in the Presence of God when we feel ourselves alone at His feet before the Holy tabernacle!"

"How pleasing to Him 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 for all the outrages He receives!"


Mary, Mother of Jesus Christ, Eternal High Priest, Mother of all priests, and our Mother, help us respond generously to the Holy Spirit's request, through the voice of His Church, to offer up to God Eucharistic adoration for priests. Amen.

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