Tuesday, February 2, 2010

St. Josemaria Escriva's Fervent Love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament

Bishop Javier Echevarría, now the Prelate of Opus Dei, recalls in the book Memoria del Beato Josemaría different ways in which Saint Josemaría showed his love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament:

He never went into any Church without greeting our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament first thing. He would spend a few moments recollected in prayer and renew his burning desire to keep Jesus company in every tabernacle in the world...in a large city when we went into the Cathedral...he started to look for our Lord all over the Cathedral, and finally found Him, after catching sight of a half-hidden sanctum lamp. He knelt down there and prayed. He told us afterwards that he had said: “Lord, I’m no better than anyone else, but I need to tell you that I love you with all my strength; and I beg you to hear me. I love you for all the people who come here and don’t tell you so. I love you for all the people who will ever come here and not tell you so.”

He never failed to tell people: “As often as you can, escape to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, to keep him company, even for just a few seconds. And tell him with all your soul that you love him, that you want to love him more, and that you love him for all the people on earth, including those who say they don’t love him.”

Saint Josemaría often insisted to Msgr. Alvaro del Portillo and myself that we should “never pass the tabernacle without telling our Lord that you love him with all your soul, that you want to cherish him in your hearts, that you thank him for his Real Presence in the tabernacle, where he consoles us and helps us with his strength.” And after making these recommendations, he added, “That’s what I do.”

With his passionate, all-consuming love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, he asked us, on 26 February 1970, “Unite yourselves to my constant prayer. I pray all day and at night as well. Unite yourselves to the Holy Mass I celebrate. Make many acts of faith and love in our Lord’s Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist. And make many acts of atonement. Tell our Lord that you love him with all your soul, that you don’t want to make him suffer, that you want to make reparation constantly.”

He recommended priests to keep the Blessed Sacrament company as much as they could. He wanted all of them to increase their devotion to the Eucharist, and he pointed out to them: “Don’t do it for your parishioners to see, but don’t worry if they do see you. If you are centered on our Lord, and people notice how you love him, they’ll ask you why, and then you can tell them about this love that should fill your whole life.”

...in 1958 he urged us: “We have to stress, to other people and to ourselves, that we should never leave him alone in his voluntary imprisonment in the tabernacle, the prison of love, where he has chosen to stay, hidden in the Host, defenceless, for you and for me.” And in 1962 he said: “For a long time now, every time I genuflect in front of the tabernacle, after adoring our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, I also thank the Angels, because they are continuously paying court to God."

... his devotion to the Eucharist also led him, during his last years, to increase his spirit of atonement. He was hungry to come into the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament to adore him, to keep him company, to make atonement, as he said in his humility, ‘for my own wretchedness and for the wretchedness of all mankind, so that he’s not left alone, now that in so many places our Lord finds himself unaccompanied, although all of us, everyone in the world, should be keeping him company.”

In 1960 Saint Josemaría spoke to us again about “the mystery of the Eucharist, where Jesus is the ‘Great Solitary One’ because people have left him alone. They know nothing about love, understanding or self-giving. How could they, if they refuse to go to the source! I am praying to our Lord that everyone, my daughters, my sons, and I myself, may learn how to treat Christ in the Eucharist. Go to him with faith, constantly, attentively. Our personal wretchedness doesn’t matter if we have the grace of God. The more we are aware of our weaknesses, the more we will feel the need for God in our lives."
~ Excerpts from here. ~

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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