Love for the Holy Eucharist, for Holy Mass and for our Lord present in the Blessed Sacrament
Talk by Sr. Nirmala, Superior General of Missionaries of Charity, in Washington, D.C.
Dear Shepherds of the People of God and all my Sisters, the Women Religious of United States, and all my brothers and sisters,
I am deeply grateful to the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious in the United States of America for giving me this privilege of professing together with you today my simple faith and love for Jesus in the Eucharist as well as sharing with you my humble presentation on the theme, “Love for the Holy Eucharist for Holy Mass and for Our Lord Present in the Blessed Sacrament”
May the Heart of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar be praised, adored and loved with grateful affection, at every moment, in all Tabernacles of the world, even till the end of time. Amen
There is a story of a baby lion that was lost in the forest and was found by a shepherd who brought it home and let it grow together with his lambs. One day, a lion passed by and saw this little lion among the lambs who was eating grass and bleating. The lion said to the little cub, “What are you doing here? Why are you eating grass and bleating like a lamb? Don’t you know you are not a lamb, you are a lion?” The cub began to bleat more. Then the lion took the little cub to a small lake nearby and said, “Look at your reflection in the water and then look at me and know who you are!” The cub did what was told and was surprised to see that he looked the same as the lion. Then the lion said, “Yes, you are a lion! You are not meant to eat grass and bleat, but to eat flesh and drink blood and roar! Then the lion asked the cub to roar and taught him how to do so, with a few attempts the baby lion was able to roar and it knew that it was really a lion.
We human beings too, who are created by God our Father in His image and likeness to love and to be loved now and for all eternity are meant to eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Lamb of God and be filled with His Spirit and ‘roar’ with love like the Lion of Judah, Jesus His only begotten Son, and know that we too are the sons and daughters of God, brothers and sisters of Jesus and of every human person and of whole creation.
Eucharist is the food given by Our Father in Heaven for us His children. Jesus says. “‘I am the Living Bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread will live forever. And the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in Him.” (Jn. 6: 51, 56)
What a Mystery of Mysteries! Mystery of Love! The Eucharist is the splendor of God’s incredible passion for humanity! Jesus, the Risen Lord of Glory in Heaven is truly present today on earth in the humble appearance of bread and wine as man’s food and drink for immortality, a life of eternal love! Eucharist is the Sacrament of God’s tenderness for man, Sacrament of love, Sacrament of the Presence of Jesus among us – Emmanuel, the Word made flesh who was born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem.
It is He “who was in the world,” as St. John says “and the world was made by Him, yet the world knew Him not. His own received Him not. But to all who received Him. He gave the power to become the children of God!” And they “saw His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.” (Jn 1: 10-12, 14)
Jesus in the Eucharist is the same Jesus who was baptized at the Jordan by John the Baptist, upon whom the Spirit of God descended as a dove from Heaven and the Father testified, “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.”
It is He who turned water into wine, multiplied five loaves and two fishes to feed the multitude, called Himself the Light of the world, asked the Samaritan woman for a drink. It is He who proclaimed. “If anyone thirsts, let Him come to Me and drink.” Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the same Jesus who calmed the raging sea, caused the miraculous catch of fish, preached the Good News to the poor, healed the sick, freed the captives, raised the dead, forgave sins, and befriended the sinners and the outcasts. He is the Lamb of God who sacrificed His life on the Cross out of love for us to take away our sins and give us eternal life. It is He who rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father interceding for us.
Jesus loves us so much that He intensely desires to remain with us on earth till the end of time. For ‘His joy is to be with the children of men’. Therefore, in the ingenuity of His unfathomable love He invented entirely a new way of remaining with us on earth in the appearance of Bread and Wine as our food and drink on our way Home to God our Father. Therefore, on the night He was betrayed, Jesus instituted the Eucharistic Sacrifice of His Body and Blood as memorial of His Death and Resurrection and commanded His apostles to celebrate it until He comes again. Thus He made them the Priests of the new covenant to perpetuate and make present on our altars the Sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross till the end of time, and multiply His Eucharistic Presence in all corners of the earth, so that all who desire may be able to approach Him easily. (CCC: 1323. 1337)
Eucharist is the Sacrament of Christ’s Sacrifice on the Cross and of His presence; He comes to us on our altars at the Eucharistic Sacrifice by the invocation of the Holy Spirit and the utterance of the words of Christ by the priest, which Christ uttered at the Last Supper over the Bread and Wine. The bread changes into the Body of Christ and wine changes into the Blood of Christ, though the appearance of the bread and wine remains.
What has happened? The great miracle of transubstantiation has happened. The substance of the bread and wine has disappeared and the substance of the Body and of Blood of Christ the Risen Lord who is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven, has taken its place. The Body of Christ now looks like bread, tastes, smells, feels and weighs like bread but it is not bread. It is the Body of Christ that hung upon the Cross. The precious Blood of Christ looks like wine, tastes, smells, feel and weighs like wine, but it is not wine, it is the Blood of Christ which He shed for us on the Cross. Jesus who is in Heaven now, is really, truly and substantially present in the Eucharist. It is the mystery of faith in the presence of which our human reason is totally baffled, our senses are thoroughly deceived.
The Church proclaims her faith in the mystery of the Eucharist when she sings with St. Thomas Aquinas:
“Godhead here in hiding, whom I do adore,
masked by these bare shadows,
shape and nothing more,
See, Lord all Thy service low lies here
Lost, all lost in wonder at the God thou art.”
Jesus lies before us in His hidden majesty because our senses are not equipped to tolerate the dazzling light of His Glory. Therefore not to scare us away, but to draw us to His Heart gently He comes to us in such humble appearance. Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament draws with gentle power of His love one and all, be they young or old, rich or poor, learned or not learned, saints or sinners, sick or healthy, men, women and children of all nations, cultures and religions. He is there for all thirsting to love each one and to be loved by each one. Those who come to Him find peace, love and joy.
That is why the little shepherd boy Blessed Francisco of Fatima was able to spend hours consoling His hidden Jesus in the Eucharist, for many sins in the world.
There is a story of a four-year-old boy who was missing from his home one morning. After a desperate search his mother found him in the Church sitting on the floor in the sanctuary before the tabernacle rolling with laughter. When the mother asked, “My son, what are you doing here?” He replied, “Mom, I am telling Jesus the story of Alibaba and forty thieves.” Jesus surely must have enjoyed the story of this little one.
A youth from Calcutta writes, “I do not yet understand what interested me most in the Church but I began to come regularly and spend hours and hours sitting before the Blessed Sacrament. Even though I was a Hindu at that time, I knew something about the Catholic Faith. I began to think why the Missionaries of Charity Contemplative Sisters sit before the Blessed Sacrament throughout the day. This made me pray for an increase of faith in the Blessed Sacrament. It was after that I began to find myself talking to Jesus like I talk to any of my friends. I have passed hours and hours gazing at the Blessed Sacrament motionless without knowing what is going on all around me.” This young man is a candidate in a religious Congregation, now, aspiring for priesthood.
Jesus loves to play ‘hide and seek’ with us. If we sincerely seek Him with faith and love we will find Him. When we have found Him, we have found the Greatest Treasure! But we cannot hold Him for ourselves. We have to share Him with others. The more we share His love with other the more we will have. The more we hold Him for ourselves He will escape and leave us desolate and dry.
One mentally sick Hindu lady who loved Jesus came to our chapel in Calcutta to pray when we were having Eucharistic Adoration. At the end of the Adoration when the Blessed Sacrament was reposed and the Tabernacle was locked, she exclaimed: “Do you think, you can lock Him up there, He will come out, He is God!” What a beautiful profession of faith in the Divinity of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament from a supposed-to-be mentally sick person. It is only the Spirit of God who revealed that to her. What He hides from the learned and clever He reveals to the little ones.
Jesus in the Eucharist is thirsting to love and comfort us by His constant loving presence to us, direct and instruct us by sending us the Holy Spirit, feed and nourish us with His own precious Body and Blood and transform us into Himself and give us eternal life. He also wants to send us the Holy Spirit to unite us in the bond of love as one family. He wants to do to us and for us and our world what He has done during His earthly life for the people of His time. He thirsts that we come to Him with faith and trust in His unfailing love for us.
Jesus with His human Heart dwells in the Eucharist and thirsts for our love. When St. Margaret Mary was before the Blessed Sacrament, Jesus showed her His Heart and said, “Behold, this Heart, which has so loved men that it has spared nothing to the point of spending itself, and being consumed to prove its love to them. And in return I receive from most men only ingratitude because of their irreverence and sacrileges and coldness and scorn they have for me in this Sacrament of Love. But what offends me most is that hearts consecrated to me act in this way.”
Then He asked for the celebration of the feast of His Sacred Heart, by receiving Holy Communion on that day to make reparation to His Heart to atone for all the indignities it has received ever since it has been exposed on the Altar. And He promised to shower His blessings on those who honor His Sacred Heart in this way and lead others to do so.
Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament revealed His Merciful Heart to St. Faustina asking her that we offer to His Heavenly Father His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, for the atonement of our sins and sins of the whole world. He is thirsting to pour out His Mercy on us.
The more we know how much Jesus thirsts to love and to be loved by us in the Eucharist the more we will love Him and come flying to Him. Love for the Eucharist is the fruit of faith. It is the gift of God poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit by which our interior eyes are opened and we recognize who is in the Blessed Sacrament and like John the beloved disciple cry out, “It is the Lord!” and our hearts are drawn to Him in deep intimacy.