Thursday, June 15, 2017

(189) Why Eucharistic Adoration? What Can You Do During Adoration? Not Boring, Even Exciting

AMDG

           Editor’s Note on the Feast of Corpus Christi: Eucharistic Adoration has become a tradition in many parishes, my parish in particular, St. Louis Church in Gallipolis, Ohio because of one layman, his pastor at the time, Fr. William Myers, and his successor, Fr. Thomas Hamm.  Bruce Davison was a tough guy and still is for that matter, but now in the right way.  He was a young Rambo type as a combat soldier (Airborne Ranger, the Army’s best, comparable to Special Forces, a.k.a. the Green Berets), a sergeant in Vietnam and would get into fist fights on occasion.  Bruce never lost his faith, but was only going through the motions every Sunday at Mass (How many of us are that way today?).  His faith did not mean much to him.
 
In 1989 Bruce’s oldest brother, Jimmy was killed in an auto accident; that tragic event had a profound effect on his younger brother, leading to a real life changing conversion.  During that time of grief, a dreadful thought entered his mind: “The way I’m going now, I might not make it to Heaven.”  Giving his life to Christ, his faith began to become alive, real, and very meaningful. Bruce was becoming a real prayer warrior, who takes every opportunity now to share his faith, as for example, with his customers at his nursery.  Conversion may be sudden, but it is also a process.

          In November 1998 Bruce and his wife Jan went on a pilgrimage to Fatima.  In early 1999 that experience led to a deepening of his conversion, a second phase.  He was suddenly hit  --"like a bolt of lightning" in his words--  by the deep realization of how much God loved him and how unworthy he is.  That experience made his conversion complete.  Later Bruce felt a deep yearning and inspiration for Eucharistic Adoration in our parish.  Indeed there was a great need.  He presented the idea to Fr. Bill, who accepted it under the condition that Davison guarantee that there would always be someone present during the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.  Bruce has been very faithful to that commitment.  When we had all night adoration during the visit of the Pilgrim Virgin of Fatima and each Vigil for Life on the evening of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8, Bruce usually stayed until the end of Mass the following morning……..although not as much now because of a chronic back problem that sometimes makes it difficult for him to even walk.

         We've had Eucharistic Adoration at St. Louis Church for some 15 years now usually on the first Sunday of each month immediately following the 10 am Mass until vespers at 4 pm.  You can do something similar in your parish if it does not already have it.  
 
          Bruce continues to pray that all the members of our parish grasp the tremendous importance of Eucharistic Adoration and attend at least for a little while.  He also prays incessantly that someday St. Louis Church will have Perpetual Adoration (24/7).  That would require 160 people (2 per hour) to commit themselves to two hours of adoration per week outside of Mass.  This apostle and champion of the Eucharist wrote the following article to share with his brothers and sisters throughout the parish family.  He writes from the heart with deep conviction and passion.


Often you will sense the Lord's presence during Adoration.






























WHY EUCHARISTIC ADORATION?

          Who is God?  Creator, Father, Redeemer, Savior, Brother, Friend, Lover……..ALL!

          Who am I?  Creature, speck of dust, beggar, wretch, sinner……NOTHING in comparison to God!  Yet, wonderfully made, created with great dignity according to the “image and likeness” of God (Genesis 1:26-27)!

          Who am I to God?  Special child, valuable, treasure, loved intensely!

          What is the consecrated host?  God Himself, Love Incarnate, truly the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Himself!

          Why go to Eucharistic Adoration?  It is an act of love pleasing to Jesus; creature communicates with the Creator, son to Father who is present with His only begotten Son, the redeemed to the Redeemer, friend to Friend, lover to Lover.  Nothing outside of Mass is more pleasing to Jesus.  Nothing outside of Mass is more beneficial for my soul.  That is expiation for my sins.  We may also use Eucharistic Adoration to pray for the poor souls in Purgatory and for the conversion of sinners.

          Conclusion. Do I love Jesus?  Do I want to please Him?  Am I sorry for my sins?  Am I making reparation for my sins and the sins of others?  Do I want to console my Lord?  Why wouldn’t I go to Eucharistic Adoration?  O my Savior! My Love! My God! How I love you and wish that every soul on earth would love you!

          Just imagine: You have this terrific friend.  I mean this friend is really there for you.  This friend is so understanding!  He can read your mind.  He loves to be around you, to celebrate with you, to help you with your projects.  This friend is also your Brother.  You know that you can count on Him for serious help.  You know He would do anything for you.

          Now suppose you keep Him at arm’s length, only allowing Him to come when you need something…….never visiting Him or asking how He is.  Well, that friend is Jesus!  He loves you to the extreme!  But you are so thoughtless.  It makes Jesus so happy when He sees you come in and visit Him!  He is really there as the sacred Eucharistic Host.  He has a human heart that suffers because of your lack of love.  He is a prisoner of love who is there for you.

        O my Jesus!  How I want to make reparation for the indifference, ingratitude, and lack of love that wounds your heart so deeply.  I want to follow the request your Mother made at Fatima 100 years ago……to offer my sufferings to you in “reparation” and “for the conversion of sinners”.  (Ed Note: In fact Bruce welcomes opportunities to suffer for this cause.)


WHAT CAN YOU DO AT EUCHARISTIC ADORATION?

  Not Boring, Even Exciting at Times!

          In answer to that question one old man said: “Well, I look at Jesus and Jesus looks at me”.  That gives you the chance to think, to meditate, to listen to what Our Lord has to say……insights, ideas, and inspirations.  Eucharistic Adoration can be very relaxing, a refreshing source of peace, confidence, and strength to keep going and not give up, trusting in the Lord’s Providence.

One source, “25 Things to Do in Adoration”: gives a number of suggestions which I expanded: 
1) Slowly read scripture until something hits you; then listen.  
2) Say a rosary with a good focus on the meditations for each decade.  
3) Let Jesus look at you.  
4) Tell Him something that made you happy; then listen.  
5) Tell Him your fears, what you are afraid of; then listen.  
6) Tell Him what angers or irritates you; then listen.
7) Speak about your friends and loved ones, enumerating their needs.
8) Pray for an enemy or someone who hurt you.  
9) Talk with Jesus about your work or studies and ask for His help.
10) Sing a song of praise to God in your heart with a Glory Be prayer. 
11) Promise to trust Him.
12) Imagine Mary sitting next to you and praying with you.  
13) Renew your loyalty to His Church and resolve to be always faithful. 
14) Lean on Him; tell Jesus you love Him. 
15) Thank Him for the Sacraments, etc. 
16) Tell Jesus your failures; ask for help; then listen. 
17) Slowly recite the Beatitudes. 
18) Say one Our Father slowly; meditate on the words. 
19) Say one Hail Mary; meditate on the words. 
20) Say the Creed slowly; meditate on the words. 
21) Pray for vocations.  
22) Pray for discernment of His will and guidance in decisions and the next step in the direction of your life. 
23) Count your gifts and blessings; then thank God. 
24) Pray for our Country, its leaders and the world; think of specific problems, crises, and disasters. 
25) Enjoy just being in the Lord’s presence! 
26) Ask for healing of body and soul. 
27) Pray for the Church. 
28) Say the Chaplet of Divine Mercy while meditating on a few aspects of the Lord’s passion, e.g., all or some of the Stations of the Cross.  
29) If you still don’t know what to pray about, get hold of a book of prayers or prayer book that has a selection of prayers for different needs, occasions, and intentions. 

    And also there’s the Liturgy of the Hours (also called Divine Office and Breviary) that is prayed everyday in monasteries and convents all over the world.  It is really the prayer of the Universal Church.  Priests are supposed to say it and many laymen do as well.  For a website that has all of the prayers for each current day, click on http://catholicexchange.com/divine-office.  It’s OK to use a laptop or ipod for the Divine Office during Eucharistic Adoration.  You can also try http://ebreviary.com/, https://divineoffice.org, or http://www.liturgies.net/Liturgies/Catholic/loh/loh.htm for the one that may best suit you.  For information about the Liturgy of the Hours and its history, go to http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgy-of-the-hours/ and/or  https://www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/breviary.htm.  To buy prayer books or the four volume set “Liturgy of the Hours”, go to https://www.amazon.com.
   
Do some spiritual reading (book, article, pamphlet, etc.; then listen.  Thank God for your blessings and for what’s going well in your life today; enumerate them.  Share with Jesus some of your difficulties, problems, failures, setbacks (medical, emotional, financial, studies, job, family); listen for insights.  As Mary requested at Fatima, offer these crosses up for sinners and their conversion.  Pray for those in need.  The Venerable Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, a prolific and brilliant writer and popular speaker on CBS television during prime time in the 50s and 60s, composed his talks in front of the Blessed Sacrament for inspiration and guidance. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

(188) Our Lady of Fatima at 100......the First Apparition on May 13, 1917 & the Second on June 13, 1917

AMDG





























          The Angel of Peace did her job in preparing the young children Lucy (10), Francisco (9), and Jacinta (7) to meet the Queen of Heaven.  It was Sunday May 13; the kids already went to the early Mass in the village church; their families would not miss Sunday Mass for anything.  April showers had brought May flowers to the Cova da Iria field where the children watched the sheep while playing games. 

Suddenly, there was a bright shaft of light from Heaven and its most precious and indescribably beautiful queen appeared on a very small holm oak tree, just three feet tall.  God sent the most beautiful flower ever, the ultimate missionary through the ages, on a special mission of mercy during the carnage of World War I, the bloodiest in history, a grave consequence of sin.  “Do not be afraid”, the Lady said; “I will not harm you”.   In answer to their questions she said: “I am from heaven…….I have come to ask you to come here for six months in succession on the thirteenth day of each month at this same hour.  Later I will tell you who I am and what I want.  Afterward, I will return here a seventh time.

Lucia then asked if they and their friends will go to Heaven.  Yes they would, but Francisco would have to say many Rosaries.  Their friend Maria is there, but for Amelia, it would be different.  “She will be in purgatory until the end of the world. Do you wish to offer yourselves to God to endure all the sufferings that He may be pleased to send you, as both an act of reparation for the sins with which He is offended and an act of supplication for the conversion of sinners?  The children gave their fiat: “Yes we do”.  That was the first step in their road to canonization.  Our Lady answered:  “Well then, you will have much to suffer. But the grace of God will be your comfort. 
Lucy continued: "It was upon saying these last words, 'the grace of God...' that for the first time she opened her hands, which emitted a most intense light that penetrated our breasts, reaching the innermost part of our souls and making us see ourselves in God, Who was that light, more clearly than we can see ourselves in the best of mirrors. Then, driven by a deep inspiration, we knelt down and repeated inwardly: 'O Most Holy Trinity, I adore Thee! My God, my God, I love Thee in the Most Blessed Sacrament'”, as the Angel of Peace taught them.

Before parting, Our Lady said: “Pray the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war.”  Lucia continued: "She immediately began to rise serenely toward the east until she disappeared far into the distance. The light that surrounded her was, so to speak, opening her way through the starry firmament."

The children were very joyful, but not for long.  Knowing that they would be subject to ridicule, the children agreed to keep it a secret.  However, little Jacinta forgot her promise and had to tell her mother.  Then the ridicule and incredulity started, but as Mary promised, the grace of God would be their comfort.  The parents gave them little or no support nor did their pastor.  However, the Marto parents believed that the children would not lie.  Ti Marto left it up to the will of God.  At this point, the children could not affirm that the beautiful lady was Mary, the Mother of God.  Lucia had a more difficult time with her family.  Her mother tried to get Lucia to admit that she lied about the vision and her sisters also opposed her.  The news quickly spread throughout the town and the children encountered jeering and verbal abuse.
June 13.  The children offered up the ridicule and more for sinners……..giving up lunches, singing, and dancing.  Lucia invited some friends and a number of others, including Lucia’s mother followed the children to the Cova da Iria on the 13th when the lady promised to appear.  The 50 or so spectators prayed the rosary while waiting.  Near noon on a hot day the seers saw a brilliant approaching light.  Some spectators observed that the top of the budding holm oak bent down, as if under the weight of something.  During Our Lady’s conversations with the children, the bystanders heard nothing except a gentle whispering like the humming of a bee.     
        Our Lady made a request: “I want you to come here on the thirteenth of next month, to pray the Rosary every day, inserting between the mysteries the following ejaculation: ‘O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who have most need of your mercy.’   I want you to learn to read and write and later I shall say what I desire.
Lucia asked that Mary take them to Heaven.  “Yes, I shall take Jacinta and Francisco soon, but you will remain here for a longer time yet. Jesus wishes to use you in order to make me known and loved. He wishes to establish devotion to my Immaculate Heart in the world. I promise salvation to those who embrace it; and these souls will be loved by God like flowers placed by me to adorn His throne.      
Lucia apprehensively asked if she would be alone.  “No, daughter.  Does that make you suffer much?  Do not be dismayed.  I will never forsake you. My Immaculate Heart shall be your refuge and the road that shall lead you to God.”  Again we see the classic refrain: “To Jesus through Mary”.
Lucia related, "As she said these last words, she opened her hands, and for the second time she communicated to us the reflection of the intense light that enveloped her.  We could see ourselves in it, as if immersed in the Divine presence.  Jacinta and Francisco seemed to be in the part of this light that was ascending toward Heaven, and I was in the part that was cast toward the ground.  In front of Our Lady's right hand there was a heart encircled by thorns that seemed to pierce it. We understood that this was the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so offended by the sins of mankind and pleading for reparation."
 The Lady, still surrounded by the light that she radiated, rose from the little tree and glided toward the east until she disappeared completely. Several persons who were closer noticed that the buds at the top of the holm oak were inclined towards the east, as if they had been trod upon. They returned to their usual position only some hours later.  The people saw nothing except a slight cloud, rising towards the east. The spectators departed, saying the Rosary on their way home.
Jacinta was already a little apostle, repeating: “She said it is necessary to say the Rosary……..she will return and she told us a secret that we cannot tell”.  That aroused the curiosity of everyone, many of whom tried to extract the secret from the children.  “If they beat us, we will suffer it for the love of Our Lord and for sinners.”  Their pastor speculated that the visions might be a trick of the devil and so, even the children had periods of doubt.  Lucia even felt tormented by the devil with a terrifying dream of him laughing.  This mental and emotional anguish was all part of what the children had to suffer and offer up for sinners.to repent and come back to God. We can do the same when suffering comes our way and make sacrifices for others as by helping and other works of charity.