The Real Presence
By Lawrence G. Lovasik SVD
One means of increasing and perfecting Eucharistic union besides the repetition of acts of love and spiritual Communion, is by making visits to the Blessed Sacrament. In the Holy Eucharist, Jesus becomes present not only to renew the Sacrifice of Calvary in an unbloody manner on our altars, and nourish our souls in Holy Communion, but also to abide bodily among us by His Real Presence in our tabernacles, thus fulfilling His promise: “Behold, I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world.” (Matt. 28:20)
Jesus remains in the tabernacle day and night, not idle, but full of life and continual action. He is always in loving adoration before His Heavenly Father, taking delight in thinking how lovable and great He is in Himself and honoring Him by His humble and hidden life in the Eucharist. Sublime is the honor He renders Him there in the tabernacle at all times, because He never interrupts it during a single moment of the day or night; and in all places, because from all the altars throughout the world, this homage rises up to the throne of God. It is of infinite value because it is offered by the very Son of God.
Jesus occupies Himself at the same time with your dearest interests. He thanks God for you, prays continually for you, asks pardon for your sins, makes reparation and amends for them. He is always offering Himself in sacrifice to God and continually pouring out His graces upon all mankind as a Eucharistic Mediator.
Since there is always something lacking in friendship that is only human, Jesus wishes to be your Friend in the Blessed Sacrament. You need His friendship, for there are times in your life when you are very much alone, when everyone seems weary of you. But Christ is close to you in the tabernacle as your best Friend, as your Companion in exile, with a Heart human like your own; a Heart that can understand your sorrows and problems since It has experienced all that you must bear; a Heart that can sympathize with you and befriend you in your hour of need; a Heart that can love you with the love of the best of friends. Like a real furnace of fire His Heart burns all for you with a love that knows no end because it has its source in the depths of the Godhead—all for you, as if there were no other to share its infinite warmth. Not all the tender affection He pours out upon countless other souls lessens His love for you. Even when you forget Him, He thinks of you; even when you offend or disappoint Him, He sacrifices Himself for you; when you have trials, He is ready to console and strengthen you, for His Sacred Heart calls from the tabernacle, Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matt 11:29)
Your Saviour has brought Heaven to earth by giving you Himself in the Most Blessed Sacrament, for He is the same God Who is in Heaven, surrounded by His angels; and at the foot of the altar you may associate yourself with all the Heavenly court who form an invisible guard round about Him. You would deprive yourself of the sweetest joys of your life if you failed to come and pour out your love and petitions before His tabernacle. It is the true refuge of your soul, where you find comfort, guidance, strength, peace, sanctity, and happiness. Even though the burdens of life seem almost unbearable at times, you have a Friend who will never fail, your God in the Holy Eucharist, imprisoned by His very love in the tabernacle.
The aim of your visits to the Blessed Sacrament ought to be to express your love for Jesus. Elicit acts of faith, hope, and charity, and spiritual Communion. These divine virtues are the highest virtues you can practice and they are most in place before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
Declare your faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the little white Host, which contains His Divinity and Humanity, all the treasures of His Sacred Heart, and all the kindliness and goodness by which during His mortal life He made those who came near Him happy.
Arouse in your heart the cheerful confidence and you will find in Jesus all that you need: forgiveness of your sins and the punishments due to them; the grace never again to offend Him deliberately and always to fight courageously against the weakness of nature and the allurements of evil; to do penance by prayer and work to the extent of your ability; to persevere to the end in doing good and after a happy death to inherit eternal joy. His fidelity never wavers; His wisdom, goodness, and power never fail.
Assure Our Lord of your love, as Peter did when he said, Lord, Thou knowest all things: Thou knowest that I love Thee. (John 21:17) Spiritual Communion consists in an ardent desire to receive Jesus. It is a beautiful sign of love for Christ and a very helpful means of preparing for the actual reception of Holy Communion.
Speak to Jesus as you would with your best Friend or older Brother Who already knows all about your needs and problems and is the only one who can really help you. Picture Him inviting all who labor and are burdened to lay down their burden beside Him for a while and be refreshed. Tell Him about the work you are engaged in, pleasant or unpleasant, about your temptations, faults, difficulties, hopes, desires, and worries. Entreat Him to forgive you for your failures and mistakes, to intercede for you as your advocate, and to take charge of your affairs as your Almighty Lord. With the blind ask for sight; with the woman of Canaan beg for the crumbs that fall from His table; with the palsied man pray for health; with the leper ask to be cleansed; with the one possessed by the devil, pray to be made free; with the man who fell among robbers, ask to be healed.
Always have some very special petition to present to the Saviour, especially when you attend a devotion at which the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, or at the moment of benediction. Such favorite petitions might be: remission of all guilt and punishment for the sins of your past life; the grace never again to commit a deliberate sin, and, as far as possible, also lessen the number of involuntary faults; that you may learn to despise all earthly things and seek only that which has value for eternity; that nothing may be dearer to you than seeking God and doing His Holy Will; that from day to day you may become more like Christ; that you may follow all the inspirations of grace, especially in the exercise of love, humble obedience and self-denial; that you may acquire a tender love for the Mother of God; that in prayer, labor, and penance you may be as generous as possible; finally, that you may live entirely for Christ, if you cannot die for Him. At the sacramental blessing it is Jesus Himself Who blesses you, and His blessing is as powerful and efficacious today as it was during His mortal life. Therefore, make the most of the opportunity.
See that your visits do not become a matter of mere habit, but a proof of your loving friendship with Jesus. Do not burden yourself with verbal formulas, but try to preserve freedom of soul. Never leave the church without greeting the Blessed Virgin and requesting her protection. Upon leaving, ask Jesus for His blessing and beg Mary and the holy angels to keep Him company while you are at work.