His Abiding Presence

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Through Transubstantiation Jesus changes bread and wine into his Body and Blood.  In this new reality, Jesus is contained in his entirety: Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.  We have often referred to him as the God-man; and it is as the God-man that he comes to us in Holy Communion. We receive his Divinity as well as his humanity.  We can truly say that God becomes our food.

Jesus promised his disciples that he would not leave them orphaned.  Indeed, he has instituted a way to stay with us at all times.  Jesus is present in the Blessed Sacrament which is kept in the tabernacles of our churches around the world.  A lamp, called the sanctuary lamp is kept burning there as long as the Blessed Sacrament is in the tabernacle.

Here, then, Jesus remains, night and day.  He is truly Emmanuel - God with us.  He dwells with us full of grace and truth.  We profess our faith in Jesus' presence in the Blessed Sacrament by our behavior in Church, including certain reverent actions: genuflecting, blessing ourselves with holy water, bowing our heads.

We are encouraged to visit the Blessed Sacrament when we have time and a church or chapel is open.  The prayer we say there - our conversation with Jesus - is an extra act of love that we offer him freely, and it will win us special graces.

Eucharistic Worship

The Church has always encouraged devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.  There are a number of forms of special Eucharistic worship outside of the Mass, which is, of course, the fountainhead of all the others.  One such form is a Eucharistic procession which the Blessed Sacrament is carried through the streets with solemnity and reverence, accompanied by singing.  Parishes often hold processions on the feast of Corpus Christi.

The most common form of Eucharistic worship outside the Mass, however, is Exposition and Benediction.  The consecrated Host is put in a monstrance (a receptacle for this purpose) and placed on the altar for the faithful to see and adore.  During the Exposition there are prayers and hymns, and usually the Host is honored with incense.  We express our profound adoration before the Real Presence of Christ.  At the end, the priest or deacon lifts the monstrance and blesses the faithful with it in the Sign of the Cross.  This is called "Benediction".

Special Devotion

Throughout the ages there have been many saints who have had great devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist.  St. Thomas Aquinas wrote many beautiful hymns for Eucharistic worship.  There is a saint of modern times, St. Peter Julian Eymard, who founded a religious congregation dedicated to the perpetual adoration of the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.  Priests of this order are called the Blessed Sacrament Fathers.  The Blessed Sacrament is always exposed in their religious houses for perpetual adoration.

An Act of Spiritual Communion

My Jesus, I believe that you are in the Blessed Sacrament.  I love you above all things, and I long for you in my soul.  Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart.   I embrace you and unite myself entirely to you; never permit me to separated from you.

 Used with the permission of The Ignatius Press 800-799-5534

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