Not being able to receive the Eucharist during the current pandemic is a cause of sadness and distress for us who highly prize the Holy Eucharist as the “source and summit of the Christian life” (Lumen Gentium). But I’m sure that this time of absence from the Mass can also be a time for us to discover afresh the wonder of the Eucharist, a time to appreciate the sentiment expressed beautifully by Pope John Paul II:
A truly indescribable mystery!
Simple with the greatest simplicity!
Rich with supreme richness!
(Italian National Eucharistic Congress, June 1988)
Just think of the joy there will be when this public health emergency is over and we are able to gather together to celebrate the Eucharistic again.
In the meantime I hope you will find the daily eucharistic reflections offered here a helpful way of remaining spiritually close to the Lord whose presence is always with us.
The reflections are drawn from believers across many centuries and in many different circumstances. At the centre of them all is the living Lord Jesus, offered, received and adored in the sacrament of his love.
Tuesday 2nd June
When we have been to Holy Communion, the balm of love envelopes the soul as the flower envelopes the bee.
St. John Vianney
Monday 1st June, Memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church
Ave verum corpus, natum de Maria Virgine
Let us invite the Blessed Virgin to preside maternally over the Eucharistic life of the entire Church. May she, the spouse of the Holy Spirit, implore from him the attainment of that Life which Christ offers to all through the Sacrament of his Body and Blood, celebrated and received in the power of the Spirit of Life and Love.
Pope John Paul II
Angelus Address, Rome, 1986
Sunday 31st May, Feast of Pentecost
During the Eucharistic Prayer at Mass the priest invokes – calls down from on high – the Holy Spirit upon the bread and wine, so that they become for us the Body and Blood of Christ.
A second invocation of the Holy Spirit (epiclesis), this time upon the people, appears later in the Eucharistic Prayer. In a similar way to how he transforms the gifts of bread and wine, the Holy Spirit transforms the faithful, making them ‘one body, one spirit in Christ’.
You are indeed Holy, O Lord,
and all you have created
rightly gives you praise,
for through your Son our Lord Jesus Christ,
by the power and working of the Holy Spirit,
you give life to all things and make them holy,
and you never cease to gather a people to yourself,
so that from the rising of the sun to its setting
a pure sacrifice may be offered to your name.
Therefore, O Lord, we humbly implore you:
by the same Spirit graciously make holy
these gifts we have brought to you for consecration,
that they may become the Body and Blood
of your Son our Lord Jesus Christ,
at whose command we celebrate these mysteries…
… Look, we pray, upon the oblation of your Church
and, recognizing the sacrificial Victim by whose death
you willed to reconcile us to yourself,
grant that we, who are nourished
by the Body and Blood of your Son
and filled with his Holy Spirit,
may become one body, one spirit in Christ.
From Eucharistic Prayer III of the Roman Missal
Saturday 30th May, 7th Week of Easter
Eve of Pentecost
At the centre of the Church is the Eucharist,
where Christ is present and active in humanity
and in the whole world
by means of the Holy Spirit.
Pope St. John Paul II
Come, Holy Spirit!
Friday 29 May, 7th Week of Easter
The implications of the Eucharist for service and mission
The love that we celebrate in the sacrament is not something we can keep to ourselves, By its very nature it demands to be shared with all. What the world needs is love; it needs to encounter Christ and to believe in him. The Eucharist is thus the source and summit not only of the Church’s life, but also of her mission: ‘an authentically Eucharistic Church is a missionary Church.’
We cannot approach the Eucharistic table without being drawn into the mission which, beginning in the very heart of God, is meant to reach all people. Missionary outreach is thus an essential part of the Eucharistic form of the Christian life.
Pope Benedict XVI
Thursday 28 May, 7th Week of Easter
O Sacrum Convivium
O sacred banquet, in which is received, the memory of his Passion is renewed, the mind if filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.
V. Thou didst give them bread from heaven, Alleluia:
R. Containing in itself all sweetness. Alleluia.
O God, who under a wonderful Sacrament hast left us a memorial of thy Passion; grant us, we beseech thee, so to reverence the sacred mysteries of thy Body and Blood, that we may ever feel within ourselves the fruit of thy Redemption: who livest and reignest for ever and ever. Amen.
Wednesday 27 May, Feast of St. Augustine of Canterbury, Bishop
Summoned by Jesus
In the Eucharist, with the Risen Jesus present as our food, we are worshipping with the saints and angels in heaven. But the risen Jesus who is the heart of the heavenly worship is also a Jesus who was crucified, and we share in heaven’s worship only as sharing also in the Jesus who suffers in the world around us, reminding us to meet him there and to serve him in those who suffer. Indeed in the Eucharist we are summoned by two voices, which are really one voice: ‘Come, the heavenly banquet is here. Join with me and my mother and my friends in the heavenly supper.’ ‘Come, I am here in this world in those who suffer. Come to me, come with me, and serve me in them.
Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury 1961-1974
Quoted in Love’s Redeeming Work: The Anglican Quest for Holiness
Tuesday 26th May, St. Philip Neri, Priest
St. Philip loved the Eucharist. The fervour with which he celebrated the Holy Mass is well known, during which he often physically shook with tremors of love.
Thy whole life, O Philip, was one long act of Love of Jesus; but it was, also, one untiring effort to make others know and love Him, and thus secure the end for which they were created. Thou wast the indefatigable Apostle of Rome for forty years, and no one could approach thee without receiving something of the divine ardour that filled thy heart. We, too, would fain receive of thy fullness of devotion; and therefore we pray thee to teach us how to love our Risen Jesus. It is not enough that we adore Him and rejoice in His triumph; we must love Him: for He has permitted us to celebrate the various Mysteries of his Life on earth, with a view to our seeing more and more clearly how deserving He is of our warmest love. It is Love that will lead us to the full appreciation of His Resurrection, that bright Mystery which shows us all the riches of the Sacred Heart. The New Life, which He put on by rising from the Tomb, teaches us, more eloquently than ever, how tenderly He loves us, and how earnestly He importunes us to love Him in return. Pray for us, O Philip, that our heart and our flesh may rejoice in the Living God (Ps. lxxxiii. 2)! Now that we have relished the mystery of the Pasch, lead us to that of the Ascension; prepare our souls to receive the Holy Spirit at Pentecost; and when the august mystery of the Eucharist beams upon us, with all its loveliness, in the approaching Festival, the very day that ushered thee into the unveiled vision of thy Jesus, intercede for us, that we may receive and relish that Living Bread, which giveth Life to the world (St. John, vi. 33)!
From ‘Saint Philip Neri, Confessor’
by Abbot Prosper Gueranger, 1870
Monday 25th May, St. Bede the Venerable, Priest, Doctor
Open wide the door of my heart
Lord God almighty,
open wide the door of my heart
and illumine it with the grace of the Holy Spirit,
that I may seek what is pleasing to your will.
Guide my thoughts and my heart,
and lead my life in the way of your commandments,
that I may always seek to fulfil them,
and that I may grasp the eternal joys of the heavenly life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
St. Bede, 672-735
Sunday 24th May, 7th Sunday of Eastertide
Jesus comes to us
In each of our lives Jesus comes as the Bread of Life – to be eaten, to be consumed by us. This is how he loves us. Then Jesus comes in our human life as the hungry one, the other, hoping to be fed with the Bread of our life, our hearts by loving, and our hands by serving.
St. Teresa of Calcutta
Saturday 23rd May, 6th Week of Easter
The home of God is among mortals
‘See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his people, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed.’ And the One who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new.”’
The Book of Revelation 21: 3-5
Friday 22nd May, 6th Week of Easter
I am with you always
The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”
Matthew 28: 16-20
Thursday 21st May, 6th Week of Easter
The Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord
Hymn for Ascension Day On this day the new Bread of the spirit has gone up to heaven. The mysteries were revealed in Your Body. Which has gone up as an offering. Blessed be Your Bread, O Lord! The Lamb has come to us from the house of David; the Priest, from the stock of Abraham, has become for our sakes the Lamb of God, the new minister of sacrifice. His Body is the victim, His Blood is our drink. Blessed be the new sacrifice! He has descended from heaven like the light; is born of Mary as a divine shoot; as a fruit He has fallen from the cross; and is offered up to heaven as the first fruits. Blessed is his will! You are the offering of heaven and of earth, immolated and at the same time adored. You came to be a victim, You ascended as a singular offering, You ascended, Lord, Bearing with You the offering of Your sacrifice. St. Ephrem of Syria 4th century
Wednesday 20th May, 6th Week of Easter
Lord our God,
teach us to cherish in our hearts
the paschal mystery of your Son,
by which you redeemed the world.
Watch over the gifts of grace your love has given us
and bring them to fulfilment in the glory of heaven.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Tuesday 19th May, 6th Week of Easter
It is easier for the earth to exist without the sun than without the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
St. Pio of Pietrelcina
Monday 18th May, 6th Week of Easter
Fountain of Life
You left us yourself in the Sacrament of the Altar, and you opened wide your mercy for us. There is no misery that could exhaust you. You have called us all to this fountain of love, to this spring of God’s compassion.
Lord our God,
in this great sacrament
we come into the presence of Jesus Christ, your Son,
born of the Virgin Mary
and crucified for our salvation.
May we who declare our faith
in this fountain of love and mercy
drink it from the water of everlasting life.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Sunday 17th May, Sixth Sunday of Easter
Christ gave his own body for the life of all
“I am dying for all men,” says the Lord. “I am dying to give them life through myself and to redeem the whole human race through my humanity. In my death, death itself will die and man’s fallen nature will rise again with me.
I wanted to be like my brothers in every respect, so I became a man like you, a descendant of Abraham.” Understanding this well Saint Paul says: As the children of a family share the same flesh and blood, he too shared our human nature so that by his death he could destroy the power of the devil, the prince of death.
Death itself and the prince of death could be destroyed only by Christ, who is above all, giving himself up as a ransom for all.
And so, speaking as a spotless victim offering himself for us to God the Father, Christ says in one of the psalms: You desired no sacrifices or offerings, but you have prepared a body for me. You took no pleasure in holocausts or sin offerings. Then I said, “Behold, I am coming.”
He was crucified for all, desiring his one death for all to give all of us life in him. It was impossible for him to be conquered by death; nor could he who by his very nature is life be subject to corruption. Yet we know that Christ offered his flesh for the life of the world from his own prayer, Holy Father, protect them, and from his words, For their sake I consecrate myself.
By saying that he consecrates himself he means that he offers himself to God as a spotless and sweet-smelling sacrifice. According to the law, anything offered upon the altar was consecrated and considered holy. So Christ gave his own body for the life of all, and makes it the channel through which life flows once more into us. How he does this I will explain to the best of my ability.
When the life-giving Word of God dwelt in human flesh, he changed it into that good thing which is distinctively his, namely, life; and by being wholly united to the flesh in a way beyond our comprehension, he gave it the life-giving power which he has by his very nature.
Therefore, the body of Christ gives life to those who receive it. Its presence in mortal men expels death and drives away corruption because it contains within itself in his entirety the Word who totally abolishes corruption.
From a commentary on the gospel of John by Saint Cyril of Alexandria
Saturday 16th May, Fifth week of Easter
Mary and the Eucharist
Mary is present, with the Church and as the Mother of the Church, at each of our celebrations of the Eucharist. If the Church and the Eucharist are inseparably united, the same ought to be said of Mary and the Eucharist. This is one reason why, since ancient times, the commemoration of Mary has always been part of the Eucharistic celebrations of the Churches of East and West.
Pope John Paul II
Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 2003
Friday 15th May, Fifth week of Easter
“If you cannot find Christ in the beggar at the church door, you will not find Him in the Chalice.”
St John Chrysostom
4th century Archbishop of Constantinople
Thursday 14th May, Feast of St. Matthias, Apostle
The endurance of the Eucharist
Was ever another command so obeyed? For century after century, spreading slowly to every continent and country and among every race on earth, this action has been done, in every conceivable human circumstance, for every conceivable human need from infancy and before it to extreme old age and after it, from the pinnacle of earthly greatness to the refuge of fugitives in the caves and dens of the earth. Men have found no better thing than this to do for kings at their crowning and for criminals going to the scaffold; for armies in triumph or for a bride and bridegroom in a little country church; for the proclamation of a dogma or for a good crop of wheat; for the wisdom of the Parliament of a mighty nation or for a sick old woman afraid to die; for a schoolboy sitting an examination or for Columbus setting out to discover America; for the famine of whole provinces or for the soul of a dead lover; in thankfulness because my father did not die of pneumonia; for a village headman much tempted to return to fetich because the yams had failed; because the Turk was at the gates of Vienna; for the repentance of Margaret; for the settlement of a strike; for a son for a barren woman; for Captain so-and-so wounded and prisoner of war; while the lions roared in the nearby amphitheatre; on the beach at Dunkirk; while the hiss of scythes in the thick June grass came faintly through the windows of the church; tremulously, by an old monk on the fiftieth anniversary of his vows; furtively, by an exiled bishop who had hewn timber all day in a prison camp near Murmansk; gorgeously, for the canonisation of S. Joan of Arc—one could fill many pages with the reasons why men have done this, and not tell a hundredth part of them. And best of all, week by week and month by month, on a hundred thousand successive Sundays, faithfully, unfailingly, across all the parishes of Christendom, the pastors have done this just to make the plebs sancta Dei—the holy common people of God.
Dom Gregory Dix
The Shape of the Liturgy
Wednesday 13th May, Fifth Week of Easter
Litany of Praise
You are the Bread of life. R. Praise to you!
You are the Bread of salvation. R.
You are the Blood that redeemed us. R.
You are the source of our joy. R.
You are the Bread that feeds us. R.
You are the Blood that quenches our thirst. R.
You are the Bread that comforts us. R.
You are the Bread that gives us strength. R.
You are the Bread that heals us in body and mind. R.
Tuesday 12th May, Fifth Week of Easter
An Act of Surrender
I hand over to your care, Lord,
my soul and body,
my mind and thoughts,
my prayers and my hopes,
my health and my work,
my life and my death,
my parents and my family,
my friends and my neighbours,
my country and all peoples,
today and always.
17th century Anglican bishop and theologian
Monday 11th May, Monday of Fifth Week of Easter
O gracious and holy One,
give us the wisdom to perceive you,
intelligence to understand you,
diligence to seek you,
patience to wait for you,
eyes to behold you,
a heart to meditate upon you,
and a life to proclaim you.
St. Benedict of Nursia,
Abbot, 6th century
Sunday 10th May, Fifth Sunday of Easter
On the Lord’s Day
Celebrate the Eucharist as follows: Say over the cup: “we give you thanks, Father, for the holy vine of David, your servant, which you made known to us through Jesus your servant. To you be glory for ever”.
Over the broken bread say: “we give you thanks, Father, for the life and the knowledge which you have revealed to us through Jesus your servant. To you be glory for ever. As this broken bread scattered on the mountains was gathered and became one, so too, may your Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into your kingdom. For glory and power are yours through Jesus Christ for ever.”
Do not let anyone eat or drink of your eucharist except those who have been baptized in the name of the Lord. For the statement of the Lord applies here also: Do not give to dogs what is holy.
When you finish the meal, offer thanks in this manner:
“We thank you, holy Father, for your name which you enshrined in our hearts. We thank you for the knowledge and faith and immortality which you revealed to us through your servant Jesus. To you be glory for ever.
“Almighty ruler, you created all things for the sake of your name; you gave men food and drink to enjoy so that they might give you thanks. Now you have favoured us through Jesus your servant with spiritual food and drink as well as with eternal life. Above all we thank you because you are mighty. To you be glory for ever.
“Remember, Lord, your Church and deliver her from all evil. Perfect her in your love; and, once she has been sanctified, gather her together from the four winds into the kingdom which you have prepared for her. For power and glory are yours for ever.
“May grace come and this world pass away! Hosanna to the God of David. If anyone is holy, let him come. If anyone is not, let him repent. Maranatha. Amen.”
On the Lord’s day, when you have been gathered together, break bread and celebrate the Eucharist. But first confess your sins so that your offering may be pure. If anyone has a quarrel with his neighbour, that person should not join you until he has been reconciled. Your sacrifice must not be defiled. In this regard, the Lord has said: In every place and time offer me a pure sacrifice. I am a great king, says the Lord, and my name is great among the nations. [Malachi 1:11]
From the Didache (also known as “The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles”), 2nd century.
Though the author of the Didache is not known, it is composed of two earlier documents that could date back to the time of the apostles themselves.
Saturday 9th May, Third week of Easter
What wonderful majesty! What stupendous condescension! O sublime humility! That the Lord of the whole universe, God and the Son of God, should humble Himself like this under the form of a little bread, for our salvation.”
St. Francis of Assisi
Friday 8th May, Third week of Easter
The Eucharist, pledge of our resurrection
If our flesh is not saved, then the Lord has not redeemed us with his blood, the eucharistic chalice does not make us sharers in his blood, and the bread we break does not make us sharers in his body. There can be no blood without veins, flesh and the rest of the human substance, and this the Word of God actually became: it was with his own blood that he redeemed us. As the Apostle says: In him, through his blood, we have been redeemed, our sins have been forgiven.
We are his members and we are nourished by creatures, which is his gift to us, for it is he who causes the sun to rise and the rain to fall. He declared that the chalice, which comes from his creation, was his blood, and he makes it the nourishment of our blood. He affirmed that the bread, which comes from his creation, was his body, and he makes it the nourishment of our body. When the chalice we mix and the bread we bake receive the word of God, the eucharistic elements become the body and blood of Christ, by which our bodies live and grow. How then can it be said that flesh belonging to the Lord’s own body and nourished by his body and blood is incapable of receiving God’s gift of eternal life? Saint Paul says in his letter to the Ephesians that we are members of his body, of his flesh and bones. He is not speaking of some spiritual and incorporeal kind of man, for spirits do not have flesh and bones. He is speaking of a real human body composed of flesh, sinews and bones, nourished by the chalice of Christ’s blood and receiving growth from the bread which is his body.
The slip of a vine planted in the ground bears fruit at the proper time. The grain of wheat falls into the ground and decays only to be raised up again and multiplied by the Spirit of God who sustains all things. The Wisdom of God places these things at the service of man and when they receive God’s word they become the eucharist, which is the body and blood of Christ. In the same way our bodies, which have been nourished by the eucharist, will be buried in the earth and will decay, but they will rise again at the appointed time, for the Word of God will raise them up to the glory of God the Father. Then the Father will clothe our mortal nature in immortality and freely endow our corruptible nature with incorruptibility, for God’s power is shown most perfectly in weakness.
From the treatise “Against the Heresies”
Thursday 7th May, Third week of Easter
Turn to the Eucharist
If the poison of pride is swelling up in you, turn to the Eucharist; and that Bread, which is your God humbling and disguising Himself, will teach you humility. If the fever of selfish greed rages in you, feed on this Bread; and you will learn generosity. If the cold wind of coveting withers you, hasten to the Bread of Angels; and charity will come to blossom in your heart. If you feel the itch of intemperance, nourish yourself with the Flesh and Blood of Christ, Who practiced self-control during His earthly life; and you will become temperate. If you are lazy and sluggish about spiritual things, strengthen yourself with this heavenly Food; and you will grow fervent. Lastly, if you feel scorched by the fever of impurity, go to the banquet of the Angels; and the spotless Flesh of Christ will make you pure and chaste.
St. Cyril of Alexandria
Wednesday 6th May, Third week of Easter
Adoring the One we receive
“No one should eat this flesh without first adoring it;… we should sin were we not to adore it”…Indeed we do not merely receive something in the Eucharist. It is the encounter and unification of persons; the person, however, who comes to meet us and desires to unite himself to us is the Son of God. Such unification can only be brought about by means of adoration. Receiving the Eucharist means adoring the One whom we receive.
Pope Benedict XVI (quoting St. Augustine)
Christmas Address to the Roman Curia, 2005
Tuesday 5th May, Third week of Easter
No common bread or drink
We call this food Eucharist; and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true and who has been washed in the washing which is for the remission of sins and for regeneration [being born again in Baptism], and is thereby living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Saviour was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by Him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nourished, is both the flesh and blood of that incarnate Jesus.
Justin Martyr c. 150 AD
First Apology 66
Monday 4th May, The Feast of the English Martyrs
The Martyrs’ love for the Eucharist
During the terrible persecution of his time (much earlier than the ‘English Reformation’ of the 16th century), St. Ignatius of Antioch (2nd century) could clearly see how the Eucharist and the Church were inseparable from a life in Christ – Jesus fully present in the bread of the altar and truly active in his bride, the Church. On his way to his martyrdom in Rome he wrote with beautiful eucharistic symbolism:
I write to the churches, and impress on them all, that I shall willingly die for God, unless you hinder me. I beseech of you not to show an unseasonable good-will towards me. Allow me to become food for the wild beasts, through whose instrumentality it will be granted me to attain to God. I am the wheat of God, and let me be ground by the teeth of the wild beasts, that I may be found the pure bread of Christ. Rather entice the wild beasts, that they may become my tomb, and may leave nothing of my body; so that when I have fallen asleep [in death], I may be no trouble to any one. Then shall I truly be a disciple of Christ, when the world shall not see so much as my body. Entreat Christ for me, that by these instruments I may be found a sacrifice [to God].
St. Ignatius of Antioch
Letter to the Romans
Sunday 3rd May, ‘Good Shepherd Sunday’
Blest Sacrament of Unity
O Thou, who at Thy first Eucharist didst pray
That all Thy Church might be forever one,
Grant us at every Eucharist to say
With longing heart and soul, Thy will be done.
O may we all one bread, one body be,
Through this blest sacrament of unity.
For all Thy Church, O Lord, we intercede;
Make Thou our sad divisions soon to cease;
Draw us the nearer each to each, we plead,
By drawing all to Thee, O Prince of Peace;
Thus may we all one bread, one body be,
Through this blest sacrament of unity.
We pray Thee too for wanderers from Thy fold;
O bring them back, good Shepherd of the sheep,
Back to the faith which saints believed of old,
Back to the Church which still that faith doth keep;
Soon may we all one bread, one body be,
Through this blest sacrament of unity.
So, Lord, at length when sacraments shall cease,
May we be one with all Thy Church above,
One with Thy saints in one unbroken peace,
One with Thy saints in one unbounded love;
More blessèd still, in peace and love to be
One with the Trinity in unity.
W. H. Turton, 1881
A eucharistic hymn
Saturday 2nd May, St. Athanasius, Bishop & Doctor of the Church
The Reality of Christ’s Body and Blood
You will see the Levites bringing the loaves and a cup of wine, and placing them on the table. So long as the prayers and invocations have not yet been made, it is mere bread and a mere cup. But when the great and wondrous prayers have been recited, then the bread becomes the body and the cup the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ….When the great prayers and holy supplications are sent up, the Word descends on the bread and the cup, and it becomes His body.
St. Athanasius of Alexandria,
Sermon to the Newly Baptized, A.D. 373
Friday 1st May, St. Joseph the Worker
Every knee should bow
Though he was in the form of God, Jesus did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
The Letter of Saint Paul to the Philippians, Chapter 2, verses 6-11
Thursday 30th April
A deeper love for Christ
Each day we have exposed the Blessed Sacrament, and we have perceived a change in our life. We have felt a deeper love for Christ through the distressing mask of the poor. We have been able to know ourselves better and to know the poor man better as a concrete expression of God. Since we began this adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, we have not reduced our work; we devote just as much time to it as before, but with more understanding. People accept us better. They are hungry for God. They have need, no longer of us, but of Jesus.
St. Teresa of Calcutta
Wednesday 29th April, Feast of St Catherine of Siena, Virgin & Doctor of the Church
You are the Way
O loving, tender Word of God, You tell me: ‘I have marked the path and opened the gate with My Blood; do not be negligent in following it, but take the same road which I, eternal Truth, have traced out with My Blood.’ Arise, my soul, and follow your Redeemer, for no one can go to the Father but by Him. O sweet Christ, Christ-Love, You are the way, and the door through which we must enter in order to reach the Father.”
“O unfathomable depth! O Deity eternal! O deep ocean! What more could You give me than to give me Yourself?”
“O You who are mad about Your creature! true God and true Man, You have left Yourself wholly to us, as food, so that we will not fall through weariness during our pilgrimage in this life, but will be fortified by You, celestial nourishment.
St. Catherine of Siena
Tuesday 28th April
Adoration touches the Creator
adoration of the Sacrament will restore our church, and thus our nation, and
thus our world. It is one of Satan’s most destructive lies that sitting alone
in a dark church adoring Christ is irrelevant, impractical, a withdrawal from
vital contemporary needs. Adoration touches everyone and everything in the
world because it touches the Creator, who touches everything and everyone in
the world from within, in fact, from their very centre. When we adore, we
plunge into the centre of the hurricane, “the still point of the turning
world”; we plunge into infinite dynamism and power. Adoration is more
powerful for construction than nuclear bombs for destruction.
The Angels and the Ants: Bringing Heaven closer to your Daily Life
Monday 27th April
“How many say: I would like to see his face, his features, his beauty…But in the Eucharist, it is he himself whom you see, he himself whom you touch, he himself whom you eat. Think of that and adore, for it is the same who is in heaven and whom the angels adore!”
St. John Chrysostom
Homily on Saint Matthew
Sunday 26th April, Third Sunday of Easter
Be still, for the presence of the Lord,
the Holy One, is here;
come bow before Him now,
with reverence and fear.
In Him no sin is found,
we stand on holy ground.
Be still, for the presence of the Lord,
the Holy One, is here.
Be still, for the glory of the Lord
is shining all around.
He burns with holy fire,
with splendour He is crowned.
How awesome is the sight,
our radiant King of light.
Be still, for the glory of the Lord
is shining all around
Be still, for the power of the Lord,
is moving in this place;
he comes to cleanse and heal,
to minister His grace.
No work too hard for Him,
in faith receive from Him.
Be still, for the power of the Lord
is moving in this place.
Saturday 25th April, St. Mark, Evangelist
Jesus feeds the Four Thousand
In those days, when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said to them, “I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away.” And his disciples answered him, “How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?” And he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven.” And he directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd. And they had a few small fish. And having blessed them, he said that these also should be set before them. And they ate and were satisfied. And they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. And there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away. And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha.
The Gospel of Mark 8: 1-10
Friday 24th April, St. George, Martyr, Patron of England
The Sacrament of Unity and Love
building-up of the body of Christ is brought about by love; for, as Saint Paul
said, ‘living stones are built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood,
to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ’. It
is never carried on more purposefully than when the Church (which is itself
Christ’s body) offers his body and blood under the signs of bread and wine:
‘For the cup which we drink is a participation in the blood of Christ, and the
bread which we break is a participation in the Lord’s body. Because there is
one bread, we who are many are one body, and we all partake of the one bread.’
And so we pray that, by the same grace which made the Church Christ’s body, all the members of the Church may remain firm in the unity of that body through the abiding link which joins them.
St Fulgentius of Ruspe
addressed to Monimus
Thursday 23rd April, St. George, Martyr, Patron of England
The Eucharist – foretaste of heavenly glory
Look, I am standing at the door, knocking. If one of you hears me calling and opens the door, I will come in to share his meal, side by side with him. Those who prove victorious I will allow to share my throne, just as I was victorious myself and took my place with my Father on his throne.
The Book of Revelation 3: 20-21
Wednesday 22nd April
The Mass – Holy Sacrifice, Sacred Banquet
O Holy Banquet!
in which Christ is received,
the memory of his Passion is renewed,
the soul is filled with grace,
and a pledge of future glory is given to us.
St. Thomas Aquinas
Tuesday 21st April
Jesus, true and living Bread
Lord, enthroned in heavenly splendour,
First begotten from the dead,
Thou alone, our strong defender,
Liftest up thy people’s head.
Jesus, true and living bread!
Here our humblest homage pay we;
Here in loving reverence bow;
Here for Faith’s discernment, pray we
Lest we fail to know thee now,
Thou art here, we ask not how.
Though the lowliest form doth veil Thee,
As of old in Bethlehem,
Here as there Thine Angels hail Thee,
Branch and flower of Jesse’s stem.
We in worship join with them.
Paschal Lamb, Thy offering, finished
Once for all when Thou wast slain,
In its fullness undiminished
Shall for evermore remain,
Cleansing souls from every stain.
Life-imparting Heavenly manna,
Stricken rock with streaming side,
Heaven and earth with loud hosanna
Worship Thee, the Lamb who died,
Risen, ascended, glorified!
A eucharistic hymn written by G H Bourne (1840-1925)
Monday 20th April
The bread of Heaven and the cup of salvation
On the night he was
betrayed our Lord Jesus Christ took bread, and when he had given thanks, he
broke it and gave it to his disciples and said: “Take, eat: this is my body.”
He took the cup, gave thanks and said: “Take, drink: this is my blood.” Since Christ himself has declared the bread to be
his body, who can have any further doubt? Since he himself has said quite
categorically, This is my blood, who would dare to question it and say
that it is not his blood?
Therefore, it is with complete assurance that we receive the bread and wine as the body and blood of Christ. His body is given to us under the symbol of bread, and his blood is given to us under the symbol of wine, in order to make us by receiving them one body and blood with him. Having his body and blood in our members, we become bearers of Christ and sharers, as Saint Peter says, in the divine nature.
Once, when speaking to the Jews, Christ said: Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you shall have no life in you. This horrified them and they left him. Not understanding his words in a spiritual way, they thought the Saviour wished them to practice cannibalism.
Under the old covenant there were the ‘Loaves of the Presence’, but they came to an end with the old dispensation to which they belonged. Under the new covenant there is bread from heaven and the cup of salvation. These sanctify both soul and body, the bread being adapted to the sanctification of the body, the Word, to the sanctification of the soul.
Do not, then, regard the eucharistic elements as ordinary bread and wine: they are in fact the body and blood of the Lord, as he himself has declared. Whatever your senses may tell you, be strong in faith.
You have been taught and you are firmly convinced that what looks and tastes like bread and wine is not bread and wine but the body and the blood of Christ. You know also how David referred to this long ago when he sang: Bread gives strength to man’s heart and makes his face shine with the oil of gladness. Strengthen your heart, then, by receiving this bread as spiritual bread, and bring joy to the face of your soul.
May purity of conscience remove the veil from the face of your soul so that by contemplating the glory of the Lord, as in a mirror, you may be transformed from glory to glory in Christ Jesus our Lord. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
St. Cyril, 4th century
From the instructions to the newly baptised at Jerusalem
Sunday 19th April
I adore you, O my God, with Thomas; and if I have, like him, sinned through unbelief, I adore you the more. I adore you as the One Adorable, I adore you as more glorious in your humiliation, when men despised you, than when Angels worshipped you. Deus meus et omnia – “My God and my all.” To have you is to have everything I can have. O my Eternal Father, give me yourself. I dared not have made so bold a request, it would have been presumption, unless you had encouraged me. You have put it into my mouth. You have clothed yourself in my nature, you have become my Brother, you have died as other men die, only in far greater bitterness, that, instead of my eyeing you fearfully from afar, I might confidently draw near to you. You speak to me as you spoke to Thomas, and beckon me to take hold of you. My God and my all, what could I say more than this, if I spoke to all eternity! I am full and abound and overflow, when I have you; but without you I am nothing – I wither away, I dissolve and perish. My Lord and my God, my God and my all, give me yourself and nothing else.
Thomas came and touched your sacred wounds. O will the day ever come when I shall be allowed actually and visibly to kiss them? What a day will that be when I am thoroughly cleansed from all impurity and sin, and am fit to draw near my Incarnate God in his palace of light above! What a morning, when having done with all penal suffering, I see you for the first time with these very eyes of mine, I see your countenance, gaze upon your eyes and gracious lips without quailing, and then kneel down with joy to kiss your feet, and am welcomed into your arms. O my only true Lover, the only Lover of my soul, you will I love now, that I may love you then. What a day, a long day without ending, the day of eternity, when I shall be so unlike what I am now, when I feel in myself a body of death, and am perplexed and distracted with ten thousand thoughts, any one of which would keep me from heaven. O Lord my God, what a day when I shall have done once and for all with all my sins, venial as well as mortal, and shall stand perfect and acceptable in your sight, able to bear your presence, nothing shrinking from your eye, not shrinking from the pure scrutiny of Angels and Archangels, when I stand in the midst and they around me!
O my God, though I am not fit to see or touch you yet, still I will ever come within your reach, and desire that which is not yet given me in its fullness. O my Saviour, you shall be my sole God! – I will have no Lord but you. I will break to pieces all idols in my heart which rival you. I will have nothing but Jesus and him crucified. It shall be my life to pray to you, to offer myself to you, to keep you before me, to worship you in your Holy Sacrifice, and to surrender myself to you in Holy Communion.
Saint John Henry Newman
Meditations on Christian Doctrine
18th April, Easter Saturday
Hail Body of Jesus, consecrated on the altar.
Hail Body of Jesus, conceived by the Holy Spirit.
Hail Body of Jesus, born of the Virgin.
Hail Body of Jesus, placed in a manger.
Hail Body of Jesus, so greatly tortured.
Hail Body of Jesus, nailed to the Cross for us.
Hail Body of Jesus, buried in a tomb.
Hail Body of Jesus, risen on the third day.
Hail Body of Jesus, ascended to Heaven.
Hail Body of Jesus, glorified throughout the world.
Hail Body of Jesus, given to all for our food.
Hail Body of Jesus, sweeter than honey, food of faithful souls.
Hail Trinity in unity, hail Jesus in divinity.
Yours be the thanks, the praise, the glory most great.
O Jesus, be praised for ever and ever..
Kastav, Istra (Croatia)
17th April, Easter Friday
The Lord is available to us
Your Spouse never takes his eyes off you. In the measure you desire Him, you will find Him. He so esteems our turning to look at Him that no diligence will be lacking in His part. If you are joyful, look at Him as risen…if you are sad, see Him on His way to the Garden of Gethsemane. The Lord is available to us on our terms…Speak to Him as with a Father, or a brother, or a Lord, or as with a spouse; sometimes in one way, at other times in another; He will teach you what you must do in order to please Him.
O wealth of the poor, how admirably You know how to sustain souls! And, without their seeing such great wealth, You show it to them little by little. When I behold majesty as extraordinary as this concealed in something as small as a host, it happens afterwards that I marvel at wisdom so wonderful, and I fail to know how the Lord gives me the courage or the strength to approach Him.
St. Teresa of Avila
The Way of Perfection
16th April, Easter Thursday
Embrace the Poor Christ
Embrace the poor
Christ. Look upon Him who became contemptible for you, and follow Him, gaze
upon Him, consider Him, contemplate Him.
If yous suffer with Him, you will reign with Him; if you weep with Him, you shall rejoice with Him; if you die with Him on the Cross of tribulation, you shall possess heavenly mansions in the splendour of the saints, and in the Book of Life your name shall be called glorious among men.
St. Clare of Assisi
Second Letter to St. Agnes of Prague
The Appearance on the Road to Emmaus
Now that very day two of them were going to a village seven
miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the
things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and
debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were
prevented from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing as you
walk along?” They stopped, looking downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, said
to him in reply, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of
the things that have taken place there in these days?” And he replied to them,
“What sort of things?” They said to him, “The things that happened to Jesus the
Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the
people, and how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence
of death and crucified him. But we were hoping that he would be the one to
redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took
place. Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the
tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; they came back and
reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was
alive. Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the
women had described, but him they did not see.”
And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer* these things and enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures.
As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. But they urged him, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.
And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?”
So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the eleven and those with them who were saying, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!” Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread. Luke 24: 13-35
The same Risen Lord who walked beside his disciples on the road to Emmaus is continually revealing himself to us in the Eucharist; affirming the faith of the doubtful; encouraging the slow of heart; above all, making himself known in the breaking of bread.
may our hearts burn within us
when you reveal yourself in the scriptures
and in the breaking of bread.
Eucharist: definitive deliverance from evil
The institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper…took place within a ritual meal commemorating the foundational event of the people of Israel: their deliverance from slavery in Egypt. This ritual meal, which called for the sacrifice of lambs (cf. Ex 12:1-28, 43-51), was a remembrance of the past, but at the same time a prophetic remembrance, the proclamation of a deliverance yet to come.
The people had come to realize that their earlier liberation was not definitive, for their history continued to be marked by slavery and sin. The remembrance of their ancient liberation thus expanded to the invocation and expectation of a yet more profound, radical, universal and definitive salvation. This is the context in which Jesus introduces the newness of his gift.
In the prayer of praise, the Berakah, he does not simply thank the Father for the great events of past history, but also for his own “exaltation.” In instituting the sacrament of the Eucharist, Jesus anticipates and makes present the sacrifice of the Cross and the victory of the resurrection.
At the same time, he reveals that he himself is the true sacrificial lamb, destined in the Father’s plan from the foundation of the world, as we read in The First Letter of Peter (cf. 1:18-20). By placing his gift in this context, Jesus shows the salvific meaning of his death and resurrection, a mystery which renews history and the whole cosmos.
The institution of the Eucharist demonstrates how Jesus’ death, for all its violence and absurdity, became in him a supreme act of love and mankind’s definitive deliverance from evil.
Pope Benedict XVI
13th April, Easter Monday
We glorify you, O Christ, singing:
glory to the Lord!
He was born of the Holy Spirit
in order to give us life.
He deigned to dwell among us.
To him we render our veneration.,
crying out together:
Glory to the Lord!
Behold, the Virgin has given birth to Emmanuel.
He has come down from heaven,
has saved from Egypt a people that was lost.
Let us exalt him,crying:
Glory to the Lord!
He has willed to overcome our enemy;
has made his dwelling in the Virgin Mary:
the invisible has become visible in flesh.
Let us adore him, crying out:
Glory to the Lord!
Born of a woman, ever virgin,
the Word of truth rose again for us.
Let us celebrate the Lord, intoning:
Glory to the Lord!
Light from light, Christ our King
is risen for us.
He has saved us from the land of Egypt;
all together let us sing:
Glory to the Lord!
Fragment from an ancient Eucharistic liturgy
12th April, Easter Sunday
The Lamb’s High Feast
At the Lamb’s high feast we sing
Praise to our victorious King,
Who hath washed us in the tide
Flowing from His pierced side.
Praise we Him whose love divine
Gives the guests His Blood for wine,
Gives His Body for the feast,
Love the victim, love the priest.
Where the Paschal Blood is poured,
Death’s dark Angel sheathes his sword;
Israel’s hosts triumphant go
Through the wave that drowns the foe.
Christ, the Lamb whose Blood was shed,
Paschal victim, Paschal Bread;
With sincerity and love
Eat we manna from above.
Mighty Victim from the sky,
Powers of hell beneath Thee lie;
Death is conquered in the fight;
Thou hast brought us life and light.
Now Thy banner Thou dost wave;
Vanquished Satan and the grave;
Angels join His praise to tell –
See o’erthrown the prince of hell.
Paschal triumph, Paschal joy,
Only sin can this destroy;
From the death of sin set free,
Souls re-born, dear Lord, in Thee,
Hymns of glory, songs of praise,
Father, unto Thee we raise;
Risen Lord, all praise to Thee,
Ever with the Spirit be.
7th century hymn, Ad regias Agni dapes
Translated by R. Campbell
11th April, Holy Saturday
Canticle for the Easter Vigil
Today we have contemplated upon the altar
our Lord Jesus Christ…
Today we have heard his voice,
powerful yet gentle,
This is the Body which burns up
the thorns of sin
and gives light to the souls of men…
This is the Body in whose presence
the daughter of the Canaanite woman was cured.
This is the Body, which, approached
in full confidence by the sinful woman,
set her free from the mire of sin.
This is the Body Thomas touched
and recognising, cried out:
my Lord and my God.
This is the Body, great and most high,
which is the principle of our salvation.
One day he who is the Word and our Life
determined that his blood
should be poured out for us
and offered for the forgiveness of our sins.
We have drunk of the Blood
by which we have been redeemed,
restored, instructed, given light.
Who is entitled to celebrate
the mystery of grace?
We have been found worthy
to share in this gift.
Let us keep it to the end that we may hear
from his holy and blessed voice:
“Come, O blessed, to my Father,
receive the inheritance
of the kingdom prepared for you.”
Then those who crucified the Lord will fear;
those who have not believed
in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit will be ashamed;
those who have denied and not borne witness
to the most holy Trinity, one God, will be lost.
As for us, beloved,
we celebrate the wonder of the baptism of Jesus,
his holy and life-giving resurrection,
through which salvation has come to the world.
We await the happy fulfillment of redemption
in the grace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ,
to whom is due all glory, honour and adoration.
Fragment from an ancient Eucharistic liturgy
10th April, Good Friday
Ode to Christ Crucified
By the tree of the Cross
you have healed the bitterness of the tree,
and have opened Paradise to me.
Glory be to you, Lord!
Now we are no longer prevented
from coming to the tree of life;
we have hope in your Cross.
Glory be to you, O Lord!
O Immortal One, nailed to the wood,
you have triumphed over the snares of the devil.
Glory be to you, Lord!
You, who for my sake
to being placed on the Cross,
accept my vigilant celebration of praise,
O Christ, God, Friend of men.
Lord of the heavenly armies,
who knew my carelessness of soul,
save me by your Cross,
O Christ, God, Friend of men.
Brighter than fire, more luminous than flame,
have you shown the wood of your Cross, O Christ.
Burn away the sins of the sick
and enlighten the hearts of those who with hymns
celebrate your voluntary crucifixion.
Christ, God, glory to you!
who for us accepted
a sorrowful crucifixion,
accept all who sing hymns to your Passion,
and save us.
Thursday 9th April, Maundy Thursday
The King’s Feast
“What indeed is required of us in order that we may sit down
at the great King” and eat with profit the heavenly Bread? That we come to it
clad in the “wedding garment,” (Matt. 22, 11) that is to say that we should be
in a state of grace, and have a right intention.
Nothing more is required on our side. But for Jesus? Certainly it was not without labor that He prepared this feast for us. It needed the self abasements of the Incarnation, the humility and obscure labors of the hidden life, the fatigue of the apostolate, the conflicts with the Pharisees, the combats against the prince of darkness, finally, that which contains and crowns all, the sufferings of the Passion. It was only at the cost of His bloodstained immolation and untold sufferings that Christ Jesus merited for us this wonderful grace of being united so closely to Himself in that He nourishes us with His Sacred Body, and gives us His Precious Blood to drink.
Therefore it was that He instituted this Sacrament on the eve of His Passion as if to give us the most touching proof of the excess of His love for us. It is because it is communicated to us at such a price that this gift is full of the sweetness of the infinite love of Jesus Christ.
These are some of the marvels figured by the manna and brought about, for the life and joy of our souls, by the wisdom and bounty of our God.
How is it possible not to “admire” these marvels of the Church? How can we fail to surround these sacred mysteries with all our reverence and devotion?
Blessed Columba Marmion, Abbot
Christ in His Mysteries
Wednesday 8th April
A Spiritual Communion Prayer
I thank you, dear Jesus, for all your Sacraments, I thank you above all for yourself. I thank you because I can feed upon you spiritually, even when I cannot come before your Altar. Give me a greater thirst for you, Lover of my soul, and let me sit beneath your shadow and taste of your sweetness more. Lift me to yourself on high, and let my soul be steeped in your light.
Give me a great love for all things holy and just and pure and lovely and true. Let me feed on the pleasures of your right hand, and let me drink of the torrent of your river. Your land is ever flowing with milk and honey; but you, my own Jesus, my loved One, are far sweeter than honey and the honeycomb.
Your city has gates of pearl, and its jasper wall has foundations of precious stones; but you are the one Pearl without price, and for your love I would gladly sell all that I have. Your sweetness deadens my taste for the world’s gifts, and in all bitterness of sorrow the light of your face and the love of your heart are joy and rest and peace.
I bless and praise you for forgiving my sins. I bless and praise you for saving me from the undying fire. I bless and praise you for all your spiritual gifts here, and for the hope of your heavenly joys hereafter. You are my Jesus in Heaven and my Jesus on the Altar. You are my Jesus in my heart. For this I love you, and bless you, and praise you, and glorify you, and adore you for ever and ever.
Tuesday 7th April
Fullness of Joy in Your Presence
Lord Jesus, make us Your witnesses.
Help us spread Your fragrance everywhere.
Flood our soul with Your Spirit and life.
Penetrate and possess our whole being so utterly
that our whole life may be a witness, a radiance of Yours.
Shine through us and be so in us
that every soul we come in contact with
may be aware of Your presence in us.
Let them look at us and see no longer us,
but only You, Lord Jesus.
St. John Henry Newman
6th April, Monday in Holy Week
The Sacred Heart of Jesus
Do not worry about
your faults, but when you have committed one, say quite confidently to the most
loving Heart of Jesus: “O my only Love, pay your poor servant’s debts and
make good the evil I have just done. Turn it to your glory, the edification of
the neighbour, and the salvation of my soul.” In this way our falls
sometimes help very much to humble us and to teach us what we really are.
The Sacred Heart is an inexhaustible fountain of mercy. It seeks only to fill humble hearts, hearts emptied of self and bound down by nothing so that they may be ever ready to sacrifice themselves to his good pleasure, no matter how much it may cost nature.
For one cannot love without suffering. He showed us this very clearly upon the cross, where he was consumed for love of us. And it is still the same every day in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar. There he ardently desires that we conform our life to his, completely effaced and hidden away from the eyes of man. Since love makes lovers one in likeness, if we love, let us model our lives on his.
This is what I ask of him for you. I wish you to belong completely to the loving Heart of Jesus, to live no longer but in him, for him and through him.
St Margaret Mary Alacoque
Sunday 5th April
Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
Ode to Christ the Saviour
Christ incarnate makes me worthy of God,
Christ humbled for me, raises me high,
Christ, the giver of life,
suffering in human nature,
makes me impassive.
And so, I sing a hymn of thanksgiving,
to Him who is glorified.
Christ crucified raises me high,
Christ who is slain makes me rise again with Him;
Christ gives me life.
And so clapping my hands with joy,
I sing to the saviour a hymn of victory
to Him who is glorified.
Cosmas of Maiuma
Saturday 4th April
Your sacrament, Lord Jesus Christ,
and the remission of sins;
You have suffered the passion for our sake.
For us you have drunk gall
to take from us all bitterness;
You have drunk a bitter wine for us
to lift us from our weariness;
You have been despised for us,
that the dew of immortality
might be poured upon us;
You have been beaten with scourges
to ensure to our frailty eternal life;
You have been crowned with thorns
that your faithful might be crowned
with the evergreen laurels of love;
You have been wrapped in a winding sheet
that we might be clothed in your strength;
You were laid in the tomb
that in a new age loving kindness
might again be granted to us.
Fragment from an ancient Eucharistic liturgy
Friday 3rd April
Sweet Sacrament Divine
Sweet Sacrament divine,
hid in thine earthly home,
lo, round thy lowly shrine,
with suppliant hearts we come;
Jesus, to thee our voice we raise
in songs of love and heartfelt praise:
sweet Sacrament divine.
Sweet Sacrament of peace,
dear home for every heart,
where restless yearnings cease
and sorrows all depart;
there in thine ear all trustfully
we tell our tale of misery:
sweet Sacrament of peace.
Sweet Sacrament of rest,
ark from the ocean’s roar,
within thy shelter blest
soon may we reach the shore;
save us, for still the tempest raves,
save, lest we sink beneath the waves:
sweet Sacrament of rest.
Sweet Sacrament divine,
earth’s light and jubilee,
in thy far depths doth shine
thy Godhead’s majesty;
sweet light, so shine on us, we pray,
that earthly joys may fade away:
sweet Sacrament divine.
Thursday 2nd April
The Eucharist: Source of the Christian spirit
It is from the Eucharist that all of us receive the grace and strength for daily living – to live real Christian lives, in the joy of knowing that God loves us, that Christ died for us, and that the Holy Spirit lives in us.
Our full participation in the Eucharist is the real source of the Christian spirit that we wish to see in our personal lives and in all aspects of society. Whether we serve in politics, in the economic, cultural, social or scientific field – no matter what our occupation is – the Eucharist is a challenge to our daily lives.
Dear brothers and sisters: there must always be consistency between what we believe and what we do. We cannot live on the glories of our past Christian history. Our union with Christ in the Eucharist must be expressed in the truth of our lives today – in our actions, in our behaviour, in our life-style, and in our relationships with others.
For each one of us the Eucharist is a call to ever greater effort, so that we may live as true followers of Jesus: truthful in our speech, generous in our deeds, concerned, respectful of the dignity and rights of all persons, whatever their rank or income, self-sacrificing, fair and just, kind, considerate, compassionate and self-controlled – looking to the well-being of our families, our young people, our country, Europe and the world.
The truth of our union with Jesus Christ in the Eucharist is tested by whether or not we really love our fellow men and women; it is tested by how we treat others; especially our families, husbands and wives, children and parents, brothers and sisters. It is tested by whether or not we try to be reconciled with our enemies, on whether or not we forgive those who hurt or offend us. It is tested by whether we practice in life what our faith teaches us. We must always remember what Jesus said: “You are my friends if you do what I command you”. (John 14:14)
Pope John Paul II
General Audience, 1979
Wednesday 1st April
Our Thirst for Jesus
O most sweet Lord
Jesus Christ, transfix the affections of my inmost soul with that most joyous
and healthful wound of your love, with true, serene, holiest apostolic charity,
that my soul may ever languish and melt with entire love and longing for you,
that it may desire you, and faint for your court, long to be dissolved and to
be with you.
Grant that my soul may hunger after you, the Bread of Angels, the Refreshment of holy souls, our daily and supersubstantial Bread, who have all sweetness and savour, and the delight of every taste. Let my heart ever hunger after and feed upon you, upon whom the Angels desire to look, and my inmost soul be filled with the sweetness of your savour.
May it ever thirst for you, the Fountain of life, the Source of wisdom and knowledge, the Fountain of eternal light, the Torrent of pleasure, the Richness of the House of God.
May it ever yearn for you, find you, stretch towards you, attain to you, meditate upon you, speak of you, and do all things to the praise and glory of your holy name, with humility and discretion, with love and delight, with readiness and affection, with perseverance even unto the end.
Be ever my hope and my whole confidence, my riches, my delight, my pleasure and my joy, my rest and tranquility, my peace, my sweetness, and my fragrance, my sweet savour, my food and refreshment., my refuge and help, my wisdom, my portion, my possession, and my treasure, in whom my mind and my heart may ever remain fixed and firm, and rooted immovably, henceforth and for evermore.Amen.
13th century Italian Franciscan theologian and philosopher
Tuesday 31st March
The Eucharist enkindles Charity
As bodily nourishment
restores lost strength, so the Eucharist strengthens our charity, which tends
to be weakened in daily life; and this living charity wipes away venial sins.
By giving Himself to us Christ revives our love and enables us to break our
disordered attachments to creatures and root ourselves in Him:
Since Christ died for us out of love, when we celebrate the memorial of His death at the moment of sacrifice we ask that love may be granted to us by the coming of the Holy Spirit. We humbly pray that in the strength of this love by which Christ willed to die for us, we, by receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, may be able to consider the world as crucified for us, and to be ourselves as crucified to the world…Having received the gift of love, let us die to sin and live for God.
(St. Fulgentius of Ruspe)
Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1394
Monday 30th March
Christ our Love
There is but one Lover of souls and He loves each one of us, as though there were no one else to love. He died for each one of us, as if there were no one else to die for. He died on the shameful cross. The love which He inspires lasts, for it is the love of the unchangeable. It satisfies, for He is inexhaustible. The nearer we draw near to Him, the more triumphantly does He enter into us; the longer He dwells in us, the more intimately have we possession of Him. It is an espousal for eternity.
St. John Henry Newman
Sunday 29th March
Gift of Gifts
Come to me, life-giving Jesus, in thy sweetness and might. Give to me a greater longing for thy gift of gifts. Satisfy my hunger with the Living Bread, and slake my thirst with the Wine of God.
Now I see thee dimly in thy creatures, and now darkly I know thy love. I feel the wickedness of my heart, and am cast down greatly when I think of my unfaithfulness to thee.
Purify me more and more, and cleanse me with the fire of thy Heart. Wash me with thy Precious Blood, and I shall be white; give me more of thy Holy Spirit, and I shall be cleansed.
I adore thee, Jesus, in the Blessed Sacrament, and with all my heart I wish to make myself a fitting temple for thee. Come to me, O Loving Jesus.
Saturday 28th March
How lovely is your dwelling-place,
Lord, God of hosts.
My soul is longing and yearning,
is yearning for the courts of the Lord.
My heart and my soul ring out their joy
to God, the living God.
The sparrow herself finds a home
and the swallow a nest for her brood;
she lays her young by your altars,
Lord of hosts, my king and my God.
They are happy, who dwell in your house,
for ever singing your praise.
They are happy, whose strength is in you,
in whose hearts are the roads to Sion.
As they go through the Bitter Valley
they make it a place of springs,
the autumn rain covers it with blessings.
They walk with ever growing strength,
they will see the God of gods in Sion.
O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer,
give ear, O God of Jacob.
Turn your eyes, O God, our shield,
look on the face of your anointed.
One day within your courts
is better than a thousand elsewhere.
The threshold of the house of God
I prefer to the dwellings of the wicked.
For the Lord God is a rampart, a shield;
he will give us his favour and glory.
The Lord will not refuse any good
to those who walk without blame.
Lord God of hosts,
happy the man who trusts in you!
Friday 27th March
Jesus in our midst
If we really understand the Eucharist,
If we really centre our lives on Jesus’ Body and Blood,
If we nourish our lives with the Bread of the Eucharist,
it will be easy for us to see Christ in that hungry one next door,
the one lying in the gutter,
that alcoholic man we shun,
our husband or our wife,
or our restless child.
For in them we will recognise the distressing guises of the poor:
Jesus in our midst.
Thursday 26th March
Prayer of Praise
Strengthen, O Lord, the hands which are stretched out to receive the Holy Things, that they may daily bring forth the fruit of good works.
Grant, O my Lord, that the lips that praise thee may be worthy to sing to thy praise in thy temple, and glorify thee for ever;
that the ears which have heard the sound of thy canticles may never listen to the noise of fear and dissension;
that the eyes which have seen thy great love may also behold thy blessed hope;
that the tongues which have sung Holy, Holy, Holy, may speak truth;
that the feet which have walked in the church may tread in the place of light;
and that the bodies which have fed upon thy living Body may be restored to newness of life.
Let thine help come upon this congregation and let thy fathomless love remain with us;
may we more widely shew forth thy glory, whose divinity we worship, and may a door be opened to the prayers of us all.
By the gift of the grace of the Holy Ghost we have been able to draw near and become fellow-partakers in these most excellent, holy, divine and life-giving mysteries;
let us praise and rejoice in God, who gave them.
A prayer said by a deacon during the Lord’s Supper in the Liturgy of Malabar. Originally a poem by Ephrem the Syrian.
It was translated from Syriac to English by Charles Humphreys & Percy Dearmer in The English Hymnal, 1906.
Strengthen for service, Lord, the hands
that holy things have taken;
Let ears that now have heard thy songs
to clamour never waken.
Lord, may the tongues which Holy sang
keep free from all deceiving;
the eyes which saw Thy love be bright
thy blessèd hope perceiving.
The feet that tread Thy holy courts
from light do Thou not banish;
the bodies by Thy body fed
with Thy new life replenish.
Wednesday 25th March
(Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord)
There is a profound analogy between the Fiat which Mary said in reply to the angel, and the Amen which every believer says when receiving the body of the Lord. Mary was asked to believe that the One whom she conceived “through the Holy Spirit” was “the Son of God” (Lk 1:30-35). In continuity with the Virgin’s faith, in the Eucharistic mystery we are asked to believe that the same Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Mary, becomes present in his full humanity and divinity under the signs of bread and wine.
“Blessed is she who believed” (Lk 1:45). Mary also anticipated, in the mystery of the incarnation, the Church’s Eucharistic faith. When, at the Visitation, she bore in her womb the Word made flesh, she became in some way a “tabernacle” – the first “tabernacle” in history – in which the Son of God, still invisible to our human gaze, allowed himself to be adored by Elizabeth, radiating his light as it were through the eyes and the voice of Mary. And is not the enraptured gaze of Mary, as she contemplated the face of the newborn Christ and cradled him in her arms, that unparalleled model of love which should inspire us every time we receive Eucharistic communion?
Pope John Paul II
Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 2003
Tuesday 24th March 2020
When last you went to Communion, what were the dispositions of your heart as the bell tinkled in the sanctuary? Were you waiting for him like the shepherds of Bethlehem; were you keeping watch, as they were, over your thoughts, as they over their flocks, so that you were ready for his coming? Or was you heart like the wayside inn, too full of other guests to give a thought to his miraculous birth?
When we make our preparation for Communion, there should be a silence as of midnight in our hearts; not a feverish activity of aspirations and petitions, but an interior silence that banishes form the mind the busy echoes of its daily preoccupations; those plans we were forming, those grudges we were nursing, those anxieties we were harbouring, those fears we were encouraging – well, perhaps it is too much to ask that we should banish them altogether, but they should be hushed, as men’s footsteps are hushed outside the door of a sick-room.
It is in the silence of the heart that we shall hear that whisper, Hoc est Corpus meum, and know that Christ is born.
But if our Lord’s Presence in the Holy Eucharist means a birth, it also means a marriage; the moment at which we receive the Blessed Sacrament is the moment at which he plights his love to us in a supreme manner, making us one with himself…Just in that moment, we want to be all for him, dilectus meus mihi, et ego illi (my Beloved for me, and I for Him); that is the good part surely, which shall not be taken away from us.
R. A. Knox
The Window in the Wall