Reading the Diary of St Faustina, it becomes very clear that her refuge was the Chapel and her greatest love was the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Before Him, whether reserved in the Tabernacle or exposed in the Monstrance, and particularly when receiving Him in Holy Communion, she asked for every grace she needed and particularly those that would sustain her in fulfilling her mission. And from the Blessed Sacrament, she certainly received every grace and blessing. She writes –
“I find myself so weak that were it not for Holy Communion I would fall continually. One thing alone sustains me, and that is Holy Communion. From It I draw my strength; in all, It is my comfort. I fear life on days when I do not receive Holy Communion. I fear my own self. Jesus concealed in the Host is everything to me. From the Tabernacle I draw, strength, power, courage and light. Here, I seek consolation in time of anguish. I would not know how to give glory to God if I did not have the Eucharist in my heart.” (Diary, para.1037)
Indeed, this humble and deeply holy nun, one of the greatest Saints of our time, attributed her sanctity itself to the Blessed Sacrament –
“Jesus, there is one more secret in my life, the deepest and dearest to my heart; it is You Yourself when You come to my heart under the appearance of bread. Herein lies the whole secret of my sanctity. Here, my heart is so united with Yours as to be but one.. such is the omnipotence and miracle of Your mercy.” (Diary, para.1489)
Sometimes we read the lives of the Saints and think their experience could never be ours. And yet, the Church tells us clearly that we are all called to holiness – every single one of us without exception, for that call is universal. How can we become holy? In the same way that St Faustina – and so very many other Saints – did; by living a life filled to the brim with a deep love of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.
Jesus is the One who waits. Ever patient, ever compassionate, ever present, He waits silently in the Tabernacle and in the Monstrance; He waits for us to approach Him with eyes of faith, with hearts of love, with tears of contrition, and with trust in His mercy. He will never disappoint us.
The grace of loving Jesus in the Eucharist is a very special grace, one which fills the soul and pulls it toward the Tabernacle almost irresistibly, like bees to the sweetest of flowers. And yet, sometimes we do resist this grace. That resistance costs us, because particular graces are offered at particular moments; and if we will not accept them, the Lord will use them elsewhere and we have lost out.
As well as being a very special grace, it is also one which the Lord grants most generously. Time and time again, He calls us almost imperceptibly in the stillness of our hearts, asking us to come before Him in the Tabernacle and in the Monstrance, so that He can lavish upon us all the gifts of His Heart. Who could resist such a call as this?
At the beginning of his beautiful work, ‘Divine Intimacy’, Carmelite Priest Fr Gabriel of St Mary Magdalene writes about the invitation to sanctity –
“I place myself in the Presence of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament, contemplating Him as the Redeemer and Sanctifier of my soul .. Sanctity is not reserved for a few; Jesus, by His Incarnation and by His death on the Cross, merited the means of salvation for all who believed in Him. He, the all-holy, came to sanctify us .. Jesus comes not only to save me, but to sanctify me. He is calling me to sanctity and has merited for me all the graces I need to attain it .. therefore, if I do not become a Saint, it is entirely my own fault .. I beseech You, O Lord, repeat this sublime invitation to my poor soul, pressingly, compellingly, so that held by this ideal, it may be urged to greater generosity, stronger resolutions, and more complete confidence in Your merciful work of redemption and sanctification.”
Clearly, then, the words of St Faustina and Fr Gabriel are in unity – Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the Source of every grace and blessing, the means of our sanctification, and He calls every single one of us to this work not only of redemption, but also of sanctification.
All we need to do is listen for, and respond to, His call and place no obstacle in His way.
The great Saints tell us that time spent before the Blessed Sacrament is nothing less than a foretaste of Heaven itself, where we will adore Him eternally. May all of us take advantage of this great gift of the Eucharistic Presence of the Merciful Lord, the One who redeems and sanctifies us.
“O living Host, O hidden Jesus .. kneeling at Your feet, I cast upon the Tabernacle the gaze of my soul, a gaze of faithfulness .. I am listening and waiting for Your coming, O only Treasure of my heart!” (Diary, para.1240)