Jesus’ Eucharistic Obedience

Here begins the third virtue of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist: obedience. St. Peter Julian Eymard, “the Apostle of the Holy Eucharist,” describes Jesus’ Eucharistic Obedience as follows:

To immolate His will, He, the Almighty God, obeys His creature; He, the King, His subjects; He, the Liberator, His slave! He obeys priests and laymen, the just and sinners. He obeys without resistance, He does not have to be forced. He is obedient even to His enemies. With the same eagerness, He fulfills the desires of all. Not only at the Holy Mass, when the priest pronounces the words of Consecration, is He obedient, but at every moment of the day and night, according to the needs of the Faithful. His constant attitude is that of pure and simple obedience. Can this be possible?

O if man comprehended the love of the Eucharist! Jesus was bound during His Passion. He lost His liberty. Here in the Eucharist, He binds Himself. He is bound by the perpetual and absolute bonds of His own promises.

He is chained under the Sacred Species to which He is inseparably united by the sacramental words. In the Eucharist, he is without self-movement, without action, as on the Cross, as in the tomb, although He possesses in Himself the plenitude of resuscitated life.

As the Prisoner of Love, He is absolutely dependent on man. It is impossible for Him to break His chains, to quit His Eucharistic prison. He is our Prisoner even till the end of time! He has engaged Himself to that! The contract of love that reaches thus far!

As to the beatitude of His soul, Jesus can no longer, as at Gethsemani, suspend its raptures and its joys, for He is glorious and resuscitated. But he loses it in man, in the Christian, in His unworthy member. O how often does Jesus behold ingratitude, outrage come to attack Him! How often do Christians imitate the Jews! Jesus wept once over guilty Jerusalem. But He loves us much more. Our sins, our loss afflict Him much more than does the loss of the Jews. How many tears would Jesus shed in the Blessed Sacrament could He weep!1

Jesus is a prisoner of love until the end of time, for He is the only prisoner who refuses to leave His cell, that is, His tabernacle. Day and night, Jesus obeys the Father and obeys mankind. He is the most obedient prisoner who ever lived. Instead of man obeying God, it is God who obeys man. What marvelous humility and docility! What a spectacle of love! Obedience and love command Him to stay “locked up” in the Blessed Sacrament.

While walking on this earth, “He (Jesus) learned obedience through what he suffered” (Heb. 5:8). To obey is to suffer and to suffer is to obey. It is never easy to take orders from another, especially one’s superior, spouse, employer, or parent. And yet, Jesus whom the heavens and earth obey, freely binds Himself perpetually in the Holy Eucharist. He obeys the priest, all the faithful, even His enemies and those who seek to profane Him by their unworthy communions.   

Obedience is one of the most splendid and yet overlooked virtues of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. Here Jesus preaches one of the greatest lessons to mankind not by words, but by silently suffering for mankind until the end of time. When we find it difficult to obey because of Original Sin, we need to look no further than our Eucharistic Lord. Here the Ruler of the Universe is ruled by men. Here the King of the Universe becomes a slave and servant of all. In hell, there is a different prisoner, the devil. He, on the other hand, is not locked up by love. He is locked up by hatred for he would rather “reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven” according to John Milton.2  

Our Eucharistic Lord obeys mankind for one reason alone: love. He loves the Father and He loves us, for without true obedience we cannot experience true freedom. And thus without true obedience, we never fulfill God’s will and be happy. Contrary to the world, obedience does not imprison us because we are united with the prisoner of love, our Eucharistic Lord, who unites His suffering with ours and frees us from the chains of sin.

Long before Jesus became a prisoner in the Most Blessed Sacrament, He was imprisoned on the eve of His passion and death in a dungeon. There He was bound in chains, mocked, spat upon, and crowned with thorns. There He most clearly foreshadowed His Eucharistic imprisonment. So special was Jesus’ imprisonment that a Catholic Church was built there, called the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu and the Kidron Valley. This Church primarily commemorates the place where St. Peter denied Jesus three times.

Beneath the Church is believed to be the place where Jesus became a prisoner for the first time. Rather than being visited by His friends, Jesus was visited by His enemies. Instead of having His heart adored, Jesus adored the Father. This dark and damp dungeon became a place of nocturnal adoration. In fact, it became a prototype for so many tabernacles around the world where our Eucharistic Lord is abandoned and neglected. Can you imagine what would have happened if St. Peter had secretly visited Our Lord in prison rather than betraying and fleeing from Him? No matter the obstacles in our way, our Eucharistic Lord longs for our visits, and He longs for us to imitate His obedience.

Photo by Maegan Martin on Unsplash

1Peter Julian Eymard. The Real Presence (New York: Fathers of the Blessed Sacrament, 1907), 81-83.

2John Milton. Paradise Lost: Books I and II, 15.

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Patrick O'Hearn is a husband and father. He has authored seven books including the Parents of the Saints, The Shepherd at the Crib and the Cross, Courtship of the Saints, The Grief of Dads, Go and Fear Nothing, Our Lady of Sorrows, and Nursery of Heaven (available this August from Sophia Institute Press). He was a contributor to Fr. Don Calloway’s latest book, 30 Day Eucharistic Revival. His subjects of interest include the lives of the saints and the interior life. He holds a Master's in Education from Franciscan University. You can visit his website at

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