Jesus’ Eucharistic Poverty

Jesus’ Eucharistic Poverty is the fifth and final virtue in this series. Few people willingly seek poverty. Poverty carries a negative quality in today’s consumeristic, property Gospel culture. And yet, Jesus shows the opposite—poverty is the gateway to the riches of Heaven. If we want to become poor in spirit and rich in virtue, we must study Jesus’ Eucharistic Poverty and consume Him frequently. St. Peter Julian Eymard, “the Apostle of the Eucharist,” as proclaimed by several popes, reminds us of how precious the virtue of poverty is with these words:

In everything He did and procured for Himself, He sought what was poorest. See Him during His apostolic life. He kept on wearing working clothes and continued living like the poor. He knelt on the bare ground for prayer. He ate barely bread, the bread of the poor. He lived on charity. He traveled like the poor and, like them, experienced hunger and thirst without being able to satisfy it as He pleased. His poverty made Him contemptible in the eyes of the rich and the great; in spite of that He did not hesitate to tell them: Vae vobis divitibus! “Woe to you, O ye rich men of the earth!”

He chose disciples poor like Himself, and forbade them to have two coats, or provisions for the future, or money, or a staff wherewith to defend themselves. He died forsaken and stripped even of His poor garments. He was buried in a borrowed shroud and laid in a sepulcher offered by the charity of friends. Even after His Resurrection He appeared to His Apostles in the trappings of poverty.

Lastly, in the Most Blessed Sacrament His love of poverty leads Him to veil the glory of His divinity and the splendor of His glorified humanity. He deprives Himself therein of all freedom and of exterior action as well as of all ownership in order to be all the poorer and have nothing He can call His own. In a way, He is in the eucharist as in His holy Mother’s womb, wrapped up in the Sacred Species and hidden beneath them, awaiting from the charity of man the matter of His Sacrament and the articles required for worship.1

The Pharisees and Sadducees expected the Messiah to be a powerful, political ruler. Our Lord came to turn their world and ours upside down. Our Lord’s love for poverty was manifested throughout His life and endures until the end of the world in the Holy Eucharist. Every time we gaze upon the Sacred Host, we ought to be convinced that the God of the Universe prefers the poverty of our hearts to His Divine Throne. The question we should ask ourselves is: why is our Lord so enamored with poverty? St. Peter Julian Eymard addresses this beautifully in the following words:

In the first place, because as a child of Adam He had adopted the state of our exiled nature, which had been stripped of its rights over inferior creatures: in the second place, because He wanted to sanctify by His poverty all the acts of poverty to be performed in His Church. He became poor in order that through His not caring about earthly possessions He might detach us from them and impart to us the riches of heaven. He became poor so that poverty, which is our condition, our penance, and our means of reparation might through Him become honorable, desirable, and loveable. He became poor to show us and prove us His love. He remains poor in the Sacrament, in spite of His glorified state, in order always to be our living and visible model.2

Our Lord came to identify with us sinners, and to show us the way to the Father. While many seek to amass riches in this passing world, our Eucharistic Lord reminds us that He is our greatest treasure Who never passes away. How amazing that Jesus became poor in the Holy Eucharist, so that He could bestow all His virtues and graces to whomever is properly disposed? The more time we spend gazing on the Holy Eucharist and receiving Him worthily, the less we will concern ourselves with earthly riches. With God’s grace, we can slowly detach ourselves from the pursuit of earthly treasures: money, possessions, and status. Instead, we ought to focus solely on the one, lasting treasure, the Holy Eucharist, “for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt. 6:21). If our hearts seek anything but God, they will be deceived and downtrodden. But if they seek only our Eucharistic Lord, they will find serenity amidst the changing seasons and sufferings of life.

Photo by amirali mirhashemian on Unsplash

1St. Peter Julian Eymard, The Real Presence: Eucharistic Meditations (New York: The Sentinel Press, 1938), 229-230.

2St. Peter Julian Eymard, The Real Presence: Eucharistic Meditations (New York: The Sentinel Press, 1938), 231.

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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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