Moving closer to the end of the second week of Advent, we focus on the Eucharist. Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. . . . He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him. As I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me” (John 6:48, 56–57).
The Eucharist is central to our lives as Catholics and a vital part of Our Lady of Fatima’s message. The shepherd children were instructed in the Eucharist. Let’s look at what our Church teaches:
“At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. This he did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved Spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a Paschal banquet ‘in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.’”
The Eucharist and the Incarnation
St. Irenaeus called the Eucharist, “The prolongation of the incarnation.” The Incarnation began in Christ’s mother’s womb. The Blessed Mother is intimately united to Jesus in the Eucharist. An eminent authority on the Eucharist, St. Peter Julian Eymard, who founded the Blessed Sacrament Fathers, gave Mary the title “Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament.” He stated, “It was her consent to the Incarnation of the Word in her womb that inaugurated the great mystery of reparation to God and union with us which Jesus accomplished during his mortal life; and He continues in the Eucharist.”
As a Carmelite nun, Sr. Lucia spoke about Mary’s connection to the Eucharist. She said:
It is the body received from Mary, that in Christ becomes a victim offered up for the salvation of mankind; it is the blood received from Mary that circulates in Christ’s veins and which pours out from his Divine Heart; it is this same body and this same blood, received from Mary, that are given to us, under the appearances of bread and wine, as our daily food, to strengthen within us the life of grace, and so continue in us, members of the Mystical Body of Christ, his redemptive work for the salvation of each and all to the extent to which each one clings to Christ and co-operates with Christ.
Amazingly, the children were catechized in the Eucharist by the Angel of Peace and Our Lady. We recall that at the first visit, the angel bowed profoundly and taught the poor shepherds this prayer: “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love You. I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You.”
In the second visit, he taught them to offer everything to God as a reparation for sin. In his third visit, he taught Lucia, Francisco, and little Jacinta how to adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and he also gave them Holy Communion, which underscores the great importance of Jesus in our lives and of nourishing our hearts and souls with the Bread of Life. Later, after the angel’s visits, in 1917, the Mother of God would train the young visionaries through each of her apparitions. She taught Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta how to worship and adore God.
The Church teaches:
In the Eucharist the sacrifice of Christ becomes also the sacrifice of the members of his Body. The lives of the faithful, their praise, their suffering, their prayers, their work, are united to those of Christ. In as much as it is a sacrifice, the Eucharist is likewise offered for all the faithful, living and dead, in reparation for the sins of all and to obtain spiritual and temporal benefits from God. The Church in heaven is also united to the offering of Christ.
Visiting the Lord
As we learn from the three young children, adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is not reserved for adults. Prof. Américo Pablo López-Ortiz, international president of the World Apostolate of Fatima, spoke about the importance of teaching children to pray in adoration. He spoke about hope for the future in our children and Our Lady of Fatima’s message. He said, “There is a great sign of hope: Our Lady of Fatima revealed in her Apparitions the great role of children in our times in the Divine Plan for the salvation of many souls.”
Prof. López-Orti encourages us to recognize how wonderful things can happen with prayer — with children’s innocent prayer, especially in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Specifically, he said, “when children come together to pray, as the three little shepherds of Fatima did in the first prayer cell of the world, great things happened. The formidable obstacles created by evil, hatred, and violence crumble as they are confronted with the pure, simple faith of children in God’s love, grace, and mercy.”
We must teach our children and grandchildren the message of Our Lady of Fatima, the importance of prayer and sacrifice for sinners, and encourage them to spend time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
As Prof. López-Ortiz puts it, “Our children must come to our tabernacles to visit Jesus Christ present in a real way, waiting for them, to transform them into his image so that they will become light for the world, salt for their families, and happiness for our entire societies. It is through the meditative prayer of adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament that the Kingdom of God will come to earth, transforming the lives of our entire societies as they come closer to God.”
We can be sure that time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament in adoration and in receiving the Eucharist at Mass give us much peace and the necessary strength to fight the good fight and make our way to heaven. We should strive to be with Jesus in His Eucharistic presence whenever we are able. We should also try to make more fervent thanksgivings after receiving Jesus in Holy Communion. During this Advent, draw closer to your Savior and prepare your heart for His coming at Christmas, as well as for His Second Coming. Stay awake!
Dear Jesus and Our Lady of Fatima, please help me to receive Holy Communion more worthily this Advent. Our Lady of Fatima, please pray for me.
Pray the Rosary today in honor of Our Lady of Fatima and for peace in the world.
Anima Christi (Soul of Christ)
(Very fitting to pray after receiving Holy Communion)
Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from Christ’s side, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O good Jesus, hear me.
Within Thy wounds hide me.
Suffer me not to be separated from Thee.
From the malicious enemy defend me.
In the hour of my death call me
and bid me come unto Thee
that I may praise Thee with Thy saints
and with Thy angels,
forever and ever. Amen.
Draw closer to Jesus today. Offer a sacrifice in reparation for sinners, as Our Lady of Fatima has asked. Every sacrifice — big or small — when offered lovingly is pleasing to God. Strive to convert your heart today with God’s grace and Mother Mary’s help, remembering that conversion of heart should be a daily occurrence.
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