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Vol. XI, August, 2005

 

The Call of the Holy Angels to Expiation

Dear Brothers in the Priesthood!

St. Peter Julian Eymard, the founder of the Blessed Sacrament Fathers and Sisters, reflected throughout his life on the Eucharistic Lord. This is certainly an angelic virtue. The holy angels contemplate their Lord and God unceasingly in heaven (cf. Mt 18:10) and wherever else He might be. When the Son of God became man in Bethlehem, “suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased!’”(Lk 2:13-14). The holy angels stayed with Jesus, even when He exposed Himself to sinners and their ill treatment, such that “He had no form or comeliness that we should look at Him, and no beauty that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Is 53:2-3). When He began to be sorrowful and troubled in Gethsemani, and even directed Himself to the Apostles saying, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with Me” (Mt 26:38), “there appeared to Him an angel from heaven, strengthening Him” (Lk 22:43).

The Angel of Fatima, in the course of his second apparition, implored the children: “Offer constantly to the Almighty prayers and sacrifices,” and “Offer a sacrifice to atone for sins that offended Him.” Still more expressly at the third apparition, he asked them “Jesus Christ [is] terribly outraged by the ingratitude of men. Offer reparation for their sins and console your God.” May this message not fail its purpose with us: the angels are ever looking for those who will accompany Jesus as they do, especially at times when men normally would flee, in hours of suffering, when He appears “as One from whom men hide their faces” (Is 53:3). Pope John Paul II’s exhortation similarly surprises us, when he exhorts us: “Let us take the time to kneel before Jesus present in the Eucharist, in order to make reparation by our faith and love for the acts of carelessness and neglect, and even the insults which our Savior must endure in many parts of the world” (Mane nobiscum Domine, 18b). Inspired by St. Peter Julian Eymard (cf. Eymard Library, vol 3: Eucharistic Retreat, 315-336), and based on the faith of the real and continuous presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, let us hear in this month the call of the holy angels to “reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He (Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world) is offended”. To this end, we want to reflect upon the life of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and ask pardon for all our negligence and for that of each one of our confreres in the holy priesthood.

THE STATIONS OF THE CROSS—OF EUCHARISTIC REPARATION

Introduction at each station:

We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee—because, by Thy Holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.

Conclusion at each station:

See “the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ—terribly outraged by the ingratitude of men. Offer reparation for their sins—and console your God” (Angel of Fatima to the children, last apparition).

Let us pray: “O angelic spirits, who guard our tabernacles, wherein lies the adorable treasure of the Holy Eucharist, defend it from profanation and preserve it for our love” (St. Jose Maria Escrivá de Balaguer, The Way, 569).

First Station: Jesus is condemned to death.

Let us contemplate in this Station that our sins obliged the Son of God to offer His Life to the Father in reparation for us. But we have to consider also His love with which He wants to give Himself, for no one takes His life, but He gives it freely. He wants to give Himself for us, to give us His life through His death, to give Himself to us in the Most Blessed Sacrament. (Pause, followed by the common conclusion.)

Second Station: Jesus is burdened with the Cross.

Jesus embraces the Cross of His Passion, His suffering, His death. Jesus embraces His powerlessness, exposing Himself to the love of some, but also to the hate of others. Jesus embraces it! Let us reflect on the immensity of this, His free decision. How much love, how few, how little the response!

Third Station: Jesus falls for the first time.

Let us contemplate the first fall of Jesus: In order to give Himself to the eleven in love, greater than which does not exist, He had to give Himself also to Judas. How many receive Him worthily and with love; how many unworthily, with distractions and without faith!

Fourth Station: Jesus meets His sorrowful Mother.

What a happy moment was this encounter of Jesus with His Mother? It strengthened Him. How few go to Jesus in the tabernacle. And how brief are their visits! And how much time passes between these visits, in which He remains alone without company. So rich is this treasure—but how few who embrace It and partake of Its richness of grace!

Fifth Station: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry the Cross.

Where are the Apostles, where are the priests? Simon of Cyrene helps, but not out of good will. Can the faithful safeguard the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament? It is not their principle mission. Moreover, many are insufficiently instructed so that they cannot adequately esteem this role, except through the grace of faith.

Sixth Station: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.

The compassion of a simple woman meant so much to Our Lord. How much good He expects to accomplish through the silent prayer of even an illiterate soul before Him in the tabernacle! What a consolation even a short prayer, or even a silent but comprehensive and loving glance is for Him.

Seventh Station: Jesus falls for a second time.

The second fall begins with those priests who take not the care to purify their fingers from particles of the Host, who do not purify the sacred vessels, who do not use the prescribed paten, who do not teach the people to observe and care for Jesus in the smallest particles of the Sacred Host.

Eighth Station: Jesus speaks to the women of Jerusalem.

We find much noise at this station of the Way of the Cross of the Eucharistic Jesus, but little respect, feelings, or any real help. Only a few signs remind us of His presence and reveal the faith in His divinity. Careful attention to liturgical vestments, religious embellishments, clean linens in a worthy sanctuary are so frequently lacking.

Ninth Station: Jesus falls for the third time.

This third fall is the hardest. We see how often Jesus falls in the Blessed Sacrament to the ground, through haste and lack of care. He falls tremendously in the sacrilegious communions. Behind them are the callous disregard and lack of preparation on the part of the celebrants as well as of the faithful who let the preparation for Mass and Communion just fall to the side through, for example, frivolous conversation just before Mass. The holy angels look unceasingly at Him. Should we not ask them to hasten to help Him and us?

Tenth Station: Jesus is stripped of His garments.

At this station we meditate on and ask pardon from Jesus for the Holy Masses celebrated without any solemnity and at any place; pardon for any disobedience to the rubrics by means of which the dignity of the Sacrament should be guaranteed. Let us meditate on the Holy Communions received in the midst of other festivities, without due respect for the Eucharistic fast.

Eleventh Station: Jesus is nailed to the Cross.

Jesus, in this Sacrament so often (always) placed in the hands of others, is still put aside, “outside of the Community”. He is hardly ever exposed for the purpose of adoration. He is crucified in the so-called “intercommunions”, handed over to hearts which are not prepared. Let us ask pardon for all the Communions without faith and love and for other such sacrileges.

Twelfth Station: Jesus dies on the Cross.

Let us contemplate the three hours’ agony of Jesus on the Cross and His death. His agony includes when professors in the colleges teach and afterwards their students as priests preach from the pulpit against His real presence, disorienting or confusing the faithful. What does He suffer in the stolen, consecrated Host, what in black masses!

Thirteenth Station: Jesus is laid in the arms of His holy Mother.

Our Lady, with the dead Body of Jesus on her lap, directs our look to the empty tabernacles, to the abandoned tabernacles, to the sold churches and holy buildings which are today used for other purposes yet sometimes still for the liturgy.

Fourteenth station: Jesus is laid in the tomb.

At this station we contemplate our own Communions, in which we did not offer all our heart. How often we just “buried” Jesus at Communion through inadequate thanksgiving, just forgetting about Him so that Jesus could not rise in our life! Have mercy, Lord, have mercy!

Dear Brothers in the Priesthood!

We are especially near to Our Crucified Lord. Let us become a strong and faithful companion of our holy angels in order to become better priests, nearer to Him. In these days was published the Instrumentum laboris for the members of the Synod in October (see www.vatican.va Synod of Bishops). Let us pray and ask for prayers for the Synod and the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation which will probably be written by Benedcit XVI. Together with the discussions and documents of the last years, the specific effort of consolidating the liturgical reform of Vatican II will certainly herewith reach its summit.

Fr. Titus Kieninger, ORC