Jesus, Our Eucharistic Love
by Father Stephano Manelli, O.F.M. Conv., S.T.D.
We are publishing Father Manelli’s book in serial form in our magazine. The first two installments of this book appeared in issues number 4 and 5 of The Fatima Crusader. This is the third installment.
Father Stephano has been a priest for about twenty-five years, and is the Superior of the Friary he founded. His religious community, inspired by Blessed Maximilian Kolbe’s idea of the “City of the Immaculate”, tries to follow ever more closely the ideals and rule of St. Francis of Assisi. The printing facilities and radio station of Father Manelli’s “Casa Mariana” (House of Mary) continue to expand and are used exclusively to make Jesus and Mary better known and loved. Father’s Casa Mariana has expanded so much recently that they sent four missionaries to the Philippines to start a Casa Mariana there. Father Manelli, who has his Doctorate in Sacred Theology, is well known in Italy. His book, Jesus, Our Eucharistic Love, has gone through at least five editions in Italy and over 100,000 copies have been printed. Although some of his other works have been published elsewhere in English, this is the first time that this very solid and devout work has been published in North America. Father was pleased to give us permission to publish his work in English as he looks forward to being able to reach even more souls through the mass media to bring them, through Mary, to the sweet Yoke of Christ.
We are happy to present this, our third installment of his book, and we hope you will like it, as those who have already read Jesus, Our Eucharistic Love attest that it is a very powerful and edifying piece of literature.
The best example of participation at the Holy Sacrifice is given us at the foot of the Cross by the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, St. John the Evangelist and St. Mary Magdalen with the pious women (John 19:25). To assist at Mass is very much like being at Calvary.
St. Andrew Avellino used to be moved to tears as he said, “One cannot separate the Most Holy Eucharist from the Passion of Jesus.”
One day a spiritual son asked Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, “Father, how should we take part at Holy Mass?”
Padre Pio replied, “As Our Lady, St. John and the pious women did on Calvary, loving Him and showing Him pity.”
“The best example of participation at the Holy Sacrifice is given us at the foot of the Cross by the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, St. John the Evangelist and St. Mary Magdalen … To assist at Mass is very much like being at Calvary.”
- Father Manelli
In a missal of one of his spiritual children Padre Pio wrote: “In assisting at Holy Mass, concentrate intently on the tremendous mystery which is taking place before your eyes, and that is the Redemption and reconciliation of your soul with God.” At another time he was asked, “Father, why is it that you cry so much during Mass?” “My daughter”, replied Padre Pio, “what are those few tears compared to what takes place at the altar? There should be torrents of tears!” And still another time it was said to him, “Father, how much you must suffer by standing on the bleeding wounds of your feet for the entire time of Mass!” Padre Pio replied, “During Mass I am not standing, I am hanging.” What a reply! The few words, “I am hanging,” very strongly express what it is to be “crucified with Christ” of which St. Paul speaks (Gal. 2:19), and which distinguishes the true and full participation at Mass from the vain, academic, even to the point of only noisy external verbal participation. St. Bernadette Soubirous spoke well when she said to a new priest, “Remember that the priest at the altar is always Jesus Christ on the cross.” St. Peter of Alcantara vested for Holy Mass as though he were about to go up on Calvary, because all the priestly vestments have a referral to the Passion and Death of Jesus; the alb recalls the white tunic which Herod made Jesus wear in order to mock Him as crazy; the cord recalls the scourging of Jesus; the stole recalls the rope which tied Jesus; the tonsure recalls the crowning with thorns; the chasuble, signed with the sign of the cross, recalls the cross on the shoulders of Jesus.
Those who have assisted at the Mass of Padre Pio recall those burning tears of his; they recall his forceful request that those present follow Holy Mass on their knees; they recall the impressive silence in which the sacred rite unfolded; they recall the distressing suffering which showed itself spontaneously on Padre Pio’s face when he pronounced with great effort the words of Consecration; they remember the fervor of the silent prayer of the faithful which filled the church while Padre Pio, silently, prayed several Rosaries for over one hour.
But the suffering participation of Padre Pio at Holy Mass is the same of all the Saints. The tears of Padre Pio were like those of St. Francis of Assisi (which at times became bloody), like those of St. Vincent Ferrer, of St. Ignatius, of St. Philip Neri, of St. Laurence of Brindisi (who at times soaked seven handkerchiefs with his tears), of St. Veronice Juliani, of St. Joseph of Cupertino, of St. Alphonsus, of St. Gemma Galgani …. But, after all, how is it possible to remain indifferent before the Crucifixion and Death of Jesus? We shall certainly not be like the Apostles who slept in Gethsemane and much less shall we be like the soldiers who, at the foot of the Cross, thought only of the game of dice, heedless of the atrocious spasms of Jesus dying! (And yet, this is the distressing impression that we get when seeing a so-called “rock” Mass, celebrated to the rhythm of guitars playing profane and cheap tunes with women in indecent clothes and youths in the most strange fashions… “Lord, pardon them!”)
Let us watch the Blessed Virgin and the Saints. Let us imitate them. Only by following them are we on the right road, the road which “has pleased God” (1 Cor. 1:21).
Holy Mass and the Souls in Purgatory
Once we have left this world, there is nothing we will desire more than the celebration of Holy Mass for our souls. The Holy Sacrifice of the Altar is the most powerful intercessory prayer, for it surpasses every prayer, every penance and every good work. Nor will it be difficult for us to understand that if we recall that the Sacrifice of the Mass is the same Sacrifice of Jesus, which He offered on the Cross and which He now offers on the altar with its infinite expiatory value. Jesus immolated, is the true Victim of “Propitiation for our sins” (1 John 2:2) and His Divine Blood is effused “unto remission of sins” (Matt. 26:28). Absolutely nothing can be equaled to Holy Mass, and the salutary fruits of the Sacrifice can be extended to an unlimited number of souls.
One time, during the celebration of Holy Mass in the Church of St. Paul at the Three Fountains in Rome, St. Bernard saw an unending stairway which went up to Heaven. Very many angels went up and down on it, carrying from Purgatory to Paradise the souls freed by the Sacrifice of Jesus, renewed by priests on the altars all over the world.
Thus, at the death of one of our relatives, let us take much more care about having celebrated, and assisting at, Holy Masses for him, rather than about the flowers, the dark clothes and the funeral procession …
There are recounted many apparitions of souls being purified in Purgatory who came to ask Padre Pio to offer Holy Mass for their intentions so that they would be able to leave Purgatory. One day he celebrated Holy Mass for the father of one of his fellow Franciscan brothers. At the end of the Holy Sacrifice, Padre Pio said to his brother, “This morning the soul of your father has entered into Heaven.” The brother was very happy to hear that, yet he said to Padre Pio, “But, Father, my good father died thirty-two years ago.” “My son”, Padre Pio replied, “before God everything is paid for.” And it is Holy Mass which obtains for us a price of infinite value: The Body and the Blood of Jesus, the “Immaculate Lamb” (Apoc. 5:12).
During a sermon one day, the Holy Curé of Ars gave the example of a priest who, celebrating Mass for his deceased friend, after the Consecration prayed as follows, “Holy and Eternal Father, let us make an exchange. You possess the soul of my friend in Purgatory; I have the Body of Your Son in my hands. You liberate for me my friend, and I offer to You, Your Son, with all the merits of His Passion and Death.”
Let us remember: All prayers and good works offered for a soul are good and commendable, but when we can, let us above all have celebrated Holy Masses (especially the Thirty Gregorian Masses), for the souls of the deceased who are dear to us.
In the life of Blessed Henry Suso we read that as a young man he had made this agreement with a brother of his religious order, “Whichever one of us outlives the other, let him hasten the glory of the one who has passed into eternity with the celebration of one Holy Mass every week.” The companion of Blessed Henry died first in a mission territory. Blessed Henry remembered his promise for a little while, then, because he had been obliged to celebrate Masses for others, he substituted the weekly Mass which he had promised his friend with prayers and penances. But his friend appeared to him and scolded him, “Your prayers and your penances are not sufficient for me, I need the Blood of Jesus,” “because it is with the Blood of Jesus that we pay the debts of our sins” (Col. 1:14).
Also, the great St. Jerome has written that “for every Mass devoutly celebrated many souls leave Purgatory and they fly to Heaven.” The same must be said for Holy Masses devoutly heard. St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi, the well-known Carmelite mystic, was in the habit of mentally offering the Blood of Jesus for the purpose of freeing the souls in Purgatory, and in an ecstasy Jesus showed her that truly many souls in Purgatory were liberated by the offering of the Precious Blood. Nor could it be otherwise because, as St. Thomas Aquinas teaches, that just one drop of the Blood of Jesus with Its infinite value, can save the whole universe from every offense.
Let us, therefore, pray for the souls in Purgatory, and free them from their pains by having celebrated and hearing many Holy Masses. “All good works taken together”, said the holy Curé of Ars, “cannot have the value of one Holy Mass, because they are the works of men, whereas the Holy Mass is the work of God.”
JESUS IN ME
“He who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood abides in Me and I in him.” (John 6:57)
• Section 1 - Holy Communion: Jesus is Mine
• Section 2 - The Purity of Soul Necessary for Holy Communion
• Section 3 - Thanksgiving after Holy Communion
• Section 4 - The Bread of the Strong and Viaticum for Heaven
• Section 5 - Every day with Him
• Section 6 - Spiritual Communion
Holy Communion: Jesus is Mine
|Our Lord instituted the Holy Eucharist in order that He could remain with us in the Real Presence always, and so that we may nourish the Divine Life of Sanctifying Grace in our souls by receiving Him in Holy Communion.|
In Holy Communion Jesus gives Himself to me and becomes mine, all mine, in His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Thus, one day, St. Gemma Galgani said candidly to Jesus, “I am Your master.”
With Communion, Jesus enters my heart and remains corporally present in me as long as the species (the appearance) of bread lasts; that is, for about 15 minutes. During this time, the Holy Fathers teach that the angels surround me to continue to adore Jesus and love Him without interruption. “When Jesus is corporally present within us, the angels surround us as a guard of love,” wrote St: Bernard.
Perhaps we think too little about the sublimity of every Holy Communion, and yet, St. Pius X said that “if the Angels could envy, they would envy us for Holy Communion.” And St. Madeleine Sophie Barat defined Holy Communion as “Paradise on earth.”
All the saints have understood by experience the Divine marvel of the meeting and the union with Jesus in the Eucharist. They have understood that a devout Holy Communion means to be possessed by Him and to possess Him. “He who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood abides in Me and I in him” (John 6:57). One time St. Gemma Galgani wrote, “It is now night, tomorrow morning is approaching and then Jesus will possess me and I will possess Jesus.” It is not possible to have a union of love more profound and more total: He in me and I in Him; the one in the other. What more could we want?
“You envy”, said St. John Chrysostom, “the opportunity of the woman who touched the vestments of Jesus, of the sinful woman who washed His feet with her tears, of the women of Galilee who had the happiness of following Him in His pilgrimages, of the Apostles and disciples who conversed with Him familiarly, of the people of the time who listened to the words of grace and salvation which came forth from His lips. You call happy those who saw Him … But, come to the altar and you will see Him, you will touch Him, you will give to Him holy kisses, you will wash Him with your tears, you will carry Him within you like Mary Most Holy."
For this reason the saints have desired and longed for Holy Communion with ardent love; for example, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Paschal Baylon, St. Veronica, St. Gerard, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, St. Dominic Savio, St. Gemma Galgani … it is pointless to continue because one would really need to list all the saints.
For example, it happened one night to St. Catherine of Genoa, that she dreamed that the following day she would not be able to receive Holy Communion. The sorrow that she experienced was so great that she cried unceasingly, and when she woke up the next morning she found that her face was all wet from the tears she shed in her dream.
St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus has written a little Eucharistic poem, “Desires near the Tabernacle”, in which, among other beautiful things, she said, “I would like to be the chalice, there where I would adore the Divine Blood. I can however in the Holy Sacrifice, gather It in me every morning. My soul is therefore more dear to Jesus, it is more precious than vessels of gold.” And what was not the happiness of the angelic Saint when, during an epidemic, daily Communion was conceded to her?
St. Gemma Galgani, one time was put to the test by a confessor who forbade her to receive Holy Communion. “O Father, Father”, she wrote to her spiritual director, “today I went to Confession and the confessor has said that I must stop receiving Jesus. O my Father, my pen does not want to write more, my hand shakes strongly, I cry.” Dear Saint! Truly a seraphim all on fire with love for the Eucharistic Jesus.
Similarly, St. Gerard Majella, for a false and slanderous report from which he did not wish to defend himself, was punished by being deprived of Holy Communion. The suffering of the Saint was such that one day he refused to go to serve Holy Mass for a priest who was visiting, “because”, he said, “on seeing Jesus in the Host in the hands of the priest, I would not be able to resist taking by force the Host from his hands.” What longing consumed this wonderful Saint! And what a rebuke for us who, perhaps, are able to receive Holy Communion daily with ease and we do not do it. It is a sign that we lack the essential: love. And perhaps we are so in love with earthly pleasures that we can no longer appreciate the heavenly delights of union with Jesus in the Host. “Child, how can you feel the fragrance of Paradise which diffuses Itself from the Tabernacle?” asked St. Philip of a young man in love with the pleasures of the flesh, of dances and amusements. The joys of the Eucharist and the satisfaction of the senses are “opposed to each other” (Gal. 5:17) and the “sensual man perceives not these things which are of the Spirit of God” (1 Cor. 2:14). This is wisdom which comes from God.
St. Philip Neri loved the Eucharist so much that, even when he was gravely ill, he received Holy Communion every day, and if Jesus was not brought to him very early in the morning he became very upset and he could not find rest in any way. “I have such a desire to receive Jesus”, he exclaimed, “that I cannot give myself peace while I wait.” The same thing took place in our own time to Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, since only obedience could make him wait until 4 or 5 a.m. to celebrate Mass. Truly, the love of God is a “Devouring Fire”. (Deut. 4:24)
|“In Holy Communion Jesus gives Himself to me and becomes mine, all mine, in His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.”
- Father Stephano Manelli
When Jesus is mine, the whole Church exalts, the Church in Heaven, in Purgatory and the Church on earth. Who can express the joy of the Angels and Saints at every Holy Communion devoutly received? A new current of love arrives in Paradise and it makes the blessed spirits vibrate every time that a creature unites himself to Jesus to possess Him and be possessed by Him. A Holy Communion is of much greater value than an ecstasy, a rapture or a vision. Holy Communion transports the whole of Paradise into my poor heart!
For the souls in Purgatory then, Holy Communion is the dearest personal gift which they can receive from us. Who can say how much Holy Communions are helpful in their liberation? One day St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi’s dead father appeared to her and he said that one hundred and seven Holy Communions were necessary for him to be able to leave Purgatory. In fact, at the last of the one hundred and seven Holy Communions offered for him, the Saint saw her father ascend into Heaven.
St. Bonaventure made himself an apostle of this truth and he spoke of it in vibrant tones, “O Christian souls, do you wish to prove your true love toward your dead? Do you wish to send them the most precious help and golden key to Heaven? Receive Holy Communion often for the repose of their souls.”
Finally, let us reflect that in Holy Communion we unite ourselves not only to Jesus but also to all the members of the Mystical Body of Christ, especially to the souls most dear to Jesus and most dear to our heart. It is in Holy Communion that we realize fully the words of Jesus, “I in them … that they may be perfect in unity” (John 17:23). The Eucharist renders us one, even among ourselves, His members, “all one in Jesus” as St. Paul says (Gal. 3:28). Holy Communion is truly all love of God and neighbor. It is the true “feast of love”, as St. Gemma Galgani said. And in this “feast of love” the soul in love can exult singing with St. John of the Cross, “Mine are the heavens and mine is the earth, mine are men, the just are mine and sinners are mine. The Angels are mine, and also the Mother of God, all things are mine. God Himself is mine and for me because Christ is mine and all for me.”