Dear Sacred Heart & St. Mary on the Lake,
Fr. Ginu and I will be gone this coming week, September 25-28 th, for our annual priest convocation (no Masses Mon-Thur). Every year it is always a blessing to get together with all the other priests from the Diocese. Please pray for us this week and we will be praying for you.
The Church in America is in the midst of a Eucharistic Revival, a time to reignite faith in Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist. I want to share the powerful story of Elizabeth Seton, patroness of Catholic Schools, who was drawn to the Church specifically because of the Eucharist. Here is part of her story:
“When she traveled to Italy with her husband during his illness, they stayed with her family’s acquaintances, the Filicchis, who welcomed the Setons into their home. She was fascinated by their faith in the Eucharist: they believed that Jesus really meant it when he said that the bread and wine offered at Mass are truly transformed into his Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.
Elizabeth was moved deeply by seeing how the Italian people expressed their belief and devotion to the Eucharist.
In one letter home she wrote, “My sister dear, how happy would we be if we believed what these dear souls believe, that they possess God in the Sacrament and that he remains in their churches and is carried to them when they are sick.”
Eucharistic processions passed by in the street where she was staying. “When they carry the Blessed Sacrament under my window,” she wrote, “I feel the full loneliness and sadness of my case. I cannot stop the tears at the thought, ‘My God, how happy would I be even so far away from all so dear, if I could find you in the church as they do.’”
The knowledge that Jesus Christ was really there in the Catholic Church, waiting for her, dominated her thoughts even after she returned to New York. In her morning walks, she said, “I see nothing but the little bright cross on St. Peter’s steeple,” marking where the Blessed Sacrament resided in the nearby Catholic church.
She still attended Episcopal Sunday services, but she found herself turning to the Catholic Church—literally. “I got in a side pew which turned my face towards the Catholic church on the next street and found myself 20 times speaking to the Blessed Sacrament there instead of looking at the naked altar where I was or minding the routine of prayers,” she said. ….
She made her feelings about the Eucharist clear to her Protestant friends, and they challenged her. One asked, “How can you believe that there are as many gods as there are millions of altars and tens of millions of blessed hosts all over the world?” one asked.
She recalled that her answer wasn’t agitated, but calm and even joyful. “I can but smile at his earnest [albeit erroneous] words, for the whole of my cogitations about it are reduced to one thought,” she wrote. “It is God who does it, the same God who fed so many thousands with the little barley loaves and little fishes, multiplying them of course in the hands which distributed them.”
In fact, she said, “Nothing is so very hard to believe in it [the Eucharist], since it is he [God] who does it. Years ago I read in some old book, when you say a thing is a miracle and you do not understand it, you say nothing against the mystery itself, but only acknowledge your limited knowledge and comprehension which does not understand a thousand things you must yet own to be true.”” https://www.eucharisticrevival.org/post/american-eucharistic-witnesses saint-of-america-saint-of-the-eucharist-st-elizabeth-ann-seton