25. EUCHARISTIC APOSTOLATE
Now, we have to talk of the apostolate of works, of your apostolates: eucharistic apostolate, priestly apostolate, liturgical apostolate.
It is said and it is also expressed in the Constitutions, that the Pious Disciples do eucharistic apostolate. Ninety-nine out of a hundred Pious Disciples believe that such apostolate is only the Adoration. This certainly is part, the first part, but the eucharistic apostolate as understood, is much more extensive and the Pious Disciples shall understand it, shall carry it out, if they will have intelligent persons and a good group of those who can dedicate themselves to study.
There had been the difficulty with the Holy See as to the approval of the Daughters of St. Paul and I've had to work several years for this. As a matter of fact, it is difficult to understand how a woman could reconcile the interior life, which is required of the religious, with an apostolate that demands much activity.
Whereas for you, there was no difficulty to obtain the approval of the Church and be accepted by her. We are the ones who create the difficulties.
Your apostolate enters in the essence of the apostolate of the Church. The main difficulty is that you are not yet capable, nor prepared.
Adoration, yes, but also study. The zeal for the Eucharist requires on one hand, a profound knowledge of Theology. To arrive to that, it is necessary to immediately set apart a number of you who are to study the treatise De Eucharistia.1
You are merely at the threshold. The Institute has to commit itself to get into its path.
To carry out the eucharistic apostolate means:
- to understand the mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist;
- to comprehend that persons have to nourish themselves of the Eucharist;
- to implore the Lord and to get into action, so as to succeed in it.
You must pray and work in this sense. You also have to write, publish, diffuse. You must lead the persons to the Mass, to the Visit, to Communion; to establish the Forty Hours, eucharistic triduum, to prepare those for First Communion, for the Viaticum; to implore that churches may be constructed, that the centres of Jesus Eucharist may be multiplied.
You see how immense is your apostolate; it is the first thing I conceived in mind. I have seen and studied the Priest Adorers,1 but I also imagine the woman: apostle of the Eucharist!
Such I thought from the beginning, since the time I under-stood that this group of selected souls is the will of God.
The Adoration is the first part common to all the (P) Disciples. Wherever you will go, always find the time for Adora-tion. If you will not be nourished of the Eucharist, you will die of starvation. Ut eruat a morte animas eorum et alat eos in fame1 (to rescue their souls from death and keep them alive in famine).
Jesus wants to nourish and satisfy you of himself. If anyone thirsts, let him come to me, let him drink.2 I am the living bread come down from heaven.3
Your two hours of Adoration can be simple prayers and can be apostolate. If a simple lay person, a pious woman go to church to pray, they do a meritorious act of piety, but not a work of apos-tolate in itself. For you, that is not enough. Besides the private prayers, you have to accomplish a true apostolate, making your Adoration useful to the Church, to persons.
Examples of Adoration that becomes apostolate: to pray that all the churches destroyed in Russia may be reconstructed; that churches which are lacking may rise in the outskirts of the big cities; that eucharistic preaching may increase and be done in the rightful manner and may bear fruit; that eucharistic publications, journals, pictures, medals may multiply and that all, many, may be diffused! Something has been done, but it is needed to multiply the works endlessly. This Jesus is always the hidden God,1 is always the much forgotten One and there is nobody who speaks enough of him.
Your apostolate aims at the Eucharist, Priesthood, Liturgy. The Pious Disciples have to be this and must be so, first of all, by avoiding sin and living an innocent life.
They have to dedicate themselves to eucharistic activity: to promote associations of Adorers; to establish collective Adora-tions in different places; to promote Communion on the first Sunday of the month in honor of the Divine Master, Communion on the first nine Fridays; to obtain that many persons may come to the divine Dweller of the Tabernacle; to invent, to multiply the inventions of love that may lead all to the goal: to glorify the Most Holy Eucharist.
The Divine Master must dominate in the whole world, he must be for every person, the true light that enlightens. In these days of your Exercises, he is here all for you, so that you may walk in this light throughout the year. You have to be dedicated persons, lost and totally consecrated to the Divine Master, so as to make him known, loved, served and glorified.
Read the life of Blessed Eymard1 and his writings, too. He was a great lover of the Eucharist. Read also the life of the Saints who are distinguished for this devotion and who are particularly consecrated to the eucharistic worship.
Knowledge serves to nourish the soul of the Pious Disciple; in order to nourish also the others, the (P)Disciples must make progress in study. It is not merely a theoretical study, but also practical, pastoral. To know and to make known the mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist.
The (P)Disciple must be a eucharistic person and an apostolic soul of the Eucharist. The Adoration makes her such.
There are many apostolates in the Church, however, if these do not lead persons to the Sacred Host, they are merely noise, words and not spirit and life.1 Your apostolate is magnificent, it is immense; there can be no effective activity without it. All the other apostolates should end up in yours and none of them can exist without yours. The parts of the body are at work because there is the soul and it is the soul that produces motion. The devil worked hard to keep people away from the Eucharist, especially with Jansenism. Souls arise who fight the devil and defeat him! Oh, the eucharistic piety of the first Christians! And where are we now? Let us pray and work.
In practice: to make progress as possible and to be convinced that the Pious Disciples need many vocations and intelligent, selected vocations.
May Jesus from the Holy Tabernacle bless you.
1 After the canonical approval of the Institute, some Pious Disciples were sent to higher studies of the sacred sciences.
1 The Priest Adorers were founded by St. Peter Julian Eymard (1811-1868) in 1856.
1 Ps. 32, 19.
2 Jn. 7, 37.
3 Jn. 6, 51.
1 Cf. Is. 45, 5.
1 Peter Julian Eymard (1811-1868), founder of the Priest Adorers of the Most Blessed Sacrament and of the Handmaids of the Most Blessed Sacrament; he was declared saint on December 9, 1962.
1 Cf. Jn. 6, 63.