December 17, 2013

No Preparation an Hour Before

Father Eymard’s sermons were quite of a new kind; they filled his hearers with admiration. People had never heard anyone speak about the Eucharist as he did They would have listened to him for hours. In less time than it takes to tell, his reputation covered Toulon, and the priests of the city vied with one another in inviting him to come and preach in their churches on the days of weekly adoration which they were quick to sponsor. People of course, looked upon him as a saint, whose words seemed to be inspired.

One evening he preached such a wonderful sermon in the Cathedral of Toulon that some of those present could not help telling him so. Somewhat surprised, he said: “Do you really think I said fine things? An hour before preaching, I was not yet prepared. But that hour I spent before the tabernacle. There I said to Our Lord, ‘Let us go preach.’ It was Our Lord who preached.”

This story seems to recount such a little thing. There is no dramatic physical healing which cannot be explained by medical science, there is no extraordinary vision which is simultaneously seen by dozens or hundreds, there is no consecrated Host that remains intact while a fire destroys a church around it, nor any other spectacular event that is venerated for centuries afterward. Yet, it is every bit a revelation of His Presence. This website itself has seen prior accounts of persons known to its administrator who have experienced just this real effect. They know their own limitations. They sense when something comes so easily that it pronounces those limitations, but gently. The realization breaks over the person from his own interior, causing him or her to feel no self-criticism, but only a grateful wonder and awe.

Father Eymard knew that feeling. To him, no one should be surprised by an unusually good work. No one should doubt that the good that we do is not to our own credit, that He is with us, and that any moments when we shine are simply moments when we let Him live in us. People who spend time in Adoration understand this; they have a common sense of this. There is no surprise to them at what emanates from such time. Why should there be? What should one not expect?

(First two paragraphs above taken from My Daily Eucharist II by Joan Carter McHugh, and an excerpt contained there from Champion of the Blessed Sacrament: Saint Peter Julian Eymard, by Fr. Martin Dempsey)


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