December 18, 2018

The Holy Eucharist Alone Gave Me The Strength

St. Damien of Molokai:

“Even the breath of the lepers is so foul-smelling that the air is tainted with it. It comes hard on me to live in this atmosphere. One day while I was celebrating Mass, I thought I would suffocate and I was almost unable to restrain myself from rushing out to take a breath of fresh air. But the thought of my Lord before the grave of Lazarus restored me. My sense of smell is already somewhat dulled, so that it is not quite so hard for me to enter the pestilent dwelling-rooms of the poor sick people. Of course, there comes upon me now and then a feeling of loathing, especially when I must hear the confessions of the sick whose wounds are already full of worms similar to those which consume bodies in the grave. I have often been in great perplexity when I wished to give Extreme Unction because there was not to be found free space between the wounds. There are no physicians here, in fact they could be of no use.”

When an Anglican minister wrote to him and asked where he got the strength to persevere in such work, Fr. Damien replied, “The continued presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament and the daily reception of the Holy Eucharist alone gave me the strength to endure.”

Source: Kaczmarek, Louis, Hidden Treasure, The Riches of the Eucharist (Plattsburgh, N.Y., Trinity Communications, 1990) p. 70-71.


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