On the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, June 19, 2022, the United States Council of Catholic Bishops instituted a Eucharistic Revival. This three-year initiative hopes to enkindle a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist through resources such as retreats, processions, workshops and other initiatives.
The martyr of Auschwitz, St. Maximilian Kolbe had a tremendous devotion to the Eucharist. While a student at the Franciscan minor seminary in Lwow during the reign of the Austrian Empire, he often visited Jesus in the tabernacle before or after classes, and signed up as a perpetual adorer at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish. After his ordination, he celebrated the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with such profound reverence that those in attendance were drawn into a more personal encounter with Christ. He continued his frequent visits to the Blessed Sacrament after his ordination and as his priestly ministry expanded.
“If angels could be jealous of men, they would be so for one reason: Holy Communion.” – St. Maximilian Kolbe
St. Maximilian believed strongly in the spiritual strength that one receives through the reception of Christ in the Eucharist. Often, he would bring the Blessed Sacrament to friars who were too sick to celebrate Mass with the community, offering them spiritual strength and fraternal charity.
His own spiritual strength and peaceful acceptance of challenges was witnessed at significant moments in his life. He was arrested in September 1939. After being released from the Ostrzeszow internment camp on Dec. 8, 1939, he returned to his beloved Niepokalanow friary, only to find it in shambles. Yet, he remained composed and resigned to God’s will. As the publication of The Knight magazine, which he had launched, was terminated for a time, he encouraged his friars to increase the Eucharistic adoration in Niepokalanow as an efficacious means of assisting those in need.
“For my flesh is real food, and my blood is real drink, anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.” (Jn 6:55-56)
During this time of Eucharistic revival in the United States, one can ask how best to imitate this Martyr of Charity and other saints in their devotion to the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Learn from their lives by reading a book on them. Imitating simple gestures such as reverently blessing one’s self when passing a church, and genuflecting toward the tabernacle upon entering or exiting a church, simple reminders both to ourselves and others that God is in our midst. Incorporating visits to the Blessed Sacrament during our week or enlisting in a parish eucharistic adoration program are tangible means of cultivating God’s presence in one’s life. Thus, with an open mind and heart, one can echo the words of the prophet Samuel: “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.” (1 Sam 3:10)
My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love thee! I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love thee. Amen. (Given to the Fatima children by the Angel of Peace.)
Donna Masek is a Volunteer of the Immaculata and a member of the MI National Council. She additionally represents the MI in Utah, which serves both the English and Spanish communities.