Recognizing Jesus in the Eucharist

By Mary Kaye Falcony

Connecting Faith and Life

“Happy the soul that knows how to find Jesus in the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in all things!”

— St. Peter Julian Eymard, Apostle of the Eucharist

I love this quote by St. Peter Eymard. His words remind us that if we seek the Lord he can be found. Recognizing Him in the Eucharist captures our imagination and allows us to open ourselves up to an encounter that is life-altering. We now see life through a different lens, one that is influenced by Christ, whom we have let into our lives and have allowed to take residence in our very bones.

St. Peter Eymard may not be a very well-known saint, but he should be! His story speaks of a lifelong devotion to the Eucharist. By family accounts, this devotion began at the age of five and continued until his death. In 1834, Peter was ordained a priest. Eventually, his devotion to Mary led him to leave the diocesan priesthood and join the Society of Mary. As his Eucharistic devotion became even more prominent in his life, he was moved to ask his superiors if he could form a Marist community dedicated to Eucharistic adoration. Peter’s request was denied. Feeling so moved to pursue this dedication to the Eucharist, he left the Marists, and in 1856, he founded the Society of the Blessed Sacrament (cf. Hanael Bianchi, Catholic Review).

Often, when I read an account of a saint’s life, my initial reaction is to feel a sense of awe and inspiration. The same was true as I read of St. Peter Eymard’s journey of devotion to the Eucharist. Many times when I read such an account, I am left not quite able to understand how the saint could live the life they did. How did they arrive at the place of such great insight? How were they able to harness the courage to continue their mission in the face of opposition? What did their prayer life consist of to allow their eyes to always remain fixed on Christ? I would love to have that conversation!

As we enter this year of Eucharistic Renewal, we can call on St. Peter Eymard to intercede on our behalf. Asking that we, too, may rely on the presence of Christ in the Eucharist to be our constant source of strength, directing every façade of our life toward a more complete union with him and the mission he personally calls us to.

In closing, I would like to share the thoughts of another great saint, St. John Paul II, with you to consider:

“The Eucharist is the secret of my day.

It gives strength and meaning to all my activities of service to the Church and to the whole world.

Let Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament speak to your hearts.

It is he who is the true answer of life that you seek,

He stays here with us: he is God with us.

Seek him without tiring, welcome him without reserve,

Love him without interruption: today, tomorrow, forever.”