God gives us himself in the Holy Eucharist. This is meant to be the focal point of our lives and our faith, the nucleus that holds us close to Jesus and holds us all together as his body. The Eucharist also helps us remain clear as to God’s will in our lives. During this time when not everyone can get to Mass to receive Holy Communion regularly, it is even more important to refocus on Christ’s presence in the most holy sacrament and what it means in our lives.
In this installment of the Living Jesus Chat Room we rediscover the importance of the Eucharist and how this plays an essential role in keeping us united (even in times of separation) and in following God’s will. We’ll also discuss the importance of accepting God’s consolations and afflictions.
If you like the chat below, check out the Living Jesus Chat Room of the Visitation Sisters. Join us at 7:30 p.m. ET each Sunday! We read a passage of St. Francis de Sales and gather great insights and sharing!
Visitation Sister: Question 1: Why are genuine, pure God-centered relationships so important?
Lydia: They come from the Holy Spirit. Sorry I did not do the reading, but that is what I would guess.
Visitation Sister: Yes, He unites souls – good start! Consider for a moment the closeness of St. Francis and St. Jane de Chantal. He recounted the specific dates of her previous letters, presumably meaning he has kept them.
Caroline: They are important because we are made to live in community and help each other.
Visitation Sister: That was a God-centered friendship.
Carey: It’s hard to find such relationships.
Visitation Sister: I think they can help us get much closer to God in the sharing of the same focus and purpose. They are God-given, not sure we can actually find them but be alert to them maybe. I had such in my prayer group.
Lydia: Maybe if we talk about God a lot, people with similar closeness to God will find one another.
Visitation Sister: Yes, or even what we do here, although most of us have not met.
Caroline: It takes a long time to develop such a friendship.
Lydia: Or maybe we are meant to be more contemplative and are meant to be alone with God. Read Carmelite books.
Caroline: That is also true, Lydia. Some of us are built to have just a few close friends.
Visitation Sister: I think different times of one’s life God gives different helps; sometimes people, sometimes solitude and maybe other ways.
Caroline: Like horses.
Visitation Sister: Youth is often a time of close friendships, but they are not always the best ones.
Lydia: I think a lot more people believe than we think, but they just do not talk about it until they are afraid, or they are embarrassed to admit it or something, because they do not talk about God for some reason.
Visitation Sister: A safe forum helps, a safe place maybe.
Caroline: Out here we are actually not allowed to at work.
Visitation Sister: Oh my, has it come to that?
Lydia: I do not think I could comply with that.
Caroline: Yes, because even if we are simply sharing the other person can say we are proselytizing.
Lydia: Can you present it as a question?
Caroline: I don’t necessarily bring it up, but when someone asks a question, I answer.
Visitation Sister: For example?
Lydia: Such as, “Are you religious?” “Do you believe in God?”
Visitation Sister: Maybe work is not the best place, but a parish should be.
Rebecca: The only reason I knew that my mother prayed is that once I intruded on her in her bedroom and saw her kneeling at the side of her bed. But much later, shortly before my mother died, I prayed with her — Hail Mary and Our Father — in French. French was her first language. Talk about religion was a taboo in our home because my parents were of two different Christian denominations — area of conflict.
United in the Eucharist
Visitation Sister: Question 2: St. Francis talks a lot about being spiritually united in the Eucharist. Doesn’t this detract the focus away from Jesus? How/why is this a good spiritual practice?
Lydia: The Communion of the Saints is Communion with Jesus. Everyone with Him.
Caroline: It reminds us of our place in community.
Visitation Sister: If we are together in Jesus, there is no better place we can be united!
Lydia: We were all made by God to be with God.
Visitation Sister: And thinking we are united in Him makes us think of Him and praise Him.
Carey: Receiving holy communion is receiving Jesus.
Visitation Sister: Yes!
Lydia: Jesus makes us able to be with God the Father again, by taking away the sin that separates us.
Visitation Sister: Question 3: What’s the point St. Francis is trying to make regarding hungering for Holy Communion? Is there a wrong way to hunger for it? Also, what can we do to better assimilate Christ into our lives?
Caroline: I can’t imagine hunger for Holy Communion for any other reason but love of Jesus.
Visitation Sister: Actually, I can’t either.
Lydia: I think a wrong way would be to try to go to Communion with mortal sin. St. Paul says that brings condemnation on us.
Carey: Waiting to welcome Jesus.
Lydia: Yes, I talk to the Host and call Him Jesus.
Lydia: Some people say receiving Communion in the hand should not be allowed, but I find it to be more personal because I can see Him and talk to him a bit longer.
Visitation Sister: So sometimes we can be in a family, Rebecca, and not share each other’s spiritual lives.
Caroline: I think they want to be sure people actually consume the host. Once Father had to stop Mass because someone did not.
Visitation Sister: I’ve seen that happen. But there was Eucharistic sacrilege way back, and that is how some eucharistic miracles later happened – watch Bob and Penny Lord on some of this. I think assimilating Jesus into our lives by reciting the Jesus prayer helps too.
Lydia: Also enthroning the Sacred Heart in our home.
Lydia: Having a Crucifix at home too.
Caroline: I have an image of Divine Mercy that belonged to my Father.
Visitation Sister: All this helps for sure.
Carey: What is the Jesus prayer?
Visitation Sister: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Caroline: Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lydia: Also praying constantly, having a running conversation all day.
Caroline: John Michael Talbot has a wonderful book called the Jesus Prayer that will help you learn.
Lydia: Jesus never leaves us, so we should not ignore Him.
God’s Will Be Done
Visitation Sister: Question 4: What’s the difference of God’s will in a particular point compared to God’s will in general? And why is St. Francis emphasizing the latter as more important to meditate upon? Surely His Will to love Jesus is more important than, say, a new job we are discerning?
Lydia: God’s will in general is what actually happens with no control from us. We cannot stop God’s will. God’s will regarding a particular point is generally something we have a choice about.
Caroline: So, there are times when we have free will and some we don’t?
Lydia: No, I mean God controls the world, even gets around sin, and can make good from it. We always have free will, but there are things that have no relation to our will.
Caroline: That is true, and what He wants prevails in the end.
Visitation Sister: St Francis de Sales, whose Feast is today, talked about the “2” wills of God, metaphorically- His signified will and His will of good pleasure.
Lydia: What do the two wills mean?
Rebecca: I long for close Christ-centered relationships. And it is such a difficult change from attending daily Mass from age 13 to lately not even getting to Sunday Masses — live — regularly. At first the hunger was almost unbearable. Once I realized it was the will of God, at least for now, I found myself tolerating the “starvation” a little better.
Visitation Sister: Signified will is like the 10 commandments and good pleasure the circumstances of life that God allows.
Lydia: What is it when we are trying to discern God’s will about a particular thing.
Visitation Sister: In a way a combination because if God has a PLAN for us, it fits in with signified, but we may only discover it through events in our life that lead us, which is more of His good pleasure. Great question! Need to ponder it more too.
Lydia: God does not exactly fit in our ability to describe Him.
Visitation Sister: That is for sure!!
In Good Times and in Bad
Visitation Sister: Question 5: St. Francis says, “Consider God’s will in particular, by which he loves his own and consoles or afflicts them in various ways.” Why should we meditate on the afflictions he sends, as well as his consolations?
Lydia: The Book of Job.
Caroline: They are also a sign of His providential care.
Visitation Sister: We can learn from afflictions and sufferings, sometimes more than we learn any other way.
Lydia: By accepting them, we glorify God, and He also sends them to bring us closer to Him testing and teaching. We also can offer them for souls and our soul. Suffering here can take away some of purgatory. God let the devil attack Job, to show how faithful Job would be.
Visitation Sister: Jesus had afflictions, so we resemble Him in that too.
Caroline: Nothing matters except the Cross. All that matters is that we be created anew.
Lydia: Maybe Jesus still has afflictions because sin hurts Him even now. If we can console Him, he still has pain.
Visitation Sister: Very good point again like, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
Lydia: He still appears with wounds.
Visitation Sister: Powerful to think about.
In God We Trust
Visitation Sister: Question 6: How can we learn to trust that God’s will “will do all things well for us and our happiness”?
Lydia: Because if it were not true, we have nothing.
Caroline: Have found a neat prayer called the Litany of Trust.
Visitation Sister: Where did you discover it?
Caroline: I found out about it from another person in my order. It is written by a sister in the Sisters of Life.
Carey: I have a prayer — I leave my future in the hands of my father; my father knows the best. I say this daily.
Visitation Sister: That’s a good prayer too!
Caroline: That is a beautiful prayer.
Lydia: 1 Corinthians 15:19. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied.
Visitation Sister: Yes, that is a good summary quote.
Lydia: 1 Corinthians 15:13-15. If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised.
Rebecca: Does God’s will in general include his “permissive” will?
Visitation Sister: Well feel free to continue. May this week be blessed for you. Happy Feast!
Carey: Happy Feast, Sister.
Caroline: Happy Feast to you too! Thank you, Sister.
Lydia: God Bless you, Mother. God bless all.
Caroline: Have a blessed week, everyone!
Rebecca: Often I pray: “Grant that I may love you always, then do with me what you will.” But to make that sink in, deep, deep, become a reality!
If you liked this chat, join us at the Living Jesus Chat Room of the Visitation Sisters this week Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET.