My Lord and My God

A reflection by Mother Maria-Michael Newe, OSB

This year our community has adopted the practice of all-day exposition of the Blessed Sacrament on Mondays, with the particular intention of praying for our Holy Father and for priests.  Spending extra time in adoration is like giving the widow’s mite, because as everyone knows, time is one of the most precious things to us.  So when we give the little that we have, it is no small thing.  

It’s so difficult today to be a priest, and equally so to be a religious.  It’s just not so valued, and it’s even fought against.  And so we need to pray, because we are the heartbeat of the Church with our prayer.  A strong heart brings gives to all the members; without that, major organs die.  That is how important our prayer is.  So when you go to adore Christ in the Eucharist, it makes no difference if you feel glorious about it or if you feel just the opposite; the important part is just being there.  Whatever prayer Christ puts in your heart – if you say the rosary, if you just sit there and be with Him, if you read the Scriptures – whatever it be, do it wholly.  Even if you sit there and just repeat the words of St. Thomas, “My Lord and my God,” that would be enough.  But let your heart say it.  And the priests, our pope, in their hearts will hear that heartbeat.  May we help it to beat strong.

About the photos: In honor of the National Eucharistic Revival (running from Corpus Christi 2022 to Pentecost 2025), we recently changed the décor of our chapel, hanging behind the tabernacle the tapestry of the Last Supper.  This tapestry, hand woven by a nun at our motherhouse in Germany, was originally in our chapel at Boulder, but when we moved to Virginia Dale it would not fit in the space along with our large clay crucifix.  But by replacing that large crucifix with the smaller one we had been using in our refectory, we were able to have the Last Supper tapestry return to the chapel sanctuary.

On the Eucharist

A reflection for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi by Mother Maria-Michael Newe, OSB

Around the year 90 AD, the Didache recounts how important the Eucharistic celebration was for the early Christians:

“On the Lord’s Day of the Lord gather together, break bread and give thanks, after confessing your transgressions so that your sacrifice may be pure. Let no one who has a quarrel with his neighbor join you until he is reconciled by the Lord: ‘In every place and time let there be offered to me a clean sacrifice.”

Also, around 110 AD, St. Ignatius of Antioch wrote beautifully of the Eucharist:

“I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire the Bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David; and for drink I desire His Blood, which is love incorruptible.” 

(Letter to the Romans 7:3)

“Take care, then, to use one Eucharist, so that whatever you do, you do according to God: For there is one flesh of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup in the union of His Blood; one altar, as there is one bishop with the presbytery…” 

(Letter to the Philadelphians 4:1)

“They [i.e. the Gnostics] abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in his goodness, raised up again.” 

(Letter to Smyrnians 7:1)

And of course we have St. Justin Martyr’s (c. 100-165 AD) account of the Eucharistic celebration:

“For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by Him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nourished, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus.” 

(First Apology, 66)

Origen (185-254 AD) writes of the care and concern for every particle of the Eucharist, that it would not fall on the ground:

“You are accustomed to take part in the divine mysteries, so you know how, when you have received the body of the Lord, you reverently exercise every care lest a particle of it fall, and lest anything of the consecrated gift perish….how is it that you think neglecting the word of God a lesser crime than neglecting his body?” 

(Homilies on Exodus 13:3)

Oh that we had that much care and concern as the Church fathers and early Christians did for the Eucharist.  But it begins with seeds.  If a field has been heavily trampled upon, farmers have to re-seed it.  It strengthens the old seed and makes it come up reinvigorated.  We should be that seed.   If we show reverence, adore the Eucharist, forgive everyone before we receive Him, have faith and belief, and most especially love, we plant the seeds to reinvigorate the Church.  We should not be afraid to be vulnerable – even though it is the thing we most often want to run away from, it is often how God uses us most powerfully.  If we learn to embrace this, we are like the seed that dies and is broken open, so that it may flourish.  Become a seed.  Become a saint.  That is what God is looking for to reinvigorate His Church, that it may flourish.

Last year’s Corpus Christi procession at the Abbey of St. Walburga

Corpus Christi

A reflection on the Body and Blood of Christ by Mother Maria-Michael Newe, OSB

As in the garden of Gethsemane when Christ soaked up all the evil of the world and took it upon Himself, when we receive the Body of Christ and our venial sins are forgiven, Christ soaks up from us all the evil.  What are we doing with that?  Do we just receive Communion and go on with life?  Or do we really take it as a remedy to whatever is in us that is not of God?  Do we ask for the graces that will change us?  After receiving the Eucharist, we should never be the same.  It should have an incredible effect in us.  It should change us.  But we have to be attentive to it, and we have to let God build on us.  God can take everything out of you that is evil: jealousy, anger, agitation, pride, envy, etc.  These things continually creep up in our lives, but we can fight against them by receiving Holy Communion as often as we can.  If you want to be made new, God will do it, there is no doubt.  When we start paying attention to the reality of what is happening, life changes for us.

Regarding the Precious Blood of our Lord, it is very powerful to spiritually cover ourselves with His Precious Blood. The Blood of Christ is the life of Christ.  What gave Him life and poured through Him we ask to be poured over us.  He pours it out as a fountain that never stops, and we can drink of it fully in the spirit.  This will also help transform us.  So we take steps of holiness; sometimes they’re big and sometimes they’re small.  What matters is that we keep taking those steps forward, and little by little God truly will make all things new.

“Suppose that there are many who bring their candles, one weighing an ounce, others two or six ounces, or a pound, or even more,…in each candle, whether large or small, is the whole light, that is to say, the heat, the color, and the flame; nevertheless you would judge that he whose candle weighs an ounce has less of the light than he whose candle weighs a pound. Now the same thing happens to those who receive this Sacrament. Each one carries his own candle, that is the holy desire, with which he receives this Sacrament, which of itself is without light, and lights it by receiving this Sacrament…You receive this Light according to the love and fiery desire with which you approach It.”

St. Catherine of Siena, The Dialogue, A Treatise of Prayer
The Eucharistic Lord on our altar

Click here to learn about the Eucharistic miracle of Lanciano, where a consecrated host was physically changed into heart tissue.