When Joseph carried the Child in his arms, acts of loving faith welled up constantly in his heart. It was a worship that pleased our Lord more than that which he receives in heaven… The purer and simpler a soul, the more magnificent its love and adoration. Adore the Word present in the altar, born as a little Child for you; no matter what you do, your adoration will never equal in worth that of St. Joseph. Join with his merits. A soul that loves God offers everything to Him in love and God listens to such a soul. ~St Peter Julian Eymard
“At Nazareth Joseph’s days were filled with work which necessarily took him away at times from his Infant God. During these hours Mary replaced him, but when evening brought him home again, he would pass the entire night in adoration, never tiring, only too happy for the chance to contemplate the hidden riches of Jesus’ divinity. For he pierced the rough garments the Child wore, until his faith touched the Sacred Heart. In profound adoration he united himself to the special grace of each one of the events in the life of Jesus. He adored our Lord in His hidden life and in His Passion and Death; he adored in advance the Eucharistic Christ in His tabernacles: there was nothing that our Lord could hide from Saint Joseph. Among the graces which Jesus gave to His foster-father (and He flooded him with the graces attached to every one of His mysteries) is that special to an adorer of the Blessed Sacrament. That is the one we must ask of St. Joseph. Have confidence, strong confidence in him. Take him as the patron and the model of your life of adoration.” ~ St. Peter Julian Eymard ~
Hospice of the Western Reserve centralizes as a priority. Yesterday after eight hours of training, I walked the grounds taking photographs. Standing upon the concrete lakeside walkway, I observed the building, noticing upper floor windows containing stained glass windows I perceived as Catholic in nature. I do not recall exact details, a dove hovering, the Holy Spirit presented within an image. I did not give it much consideration. Then this morning before mass at St Paul Shrine I encountered John, an amateur photographer, a retired school teacher, a college acquaintance of Susan Muto at Duquesne, a local historian always enlightening with his knowledge of Cleveland’s past. John came to life when I told him of my excitement to begin working with the Hospice of the Western Reserve. John started his teaching career at St Joseph high school. I noticed the high school next to the hospice. Its football field directly adjacent to the property. From 1961 to 1964 John taught at St Joseph’s, once one of the largest schools in Ohio, hosting over two thousand students during his short tenure. He told me the building sits on property that once housed the Marianist priest conducting matters at St Joseph’s High School. He said the building housing the priest was torn down in order to build the David Simpson Hospice House so I am not sure regarding exact details, and the window I thought I saw relating matters to the Holy Spirit and Catholicism. It does not matter. I like mystery, when things touch, yet really do not come together, allowing incongruity rather than perceived tangibility, a lacking of definitude, avoiding signs pronouncing preciseness, imaginary perfection never allowed to tantalize or pervert. Two thoughts teased my imagination while listening to John detail St Joseph’s high school and the Marian priest once populating. The first was the fact I focused upon prayers to St Joseph during the training. The second was reading the biography of St Peter Eymard and his Marianist priest background. Neither amount to anything of consequence, best dismissed regarding serious discernment.
I would like to cover something striking regarding the life of St Eymard. I found it revealing to consider the difficulties St Eymard created between himself and his sisters early in his priesthood. His two sisters were extremely close to him, caring for him as he was a sickly young man. His poor health produced lengthy periods of being invalid. During one of these debilitating bouts, St Eymard mastered the violin. His sisters cared for him throughout his difficult days of sickness. During his first priestly duties with the parish of Monteynard, his sisters proved invaluable as laborers; reviving and decorating their brother’s dilapidated church. I think it is important to understand their family background: their father’s horrible experience with death, losing nine children and one wife. The children losing their mother. In love and worship of God, there was a strong family bond, dependency between brother and sisters associated with an awareness of life and death—of extreme loss. St Eymard, through the Holy Spirit, accomplished marvels at Monteynard. The people responded, becoming reliant upon their priest. St Eymard felt the calling to move beyond the assignment. He discerned the defiance he would encounter trying to reason with the congregation and his sisters that God called him to leave the church. St Eymard worked out the leaving with the Bishop, arraigning a musical concert for a Sunday afternoon, allowing him to sneak away undetected. His sister were devastated. The parish was outraged, demanding that the Bishop return their priest. St Eymard sisters were so heartbroken and hurt they would not forgive their brother. His parting with no consultation they could not accept. Their tears immense within their anger. Their refusal to answer his letters lasted for years. St Eymard, responding to the call of God, a call that would move him to sainthood, crushed his sisters in the process, scarring their already deeply scarred hearts. It would not be the first time he caused great turmoil. I will quote Father Pelletier in relating another complicated St Eymard experience:
He (St Eymard) was so enthused about the spiritual progress of the members of the Third Order of Mary that he requested official approval from Rome for the group. Pope Pius IX granted official approbation for the Third Order. Eymard was understandably elated at the news but greatly embarrassed when he presented a fait accompli to Fr Colin, the Superior General, who was furious at Emayrd’s “initiative” in procuring Papal approval without his knowledge or authorization. What often seemed to Father Emyard as mere initiative or simple enthusiasm was regularly interpreted as impulsive behavior by others. However, this time he had unquestionably overstepped the bounds of propriety. Consequently, the incident nearly destroyed his relationship with the Superior General.
An impulsive saint whose actions to follow the percieved will of God insulted good people of faith. Interesting. Not sure why, yet the fact appeared important. I want to go back to the Hospice of Western Reserve in regards to my six month discernment process. Yesterday during the training, the day attained a depth I could not deny, a seriousness to my attendance manifesting. There were many indicative moments, an overall ease about my interactions, a natural two-way attraction developing between myself, administrators and other volunteers. I was quiet throughout the day, only speaking once voluntarily, while constantly vigilant and present to proceedings. Midway through the day, the fifteen or so volunteers in training were asked to introduce ourselves, telling something about ourselves. I found my moment of speaking distinct. I told of being spiritually directed through an experience at St Paschal Baylon, associating everything to the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament. I said other things. A fearful public speaker, I was proud my words and disposition flowed with ease and comfort. My eyes moved about, at one point touching and addressing one of the administrators. It was unpremeditated, arising naturally and confident. The woman I identified as tough, a detail oriented by the book nurse. She never steered away from seriousness, while addressing carefully her words and responses from others, correcting and confronting volunteers regarding casual statements. It was obvious the woman demanded accountability, determined to test individuals proneness to sensitivity and delusions of being beyond reproach. I like an individual willing to disagree with others, not allowing others to assume a tone of familiarity with her. Addressing diversity, she touched upon Roman Catholicism, identifying the fact it happen to be her belief system. Verbally introducing myself, I found strength and support in directing chosen words directly to her, stating I appreciated the team concept, the emphasis upon communication. Her nod of approval to my eye contact and words surprised me. The point I identified was one she relentlessly pursued. Volunteers were to understand they were a part of a team. Volunteers were not to take matters upon themselves. Under no conditions, within personally overwhelming conditions, they were to rely upon a team approach, even to the point volunteers were not to give their phone numbers to patients. If calling a patient dialing *67 first so their number remained private. The patient does not contact the volunteer directly. Overall, I realize I have no experience in health care. Through my eye contact, unspoken reposing upon a Catholic bond, I brought the administrator into the awareness of my nativity and need of authoritative support. It all aligns splendidly with respect for Catholic hierarchy. I know I have much to offer, yet my offerings must be open to the guidance of professionals seasoned in the serious care of the dying. My offering is the Rosary. My love and devotion to the Rosary is immense. I simply want to share the Rosary. That is my intent. Let us see what God intends. I want to end this post. I would like to end with words from Ann of all people. Blessings from Father Roger were immense. I was surprised and moved to receive sincere blessings from Ann.
Hospice of the Western Reserve is the #1 hospice in Ohio owned by Cleveland Clinic Foundation. You are lucky to be a part of that organization and its pagan roots. They need you very much there to bring some kind of Godliness to the empty and dying. This is a true vocation. Ministering to the dying has no equal as they are on the precipice of heaven and hell. They are in a place where they are scared because they have lived their life one way and they don’t know how to change it. You can really help them by being there and guiding them to heaven.
To pray is to glorify God’s infinite goodness, to give word to divine mercy, to bring joy and expansion to God’s love of his creature by the fulfillment of the law of grace, which is prayer. By prayer, therefore, man gives God the greatest glory possible. Prayer is man’s greatest virtue. All virtues are comprised in it, for all the virtues are a preparation for it and a part of it. Faith believes, hope prays, and charity begs in order to give to others; humility of heart forms the prayer, confidence speaks it, and perseverance triumphs over God himself.
Eucharistic prayer has an additional merit; it goes straight to the heart of God like a flaming dart; it makes Jesus work, act, and relive in his sacrament; it releases his power. The adorer does still more: he prays through Jesus Christ and shares our Lord’s role as intercessor with the Father and divine advocate for his redeemed brethren. –St Peter Julian Eymard ‘How to Adore’
Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament tonight, a pleasant crowd. I saw Mary, whom I have not seen since last meeting, the one to encourage me to pursue volunteer work with the Hospice of Western Reserve, a hospice chaplain, an excellent speaker and host. This is a mature crowd. Men and women who are spiritually humble, able to provide good conversation, possessing welcoming dispositions. The younger priest, artist from Wisconsin who spent time in New York City, a vital part of the Emmanuel magazine, Father John showed a movie he put together on the life of St Peter Eymard, built upon trips to France, plenty of live video he shot. The video coverage proved spellbinding. I will start taking travel videos with my camera. Needless to say, the French Alps were astounding; the views and coverage of the churches in St Eymard’s life intimate and personal. Father Paul Bernier did not attend, as he was visiting his sister in France. The priest of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament are a strong bunch. I was given another of the community priest’s, Father B Pelletier, biography of St Peter Julian Eymard ‘Tomorrow Will Be Too Late’. I do not think it refers to my calling, although I wonder as Father John spoke of the various charisms of the religious life being different, mentioning the call of a Benedictine monk is different from that of a call to the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, voicing the comment with an open palm hand gesture signaling me out when he mentioned the Benedictine calling. I was a bit startled, feeling he is reading my blog, or something. I know Father Bernier enjoyed my efforts, but I did not think Father John knew anything about matters. I am not sure what that was about, yet I took note, my heart warming and racing a bit. I will say it is not about me. The sense the calling is authentic points through me, beyond to the power and love of God. I view the world now through a new lens, comfortable with the fact I have been called, curious to see how everything will work out. It is all about glorifying God. St Peter Eymard gets a lot of attention, however as Father John continually stresses, the saint earns the accolades by pointing us specifically to the Eucharist.
From Father Pelletier’s biography I was moved once again with the realization the spiritual life is one of sacrifice—suffering a critical part of the call of God. St Eymard’s father is an incredible story. He personally had suffered so much from the loss of his first wife and six children from that marriage, as well as from the death of his first three children from his second wife before Julian was born. Enduring the death of nine children and a first wife—only two offspring surviving, Julian, St Peter Eymard, would be his father’s only surviving son, and thus becoming a priest, his father witnessed the end of his branch of the family. He suffered even from his son becoming a saint.
The Cleveland diocese insightfully touched upon a wonderfully enlightening approach to the Catholic faith by opening the doors of various consecrated communities throughout the Cleveland area for a day of visitation. It is invigorating to explore the many faces of the men and women making up the body of the Church, to touch the lives of those giving their lives to the Church. Carol opted to babysit her grandson, so hastily I threw together a ragtag bunch of four to join me on the excursion after a Jubilee mass at St Paul’s celebrating sixty years of service for one of their Poor Clares. The first community, the Evangelizing Sisters of Mary, easily won our hearts with their joy of hosting visitors, imploring the ingestion of food and juices. We watched a video with one of the sisters narrating. The video showed young women entering the order in Uganda. The entering sister’s parents escorted them to the alter before the many gathered. The parents presented their daughter to the Church. The small simple community was supported by a large group of local women excited to assist. The loving sisterly bond easily evident. Men and children of the neighborhood were also present. The three sisters arriving only in 2014 are obviously making a strong impression upon the inner-city neighborhood they have been stationed to minster and evangelize within. A superb way to start the pilgrimage. The next stop, my third visit in three days, resided with the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament. The congregation publishes a scholarly and artistically striking magazine ‘Emmanuel’. A view into their world of superior publishing proved impressive. The graphics studio was an elegant, organized, and minimalist in clutter working space. Sparsely yet finely decorated a captivating painting by one of the Fathers decorated the back wall. The painting depicts St Jean Baptiste, a community church in downtown Manhattan. There was also a finely framed and matted display of many photos of St Peter Julian Eymard positioned horizontally. Black and white reality images of a saint from previous times. The highlight of the tour of the impressive, tastefully, decorated dwelling, a former seminary, was an invitation into their quaint museum of ancient monstrances, chalices, tapestries, and vestments. The final stop was another community of Poor Clares. Time running short, their display of historical photographs was not granted proper attention. Two of the cloistered sisters spoke with us through boundary gates. Their joy to speak with visitors was infectious. They truly were honored and pleased to entertain guest. Both appearing prayerful and contented. The pilgrimage ended appropriately with prayer in the Poor Clares chapel before the exposed Eucharist.