One of the important dates that notably marks the life of Saint Peter Julian Eymard, Apostle of the Eucharist, is March 21, 1865, when Father Eymard receives the Gift of self by the “Vow of his personality”. While he was searching always sincerely and courageously for the will of God concerning his life and his personal projects, Fr. Eymard planned to remain in Rome while waiting for a long-coming answer to his request to install an SSS community in the Cenacle of Jerusalem. In order to make this waiting time in Rome more valuable, with his coming and going to the Vatican as he awaited an answer, Fr. Eymard made the Great Retreat of Rome, from January 25 to March 30, 1865. The grace of God has its ways and surprises. When the human being is open and listening to this divine manifestation, it is possible that a response would come in a generous way.
In the daily celebration of the Eucharist and, in particular, through his deepening of the biblical texts of the liturgy of the Word, Fr. Eymard shapes his interior life, and, in a mirror of truth, arrives at the deepest roots of his existence. With courage, he becomes aware of his limitations and his sins, but also of the road that the Grace of God is realizing in him. In this laborious journey, he discovers the essential of his search: “the Inner Cenacle”. A new vision opens before him! Although frustrated in his request to obtain permission to install the Congregation in the Cenacle of Jerusalem, he is now reassured and he can contemplate the answer given by God himself: it is not you who will abide in the Cenacle where the great Mystery of love was born, but it is I who will take possession of you as a living cenacle! “It is Christ who lives in me!” Fr. Eymard attains a vital synthesis of this Pauline experience and opens for us, his spiritual sons and daughters, a sure means and a beautiful road of the Eucharistic life.
(Adapted from Father General Eugenio Barbosa Martin’s introduction to “Absque sui proprio”, Eymard and the “Vow of Personality” in STUDIES ON THE ORIGINS OF THE CONGREGATIONS OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT Vol. XI, 2015, Rome)
Prayer for the Gift of Self
May the love you manifested in Jesus Christ
and which we celebrate in the Eucharist
move us to respond to your gift with the gift of ourselves.
Make us live the Paschal Mystery.
To interiorize it in prayer
and share with others the Life that springs from It.
Assist us each day to respond to the call of Jesus, Your Son,
who invites us to leave everything and follow him
along the evangelical path traced out in our Rule of Life.
May the Holy Spirit guide us
together with the community of brothers, to search for you
and to be inspired by the Gospels, at each step.
In your ever faithful love
and trusting in the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God,
and of St. Peter Julian Eymard,
we ask you, Lord, that we may persevere all our life
with the gift of ourselves in the service of Christ
and our brothers and sisters.
Grant that we may construct a world founded on justice and love
that the reign of Christ may come and your glory revealed to the world.
Adapted from ROL 102