From Walk Humbly With Your God: Simple Steps to a Virtuous Life
Devotion to the Holy Eucharist is at the very heart of Catholic life. In his first message to the church after his election, Pope Benedict XVI said that the Eucharist is “the heart of Christian life and the source of the church’s evangelizing mission.” As we know, Pope John Paul II also frequently emphasized the church’s Eucharist-centered spirituality. In fact, he died during the Year of the Eucharist, a time he had set aside for the church to focus its attention on this sacrament, the center of our faith.
Every Catholic needs the vitality, wisdom, and strength that come forth from Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. Whether encountering the Lord for the first time in conversion, returning to the Lord after leaving the faith, or encountering him daily in faithful, ongoing conversion, every true Catholic will end up at the tabernacle.
A Eucharistic holy hour is exactly as its name implies: an hour spent in prayer before Jesus in the tabernacle. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen was one of the twentieth century’s greatest apologists and evangelists, as well as the National Director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith for sixteen years. He was so convinced of the importance of the Eucharist holy hour for his life and ministry that he made a holy hour daily for over fifty years, despite a demanding schedule and worldwide travel. He called it, fittingly, the “hour of power.”
A former secretary of the archbishop told me that he always made his holy hour after breakfast. (Archbishop Sheen once said that people should never try to make a holy hour before they’ve had their first cup of coffee!) He then spent additional time near the chapel writing, drawing his inspiration from our Lord in the Eucharist. When people congratulated him for his fine speaking and writing, telling him that he was very talented, he always answered that he had no such talent. He said that the power of his words, written and spoken, came from Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.