St.Peter Julian Eymard, the Apostle of the Eucharist
BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: |
Place of Birth: La Mure d'Isère, France
Birth: February 4,1811
Baptism: February 5, 1811
Ordained : July 20, 1834 for the diocese of Grenoble
Joined the Marist Congregation: August 20, 1839
Organized the Third Order of Mary: 1844
Founded the Blessed Sacrament Congregation, Priests and Brothers: May 13, 1856
Founded the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament : July 31, 1859
Founded Eucharistic Association for the Laity: Nov. 17, 1859
Died: August 1, 1868
Declared a Saint by Pope John XXIII: December 9, 1962
Feast Day: August 2
You filled Saint Peter Julian with wondrous love
For the mysteries of the Body and Blood of your Son.
Grant, we beseech you,
That, like him,
We may experience the richness of this Holy Banquet.
Grant this through Our Lord Jesus Christ your Son
Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit
One God forever and ever. Amen
(Liturgical prayer of the Feast)
St. Peter Julian said of himself that he was "like Jacob, always on the way." What he meant was that his life's journey took several turns as he tried to follow God's will for him. His desire to become a priest was blocked by poor health and family opposition. His journey led him on many paths: Oblates, diocesan priesthood, Marists and finally to the foundation of his two Congregations. Throughout his life, Peter Julian was fascinated by the presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. This insight became the all-consuming focus of his life. He embraced the Eucharistic Mystery in all its dimensions. He said:
"The greatest grace of my life has been a lively faith
in the Blessed Sacrament since my childhood.
The Holy Eucharist is Jesus, past, present and future."
He felt that the spiritual indifference of his times could only be changed by the fire of Eucharistic love. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament became the sign of that love. He encouraged perpetual adoration as a response of love and frequent communion as a source of strength for the Christian life.
"The only remedy I know
to combat the spiritual indifference of our times
is to surround it with fire, the fire of the Eucharist."
St. Eymard taught that Eucharistic prayer proceeds according to what is called "the four ends of the sacrifice of the Mass." This form of prayer unites us to the liturgy of the Church through the four attitudes that shape our worship in the eucharistic celebration. At any time, we can enter into prayer calling to mind the Mass we celebrated - or will celebrate - and the four movements of prayer found in the Liturgy of the Eucharist: Adoration -Thanksgiving - Reparation - Intercession.
St. Peter Julian's spirituality expressed itself primarily, like St. Paul, as a focus on the Person of Jesus. Jesus is the Center and meaning of our lives, our Friend. He urged us to live for Jesus, with Jesus and in Jesus. His favorite model for prayer was Mary sitting at the feet of the Master, listening to Him, loving Him, silent in His presence.
"Think of God, talk to him about Himself
and you will find joy in His goodness -
overflowing joy because of overflowing goodness."