St. Peter Julian Eymard: “Apostle of the Eucharist”
By Jean M. Heimann
Today’s saint of the day, St. Peter Julian Eymard, is known as the “Apostle of the Eucharist”, for his deep devotion to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and for leading both clergy and laypeople to recognize and rediscover the significance of the Eucharist in their daily lives. He shared with others his own belief that the Eucharist is the chief means of progress in the spiritual life — the manna which nourishes the soul in the desert and supplies the strength for the journey of life.
Peter Julian Eymard was born to a poor family in La Mure d’Isère in southeastern France near Grenoble. From early childhood he led a holy life and demonstrated a strong devotion to the Eucharist. He was called to relgious life from an early age, but his father insisted that he take over the family business instead and refused to allow him enter the priesthood.
When he did eventually enter the seminary at the age of 18, he became so sick that he was sent back home to die. However, Peter Julian made a remarkable recovery and entered the seminary once again at the age of 20 and was ordained to the priesthood in the diocese of Grenoble. Just five years later, he joined the Marists. During his years as a Marist, he exercised his deep devotion for the Eucharist by preaching the Forty Hours in numerous parishes. Then, in January of 1851, he made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Fourvières, and there, he promised Blessed Virgin Mary that he would to found a congregation of priests dedicated to Eucharist Adoration. Later that year, he established his community of men — the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament. St. Peter Julian died in 868 and was canonized in 1962, one day after Vatican II’s first session.
“Love cannot triumph unless it becomes the one passion of our life. Without such passion we may produce isolated acts of love; but our life is not really won over or consecrated to an ideal. Until we have a passionate love for our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament we shall accomplish nothing.”
“The Eucharist is the work of a measureless love that has at its service an infinite power, the omnipotence of God.”
“Have a great love for Jesus in his divine Sacrament of Love; that is the divine oasis of the desert. It is the heavenly manna of the traveler. It is the Holy Ark. It is the life and Paradise of love on earth.”
“Hear Mass daily; it will prosper the whole day. All your duties will be performed the better for it, and your soul will be stronger to bear its daily cross. The Mass is the most holy act of religion; you can do nothing that can give greater glory to God or be more profitable for your soul than to hear Mass both frequently and devoutly. It is the favorite devotion of the saints.”