Photo: Bishop Gruss adores Jesus, truly present in the consecrated Host held within the monstrance, during a Holy Hour for vocations at the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption in Saginaw on July 14.
During his homily last week at a Holy Hour for vocations, Bishop Robert Gruss reminded the faithful that vocations have always been a challenge for the Church.
"Jesus knew this reality during his earthly life and ministry, said Bishop Gruss. "So knowing this reality, Jesus has already given us the solution."
Bishop Gruss went on to share Jesus' words from the Gospel of Matthew: The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.
”So this is why we're here tonight," said Bishop Gruss. "To beg the master, here present in the Blessed Sacrament to open the hearts of men whom he is calling to the priesthood and the diaconate and the hearts of women whom he is calling to consecrated life."
Bishop Gruss and Catholics from across the Diocese of Saginaw gathered for this Holy Hour on July 14, at the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption in Saginaw. For the next three years and perhaps beyond, Bishop Gruss will be leading two holy hours each month in parishes across the diocese.
The focus for these Holy Hours are for an increase of vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life within our Diocese, while at the same time deepening our own love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
Celebrating the source and summit of our Catholic faith, the Eucharist, the Catholic Church in the United States is embarking on a three-year Eucharistic Revival, a grassroots initiative in response to the Holy Spirit’s invitation to renewal.
During a homily on June 23, which marked the beginning of the Eucharistic Revival, Bishop Gruss highlighted the Catholic Church’s doctrine that the Eucharist we receive at Mass is truly the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus himself. Bishop Gruss also noted that recent Pew Research Center and DiscipleMaker Index surveys reflect a sad decline in the belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
“If people really believed in the gift being offered, the Catholic churches throughout the world would be packed every week,” he said. “This Mass, this Eucharist is an intimate, personal, deep encounter with Love, Love Incarnate in Jesus – here given to you and to me. In the words of St. Mother Teresa, ‘Once you understand the Eucharist, you can never leave the Church. Not because the Church won’t let you but because your heart won’t let you.’ You will fall in love with the Lord in ways not thought possible.”
This is one of the goals of the Eucharistic Revival: to increase an understanding of the Mass and the Eucharist so as to foster greater devotion to our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament -- to help the faithful fall even more in love with the Lord through encountering him in the Eucharist.
An encounter with the Crucified and Risen Jesus
“Our communion in this Sacrament of Love is an encounter with the Crucified and Risen Jesus in a very intimate way,” Bishop Gruss said, adding that there is no greater union in life than that.
“My prayer is that each of you fully engage these next three years, making the most of all the opportunities available, and allow Jesus to draw you deeper into this great mystery of his love in ways never experienced before, whereby we are transformed by this union with him, which leads to eucharistic adoration. We not only receive his sacred Body and Blood, but we adore him in prayer. Kneel before Jesus to say, ‘You are my everything. You are my Lord. You are my deepest desire.’”
He went on to explain that Jesus seeks to call others back to the Church through each of us, the faithful.
“Our union with Christ in the Eucharist, both a gift and grace, makes it possible for us, in him, to embrace fully his mission of love and mercy. When we come to understand this great mystery celebrated in the Eucharist and participate fully each time we gather, our lives will never be the same,” he said. We come to understand more deeply the Father’s love for us in Christ Jesus. Our desire for spiritual union with the Lord deepens. Our own sacrificial love intensifies and expands. Our aspiration to serve the Lord grows. We seek to live his mission more faithfully as his missionary disciples. These are the very fruits of our Holy Communion."
Listen to Bishop Gruss' full homily during Holy Hour for vocations on July 14