- Translator of The Bishop of the Abandoned Tabernacle
“That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord’” (Jn 21:7). In the Gospel we have heard that seeing the miracle worked, a disciple recognizes Jesus. The others will recognize him later. In presenting to us Jesus who “came and took the bread and gave it to them” (Jn 21:13), the Gospel points out how and when we can meet the risen Christ: in the Eucharist, where Jesus is truly present under the appearances of bread and wine. It would be sad if, after so long, the Savior’s loving presence were still to be unknown by humanity.
This was the great passion of the new blessed, Bl. Manuel González García, Bishop of Malaga and later of Palencia. His experience before a deserted tabernacle in Palomares del Río was to mark his whole life, and from that moment he dedicated himself to spreading devotion to the Eucharist, proclaiming the words he subsequently chose as his epitaph: “Here is Jesus! He is here! Do not abandon him!” Bl. Manuel González, founder of the Misioneras Eucarísticas de Nazaret, is a model of Eucharistic faith whose example continues to speak to the Church today.
On October 16, 2016, the Church of God raised another saint to her altars. The canonization of Saint Manuel González in our day is a timely gift bestowed upon us by the solicitous hand of Divine Providence. We might well describe him as one of those saints of the Blessed Sacrament. All saints are Eucharistic saints, but some are more characterized by their devotion to the Eucharist than others. The life and mission of Saint Manuel was entirely and explicitly Eucharistic.
The Bishop of the Abandoned Tabernacle was proud to be an ambassador of the Eucharistic King in the world. It was his greatest joy to be able to speak on behalf of the love of his silent Sovereign and thereby draw souls to his Sacred Heart. Perhaps there is no other priestly saint since the great Curé of Ars who has spoken so eloquently of the living presence of Christ in the tabernacle. As a priest, I have always tried to draw souls to the Blessed Sacrament, but after having discovered his writings, I feel as though I have scarcely even begun to foster the true awe demanded by such a mystery. If Saint Manuel González was so outraged by the indifferent attitude towards the Eucharist that he observed in the Church a hundred years ago, what would he say today? His words are a clarion call to priests—indeed, to all Christians—to arise from spiritual slumber and to draw near to the light of the Eucharistic Sun of Love. Perhaps his canonization is heaven's urgent invitation addressed to the whole Church to prostrate itself at the foot of the tabernacle. There alone is found the mystical source from which flow torrents of purifying grace and mercy. There alone do we encounter the heavenly well-spring from which the Church can be constantly renewed. The world has become a spiritual desert for want of having recourse to the tabernacle.
Bishop Manuel's Eucharistic piety was present from his youth, but it became the heartbeat of his spiritual life and the animating principle of his ministry after a particular experience at the outset of his priestly mission. Through a mystical moment of grace, he came to understand the truth of a phrase made famous by Saint Francis of Assisi: “Love is not loved!” In an instant, he realized the astonishing nature of Christ's love in the Blessed Sacrament, as well as the equally astonishing lack of love with which we surround this mystery. Though he had already believed in the Eucharistic Presence long before this experience, the full force of this truth in that moment seized his heart in a new way, thus becoming the unique driving-force for his life's mission. He had undergone a kind of spiritual shock at the way the gift of the Eucharist is so sorely spurned by human hearts. In the lives of the saints, there is often one key moment of grace which thereafter directs the entire course of their holy existence. For Saint Manuel, it was the unforgettable experience of the abandoned tabernacle.
This book about the saintly bishop will help you to receive Holy Communion more fervently and to love Jesus more deeply in Eucharistic Adoration. This book will awaken you to a new experience of Our Lord — that you may see, hear, love, and console “Love who is not loved.”
Victoria Schneider is a language translator. She and her husband Harald live in Maryland and both collaborate in and coordinate Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration for their parish. This experience has impelled her to translate and compile Saint Manuel's writings, so that we might all learn from the one who wrote: "Jesus is with us in each and every tabernacle on earth! Do not abandon Him!"
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