Saturday, June 8, 2024

The Eucharistic Pilgrimage came to the streets of New Orleans last night


Eucharistic pilgrim: Jesus is the answer to everything

By Peter Finney Jr.
Clarion Herald

Photos by Cheryl Dejoie-Methe, Clarion Herald)

Following a eucharistic procession June 7 from Notre Dame Seminary to St. Rita Church in New Orleans, Franciscan Friar of the Renewal Stephen Dufrene, a native of Louisiana, reflected on the personal relationship Jesus offers all Catholics through the Eucharist.

“You know, when you have a good friend, you start to know what they're thinking; you can finish their thoughts,” Father Dufrene said. “The Lord wants that kind of relationship with us, where we spend time with him, and his heart can transform our heart to where we can begin to actually intuit what it is that the Lord thinks, what it is that the Lord feels.

“We can experience those gifts of the Holy Spirit that we're all given in our baptism. But they come alive in a deep relationship with him, especially through the sacraments and his presence in Communion.

“Our Lord Jesus Christ is the answer to everything. No matter what the struggle, no matter with the difficulty, no matter what the trial be – he has conquered death and risen from the grave. And he was able to face the cross because he knows, and still knows, his Father's love. Nothing could stop him from fulfilling his Father's will.”

Father Dufrene said life’s difficulties can harden a person’s heart over time, and “sometimes it takes a chisel to shape it into a beautiful heart.”

“At the end of the day, if our hearts are becoming more like our Lord’s heart – humble, choosing to trust – mission accomplished,” he said. “Our hearts are becoming more like the Sacred Heart of Jesus.”

The image of Jesus at the Last Supper kneeling at the feet of the disciples, who were beset by human weakness, remains powerful in Father Dufrene’s spiritual life.  

“He knows your weaknesses,” Father Dufrene said. “He knows your struggles. He knows your failures. He knows your fears. He knows your discouragements. He knows your disappointments. And he reaches for your foot with firmness and with gentleness. Your thoughts race. He speaks. ‘I desire to love you. I desire to serve you. I desire to be with you. Will you allow me?’

“And this is the most important question of our lives: Will we allow the one who created us to receive his love to actually love us? And the response is to render to him a life given over to him to receive his love so that his heart can shape our hearts.”

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