St. Gemma Galgani's Adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament
Painting of St. Gemma Galgani, taken from St. Gemma Galgani blog
[The following is excerpted from Chapter 25 of The Life of St. Gemma Galgani, by Venerable Fr. Germanus, C.P., her spiritual director, published by TAN Books. St. Gemma Galgani passed from her earthly life into her eternal reward in Heaven on 11 April 1903, which was Holy Saturday.]
"...[H]ere...I have to relate great things, things so singular as to lead us to believe that God, by a special providence, raised up this child of Heaven [St. Gemma] at a time of so much falling away in piety as an example and stimulus to Christians to venerate and love the most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. The Blessed Eucharist is by excellence the Mystery of Faith – Mysterium Fidei."
"...She was humble and simple as a little child, and Our Lord has said that to such souls He manifests the hidden things of His wisdom and goodness. Thus then...with the vivid light that faith infused into her during her sublime contemplations, she was able to see clearly into this Sacrament and to measure the width and the depth of Its mysteries....turning to the altar in thought, she at once beheld Our Lord exposed thereon, felt Him present with her, and with her whole being and almost, I must say, with all her bodily senses, she rejoiced in the presence of that sweet Majesty."
"...It would be impossible to give all of Gemma's inspired words regarding this mystery in this biography. But I cannot withhold from my readers a selection of edifying extracts that I have collected from her thoughts, as expressed in writing, her sayings to others, and the outpourings of her soul while in ecstasy. I begin with her ideas of the Blessed Eucharist."
[Emphasis mine]"...Let me speak of Holy Communion; I cannot contain myself. Is it possible that there are souls who do not understand what the Blessed Eucharist is? Who are insensible to the Divine Presence, to the mysterious ardent effusions of the Sacred Heart of my Jesus? O Heart of Jesus! Heart of Love!""...In an ecstasy, speaking with her God, she was heard to express her happiness and thankfulness as follows: 'I know that Thou hast not given me temporal and passing riches, but Thou hast given me the true wealth that is the nourishment of the Eucharistic Word. What would become of me if I did not dedicate all my affections to the Sacred Host? Oh, yes, I know it, Lord; that in order to make me deserve a paradise in Heaven, Thou givest me Communion here on earth!'...."
"Although this blessed child was always deep in thought and always found herself in spirit before the sacred Tabernacle, yet she was not fully satisfied unless she could go to church and there adore her hidden God. In order to avoid singularity, which she detested, she contented herself with going to the church only twice a day: in the morning when she went to hear Mass and receive Holy Communion, and in the evening for the public Adoration. 'I am going to Jesus,' she used to say, 'let us go to Jesus. He is all alone and no one thinks of Him. Poor Jesus!'"
..."'Oh, what immense happiness and joy,' she has said, 'my heart feels before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament! And if Jesus would allow me to enter sacred Tabernacle where He, Soul, Body, Blood, and Divinity is present, should I not be in Paradise?...Soul of my soul, my Paradise, Holy Victim, behold me all Thine. I felt that Thou wert seeking me and I ran.'..."
Thanking Our Lord for the victories gained over the enemy, she was once heard to say:
"This morning Thou hast conquered, O Jesus. After I received Thee I began to think of the hard-fought battles in which with Thy help I conquered the devil. Oh, I counted many such victories. [Emphasis mine] Who knows how many times without Thy aid my faith, hope, and charity would have failed me? My understanding would have been darkened if Thou, Eternal Sun, hadst not enlightened it. And my love, how many times would it not have grown weak if Thou hadst not come to strengthen it with Thy Presence? But Thou with Thy fire didst inflame it. I know it; all was the work of Thy Love; all were victories of this, Thine Infinite Love. And now, O Lord, ought not I to be grateful?""...We read in the lives of different Saints that, as sometimes they were unable to go to church for Holy Communion, God made use of an angel, who, to satisfy their hunger for the Blessed Eucharist, acted instead of the priest and took the consecrated species to them. It appears that Our Savior Himself willed to take this great gift to Gemma, and that happened quite three times. Here is how it was told us by one who was an eye-witness:"
Depiction of St. Gemma Galgani in ecstasy, as she receives the marks of Our Lord's Passion.
Taken from St. Gemma Pictures and Photographs 2
"On the morning of the Friday on which dear Gemma for the first time underwent the cruel punishment of the Scourging [St. Gemma not only received the five wounds of the stigmata regularly during the latter part of her life, but also received the marks of Jesus' Scourging and His Crown of Thorns], on seeing her horribly lacerated all over, I forbade her to get up. The poor child obeyed, and collecting her thoughts, she set to prepare herself for a spiritual Communion, for which she used to make her preparation in the same way as for her sacramental Communion in the church. She went into ecstasy, and at a given moment I saw her join her hands and return to herself, while her eyes sparkled and her face suddenly lit up as usually happened when she had some extraordinary vision. [Emphasis mine]At the same moment she put out her tongue and soon withdrew it, returning into ecstasy to make her usual thanksgiving. The same thing happened on the following Friday, and we believe it happened at other times as well, but I was not then a witness. I learned from Gemma herself, who quite candidly told me of it, that it was Jesus and not and Angel who came to communicate her.""...We have seen that this Sacrament of Love was Gemma's Heaven. Jesus on the Altar was everything to her. She lived in this ravishing Mystery, and found in It all her happiness....What has been related in this chapter goes far to show how wonderfully God manifests Himself to faithful souls in the Divine Eucharist."