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Robyn Lee recommends Jesus, Present Before Me by Dominican Father Peter John Cameron.
BY Robyn Lee
Jesus, Present Before Me:
Meditations for Eucharistic
By Father Peter John Cameron, O.P.
Servant Books, 2008
152 pages, $15.95
To order: (800) 488-0488
testify to the powerful connection between Eucharistic devotion and the
increase of vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Those participating
in such devotion would do well to take up Dominican Father Peter John Cameron’s
book Jesus, Present Before Me: Meditations for Eucharistic
Father Cameron’s daily meditations
immediately grabbed my attention. Not only
does he draw from the Catechism and Church fathers, but he also includes quotes
from Albert Einstein, Helen Keller, Flannery O’Connor and J.R.R. Tolkien and
recent news stories to activate our thoughts to further understanding about the
truths of the Eucharist.
favorite meditation is “Day Seventeen: The Eucharist as Companion.” It answers
the question of why our hearts are restless: “What our heart is crying out for
is a true companion in whose love we experience how truly necessary and
invaluable our existence is. The very word companion
derives from the two Latin words cum, meaning ‘with,’ and panis,
which means ‘bread.’ A companion is literally ‘bread-with-us’ — in other words,
everything we need. This literally is the Eucharist!”
Cameron fills his pages with intellectual explanations about the beauty of the
Eucharist and encourages the reader to draw ever closer to Christ with
insightful reflection questions and a Scripture verse. The Scripture quote is
helpful and pertinent to the meditation topic, but for use in adoration, I
would have preferred a longer Scripture passage.
prayer at the end of each day’s meditation helps recall all of the thoughts and
meanings of the daily theme. The prayer, in part, on Day 17 recapitulates the
thoughts discussed in the meditation: “Lord Jesus, when I am overwhelmed by
loneliness … anxiety and anguish of daily life, I know that you are with me,
close to me in my struggles. … I need you, Jesus. Come and be my companion.”
only are there daily meditations, but also Eucharistic reflections on the
mysteries of the Rosary. Father Cameron’s reflections on each mystery of the
Rosary give new meaning and a new angle in which to meditate. In the Joyful
Mysteries, he describes the star over the stable as the first sanctuary lamp;
in the Luminous Mysteries, he expounds on how the craving for God leads to the
Eucharist; in the Sorrowful Mysteries, he portrays the trust of Isaac for his
father; in the Glorious Mysteries, he explains that the Holy Spirit “gives us
the ability to make Jesus present to others and to the whole world.”
book ends with Eucharistic devotions. One of the devotions is “The Way of the
Eucharist,” which focuses on the events in Christ’s life that “bear a deeply
Eucharistic dimension.” No need to take a Scripture class on prefigurements of
the Eucharist. Each “station” has a detailed explanation of the images and
events that directly point to Jesus in the Eucharist.
Explore Father Cameron’s meditations
during your next Holy Hour, and join the cause for an increase in vocations and
greater devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist.
Robyn Lee is the assistant
for Faith & Family magazine.