Robyn Lee recommends Jesus, Present Before Me by Dominican Father Peter John Cameron.
Jesus, Present Before Me:
Meditations for Eucharistic Adoration
By Father Peter John Cameron, O.P.
Servant Books, 2008
152 pages, $15.95
To order: (800) 488-0488
Many dioceses 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 Adoration.
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.
My 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!”
Father 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.
The 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.”
Not 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.”
The 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 editor
for Faith & Family magazine.
- June 21-27, 2009