Author Topic: The Doctrine of the Real Presence from Scripture, Tradition, History, Miracles.  (Read 501 times)

Offline Xavier

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This beautiful Book, The Blessed Eucharist, by Fr. Michael Mueller, C.S.S.R. online here http://www.catholictradition.org/Eucharist/blessed-eucharist1.htm is worth reading in full. I post only the first chapter here as a remembrance of the many amazing things that Jesus Christ the Lord Our God has done for us both in His Holy Life on Earth and throughout the History of His Church, and in how so many wonderful ways He has shown us His Infinite Love by giving us His own Flesh to be our food, and as the best of Fathers His Heart's Blood for our life and salvation. It is right, then, that as true children of the house, we may firmly and fully believe our Father's Word, (Credo quidquid dixit Dei Filius, nil hoc Verbo Veritatis verius, says St. Thomas), never doubting or wavering in the least, and helping our non-Catholic friends, from Scripture, Tradition, History and Miracles, also see the Truth.

This is really that Truth that sets us free, the wonderful proof of God's Infinite Love, His unspeakable Goodness in giving us His Eucharist as a Pledge of Immortality, the Food of Eternal Life, a Balm for our Illnesses, the Medicine for our weaknesses, and the Hope of Glory.

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CHAPTER 1
The Doctrine of the Real Presence

A CERTAIN man was once thrown into prison. He there suffered so much from hunger, thirst and cold that at last he was almost dead. One day the king determined to pay a visit to the captive, in order to find out how he bore his sufferings. Having put off his royal apparel, he went in disguise to the prison and asked the poor man how he fared, but the prisoner, being very sad and melancholy, scarcely deigned to answer him. When the king had gone away, the jailer said to the criminal: "Do you know who was speaking to you? It was the king himself." "The king!" exclaimed the captive. "O wretch that I am! If I had known that I would have thrown myself at his feet and clasped his knees, and I would not have let him go until he had pardoned me. Alas! What a favorable opportunity I have lost of freeing myself from this dungeon." It was thus the poor captive lamented in anguish and despair, but all was unavailing.

I think, dear Reader, you understand the meaning of this story. The sufferings of this captive represent the wretchedness of man's condition on this earth. Our true country is Heaven, and as long as we are living on earth, we are captives and exiles. We are far from Jesus Christ, our King; far from Mary, our good Mother; far from the Angels and Saints of Heaven; and far from our dear departed friends. But very many Christians are also, in another respect, like the captive of whom I have spoken. They do not know Jesus Christ, their true King, who not only visits them, but dwells very near them. "But," you will ask, "how can Jesus Christ dwell near them without their knowing Him?" It is because He has put on a strange garment and appears in disguise.

Our Lord Jesus Christ abides in two places: in Heaven, where He shows Himself undisguised, as He is in reality; and on earth in the Blessed Sacrament, in which He conceals Himself under the appearance of bread. One day a certain nun said to St. Teresa: "I wish that I had lived at the time of Jesus Christ, my dear Saviour, for then I could have seen how amiable and lovely He is." St. Teresa, on hearing this, laughed outright. "What!" said she, "do you not know then, dear sister, that the same Jesus Christ is still with us on earth, that He lives quite near us, in our churches, on our altars, in the Blessed Sacrament?" Yes, the Blessed Sacrament, or Holy Eucharist, is the true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, Our Lord, who is truly, really and substantially present under the outward appearances of bread and wine.

This is indeed a great mystery, and the more to confirm your faith in it, I will give you some proofs for it from Scripture and Tradition. The first proof is taken from the sixth chapter of the gospel of St. John. Our Divine Saviour knew that if He were to teach the Jews and His disciples such a new and wonderful doctrine without having first prepared them for it, there would be scarcely one who would believe Him. When God intends to do something very extraordinary, He generally prepares men for it by revealing to them beforehand what He is about to do. Thus we know that when He intended to destroy the world by the deluge, He made it known through Noah a hundred years before this dreadful event took place. Again, when the Son of God had become man and was about to make Himself known as the Redeemer of the world, He sent St. John the Baptist to prepare the people for His coming. Finally, when He intended to destroy Jerusalem, He foretold it by the prophets; and, Jesus Christ has also described the signs by which men may know when the End of the World is at hand. God acts thus with men because He does not wish to overwhelm them by His strange and wonderful dealings. Hence, when our Divine Saviour was about to tell the people that He intended to give them His Flesh and Blood as food for their souls, He prepared them for this mysterious doctrine by working a very astounding miracle.

This great miracle was the feeding of five thousand men with five loaves and two fishes. The people, having witnessed this miracle, were all so full of reverence for Jesus Christ that they wished to take Him by force and make Him king; but Jesus, perceiving this, fled from them. They found Him again, however, on the following day, and then Jesus took occasion from the impression the miracle had made on them to introduce the subject of the heavenly food which He was about to give to the world. "Amen, I say to you," said Jesus, "ye seek Me, not because ye have seen signs, but because ye have eaten of the loaves and have been filled. Labor not for the food which perisheth, but for that which endureth to life everlasting which the Son of man will give you." (John 6:26-27) Here He declares that the food He was to give them would confer eternal life. Their curiosity being excited by these words, they desired to know more about this heavenly food and asked what sign He would give them and whether the food He spoke of was better than the manna from Heaven which God had given their fathers in the desert. Then Jesus said to them: "Amen, amen, I say to you, Moses gave you not the bread from heaven; but My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven; for the bread of God is that which cometh down from Heaven and giveth life to the world." (John 6:32-33)

In these words He shows the superiority of this bread to the manna of the Old Testament, calling it the "true bread from Heaven," and saying that it possesses such wonderful efficacy as to give life to the world. The Jews, hearing of such a wonderful kind of bread, said to Him: "Lord, give us this bread always." (John 6:34). Whereupon, He replied: "I am the bread of life; your fathers did eat manna in the desert, and died. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that if any man eat of it, he may not die. I am the living bread which came down from Heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is My flesh for the life of the world." (John 6:52) "He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood, hath life everlasting, and I will raise him up on the last day.

For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood abideth in Me and I in him." (John 6:55-57) His disciples hearing this, said: "This saying is hard, and who can hear it." (John 6:61) Jesus, knowing that His disciples murmured at this, said to them: "Doth this scandalize you?" (John 6:62) Observe, He
does not say you are mistaken; you do not understand Me. No, on the contrary, He insists still more on the necessity of eating His Flesh and drinking His Blood: "Amen, amen, I say unto you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, you shall not have life in you." "Many of His disciples," continues the Evangelist, "hearing this, went away and walked no more with Him."

Jesus, seeing that they would not believe that He was to give them His Flesh and Blood as food for their souls, suffered them to go away offended, and when they were gone, He said to the Twelve: "Will ye also go away?" Then Simon Peter answered in the name of all: "Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and know that Thou art the Christ, the Son of God." (John 6:68-70) Remark the noble simplicity of the Apostles' faith.

They believe the words of their Master without the least hesitation; they receive His words in that sense in which the others had refused to receive them; they receive them in their obvious meaning, as a promise that He would give them His real Flesh to eat and His real Blood to drink; they believe with a full faith, simply because He is "the Christ, the Son of God," too good to deceive, and too wise to be deceived; too faithful to make vain promises, and too powerful to find difficulty in fulfilling them. From this time forward the disciples were constantly expecting that Jesus Christ would fulfill His promise.

At length the long-looked-for day came. At the Last Supper Jesus took bread and blessed and gave to His disciples and said: "Take ye and eat, for this is My Body." Then taking the chalice, He gave thanks and gave to them, saying: "Drink ye all of this, for this is My Blood of the New Testament which shall be shed for many, for the remission of sins." (Matt. 26:28) Now in these words we must consider especially the Speaker. It was God Himself. It was the same God Who created Heaven and earth out of nothing; Who, in the beginning, said: "Let light be made," and in an instant the sun, the moon and the stars appeared in the heavens; the same God Who once destroyed the whole world by water, with the exception of eight persons; Who destroyed Sodom and Gomorrha by fire from Heaven; Who, by His servant Moses, wrought so many miracles in the sight of Pharaoh and conducted the Israelites out of Egypt, making a dry path for them in the midst of the Red Sea. It was the same God, Jesus Christ, Who once changed water into wine; Who gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, speech to the dumb, and life to the dead; Jesus Christ Who ascended into Heaven and Who, at the end of the world, will come again with great majesty in the clouds of Heaven, to judge the living and the dead. He it was, the great Almighty God, Who took bread into His most sacred hands, blessed and gave to His disciples, saying: "Take ye and eat: For this is My Body." And no sooner had He said: "This is My Body," than the bread was really changed into His Body. He it was Who, in the same manner, took the chalice, blessed and gave to the disciples, saying: "Drink ye all of it, for this is My Blood." And no sooner had He said, "This is My Blood," than the wine was really changed into His Blood.

When God speaks, what He commands is done in an instant. As He made the sun, the moon and the stars merely by saying: "Let light be made," so also at the Last Supper, by His word alone, He instantaneously changed bread into His Body and wine into His Blood. To those who doubt this, we may apply the reproof which St. Jane Frances de Chantal once gave to a Calvinist nobleman who was disputing with her father about the Real Presence. She was at that time only five years of age, but hearing the dispute, she advanced to the heretic and said: "What, Sir! You do not believe that Jesus Christ is really present in the Holy Eucharist, and yet He has told us that He is present. You then make Him a liar. If you dared attack the honor of the king, my father would defend it at the risk of his life, and even at the cost of yours; what have you then to expect from God for calling His Son a liar?" The Calvinist was greatly surprised at the child's zeal, and endeavored to appease his young adversary with presents; but, full of love for her holy faith, she took his gifts and threw them into the fire, saying: "Thus shall all those burn in Hell who do not believe the words of Jesus Christ."

St. Paul warmly exhorts the Corinthians to flee all communication with idolatry and to abstain from things offered to idols, and he uses the following argument to persuade them: "The chalice of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the Blood of Christ? And the bread which we break, is it not the communion of the Body of the Lord?" (1 Cor. 10:16)

Here he expressly says that in the Holy Eucharist we communicate and partake of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. And still further on he says, in the same epistle to the Corinthians: "Whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord." Nay, he goes farther and says: "He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Body of the Lord." (1 Cor: 11:29)
 
How could the Apostle declare that anyone who received Holy Communion unworthily would eat and drink eternal damnation, if such a one did not really receive Our Lord? Would it not be absurd to say that a man would incur eternal damnation by merely eating a piece of bread or drinking a few drops of wine? But because the Apostle, taught by Jesus Christ Himself, knew that he who receives Holy Communion receives Our Lord Himself, he declared that to receive it unworthily was to be guilty of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ and consequently to deserve Hell-fire.

Moreover, all the Fathers of the Church teach the same doctrine as St. Paul. St. Ignatius, Bishop of Smyrna, who lived in the first century, wrote as follows to the faithful of that city: "Because the heretics refuse to acknowledge that the Holy Eucharist contains the same flesh which suffered for our sins and was raised again to life by God the Father, they die a miserable death and perish without hope."

Tertullian says: "Our flesh is nourished with the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ so that our souls are filled with God Himself." "Who," asks St. John Chrysostom, "will give us of His flesh that we may be filled?" (Job 31:31) This Christ has done, allowing Himself not only to be seen, but to be touched too, and to be eaten, so that our teeth pierce His Flesh, and all are filled with His love.

Parents often give their children to others to nurse them: not so do I, says Christ-----I nourish you with My Flesh and place Myself before you. I was willing to become your brother; for your sake I took Flesh and Blood; and again I deliver to you that Flesh and Blood by which I became so nearly related to you." (Homil. 46). In like manner do all the Fathers of the Church speak that have written upon this subject.

But you will ask: "How is Our Lord present in the Holy Eucharist?" I answer: "Jesus Christ is truly, really and substantially contained under the outward appearance of bread and wine, i.e., He is present whole and entire, His Body and Soul, His Flesh and His Blood, His whole humanity and His whole Divinity. This is clear from what Our Lord said at the institution of this holy mystery: "This is My Body," that is to say, this which I hold in My hand is the same body of Flesh with which you see Me clothed, the same Body that I have borne for thirty-three years, the very Body that shall be tomorrow nailed to the Cross.

Moreover, as in Him the human nature was inseparably united to the Divine, He Himself-----His whole humanity and Divinity-----was contained under that outward appearance of bread. "How is this possible?" you ask. I answer: "By the Almighty power of God." Is it not as easy for Him to change bread into His Body and wine into His Blood as it was for Him to create Heaven and earth out of nothing? It happened once in the Netherlands that two ladies, a Catholic and a Protestant, were disputing on the subject of the Real Presence. The Protestant asserted that the Real Presence was impossible. The Catholic asked her: "Have you Protestants any creed in your religion?" "Oh, to be sure," said the Protestant; and she began to recite: "I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth." "Stop," said the other; "that is enough. You say that you believe in an all-powerful God; why then do you not believe that He can change bread into His Body and wine into His Blood? Is that difficult for Him Who is Almighty?" The Protestant had nothing to answer.

A similar argument was once made use of by a pious painter named Leonardo. He one day met in an inn two men, one of whom was a Lutheran and the other a Calvinist. They were ridiculing the Catholic doctrine about the Blessed Sacrament. The Calvinist pretended that by these words, "This is My Body," it was only meant that the bread signifies the Body of Christ; the Lutheran, on the other hand, asserted that this was not true, but that they meant that bread and wine, in the moment of their reception, became, by the faith of the recipient, the Body and Blood of Christ. While this dispute was going on, Leonardo took a piece of paper and drew the image of Our Lord Jesus Christ, with Luther on the right hand and Calvin on the left. Under the image of our Saviour, he wrote the words: "This is My Body." Under the figure of Calvin he wrote: "This signifies My Body"; and under that of Luther: "This becomes My Body in the moment that you eat it." Then handing the paper to the two disputants, he said: "Which of these three is right, our Saviour, or Calvin, or Luther?" They were struck at the force of the argument, and ceased to scoff at the Catholic doctrine.

Indeed, this objection to the Real Presence is but a proof of the blindness into which men fall when they are led astray by pride and instigated by the devil. The devil has had from the beginning a special hatred for this doctrine. In the early ages of the Church, he incited Simon the Magician and the Manichaeans to deny it, and in later times, he seduced Berengarius to follow their example; but he never succeeded so well as with Luther, Calvin, Zwingli and the other heresiarchs of the sixteenth century.

Luther acknowledges himself that the devil once appeared to him in a visible shape and told him to abolish the Sacrifice of the Mass and to deny the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. And indeed, this is not strange. The devil knows that, according to the promise of Jesus Christ, they who receive Holy Communion worthily will not fall into his power but will obtain eternal life, and on this account he either tempts men to disbelieve the mystery, or he suggests every sort of pretext to keep them from receiving it. But he himself believes it and trembles. Would to God that all men had so strong a faith! After Our Lord had changed bread into His Body and wine into His Blood, He added the words: "Do this in remembrance of Me."

Now, by these words, He commanded the Apostles and their lawful successors, the Catholic bishops and priests, to consecrate, i.e., to change bread and wine into His Body and Blood. "Do this," He says-----that is to say, "do this which I have done; as I have changed bread and wine into My Body and Blood, so do you also in My name change bread and wine into My Body and Blood."

This change takes place in the Sacrifice of the Mass at the Consecration. The moment the priest pronounces the words of the Consecration over the bread and wine, that very instant Jesus Christ is present as truly as He is in Heaven, with His Body and Soul, His humanity and Divinity. After Consecration I nothing remains of the bread and wine, except the sensible qualities or appearances. If, for instance, the bread is round, its roundness remains after the Consecration; if it is white, its whiteness remains; if it has a certain taste or quality before, that taste or quality continues; and so with the wine; the particular taste, color and every other sensible quality is just the same after the Consecration as it was before it. In a word, whatever is capable of being perceived by the senses remains, but the substance, which is perceived by the understanding alone, and not by the senses, is changed. 

But you will perhaps ask: "Why does Our Lord hide Himself under the outward appearances of bread and wine? Why does He not manifest Himself under the sensible qualities of His Body, with His wounded hands, His merciful countenance, His radiant majesty?" Now, Our Lord does so chiefly for two reasons: The first is that we may not lose the merit of faith. Were we to see Jesus Christ as He is seen by the blessed in Heaven, we could no longer make an act of faith in His Real Presence, for "faith is the belief in things which we do not see." (St. Paul)

Now Our Lord wishes to bestow on us after this life a great reward for our faith, as He Himself has said: "Blessed are they that do not see and yet believe." Many of the Saints, in order not to lose the merit of their faith, have gone so far as to beg Our Lord not to favor them with those consoling manifestations of Himself in the Blessed Sacrament which He has sometimes granted to His chosen servants. One day, when St. Louis, King of France, was invited to go to a church in which Our Lord appeared in the Holy Eucharist under the form of an infant, he replied: "I will not go to see my Lord in the Holy Eucharist because I believe that He is present there as firmly as if I had seen Him. Let those go and see Him who do not believe."

Surius relates, in the life of St. Hugo, that a priest of a certain village in England, on breaking the Sacred Host one day at Mass, saw blood issuing from it; whereupon, filled with reverential awe, he determined to lead a holier life in the future, and in fact he soon became renowned for his sanctity. St. Hugo happening once to stop at this village, the priest related this miracle to him and offered to show him the cloths which were yet stained with the miraculous blood; but the holy bishop refused to look at them and would not even allow his attendants to do so, saying that such wonders and sensible proofs were only for those who did not believe. And when he noticed that some of his attendants had a desire to see them, he reprimanded them sharply and said that this desire proceeded not from piety but from curiosity and that it was more perfect to believe without seeing, as Our Lord Himself assures us. "Blessed are they that have not seen and yet believe." (John 20:29)

The second reason why Our Lord hides Himself is that He might inspire us with confidence. If He were to show Himself in all His glory, as He appears to the Angels and Saints in Heaven, who would dare to approach Him? Surely no one. But Jesus most earnestly desires to unite Himself intimately to our souls, and therefore He conceals Himself under the outward form of bread, that we may not be afraid of Him. "Our great King," says St. Teresa, "veils Himself that we may receive Him with greater confidence."

In order to enliven our faith in His Real Presence, Our Lord has frequently manifested Himself in a sensible manner in the Holy Eucharist. Church history abounds in instances of the kind. The first that I shall relate is that of a miracle which occurred in the church of St. Denis in Douay and is recorded by Thomas Cantipratensis, an eye-witness. A certain priest, after having distributed Holy Communion to the faithful, found one of the Sacred Hosts lying on the floor. Full of consternation he knelt down to take it up, when the Host arose of its own accord and placed itself on the purifier. The priest immediately called those who were present, and when they came near the altar, they all saw in the Sacred Host Jesus Christ under the form of a child of exquisite beauty. "On hearing the news," says our author, "I too went to Douay. After I had declared to the dean the object of my visit, we went together to the church, and no sooner had he opened the ciborium wherein the miraculous Host was contained than we both beheld our Divine Saviour." "I saw," says Thomas, "the head of Jesus Christ, like that of a full grown man. It was crowned with thorns. Two drops of blood trickled down His forehead and fell on His cheek. With tearful eyes I fell prostrate before Him. When I arose again, I no longer saw either the crown of thorns or the drops of blood, but only the face of a man whose aspect inspired great veneration." This miracle gave rise to a confraternity in honor of the Most Holy Eucharist, to which several popes, especially Paul IV and Clement XIV, granted numerous indulgences. (P. Favre, Le Ciel Ouvert)

In the village of Les Ulmes de St. Florent, in the diocese of Angers, the following miracle occurred on the second of June, 1666, the Saturday within the octave of the feast of Corpus Christi. The people were assembled in the church for Benediction, and when the priest had intoned the hymn, "Verbum Caro, panem verum," there appeared in place of the Host the distinct figure of a man. He was clothed in white, and His hands were crossed on His breast; His hair fell upon His shoulders, and His countenance was resplendent with majesty. The curate then invited all his parishioners to come and witness the miracle: "If there be any infidel here," said he, "let him now draw near." Everyone approached and gazed upon this beautiful vision for about a quarter of an hour, after which the Host resumed its former shape. The Bishop of Angers, Mgr. Henry Arnaud, after having examined the testimony in favor of this miracle, caused it to be proclaimed throughout the whole of France.

The Blessed Nicholas Fattori, a Franciscan friar, remarkable for his piety and purity of heart, often saw Jesus Christ in the Consecrated Host in the form of an infant. On touching the Blessed Sacrament, he seemed to feel, not the mere Eucharistic species, but the very Flesh of Jesus Christ. On this account, he used to present his fingers to those who wished to kiss his hand, saying: "Kiss these fingers with great respect, for they are sanctified by real contact with Jesus Christ Our Lord and Sovereign Good." It is also related that, when this holy man was in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, he used to rejoice as a child does in the presence of its mother.

Our Lord in His great mercy has even gone so far as to manifest Himself to His enemies, to the unbelievers.

In the life of St. Gregory the Great, written by Paul the deacon, it is related that a noble matron of Rome, who was accustomed to prepare the hosts for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, went one Sunday to receive Holy Communion from the Holy Pontiff. When he gave her the Blessed Eucharist, saying, "May the body of Our Lord Jesus Christ preserve thy soul unto life everlasting," she laughed outright. Seeing this, the Sovereign Pontiff did not give her the Blessed Sacrament, but replaced it on the altar, and when the holy mysteries were ended, he asked the lady why she laughed when about to receive the Body of the Lord. "Why," said she, "I laughed because I saw that what you said was the Body of the Lord was one of those very wafers which I had made with my own hands." Upon this the Pope ordered all present to pray that God, in confirmation of the truth, would cause all to see with the eyes of the body what the unbelief of this woman had prevented her from seeing with the eyes of the soul. Accordingly, when the holy Pontiff and all present had prayed for a while, the corporal was removed, and in sight of the multitude who pressed round to witness the miracle, the Holy Host was visibly changed into flesh. Then, turning to the woman, the Pope said: Learn now to believe the words of the Eternal Truth Who declares: "The bread which I give is My Flesh, and My Blood is drink indeed." And having besought God once more to change the Host into its original form, he gave her the Holy Communion. This woman never again doubted of the Real Presence and soon made great progress in virtue.

I shall adduce only one more instance, which is related by St. Alphonsus in his History of Heresies. It occurred about the time in which Wickliffe began to deny the Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence. Some Jews procured a Sacred Host through a servant girl whom they had bribed to receive it unworthily. They then carried it to an inn where they cut it into several pieces. Immediately a great quantity of blood issued from each of the particles, but this miracle did not convert those unhappy wretches. They now concealed the particles in a meadow near the city of Posen. Some time afterwards, a cow-herd, on crossing this meadow, saw the small particles of the Host rising into the air and shining like fiery flames; he saw, moreover, that the oxen fell on their knees as if in adoration. The cow-herd, who was a Catholic, told his father what he had seen, and the father, having also witnessed the miracle, acquainted the magistrate of the fact. Thereupon a great concourse of people flocked to the place to witness the miracle. In fine, the Bishop, with the clergy of the city, went in procession to the place, and having deposited the holy particles in a ciborium, they carried them to the church. A small chapel was built on the spot where this miracle occurred. This chapel was afterwards enlarged and converted into a magnificent church by Wenceslaus, King of Poland; and Stephen, the Archbishop, testifies to his having seen in this church these bloody particles.

You might be inclined to infer from this narrative that Our Lord's Body is really broken and His Blood really shed whenever the Host is cut or divided, but this is not the case. In the Blessed Sacrament Our Lord's body remains whole and entire in each particle, as it was in the entire Host. The Fathers of the Church explain this by the comparison of a broken mirror, for just as each part of the mirror reflects the entire image which the whole reflected before it was broken, so also does each particle of the Host contain Christ's Body entire, as the whole Host did before it was broken. And what is true of the Host is true also of the chalice; Our Lord is present under each drop of Blood as truly as under the whole species in the chalice.

Whenever, therefore, the Host is broken or the Blood spilt, it is not Our Lord's Body and Blood that are broken and divided, but only the sacred species. Moreover, Our Lord's Blood, as well as His Body, is present under the form of bread, and His Body, as well as His Blood, is present under the appearance of wine. At His Resurrection, Our Lord's soul was reunited to His Body and Blood, never again to be separated; so that where His Body is, there also is His Blood, His Soul, and His Divinity; and where His Blood is, there also are His Body, Soul and Divinity. In a word, Christ is entirely present under the species of bread, as well as in the least particle of it, and He is also entirely present under the species of wine, as well as in the least particle of it. On this account, the Church, moved by several weighty reasons, communicates the faithful under the form of bread only, knowing that they are thereby deprived of no part of the Sacrament, but that they receive the Blood of Jesus Christ as truly as if they drank it out of the chalice.

That Our Lord's Blood is contained along with His Body in the Sacred Host is proved, not only by the authority of the Church and the Scriptures, and by the arguments from reason which I have just stated, but also by numerous miracles. Some of those which I have already related prove this doctrine. I will, therefore, add but one more.

It is related in the chronicles of the Hieronimites that a religious of that order, named Peter of Cavanelas, was much tempted by doubts about the presence of Blood in the Sacred Host. It pleased God to deliver him from the temptation in the following manner: One Saturday, as he was saying Mass in honor of our Blessed Lady, a thick cloud descended upon the altar and enveloped it completely. When the cloud had disappeared, he looked for the Host he had consecrated, but could not find it. The chalice, too, was empty. Full of fear, he prayed to God to assist him in this perplexity; whereupon, he beheld the Host upon a paten in the air. He noticed that Blood was flowing from it into the chalice. The Blood continued to flow until the chalice was as full as it had been before. After his death, this miracle was found recorded in his own handwriting. At the time it happened, nothing was known about it, as Our Lord enjoined secrecy upon him. Even the person who served his Mass knew nothing about it; he only noticed that the priest shed many tears, and that the Mass lasted longer than usual.

Ah, how mysterious, yet how Divine and how consoling is the doctrine of the Real Presence! Indeed, it is one of the most wonderful and most consoling of all doctrines. It is the center of Catholic devotion and has ever been the object of the most rapturous contemplation of the saints. But I have not yet mentioned a fact which, I believe, will increase your appreciation of this mystery. It is, in some respects, more wonderful than any I have yet mentioned, and with it I will conclude my instruction.

There have been many holy persons who have had a supernatural instinct by which they were sensible of the presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, even when it was hidden and at a distance from them; they could also distinguish a consecrated I Host from an unconsecrated one. Goerres, in his celebrated work entitled Christian Mysticism, notices this fact and thus prefaces the enumeration of the few cases which he cites: "In reference to the holiest of all things, the Sacrament of the Eucharist, we find that those Saints who have succeeded in raising themselves to the higher regions of spiritual life were all endowed with the faculty of detecting the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, even when it was hidden and at a considerable distance. Blessed Ida of Louvain was always sensible of the presence of Our Lord at the precise moment of Consecration. Once, when the server at Mass had by mistake given the priest water instead of wine, so that there was no consecration, St. Coleta, though kneeling at a distance, perceived it by a supernatural instinct.

The Cistercian nun Juliana always knew when the Blessed Sacrament was moved from St. Martin's Church at the close of the service, and each time she used to be overwhelmed with sadness. This was frequently witnessed by her friend Eva. (Ibid.) One day the Franciscans of Villonda invited the holy Carmelite Cassetus to visit them, and in order to try him, they took the Blessed Sacrament out of the tabernacle in which it was usually kept and placed it elsewhere. They put no light before it, but left the lamp burning as usual before the customary altar. On entering the church, the companion of Cassetus turned towards the high altar, but Cassetus immediately pointed out the spot where the Blessed Sacrament had been placed, saying: "The body of Our Lord is there and not where the lamp is burning; the brothers whom you see behind the grating have placed it there in order to try us." (Ibid.)

St. Francis Borgia had the same gift, and on entering a church, he always walked straight to the spot where the Blessed Sacrament was kept, even when no external sign indicated its presence. In 1839, Prince Licknowsky visited Mary Moerl, the celebrated Tyrolese virgin upon whom God bestowed so many miraculous gifts. While she was kneeling in ecstasy on her bed, he observed that she moved round towards the window. Neither he nor any of those present could tell the cause of this. At last, on looking out, they saw a priest passing by, carrying the Viaticum to the sick, without bell or chant or any sound that could give notice of its approach. (Catholic Magazine)

In the life of St. Lidwina of Holland, it is recorded that the priest, in order to try her, gave her an unconsecrated host, but the Saint perceived that it was only bread and said: "Your Reverence will please give me another host, for that which you hold in your hand is not Jesus Christ."

Blessed Margaret of the Blessed Sacrament, a Carmelite nun who lived in France, was one day suffering great pain. Her sisters, wishing to ascertain whether she would really find relief in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, to which she had a singular devotion, carried her at first to various places in which the Holy Eucharist was not kept and exhorted her to pray to Jesus Christ; but she answered in a plaintive voice: "I do not find my Saviour here," and addressing herself to Him, she said: "My Lord, I do not find here Thy Divine Truth," after which she besought her sisters to carry her into the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. (Her Life by P. Poesl, C.S.S.R.)

When St. Louis, King of France, was on his death-bed, he was asked by the priest who brought him the Viaticum whether he really believed that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was present in the Host. The Saint, collecting all his strength, answered with a loud voice: "I believe it as firmly as if I saw Him present in the Host, just as the Apostles saw Him when He ascended gloriously into Heaven." Now, if you would have such faith as this great Saint, make use of the following means: First, make many acts of faith in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Make them at home; kneel down in your room; turn toward some church in which the Blessed Sacrament is kept and say: "My Jesus, I firmly believe that Thou art present in that church; I sincerely wish to be with Thee; but since this is impossible, I beseech Thee to give Thy blessing to me and to all men."

Make such acts of faith when you are abroad or when you are at your work; turn from time to time towards the Blessed Sacrament and say: "My amiable Saviour, bless me and everything that I do; I will do and suffer everything for love of Thee." Make such acts of faith on your way to church. Say to yourself: "I am going to visit the King of Heaven and earth; I am going to see my good Jesus, my amiable Saviour, Who died on the Cross for me, a wretched sinner; I am going to visit the best of Fathers, who even considers it a favor when I have recourse to Him in my necessities."

Finally, excite your faith when you are in church. Kneel with profound reverence and adore your God and Creator, saying: "My God, I firmly believe that Thou art in this tabernacle. I believe that in the Blessed Sacrament the same God is present who created Heaven and earth out of nothing; the same God who became an infant for my sake; who, after His death and Resurrection, ascended into Heaven, and now sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; the same who, at the end of the world, will come in great majesty to judge the living and the dead."

This, then, is the first rule-----to make many acts of faith. The second is to keep yourself free from sin; for God will not bestow the gift of a lively faith on a soul that is dead in sin. The third and most efficacious means to gain a strong faith in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament is to pray for it. "He that asketh receiveth." Hence, if you wish to have a lively faith in this mystery, a faith that will make you exult when in the presence of the Holy Eucharist, or even when you think of it, ask it of Jesus Christ, and be assured that you will receive it. But since this lively faith is a gift of inestimable value, Jesus Christ wishes that we should ask for it again and again without ceasing. Pray for it therefore until you have obtained it, and when you have obtained this great gift, continue to pray that it may never be taken from you. Make this prayer especially during Mass. Hear Mass frequently and, especially in the time between the Consecration and the Communion, beseech Jesus Christ to grant your petition, and doubt not in the least that you will obtain it.

A young cleric once heard a missionary preach on the Real Presence, and on the great love of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. The preacher spoke with as lively a faith as if he saw Jesus Christ with his eyes. The young man was struck at this, and said to himself: "Oh my Lord! What shall become of me? I, too, must one day preach on Thy presence in the Holy Eucharist; but how feeble will my words be in comparison with the words of this pious priest!" The young man related this afterwards, and he added that, from that time forward, he had always begged of Jesus Christ the gift of a lively faith in the Real Presence and that he had done so frequently during Mass, particularly at the time of the elevation. By this means his faith became so strong that he afterwards besought Our Lord not to appear to him in any sensible manner, and he could find nowhere so much joy and contentment of heart as in a church where the Blessed Sacrament was preserved.

Often call to mind the wonders which Jesus Christ has wrought in this mystery of love; make many acts of faith in His Real Presence; lead a very chaste life; often beseech Jesus Christ to give you a lively faith, especially when you have received Holy Communion; and then rest assured that your faith will become strong and lively, like the faith of a Saint, and your happiness will be unbounded. In days of yore, God complained that the Jews did not know Him: "The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel hath not known Me, and My people hath not understood." And when our Divine Saviour came on earth, He repeated the same reproach.

When Philip said to Our Lord at the Last Supper: "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us," our Saviour reproached him, saying: "Have I been so long with you and you have not known Me? Philip, he that seeth Me, seeth the Father also."

In the same manner does our dear Saviour, hidden under the Sacramental veils, seem to reproach us: "I, your God and Redeemer, have been so long with you in the Blessed Sacrament, and yet you do not know Me? Do you not know that when you see the Blessed Sacrament, you see Me, your Jesus? Do you not know that, when you are in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, you are in My Divine Presence?"

Alas, this reproach is but too just! How true are the words of the Evangelist: "He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His Own, and His Own received Him not." May you, my dear reader, never deserve this reproach, but rather, may you be of the number of those of whom the same Evangelist says: "But as many as received Him (that is, with a lively faith), to them He hath given power to be made the sons of God." May you live on earth as a child of God, and after death may you be received into the kingdom of your heavenly Father, where, in reward for your faith, you will see, face to face, Him Whom you have adored in the Blessed Sacrament and will hear from His lips the consoling words: "Come, My well-beloved, blessed art thou, because though thou hast not seen, thou hast yet believed."
« Last Edit: January 30, 2019, 01:14:20 AM by Xavier »
Please listen to the frequent messages and take heed of the directions given from Our Living Lord and Our Loving Lady from around the world here: https://maryrefugeofholylove.com/ Great things are at stake. Please consecrate your life to the Blessed Mother so that the Kingdom of God may come, "Ad Sanctam Trinitatem per Mariam, Ut adveniat Regnum Deum, adveniat Regnum Mariae, ergo TOTUS TUUS ego sum, MARIA" See http://www.maria-domina-animarum.net/en/flowers/1-250

Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted and pluralized: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For all the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for Priests, Nuns and Monks, for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, and for All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/ It is recommended that you make this Life Offering as soon as you feel ready, and to renew it from time to time.

Please read the Blessed Mother's amazing promises in the link: A simple effective way for thousands of us to save millions of souls. The Doctors and Apostles say if we save even just one other soul through prayer and sacrifice, we also ensure the salvation of our own! Let us Offer our Lives in Sacrifice to Jesus and Mary Today, to save, if it were possible, all souls everywhere.
 
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Offline Josephine87

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What a lovely meditation. Thank you for sharing it.
"Begin again." -St. Teresa of Avila

“My present trial seems to me a somewhat painful one, and I have the humiliation of knowing how badly I bore it at first. I now want to accept and to carry this little cross joyfully, to carry it silently, with a smile in my heart and on my lips, in union with the Cross of Christ. My God, blessed be Thou; accept from me each day the embarrassment, inconvenience, and pain this misery causes me. May it become a prayer and an act of reparation." -Elisabeth Leseur
 
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Offline Xavier

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Yes, it's a wonderful devotional book by Fr. Mueller that stirs us to deeper love and gratitude for God's Amazing Love in His Blessed Sacrament each time we read it; if we buy or have the book, we can consider taking it with us when we go to Eucharistic Adoration.

Since it is such a treasure, I'm going to post the other chapters as well for those who read and reread, if no one has any objection.

Quote

First Published in 1868.
TAN Books and Publishers
Imprimatur, 1867


CHAPTER 2
On the Reverence Due to Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament

A YOUNG Portuguese traveled to India to seek his fortune. In a few years he returned to Europe, accompanied by several of his own vessels, laden with wealth, the fruits of his toil and researches. Having arrived at his native place, "Stay," said he to himself, "I must play a little deception on my relations." He put on soiled garments and a torn cloak and hastened to the house of his cousin Peter. In this disguise he claimed relationship: "I am your cousin John," said he. "I have passed several years in India; I now return to visit my friends and native land once more. You see my position, and thus by ties of kindred, I crave hospitality at your hands." "Ah! Would to Heaven I could accommodate you, my dear John," replied Peter. "Excuse me, my house is wholly occupied." John, playing his role, proceeds to another friend's house; makes the same advance, realizes the same reply; and thus to a third and fourth.

His poverty-stricken appearance had thus driven him from door to door. Ah, poor deluded friends, little did you imagine that, under that tattered garment, a man of wealth lay concealed! John hastened back to his ships, cast aside his beggar's dress, robed himself in costly attire, and followed by a multitude of servants, proceeded at once to purchase a princely dwelling in the very heart of the city. His fabulous wealth, his lordly retinue, his high-blooded steeds were the talk of the town and neighborhood. The news soon reached the ears of his friends. Picture to yourselves, if you can, their wondrous amazement! How changed would their conduct now be if the opportunity could but present itself anew! Listen to the altered tone of their language: "What is the meaning of all this?" said one to the other. "Could you have supposed this for a moment? Had I but known this before, my friend would have met with very different treatment at my hands; but alas, it is now too late! We have repulsed him forever."

The foregoing story serves as an illustration of what takes place between Christians and their Lord. This man went to his friends as a beggar, attired in poor, tattered garments, disguising thus his affluence and power. In the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, does not our Blessed Lord act in the same manner? Does He, whilst silently remaining enclosed in our Tabernacles, by day and by night, display His heavenly glory and brightness? No. But He there remains, as it were, in a poor, miserable dress, under the humble appearance of bread.

This stranger came to his friends a second time in rich and royal attire, escorted by numerous attendants. Jesus Christ will come again, at the end of the world, enthroned on the clouds of Heaven, in great power and majesty. Myriads of Angels and blessed spirits will surround Him on every side, for wealth, glory and power are His. To whom can we compare those unkind friends of our narrative? Unfortunately, to a very great number of Christians of the present day. How is that, you will perhaps ask me? Because, as they paid little or no attention to their relative in his poverty, so in the same manner, a great many Christians pay little or no reverence to Jesus Christ, when humbly concealed in the Sacrament of His love. After this conduct of Christians, let us not be astonished if we hear of infidels or heretics treating Our Lord with irreverence in the Holy Eucharist.

Once a Jewess pushed her temerity and hardihood so far as to receive Holy Communion with the Christians. Her audacity was immediately detected, although when she had received the Sacred Host, she bowed down most profoundly, covering her face with her hands as though wrapped in the purest devotion. Well, you will say, "How did she betray herself?" Those who were near her noticed that she was keeping the Sacred Host in her mouth and treating it with irreverence. She acted thus in order to ridicule and dishonor Jesus Christ, the God of the Christians. The observers of this conduct concluded that she must be either a sorceress or, as was really the case, an unbelieving Jewess.

In what does her conduct differ from that of many people of our day? Do we not see men who hardly bow their head, much less bend the knee when passing before that Most August Sacrament? Women enter the church who, by their dress and thoughtlessness, cannot claim any high prerogative in the modesty of their sex. Men even grant full liberty to their wanton gaze, heedless of the penetrating eye of their God, who fills that temple and whose sight has already pierced their souls. When, at processions intended to honor the Blessed Sacrament, I see such behavior, I must conclude that this is the result of the most complete indifference towards Jesus Christ or a total forgetfulness of His Presence. What then? Shall I call these persons Jews? Shall I call them sorcerers? No. But I think I shall not be far astray in saying that they have not a lively faith. They may be Catholics, if you will, but certainly, their faith is not practical. They do not realize that Jesus Christ is present in the tabernacle and in the monstrance. They are deceived by their senses.

In the monstrance, or in the hands of the priest at Mass, they see nothing but the white host, and their thoughts penetrate no further. But if they only reflected on what their faith teaches, viz., that under that little host Jesus Christ conceals His heavenly splendor and glory, how different would be their deportment! How different their thoughts and feelings! Would you know how they would act if their faith were real and lively? Go to the palace of a king. Mark the silent expectation in that splendid apartment! What mean those movements so circumspect? That tread so noiseless? That voice so subdued? Ah, 'tis the royal antechamber! There a loud word is an impertinence; there unbecoming attire is a crime. But hark! Even that stealthy conversation is hushed; every eye is turned to one point; each one assumes the most respectful attitude; the curtain is drawn; and the obsequious courtiers stand in the presence of their King. What an unpardonable breach of decorum would it not be for anyone to remain sitting at a moment like this! Yes, to talk, to laugh or to remain with head covered!

Now, if such honor is paid to earthly princes, what reverence is not then due to Him Who is "King of kings and Lord of lords?" St. John Chrysostom is indignant with us for even making the comparison, and it is with reason. For what is an emperor when compared to the King of Heaven and earth? He is less than the blade of grass when compared to the whole universe.

Whenever the Blessed Sacrament is exposed in the tabernacle, borne in procession or carried as Viaticum to the sick; whenever the Sacred Host is raised at the Consecration in the Mass, our infallible faith says to us: Ecce Rex vester! "Behold your King!" Behold your Redeemer, your Judge, your Creator, your God!

If then in the presence of the Most Holy Sacrament I feel no devotion interiorly and show no modesty exteriorly, what will you think of me? You will say with truth and justice that: "That man does not believe that his God is present there"; or again, "That man's faith is cold and dead."

Who could believe that Jesus Christ is present in this Sacrament and fail in reverence towards it? What reverence did not the Jews pay to the Ark of the Covenant! No one dared to approach it, yet fifty thousand persons who, through curiosity, ventured to gaze thereat, were instantly struck dead as a punishment for their rash act! Yet, what did the Ark contain? Only the Ten Commandments of God.

But in the Holy Eucharist, faith tells us that God Himself is present, He Who made all things out of nothing and could destroy them in a moment. He Who at the last day will come on the clouds of Heaven to judge the living and the dead. Only let Catholics believe this with a lively faith,
and our churches will be filled with worshippers, whose deportment will correspond to their belief. The modest attire, the guarded eye, the bended knee, the meekly folded hands will bespeak the conviction of their hearts. Only let Catholics have a lively faith in this mystery, and Jesus Christ will seldom be left alone. At all hours, His children will come to present themselves before Him, as subjects before their prince, as slaves before their master, as sick men before their physician, as children before their father, in a word, as friends before their beloved friend.

Only let a congregation be animated with a lively faith in this doctrine of our holy religion, and each mind will be filled with amazement, the spirit will be recollected, the soul moved to contrition, the affections inflamed, the eye melted to tears of tenderness and the voice broken with sighs like those of the poor publican: "O God, be merciful to me, a sinner!" Or like unto that of St. Peter, "Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man!" Thus reverence is nothing more than a lively faith. The reality of the Divine Presence in the Blessed Sacrament is the true rule of our deportment before it. The Catholic has within himself the rule of decorum. He needs nothing else to teach him what is proper or improper in church, besides the dogma which assures him that he is in the presence of his God. If then he be but a little recollected, he will be, almost necessarily, respectful.

This then is the great means of preserving a reverent deportment, to remember Who He is that is enclosed in the tabernacle and what we are, viz.: that our Divine Saviour is in our midst and that we are His creatures and subjects come to worship Him. But although our faith is sufficient to teach us how we ought to behave before Our Lord, yet because it is sometimes difficult to keep in mind the truths of faith and because examples are always more powerful than a bare precept, I will set before you some striking examples, which may serve to impress upon your mind the duty of reverence towards the Blessed Sacrament.

First, I will propose the example of the Angels. St. Basil and St. John Chrysostom testify to having seen at the time of Mass, or when the Blessed Sacrament was exposed, many hosts of Angels in human form, clothed with white garments and standing round the altar as soldiers stand before their king. But what was their attitude and deportment? Their heads were bowed, their faces covered, their hands crossed, and the whole body so profoundly inclined as to express the deepest sense of their own unworthiness to appear before the Divine Majesty. Oh, would we but think of this! The Angels, those pure spirits, shrink before the Infinite Holiness of God, and we allow vain, worldly and even sinful thoughts to insinuate themselves into our minds in His Presence!

The Angels tremble before His Greatness, and we fear not to talk and laugh in His Presence! The Angels, those princes of Heaven, are all humility and modesty, and we, the dust of the earth and miserable sinners, all impertinence and pride! The Angels veil their faces before His splendor, and we do not even so much as cast down our eyes, but rudely stare and gaze around! The Angels bow down to the earth, and we will not bend our knee! The Angels, full of awe, fold their hands upon their breasts, and we allow ourselves every freedom of attitude and movement!! Oh, what a subject of confusion! What humiliating reflections! What an impressive lesson! Secondly, I will take you from the princes of Heaven to the princes of the earth, and teach you a lesson from the example of kings and nobles. There are many beautiful examples on record of the homage which kings and emperors have paid to the Saviour of mankind, so humbly hidden in the Blessed Sacrament. Philip II, King of Spain, always dispensed with regal pomp and pageantry when he assisted at processions of the Blessed Sacrament, and as an ordinary personage, mingled with the common throng. Inclemency of weather deterred him not from paying this tribute of honor to his Lord. One day, as he was devoutly accompanying the Blessed Sacrament with uncovered head, a page held his hat over him, to shield him from the burning sun. "Never mind," said Philip, "the sun will do me no harm; at such a time as this we must regard neither rain nor wind, heat nor cold."

On another occasion, whilst the Blessed Sacrament was being carried a great distance to a sick person, Philip accompanied it all the way on foot. The priest, observing this, asked him if he were not tired. "Tired!" replied he, "Behold, my servants wait upon me both by day and by night, and never yet have I heard one of them complain of being tired! Shall I, then, complain of fatigue when I am waiting upon my Lord and my God, Whom I can never sufficiently serve and honor!"

Rudolph, Count of Hapsburg, whilst hunting one day, observed a priest carrying the Viaticum to the sick, whereupon he immediately alighted, and insisted on the priest mounting in his place. The offer was accepted. The priest, having gone through his sacred and pastoral duty, returned the animal, with many marks of gratitude, to the Count. But this noble and Christian Count could not be prevailed upon to accept it. "No," said he, "keep it, for I am not worthy to ride upon a horse which has borne my Lord." (Heiss's History of Austria).

Whilst the Lutheran heresy was spreading its ravages throughout Germany, Charles V, of Spain, hastened to Augsburg to assist at the diet convened there to stem the pernicious influence of this heresy. The feast of Corpus Christi fell at that time. It was celebrated with every possible pomp and magnificence; the Emperor Charles assisted thereat with the most edifying devotion. At the procession, the Prince: Bishop of Mayence carried the Most Adorable Sacrament, being supported on the right by Ferdinand, the Roman King, on the left by Joachim, Elector of  Brandenburg. The canopy was borne by six princes, namely, Louis, Duke of Bavaria; the son of the Elector of Brandenburg; George, Duke of Pomerania; Philip, Count Palatine of Werdelburg; Henry, Duke of Brunswick; and the Duke of Mecklenburg. When these six princes had carried it as far as the Chapel on Mount Berlach, six others took it and carried it to a place called the Holy Cross, whence six others bore it to the Cathedral. The Emperor Charles, torch in hand, on foot and with uncovered head, accompanied by several Archbishops, Bishops and many persons of high rank, followed the procession during the whole route.

Such noble traits of devotion are not confined to days gone by; in our own times, we see princes who have inherited from their fathers this true devotion to the Most Holy Sacrament. Of the present Emperor of Austria it is related that, one day as he was riding through the streets of Vienna, at the signal announcing that the Blessed Sacrament was being carried to the sick, he immediately stopped his carriage, alighted, and on bended knees, there devoutly adored his Lord and God. The same is said of that excellent princess, the late queen of Belgium.

Now, these instances of reverence are not mentioned as being great in regard to the Blessed Sacrament. Before Him Who dwells concealed under that veil, princes are as nothing. Why then should we be astonished at this? Why look on this tribute of devotion as something extraordinary? 'Tis true, these princes are as nothing before Our Lord, but they are great and mighty when confronted with us and may well serve to remind us of the obligation which Faith imposes upon us. If then those whose position bespeaks honor and ease cheerfully submit to humiliation, inconvenience and pain at the call of Religion, what ought we not to do? We cannot boast of high position to make us proud, luxury to make us effeminate or gentle care to make us tender. On the contrary, our position bows us to humility; our necessity and poverty bend us to labor; our life accustoms us to forgo our ease. This being the case, while we honor the great ones of the earth, shall we refuse to join with them in worshiping Him Who is the source of all greatness, and who is above all?

We have seen that reverence towards the Blessed Sacrament is enjoined upon us by faith and reason, and preached to us by Heaven and earth. I will add then but one more reflection: It is urged upon us by the teaching of our Holy Mother the Church.

To what tend all her beautiful ceremonial, her minute ritual and her costly ornaments, but to inspire or express reverence for her Divine Spouse? Why is the priest who celebrates Mass and the faithful who are communicated required to be fasting, but on account of the greatness of the Guest they are about to receive? The incense, the lights, the flowers, the vestments of the priests, the numerous attendants, the genuflexions, are not all these to honor Him who has so greatly humbled Himself for the love of us? And not content with her daily homage, she has appointed a festival in the year for the express purpose of repairing the injuries which Jesus Christ has received from men, either at the time of His visible sojourn on earth or since the establishment of His Religion.

What is the procession of Corpus Christi but a reversal of the judgment which an unbelieving world passed upon Our Lord and a compensation for the outrages which it has inflicted on Him? As He was once in the most ignominious manner led as a malefactor through the streets of Jerusalem, from Annas to Caiphas, from Caiphas to Pilate, from Pilate to Herod, from one tribunal to another, so is He, on this day, borne in triumph through the streets, as the Spotless Lamb of God and man's Highest Good.

As His sufferings had no other witnesses than envious and mocking Jews, so now on this day, every knee bends in adoration before Him. As the executioners once led Him forth to death, so in this procession, the great ones of the world mingle with the throng to do Him reverence. As then His ears resounded with the most scornful and outrageous blasphemies, so now on this great festival, the Church greets Him with every kind of musical instrument and song of praise. The crown of thorns which once pierced His brow is now exchanged for the wreath of flowers around the monstrance, while civil magistrates with their insignia and troops of heroes with glittering arms and waving banners replace the fierce Roman soldiers who once kept watch around His dark and silent tomb. The Cross which Jesus bore with sorrow and sweat up the rugged hill of Calvary is on this His day of triumph carried before all as the sign of victory. Jesus Himself, who was lifted up upon it, is now in the Blessed Sacrament raised aloft to impart His Benediction to His kneeling and adoring people.
If such be the spirit of the Church, what should be the practice of her children? Are we Catholics? Where then is our faith?

It is Jesus our Saviour who remains enclosed in the tabernacle, and who is lifted on high in the monstrance. It is the true Eternal God whom we receive in Communion. We must show by our works that we believe this. I do not say that we are bound, as the early Christians, to prostrate ourselves to the earth and press our foreheads in the dust. I do not say that we are bound to imitate St. Vincent de Paul and bend the knee when it costs us the most excruciating pain to do so.

Nevertheless, we are bound at least to avoid offending our Divine Lord and dishonoring Him to His face. We are bound, when about to receive Holy Communion, carefully to prepare ourselves by a good Confession and thus avoid the dreadful peril of receiving Him in a state of mortal sin. We are bound to lay aside all unbecoming attire and scandalous behavior, especially in the House of God, and to be modest, reverent and humble in attitude and deportment. We ought to regard all our members as in some way consecrated by Jesus Christ, Whom we so often receive, or at least whom we visit in the Church. It is not fitting that the feet which have I borne us to the altar of God should carry us into evil company; that those eyes which, in the morning at Mass, have looked upon the Immaculate Victim, should through the day look at that which is unclean; that the tongue which has been the throne of God should utter blasphemous, impure or calumnious words; that the heart which has been united to the Infinite Purity and Beauty should be polluted by the stain of sin. But alas, how often such indecencies are perpetrated!

When one thinks of the offenses which Jesus Christ receives in this Sacrament, of the sacrilegious  Communions which those make who receive in mortal sin, or in the proximate occasion of sin, of the neglect of so many to receive Holy Communion for a long time, and the insufficient preparation they do make when they receive, all this is enough to make the true Christian shudder with horror. Yes, we are inclined to believe [that] as of old God repented that He had made man because his heart was bent on wickedness, so now Our Lord must surely repent of having instituted this Sacrament and must even wish to take away from His priests the power which He gave them of consecrating His Body and Blood.

But no, such a thought does an injustice to His love. Jesus Christ will never withdraw the power which He confided to His Church of changing bread and wine into His Most Adorable Body and Blood.

He will continue to suffer patiently and silently till the End of Time for the sake of those faithful souls who give Him pleasure by the devotion and love with which they receive or visit Him. Let us seek to be of that number. Accedamus cum vero corde in plenitudine fidei. "Let us approach Him with an upright heart and a lively faith."

One day He will throw off His disguise and appear in His heavenly might and splendor. Oh, how happy will they be then who have kept Him company in His humiliation! They will not be confounded, but will "stand before Him with great constancy." They will "see His face" and rejoice forevermore.
Please listen to the frequent messages and take heed of the directions given from Our Living Lord and Our Loving Lady from around the world here: https://maryrefugeofholylove.com/ Great things are at stake. Please consecrate your life to the Blessed Mother so that the Kingdom of God may come, "Ad Sanctam Trinitatem per Mariam, Ut adveniat Regnum Deum, adveniat Regnum Mariae, ergo TOTUS TUUS ego sum, MARIA" See http://www.maria-domina-animarum.net/en/flowers/1-250

Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted and pluralized: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For all the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for Priests, Nuns and Monks, for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, and for All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/ It is recommended that you make this Life Offering as soon as you feel ready, and to renew it from time to time.

Please read the Blessed Mother's amazing promises in the link: A simple effective way for thousands of us to save millions of souls. The Doctors and Apostles say if we save even just one other soul through prayer and sacrifice, we also ensure the salvation of our own! Let us Offer our Lives in Sacrifice to Jesus and Mary Today, to save, if it were possible, all souls everywhere.
 

Offline Xavier

  • We Adore You O Christ. And we Praise You. Because by Your Holy Cross, You have Redeemed the World.
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    • Marian Apostolate Life Offering.
  • Religion: Catholic Christian (Roman Rite Latin Traditionalist)
Dearest non-Catholics, Jesus Loves you as no one else ever has or can, and He wants you back in His Church, so that you may experience and know the fullest effects of His Infinite Love, especially in His Blessed Sacrament. Please read "On the Love of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament" with a mind and heart open to grace. Father Mueller, lost in the mystical contemplation of Divine Love, exclaims, "O Love! O Love of God toward us! O Jesus, Thou lovest us too much! ... "I am the good Shepherd," says Jesus; "a good shepherd gives his life for his sheep." He seems to say to us: "I give My life for you, each day, at each Holy Mass, at each Holy Communion. I am the God of Supreme Wisdom, but I cannot find a more adequate pledge of My love. I am Almighty, but My omnipotence is not able to do anything greater; I am love itself, but I cannot give you anything more consoling!"

Quote


CHAPTER 3
On the Love of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament


ONE DAY two men who were disputing about the possession of a piece of land came to the, Emperor Otho that he might decide on the affair in question; each of them said: "The land belongs to me." And what do you think the Emperor did, when he found himself unable to settle the dispute? He gave to the one, out of his own purse, as much money as the piece of land was worth, and to the other the land itself, and thus satisfied both.

A similar, but far more wonderful act of liberality took place at Jerusalem eighteen centuries ago [now nineteen]. This happened in the following manner: Our Divine Redeemer having lived on this earth more than thirty years and the time having come for Him to leave it, there arose, as it were, a dispute between Heaven and earth. The Angels wished to have their Lord and their God with them in Heaven again, after He had been for so long a time with men on earth. Men, on the other hand, especially the Apostles, desired to detain their Divine Master, Jesus Christ, with them on earth. They felt very sad when He told them that the time had come for Him to leave them. Now, how did our sweet Lord act in order to settle this dispute? He found out a means to satisfy both men and Angels. He satisfied the Angels by ascending to Heaven; He satisfied men by remaining invisibly with them in the Blessed Sacrament and by giving power to the Apostles and their lawful successors to change bread into His Body and wine into His Blood.

What could have induced Our Dear Lord, Christian soul, to stay with us on earth in the Blessed Sacrament? Was it to gain honor? Alas, Our Good Lord receives the same treatment in the Blessed Eucharist which He received during the thirty-three years that He lived upon earth! When upon earth, He was made light of, and it was said of Him: "Is He not the son of a carpenter?" "Why do you listen to Him?" said the Pharisees. "Do you not see that He has a devil, that He is possessed, that He is a wine-drinker and a friend of sinners?" They bound Him, scourged Him, crowned Him with thorns, and at last making Him carry His Own Cross, they crucified Him. Such was the honor which Jesus Christ received when living among men! And has He not been treated in the same manner in His Sacrament, from that time to the present day? Instead of being honored by all men, as He deserves, He is dishonored and insulted. Some do not think of Him for weeks together; others walk carelessly into the church, almost like men without faith, and make their genuflexion before Him as if they wished to mock Him; others behave in church as if they were in their own houses. In many churches there is not even a lamp kept burning; and how often has it happened that the consecrated Hosts have been trodden under foot or thrown into the fire by heretics, Jews and other bad men?

Such has been the treatment He has met with-----contempt, mockery and insult, or coldness and indifference towards His Divine Majesty! Certainly the expectation of being honored could not have induced Him to remain with us! What then induced Him to stay with us in the Holy Eucharist? Was it to seek or to increase His own happiness? By no means. His happiness is so great that it cannot be increased. He has risen from the dead; He is glorified; He sits at the right hand of God the Father and has all power in Heaven and on earth. The Angels serve Him; men are His subjects, whom He will judge and reward according to their deserts; the devils tremble at His presence; every knee must bend before Him, of those that are in Heaven, on earth and under the earth, in Purgatory and in Hell. What then is wanting to His happiness? Nothing! Since, therefore, Our Lord cannot become happier by remaining with us and since He does not receive due honor among us, what, I ask once more, could have induced Him to abide here so long, to remain on earth for eighteen hundred years, yea, even until the end of the world, to be present in the Blessed Sacrament in every place, in every parish church in America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, in the isles of the sea, and even sometimes in the midst of the ocean itself? Ah, Christian soul, there was no other motive than love, the great, the excessive love of Jesus Christ towards men!

Yes, it was love, love alone, nothing but love, which induced Jesus, our Redeemer, to remain among us in the Blessed Sacrament. O Jesus, O most sweet Jesus, hidden under the sacramental species, give me now such love and humility, that I may be able lovingly to speak of this invention of boundless love, that all who hear of it, may begin to love Thee in reality.

O Mary, Mother of Jesus Christ, and our dear Mother; O all ye holy Angels, who, by your adoration in our churches, make up for the little love which your God and our Saviour receives from men, obtain for us the grace to comprehend a little the love of Jesus Christ in the most Holy Sacrament.

In order to conceive in some measure the love of Jesus Christ in this wonderful Sacrament, let us consider first the time at which He gave Himself to us as our food and drink. Jesus might have instituted this Sacrament when, in the twelfth year of His age, He traveled to Jerusalem, or at the wedding in Cana, or when He was thirty years old and began to teach publicly, or He might have instituted it after His Resurrection. But He chose, for the time of its institution, the last moment of His earthly career.

Why did He wait so long? Why did He not institute it sooner or later? Why not after His Resurrection? Why just at the moment when He was about to take leave of the Apostles and quit the earth? He instituted this Sacrament at the last moment of His life in order that men might the better see the excess of His love. Do you ask how this is? To make it clearer, imagine a father who has in store costly presents of gold and jewels which he intends to give to his children in order to show them how much he loves them. What time do you think this father will choose for bestowing these gifts as being best calculated to make a deep impression on them? He will wait until he is on his deathbed, and then he will give them, that they may be the last memorials of his love.

Behold, our Divine Saviour thought and acted in the very same manner. He thought, I have already given men so many proofs of My love towards them: I have created them; I preserve their lives; I have become man-----for their sake I became a child; I have lived among them for more than thirty years; I am yet to suffer and die for them on the Cross and to re-open Heaven for them; what can I do more for them? Ah! I can make them one more present; I will give them a most precious gift; I will give them all that I have, so that they may not be able to charge Me with having done less for them than I might have done. I will give them Myself as a legacy; I will give them My Divinity and My Humanity, My Body and My Soul, Myself, entirely and without reserve. I will make them this present at the last moment of My life, at a time when men are accustomed to bequeath to those whom they love that which they value the most.

At the very moment when they are seeking to betray Me, at the very moment when the Pharisees and Jews are planning to remove Me out of the world, I will give Myself to men on earth to be their food and drink, to abide with them: in the Blessed Sacrament in a wonderful manner, to be always in their midst, by dwelling in their churches. Instead of withdrawing My love from them on account of their ingratitude, I will manifest it to them the more.

Wonderful manner! Who could ever have imagined that God would go so far in His love for ungrateful men as to give them His Own Flesh and Blood as the food of their souls? What man or Angel would ever have conceived such a thing? And supposing it had occurred to some man or Angel to wish that God might do so, who would have dared to express such a wish or to ask such a thing of God? Would not the thought have been immediately banished from the mind as sacrilegious? Now, what the Angels could never have conceived nor men dared to ask, the immense love of God has given us unasked.
Hence Our Lord was right indeed to say to His Disciples when they became sad on account of His having told them of His approaching departure from them: "Let not your hearts be troubled; I will not leave you orphans." A good mother on her deathbed says to her weeping children: "Dear children, I must now die and leave you. I recommend you to God and to the protection of your Blessed Mother Mary. Avoid sin and act always as good children, that I may be so happy as to see you again in the other world."

But Jesus does not speak thus to His Apostles. He says: "You need not be sad because I am about to leave the world. I will remain always with you in My most Holy Sacrament. I will give you a power than which there is no greater in Heaven or on earth, that of changing bread into My Body and wine into My Blood. In virtue of this power, you can always have Me with you. You need only pronounce the words of Consecration over the bread and wine, and in that very moment I will be with you and you will hold Me in your hands. O Love! O Love of God toward us! O Jesus, Thou lovest us too much! Thou couldst not endure that we should be left alone in this world; and that even death might not be able to separate Thee from us, Thou didst leave Thyself to us as our food in the Blessed Sacrament.

Secondly, in order that we may see the love of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist still more clearly, let us consider with a lively faith Whom we have in our midst. Dear Christian, consider [that] if Jesus Christ had left a Saint or an Angel with us in His stead after His death, or if He had given us His Own Mother to remain with us and keep us company, would it not have been a very great proof of His love towards us? But He has left neither Saint nor Angel, not even His Own Mother, for it was too little for His love. He Himself would be ever with us.

Yes, indeed, the good God, the holy and merciful God is among us-----the Almighty God who created us and the whole world out of nothing and who still continues to preserve us. That same God is in our tabernacles Who saved Noah from the deluge; Who gave manna from Heaven to the Jews; Who, amid lightning and thunder, gave the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai; Who, at Babylon, delivered the three youths from the flames of the burning furnace; Who saved the life of Daniel in the den of lions.

That same Jesus is with us in our churches Who at His birth was laid on straw and adored by the Magi, Who fled into Egypt, Who was sought for by the Blessed Virgin and found in the Temple, Who changed water into wine, Who restored sight to the blind, made the deaf to hear and the dumb to speak.  Beloved Christian, you esteem Simeon happy in having been permitted to take the Infant Jesus in his arms; and were you to receive a grace like him, no doubt you would exclaim: "Now dost Thou dismiss Thy servant, O Lord, according to Thy word, in peace: because my eyes have seen Thy salvation."

You consider Zacheus happy because Our Lord vouchsafed to enter his house and eat with him; you deem St. John happy because he rested on the breast of our Saviour at the Last Supper; and, above all, you regard St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary so very happy because they nourished and supported Our Dear Lord. But are you not as happy as they? Are you not even happier? You do not hold Our Lord in your arms as Simeon did, but you receive Him into your heart in Holy Communion; you do not rest on the bosom of Our Lord like St. John, but the Saviour Himself rests in your heart after Holy Communion; you do not nurse and support Our Lord like St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin, but you have a still greater happiness, for the Saviour Himself nourishes you and gives Himself to you as your food. O Love! O Love! O who can understand the love of God for men!

What would you say if a shepherd suffered himself to be slain in order to save his sheep? What would you say if, in those times of horrible famine which history here and there records, when the cravings of hunger silenced the voice of nature and men fed on each other's flesh, a king had loved a beggar so much, or a lord his servant, as to give himself as food in order to save the poor sufferer from starvation? Do you think that any shepherd or king or lord could really be found who would act thus? Certainly not. Again, a mother's love is proverbial, and mothers are often found who love their offspring so much that they will deprive themselves of a morsel of their scanty bread to give it to their hungry children, and yet it has sometimes happened that even mothers have devoured their own infants in time of famine.
Now, while no shepherd loves his sheep so much as to give his own life for them; while no king ever loved a beggar so much as to suffer, for his sake, the loss of life or limb; while even a mother can grow cruel towards the fruit of her womb, Jesus, our God and our King, has loved us so much as to give Himself to us whole and entire. His Flesh and Blood, His Humanity and Divinity really and substantially.

"I am the good Shepherd," says Jesus; "a good shepherd gives his life for his sheep." He seems to say to us: "I give My life for you, each day, at each Holy Mass, at each Holy Communion. I am the God of Supreme Wisdom, but I cannot find a more adequate pledge of My love. I am Almighty, but My omnipotence is not able to do anything greater; I am love itself, but I cannot give you anything more consoling!" It is so, sweet Lord, I acknowledge Thy infinite love, and full of amazement at Thy immense charity, I find no better words to express my wonder than those of Thy Saints: "Lord, Thou hast become foolish from love towards us." (St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi). "He has given Heaven; He has given earth; He has given His Kingdom; He has given Himself-----what more has He to give? O my God! (Allow me to say it) How prodigal art Thou of Thyself!" (St. Augustine).

Thirdly, an especial mark of the love of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament towards us is the manner in which He gives Himself to us. He is with us, but under strange forms. Now, someone may say: "Would not the love of Jesus Christ have seemed greater if He had remained with us visibly, so that we might have seen Him and conversed with Him as one friend does with another?" No, dear Christian, it  would not have seemed so great. Just because He conceals Himself from our eyes, He gives a new proof of His love and shows that He thinks of us all, of sinners as well as of the just.

"How so?" you ask. I will tell you how. First, then, with regard to sinners, Jesus renders them a great favor by concealing Himself. You know that the best remedy for weak eyes is to exclude the light. We cannot look at a very bright object without our eyes being dazzled. None of us could look steadily at the sun at noon; if we should do so, we would become blind. We read in Holy Scripture that Moses once conversed with God on a mountain and that afterwards, when he came down to the Jews, his countenance was so radiant with light that they were unable to look upon him, and he was obliged to put a veil over his face when he spoke to them.

Suppose now, beloved Christian, that Jesus Christ were to manifest Himself on our altars in His heavenly splendor and glory, and one yet at enmity with God should come into the church; how would he feel? Would he not be overwhelmed with awe and terror? Yea, a mortal agony would seize the poor wretch at the sight of Jesus Christ. When Adam and Eve had sinned, they heard the voice of the Lord, Who was walking about in Paradise, and they hid themselves from the Lord in the midst of the garden. The mere sight of an offended God was insupportable to them. Cain, too, acted in the same manner after having killed his brother. "And Cain fled from the face of the Lord." Oh, it is terrible for man to appear before God with a conscience laden with sin!

If in our day Jesus Christ were to show Himself openly, sinners would flee from the church in order to avoid the angry countenance of their Judge. If one conscious of sin should dare to remain and brave the displeasure of his offended Lord, his heart would die within him before the angry glance of those eyes which are ''as a flame of fire." One single indignant look that Philip II, king of Spain, cast upon two of his courtiers, who behaved irreverently in church, was enough to drive one of them out of his senses and to kill the other. How then could a sinner endure the eye of Jesus Christ?

We may judge, in some measure, from what took place when the Bethsamites looked upon the Ark of the Covenant with irreverent curiosity. More than fifty thousand were instantly punished with death for having gazed at the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord in which the Ten Commandments of God were preserved. "And the men of Bethsames said: 'Who can stand before the face of the Lord, of that Holy God?' " Who then does not see that it is a great grace and benefit for us and all sinners that Jesus Christ should veil Himself from our view under the appearances of bread and wine? Oh, how considerate and amiable is the heart of Jesus Christ! He does not wish openly to meet with one who is His sworn enemy and who, on that account, deserves nothing else but His wrath and vengeance. He works one of His greatest miracles and draws near to him without being seen. He keeps Himself hidden under the poor veil of bread that the sinner may not tremble and fear before His majesty and brightness, but may approach Him with confidence to ask the pardon of his sins and grace not to relapse into them again.

But not only to sinners does Jesus Christ show special love by concealing Himself in the Blessed Sacrament, but also to the just. These, indeed, would not, like sinners, be conscience-stricken at the sight of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist, but they would nevertheless be almost beside themselves with amazement, and instead of entertaining a confident and childlike love and affection for Him, they would feel an excessive and oppressive fear of Him. As soon as the Queen of Saba saw Solomon sitting on his throne in all his regal splendor, she became breathless and
fainted away. This was natural. That which is too splendid repels rather than attracts, and while an ordinary brightness pleases the eye, an intense, excessive brightness dazzles and blinds it.

Oh, what would happen if the Son of God were to appear on the altar in His Divine Majesty, surrounded with heavenly light and glory? What eye could behold His brightness? For if even the few rays of light which our Divine Saviour suffered to beam from His face on Mount Thabor caused His disciples-----intimate and familiar as they were with Him-----to fall to the ground in amazement and dismay, who could bear in its full intensity the glory of His countenance as it appears to the eternal but insatiable gaze of the Elect and which forms the heaven of Heaven itself? Ah, in the glorious presence of Christ, even the just would be awe-stricken! Nay, they would perhaps die from distress and fear.

At all events, they would not dare to approach their Divine Saviour with love and affection. No one would venture to draw near to Him in order to converse with Him and to explain to Him his wants. The unfathomable mystery of the Blessed Sacrament would no longer be amor amorum (i.e., "love of all loves," as St. Bernard calls it); it could no longer be called a pledge of love between God and man; but it would be a Sacrament of Glory and Majesty before which we should be obliged to bend the knee, not in love and confidence, but in fear and trembling. But no, our Divine Saviour, who loves us so excessively, would in this Sacrament deal in all kindness with just and pious souls and would treat with them, not as a God of Majesty with His subjects, but as a good father with his beloved children, as a brother with his brothers, a friend with his confidential friend, a bridegroom with his bride.

Comedite, amici, et bibite et inebriamini, carissimi, says He to us. ("Eat, my friends, and drink and be inebriated, my well-beloved!") Venite ad me omnes, qui laboratis et onerati estis, et ego reficiam vos. ("Come to Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you." Matt. 11:28). Venite omnes, "come ye all," without exception; come ye poor and suffering; come ye rich and prosperous; come ye despised; come ye honored ones of the earth; come ye servants and slaves; come ye princes and masters; come ye husbands and wives; come ye parents and children; come ye young men and young women; come ye great and small; come all, without any exception; come ye My beloved children whom I have redeemed; expose to Me your wants and your troubles! Ego reficiam vos, "I will refresh you," I will console you. Venite, "come," then, come without fear! I am waiting for you at all hours.

Consider it well, dear Christian, in order that we may approach Him with childlike confidence; the most amiable and sweet heart of Jesus Christ invented this wonderful Sacrament, manifesting His love by concealing His Majesty and keeping Himself hidden under the appearance of bread, as under a veil, which He suffers no single beam of His Divinity to pierce, lest He might so awe us as to prevent our confidential intercourse with Him. "It is on account of our weakness," says Hugo of St. Victor, "that He does not show Himself in the brightness of His Majesty. " He acts towards us as a prince or a king who, having put aside his garments of state, appears in the company of his subjects without the emblems of his rank, not expecting from them the exact observance of court etiquette or demonstrations of so great respect, but intending, on the contrary, to make merry and rejoice with them in all confidence and familiarity.

O good Lord, O great God, how humbly dost Thou hide Thyself for our sake! But alas, how much is Thy bounty and love abused! Not only do sinners despise Thee in this Thy Sacrament of love, because they see Thee not, but the good also, the just, treat Thee with indifference and coldness. Thou hast been so long with them, and they with Thee, and for want of a lively faith, they have not known Thee. So long hast Thou been with us, and there are so few who know it, so few who are penetrated with a sense of their unspeakable happiness. I hear Thee complain of us, O dear Jesus, as Thou didst one day complain to the Blessed Margaret Alacoque [St. Margaret Mary], when showing to her Thy heart crowned with thorns: "Behold this heart of Mine so full of love for men that it has shed its last drop of blood for them and has given them My own Flesh and Blood as food and drink for their souls, and consider how this heart receives from most men in return for so great a love nothing but ingratitude and contempt!
But what grieves Me most is that I am thus treated even by good and just souls."

Do you not understand, dear Christian, the just complaint of your Divine Saviour? Is your heart not touched by it? "Behold," says He, "behold this heart which loves men so excessively, this heart which is always pouring out graces upon them, this heart so full of pity to receive sinners, to help the poor and indigent, to cure the sick, to console the afflicted, to hear the prayers of all men, at what time soever they come to ask-----this heart is not known; it is despised and (what is the most piercing grief) even by those souls into which I have so often entered in Holy Communion."

Ah, dear Christian, have you a heart? Well, if it be not of stone or iron, let it be touched by this touching complaint of the heart of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Give to your God and Saviour what is due to Him. Repay Him for the benefit of your creation; repay Him for the benefit of your redemption; for the benefit of the preservation of your life; for the pains of His scourging; for the agony of His crucifixion; but, above all, repay Him, yes, in some measure, repay Him for the excessive love and affection which He bears you in the Blessed Sacrament. "But how," you will ask; "how shall I pay my Jesus for His love to me? What can I give Him in return?" Nothing but love. Love demands love and is contented only with love. But it must be true love, that is, such love as animates you to keep His Commandments and to avoid sin; such love as impels you to receive Him often in Holy Communion and still oftener to visit Him in the church. Ask of Him then so to detach your heart from all creatures that you may live only for Him, Who came down from Heaven to live and die for you. So doing, you may expect with all confidence that in your last hour your dear and amiable Saviour, whom, having not seen, you have loved, will come to meet you, calling you to Him by these sweet and consoling words: "Come, thou good and faithful servant, come; because thou hast been faithful in little things, I will place thee over many." "Come and see what thine eye has never seen; come and hear what thine ear has never heard; come and enjoy what on earth thy heart has never conceived; come, enter into the joy of thy Lord forever and ever."

Please listen to the frequent messages and take heed of the directions given from Our Living Lord and Our Loving Lady from around the world here: https://maryrefugeofholylove.com/ Great things are at stake. Please consecrate your life to the Blessed Mother so that the Kingdom of God may come, "Ad Sanctam Trinitatem per Mariam, Ut adveniat Regnum Deum, adveniat Regnum Mariae, ergo TOTUS TUUS ego sum, MARIA" See http://www.maria-domina-animarum.net/en/flowers/1-250

Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted and pluralized: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For all the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for Priests, Nuns and Monks, for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, and for All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/ It is recommended that you make this Life Offering as soon as you feel ready, and to renew it from time to time.

Please read the Blessed Mother's amazing promises in the link: A simple effective way for thousands of us to save millions of souls. The Doctors and Apostles say if we save even just one other soul through prayer and sacrifice, we also ensure the salvation of our own! Let us Offer our Lives in Sacrifice to Jesus and Mary Today, to save, if it were possible, all souls everywhere.
 

Offline Xavier

  • We Adore You O Christ. And we Praise You. Because by Your Holy Cross, You have Redeemed the World.
  • St. Joseph's Workbench
  • Feldwebel
  • ***
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CHAPTER 4
On Visiting Jesus Christ In the Blessed Sacrament

"WHERE is the new-born King of the Jews?" inquired the three Magi of Herod, king of Jerusalem. "Where is He?" they repeat in their great desire to find Him. "We have seen His star in the East, and we have come to adore Him. Ah, tell us where He is; we desire so much to see Him; we have made so long a journey in order to become acquainted with Him!" What a joy must it not have been for these three holy kings to learn that the Saviour of the world was born in Bethlehem; with what speed must they not have gone thither to find out their true King, Who had caused the wonderful star to appear which led them to His abode.

Beloved Christians, you have heard and read this incident among the many wonderful events in the life of our God and Saviour. On hearing or reading the account, you have perhaps even earnestly desired to have lived at the time of the Apostles in order that you might have had the happiness of seeing your Lord and Saviour. But you ought to know that you are happier now than if you had lived at the time of the Apostles, for you might have been obliged to travel very far and make many inquiries to find out the place of His abode. But now there is no need of traveling far or of making many inquiries to find Him. He is, as we know by faith, in our churches, lot far from our homes. The Magi could find Him in one place only; we can find Him in every part of :he world, wherever the Blessed Sacrament is kept. Are we then not happier than those who lived at the time of our Saviour Himself? Yes, we are happier than they; no faithful soul can doubt it. But can we lay also that we know how to avail ourselves of this happiness?

Alas! How many are there perhaps who must confess that up to this day they have never visited Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, resembling Jutta, the niece of the Empress, St. Cunegunda, [scroll down the page when you get there] of whom it is related that she stayed at home, without any plausible reason, while the Blessed Sacrament was exposed in the church. St. Cunegunda, inflamed with holy indignation at this indifference, gave her niece a severe slap in the face. The Lord, in punishment of Jutta's indifference toward Him, allowed the print of Cunegunda's fingers to remain indelibly stamped on her face. This was a lifelong monitor for her. Such a monitor, however, is not given to everyone to remind him of his duty towards Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament; I will therefore set forth some reasons which ought to induce every faithful soul to show for the future more fervor, gratitude and love for her Divine Saviour by often visiting Him in this mystery of love, and by asking of Him graces, not only for herself, but especially for all those who are cold and indifferent towards the excessive love and patience of their God hidden under the sacramental species.

If there be one consideration which, more than all others, ought to induce you often to visit Jesus Christ in the church, it is the thought of the excessive love which He bears to us in this adorable mystery of His love. "It is my delight to be with the children of men," says our Divine Saviour in Holy Writ. Oh, what great condescension it would be for a king to invite a poor man to come to his palace and to keep company with him! But Jesus Christ, the King of Heaven and earth, says: "Come all ye that labor and are burdened, and I will refresh you." (Matt. 11:28).

Ought we not to look upon it as a great grace and favor to be invited into His presence? Surely, we ought to find our delight in His company since He is delighted to be in ours. We ought to go to Him frequently and say to Him: "My Jesus, why dost Thou love me so much? What good dost Thou see in me that Thou art so enamored of me? Hast Thou already forgotten the sins by which I have offended Thee so grievously? Oh, how can I love anything else than Thee, my Jesus and my All? No one has ever done so much to make me happy as Thou hast done, O amiable, O most amiable Jesus! Never let me love anything but Thee."

If you had a friend who always wished you well and who had promised to help you in all your wants and who would even take great pleasure in the opportunity of bestowing a benefit upon you, you would undoubtedly be acting ungratefully if you did not have recourse to him in your necessities. But where, I ask, can you find a better, a more faithful, or a more liberal friend than Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament-----One Who more sincerely wishes you well, One Who consults more your advantage and happiness, One Who grants your petitions with greater readiness and pleasure? Ought you not, then, to feel drawn to go after your King and best Friend in order to show your gratitude to Him?

What would you say if a rich man should come and take up his abode in the neighborhood of a poor beggar for no other purpose than to make it more easy for the poor man to receive from him relief in all his necessities? What would you say of such a lord? "Oh!" you would exclaim, "how good, how exceedingly good he is! He deserves to be honored, esteemed, praised and loved by all men. How happy is the poor man who has such a lord for his friend!"

But while in fact none of the rich of this world has ever gone so far in love to the poor, Jesus Christ, the King of Heaven and earth, has gone so far in His love for us poor sinners; He takes up His abode in our churches for the convenience of each one of us. Oh how happy we are! Would to God that each of us availed himself of this happiness by frequently visiting Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Thus at least the Saints have ever shown their gratitude. St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, as we read in her life, visited Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament thirty times a day. The Countess of Feria, a fervent disciple of the venerable Father Avila and afterwards a nun of the Order of Poor Clares, was called the Spouse of the Blessed Sacrament, from her fervent and lengthened visits to it. Being once asked what she did during the many hours which she spent before its Sacred Presence, she replied: "I could remain there for all eternity! Is there not there the very essence of God, which is the food of the blessed? Good God! They ask what we do before Thee? What is there that we do not do? We love, we praise, we give thanks, we entreat. What does a beggar do in the presence of a rich man? What does the sick man do when he sees his physician? Or one who is thirsty at a running spring? Or a starving man at a plentiful table?"

St. Elizabeth of Hungary was accustomed, even in her childhood, often to visit Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. If she found the church closed, she would affectionately kiss the lock of the door and the walls of the church for love of Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist.

St. Alphonsus, being unable on account of his advanced age to walk to the church, had himself carried thither in a chair in order to pay his accustomed visit to his beloved Saviour.

Father Louis la Nusa, a great missionary of Sicily, was, even when a young student in the world, so much attached to Jesus Christ that it seemed as if if he could hardly tear himself from the presence of his beloved Lord on account of the great delight he found there, and being commanded by his director not to remain before the Blessed Sacrament longer than an hour at a time, when that period had elapsed, it was as great a violence to him to separate from the bosom of Jesus as for an infant to tear itself from its mother's breast. The writer of his life says that when he was forced to leave the church, he would stand looking at the altar and turning again and again as if he could not take leave of his Lord, Whose presence was so sweet and so consoling.

Father Salesio, of the Society of Jesus, felt consolation in even speaking of the Blessed Sacrament. He never could visit it often enough. When summoned to the gate, when returning to his room, or passing from one part of the house to another, he made use of all these opportunities to repeat his visits to his beloved Lord, so that it was remarked that scarcely an hour of the day elapsed without his visiting Him. Thus at length he merited the grace of Martyrdom at the hands of heretics while defending the Real Presence in the Most Holy Sacrament.

Oh, how do these examples of the Saints confound us, who have so little love for Jesus Christ and are so negligent in visiting Him! But someone may say, "I have too much to do; I am busy; I cannot find time." Dear Christian, do not say, "I have too much to do," but say, "I have too much love and affection for the goods of this world and too little love for Jesus Christ." You find time to eat and to drink; you find time to rest and to sleep; you find time to talk and to laugh; time to amuse yourself; time for all your temporal affairs; time even to sin. And how is it that you find time for all these things? It is because you like them.

If you appear but seldom before Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, it is an evident sign that you love Him but little. Love Him a little more, and you will find time to visit Him. Do not say, "I am busy." The Saints, too, were very busy, perhaps more so than you are, and yet they found time enough to visit their Lord. Do you imagine that you have more to think of than St. Wenceslaus, King of Poland, or St. Louis, King of France? And yet because they tenderly loved Jesus Christ their King, they found time every day to pay a visit to Him. Be sure, if you do not visit Jesus Christ at all, or if you visit Him but seldom, your love and affection for Him are not great. I repeat then once more: Love your Lord and God in the Blessed Sacrament a little more, and I am sure you will be found oftener before the altar. Again, do not say, "I have too much to do." It is for this very reason that you should feel obliged to visit your Saviour. For the laboring and heavy laden are invited by Jesus Christ to come to Him: "Come to Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you." "Instead of being kept away from Me by your numerous toils and labors," He seems to say to you, "you should rather feel drawn to Me, in order to speak to Me about them. Come and tell Me all your troubles, recommend to Me all your affairs, and I will bless them that they may succeed."
 
The Saints understood this well; they knew and were persuaded that on God's blessing depends everything; they knew that if God did not bless their temporal affairs, they would not succeed, nay, that they would even be injurious and hurtful to their souls. Whenever St. Vincent de Paul had to transact any important business, he would go before the Blessed Sacrament and recommend the affair to Jesus Christ, beseeching Him confidently to give it His blessing, and after having performed it, he went again to the church to thank Jesus Christ for its success. Before the Blessed Sacrament St. Francis Xavier, too, found strength for his toils in India. While his days were passed in saving souls, he passed much of the night in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.

St. John Francis Regis used to do the same; and if he found the church closed, he would console himself by kneeling at the door, even in the cold and wet, that he might, at least at a distance, pay his homage to his sacramental Consoler. When any affliction befell St. Francis of Assisi, he went immediately to communicate it to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. The Blessed Bertha of Oberried in Alsace, being one day asked by one of her sisters in religion how she could discharge so many distracting duties without prejudice to her piety, replied: "Whenever I am entrusted with an office, I go to Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. He is my Comforter, my Lord and best Counselor, and I do carefully what He inspires me to do. He governs me, and it is by Him that I govern those whom He has confided to me."

Do you, O Christian, understand this language? Do you understand how the blessing of Heaven is to be obtained upon your affairs and undertakings? Oh, were you to visit Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament only for a quarter of an hour each day, from how many trials and hardships would you be delivered; from how many accidents, misfortunes, temptations and attacks of the devil would you be preserved; how few sins would you commit; and how much more consolation and peace of heart would you enjoy!

"How true it is," you would exclaim, "what Jesus Christ has said: 'Seek first the Kingdom of God, and the rest will be added unto you.' " "Ah," you would say, "since I have been in the habit of going to church every day, I labor only half as much as before, and yet I have more success than when I used to labor day and night by the sweat of my brow."

Instead then of spending your time in idle, useless talk, in games and amusements, go to church and pray there for a while, in order to draw down the blessing of Heaven upon you and your whole family.

Rest assured that you will experience what so many holy souls have experienced while before the Blessed Sacrament, namely, that you will feel a thousand times happier in the company of Jesus Christ than in the most delightful company of men. Men can only afford you vain consolations, but Jesus Christ has His hands full of lasting consolations and divine graces, which He is ready to pour out upon your soul, if you present yourself before Him.

One day as Frederic IV, King of Prussia, was passing through the Rhenish Province, a certain cow-herd approached the Royal carriage and commenced playing as artistically as he could on his rude horn. The King, admiring the simplicity and token of honor of the cow-herd, presented him with a piece of money to repay him for the loyalty he had exhibited towards his Sovereign. Now if this earthly prince so readily rewarded this slight act of honor, how much more readily will not Our Lord pour out His graces upon all those who come to honor Him in the Blessed Sacrament, for ever so short a time.

Our Lord manifested this readiness to Blessed Balthasar Alvarez when once kneeling before the altar. He showed Himself in the Sacred Host as a little child with His hands full of precious stones, saying: "If there were only some one to whom I might distribute them." Are you, then, in temporal want? Go to Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament; He can and He will help you. St. Peter of Alcantara one day, seeing his brethren in religion destitute of bread and without the means of procuring it, orderedthem to go and pray before the Blessed Sacrament. No sooner had they done so, than the bell was rung at the door, and the janitor, on opening the door, instead of seeing some person there, as he expected, found a large basket of white bread, which Jesus Christ had sent them, probably by His angels. When the soldiers of the Emperor Frederic II were in the act of scaling the walls of Assisi, in order to sack the city, St. Clare went before the Blessed Sacrament and prayed there in the following manner: "O Lord, shall then Thy servants be delivered up into the hands of the infidels?" "No," said Jesus Christ to her, "I have always protected you and will continue to do so." At the same moment, some of the soldiers took to flight, being struck with an inward terror; others fell down from the walls, while others became suddenly blind.

Maximilian I, Emperor of Austria, having ascended the steep mountains in the neighborhood of Innsbruck to so great a height that he could neither venture to descend again nor could anyone come to his aid, cried out to the people below to bring the Blessed Sacrament as near to him as possible, in order (as in his great peril he was unable to receive It) that he might at least honor It as well as he could by adoring It and recommending himself to Jesus Christ from the rock above. Accordingly, the Blessed Sacrament is carried thither; the Emperor adores It with most profound respect and great devotion and implores Jesus Christ to help him. What happens? No sooner had the Emperor commenced to pray to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament than he saw a beautiful youth behind him, probably his guardian angel, who led him safely down among the most frightfully steep rocks by a path hitherto unperceived, and when the Emperor was about to reward him, he suddenly disappeared. (Dauroltius, c. 3, tit. 37).

Many similar facts occur in Church history and in the lives of the Saints. Now if Jesus Christ is so ready to help us in our temporal wants, how much more readily will He bestow spiritual graces and favors upon our souls. Whence did St. Thomas Aquinas draw all that knowledge which enabled him to write so learnedly on every subject of our holy religion? Was it not from the fervent prayers which he used to pour out in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament whenever he had a difficulty in understanding or explaining a point? Whence have so many pious souls obtained strength to resist every kind of temptation? Was it not from the frequent visits which they paid to Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament? Father Thomas Sanchez, who was in the habit of visiting the church five times a day and eight times on Thursdays, used to exclaim whenever he was tempted: "Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, help me"; and no sooner had he pronounced these words than his temptation ceased. One day a young man said to a priest of our Congregation: "When the devil assails me with bad thoughts and impure representations and I command him in the Name of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament to leave me, he instantly withdraws from me."

And again, when God sent forth missionaries to convert sinners, heretics, infidels, whither did they go to obtain their conversion? Certainly to that place where He resides who can change all hearts, how hardened soever they may be. We read in the life of St. Francis de Sales, that nine hundred heretics presented themselves to him to abjure their heresy after he had prayed with the faithful during the Forty Hours' Devotion. A few days after, having prayed with the people most humbly and fervently for the same object, a great many heretics of the suburbs of Focigni came to abjure their heresy. Their example was followed by three hundred more of the parish of Belevaux and three hundred of the parish of St. Sergues. Therefore, one of the best means to convert sinners is to recommend them to Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.

You have heard and read that there have been Saints who burned so ardently with the fire of Divine love that they often trembled in their whole body and that the objects which they touched bore the impress of this fire of divine love. This we read in the lives of St. Philip Neri, St. Catherine of Genoa and St. Wenceslaus, King of Poland. The last loved Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament with so much fervor that, with his own hands, he gathered the wheat and the grapes and made the hosts and the wine which were to be used in the Mass. He often went at night, even in winter, to visit the church in which the Blessed Sacrament was kept. At such times the flames of Divine love were burning so ardently in his soul that they communicated to his body a sensible warmth and melted the snow under his feet. He turned this gift on one occasion to a charitable account. His servant who accompanied him by night suffered much from the severity of the cold; whereupon, the holy man ordered him to follow closely and tread in his footsteps. He did so, and no longer felt the coldness of the snow.

Now, where did the Saints obtain this inestimable gift of the love of God? Do you think perhaps in conversation with men? Oh no; it was from conversing frequently with Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. The oftener and the longer they conversed with Him, the more they felt their hearts inflamed with Divine love. How were so many souls enlightened to see and to know the vanity of this world? How did they find strength and courage to leave all the comforts of their homes, and 'to lead a holy, mortified, poor and despised life?

Whence this great grace? It was derived from their frequent conversations with Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Listen to what St. Alphonsus, Bishop of St. Agatha in Italy, that great lover of the Blessed Sacrament, says about this: "Nowhere have holy souls made more admirable resolutions than here at the feet of their hidden God. Out of gratitude to my Jesus, veiled in this great Sacrament, I must declare that it was through this devotion, visiting Him in His tabernacles, that I withdrew from the world where, to my misfortune, I had lived until the age of twenty-six. Happy will you be if you can separate yourself from it earlier than I did and give yourself wholly to that Lord who has given Himself wholly to you. I repeat it, you will be happy, not only in eternity, but even in this life. Believe me, all else is folly-----banquets, plays, parties, amusements-----these are enjoyments full of bitterness and remorse; trust one who has tried them and who weeps that he did so?"

I assure you that the soul, by remaining with any degree of recollection before the Blessed Sacrament, receives more comfort from Jesus than the world with all its pleasures and pastimes can ever afford. What delight to be before the altar with faith-----and with even a little tender love-----and to speak familiarly to Jesus, Who is there to hear and grant the prayers of those who visit Him, to implore pardon for our sins, to lay our wants before Him as one friend does before another whom he fully trusts, to beg for His grace, His love, His paradise. Above all, what a heaven to make acts of love to this Lord who remains on the altar, praying to His Eternal Father for us and burning with love toward us! In a word, you will find that the time you spend devoutly before this divine Sacrament will be the most useful of your life and that which will most console you in death and for eternity. You will gain more perhaps in a quarter of an hour's prayer before the Blessed Sacrament than in all the other spiritual exercises of the day. God does indeed grant, in every place, the petitions of those who pray to Him; He has promised to do so: "Ask, and it shall be given you." (Matt. 7:7). But in the Most Holy Sacrament, Jesus dispenses favors more abundantly to those who visit Him. But of what use are mere words? "Taste and see."

To this little exhortation I can add nothing more consoling, nothing more encouraging or more persuasive. I will but repeat once more His words: "Taste and see." Go often with devotion to visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and after a while you will experience the truth of what St. Alphonsus has said; nay, perhaps it may even be given to you to feel transports of joy and gladness such as the Saints have experienced in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament and to exclaim in the fullness of consolation with the blessed Gerard (a lay-brother of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer): "Lord, let me go, let me go" . . . or with St. Francis Xavier: "It is enough, Lord, it is enough" . . . or with St. Aloysius Gonzaga: "Withdraw from me, O Lord, withdraw from me." But, most assuredly, there is one hour when the remembrance of the visits you have paid to the Blessed Sacrament will give you indescribable pleasure-----the hour of your death. And if you never, at any other time, feel remorse for neglecting this great duty, certainly you will feel it when your soul has left the body and you know how near you have been to Jesus Christ on earth. Oh, with what shame and confusion will you not be covered when Jesus will say to you: "I was a stranger and you received Me not." I was so near to you and you visited Me not. You have treated Me as an outcast; you have not conversed with Me nor asked graces of Me; you have left Me alone; you have thought of Me but seldom, or not at all. How confused, I say, will you feel at such a well-deserved reproach! Save yourself this shame and confusion; resolve from henceforth daily to spend some time, say half an hour or a quarter of an hour at least in church in the presence of Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament.

And at the hour of death He will say to you: "I was indeed a stranger to many lukewarm Christians, but not to you; you came to visit Me; you kept company with Me on earth; you shall, from henceforth, enjoy My Presence in Heaven forever and ever."
Please listen to the frequent messages and take heed of the directions given from Our Living Lord and Our Loving Lady from around the world here: https://maryrefugeofholylove.com/ Great things are at stake. Please consecrate your life to the Blessed Mother so that the Kingdom of God may come, "Ad Sanctam Trinitatem per Mariam, Ut adveniat Regnum Deum, adveniat Regnum Mariae, ergo TOTUS TUUS ego sum, MARIA" See http://www.maria-domina-animarum.net/en/flowers/1-250

Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted and pluralized: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For all the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for Priests, Nuns and Monks, for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, and for All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/ It is recommended that you make this Life Offering as soon as you feel ready, and to renew it from time to time.

Please read the Blessed Mother's amazing promises in the link: A simple effective way for thousands of us to save millions of souls. The Doctors and Apostles say if we save even just one other soul through prayer and sacrifice, we also ensure the salvation of our own! Let us Offer our Lives in Sacrifice to Jesus and Mary Today, to save, if it were possible, all souls everywhere.
 

Offline Xavier

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CHAPTER 5
On the Great Desire of Jesus Christ to Enter
into Our Hearts in Holy Communion


IN a preceding chapter I treated of the great love which Jesus Christ has shown us in the institution of the Holy Eucharist, and because love demands love in return, I went on to prove how this condescension of His places us under the obligation of visiting Him frequently and of paying reverence to Him in this Sacrament of His love. Jesus Christ, however, is not satisfied with the visits and reverence which we pay to Him. He wishes especially that we should receive Him in Holy Communion; this is indeed His chief object in remaining among us under the Sacramental species.

Now, if you ask why it is that Jesus Christ wishes us to receive Him, I answer, it is because He so ardently desires to be united to us. Yes, strange as it may seem, Our Lord's heart yearns to be united to ours. He burns with the desire of being loved by us. Holy Scripture represents Him as standing at the door of our hearts, knocking until we open to Him. This great desire of Jesus Christ, to enter into our hearts in Holy Communion, will be the subject of our present consideration; but I must begin by acknowledging my entire inability to describe it as it really is. That indeed would simply be impossible. No tongue can express the longing of our Saviour to unite Himself to us. I will merely endeavor to point out some of the ways in which He manifests this desire, and I am sure that this effort of mine, as well as your devout attention, dear Reader, will cause great joy to the loving heart of Jesus, whose desire that we should know His love is as great as His love itself. The first proof, then, of Our Lord's great longing to enter into our hearts in Holy Communion is His own declaration.

When He was about to institute the Holy Eucharist, He said to His disciples: "With desire I have desired to eat this Pasch with you," thereby expressing, according to the commentary of St. Lawrence Justinian, His most ardent wish, His most earnest desire to unite Himself to us in Holy Communion. And what He expressed in so touching a manner at the Last Supper He as often declared in other ways.

One day, as St. Gertrude was meditating on the greatness of the love which made the Lord and King of Heaven find His delight in the society of the children of men, our Saviour illustrated what seemed to her so incomprehensible by the following comparison: The son of a king is surely much higher and greater than the children who run about the streets; he has in his father's palace everything that can delight and gratify him; yet, if you give him the choice either to go out and play with the children in the street or to stay at home amid the splendors of his father's court, he will certainly prefer the former.

"Thus, I too," said Our Lord, "find my pleasure in being with you; and having instituted the Blessed Sacrament for this end, anyone who prevents a soul from receiving Me, deprives Me of a great pleasure." He also said to St. Matilda: "Look at the bees and see with what eagerness they seek the honey-flowers, yet know that My desire to come to you in Holy Communion is far greater." Nay, He declared to St. Margaret of Cortona that He would even reward her Confessor, and that richly, too, for having advised her to receive Holy Communion frequently; and Father Antonio Torres, as we read in his life, appeared shortly after death in great splendor to a certain person and revealed to him that God had increased his glory in Heaven in a special manner for [his] having allowed frequent Communion to his penitents. Most remarkable is that promise of Jesus Christ by which He induced the Blessed Prudentiana Zagnoni (a nun of the order of St. Clare) to receive the Blessed Sacrament frequently. "If thou wilt receive Me often in Holy Communion," said He, "I will forget all thy ingratitude towards Me."

Words and promises of Our Lord like these are indeed powerful arguments to convince us of His excessive desire to enter our hearts in Holy Communion, but the extraordinary miracles which He has performed in order to enable His servants to receive Him frequently in Holy Communion are still more powerful arguments. St. Teresa at one period of her life was afflicted with a severe sickness, attended with vomiting, which occurred regularly every morning and evening. What most distressed her was that this illness prevented her from receiving Holy Communion. In this affliction she had recourse to Our Lord, and He, whose desire to come into her heart was far greater than hers to receive Him, was pleased to cure her. But as if to show for what purpose the relief was granted, He only delivered her from the attack to which she was subject in the morning, leaving her subject to that which usually came on in the evening.

A similar difficulty prevented St. Juliana Falconieri from receiving Our Lord when her last hour had come. After having thought of every possible means of satisfying her desire for Communion, she at last entreated her confessor to bring the Sacred Host near her, that she might at least humbly kiss It. This being refused her, she begged that It might be laid upon her breast, in order that her heart might feel some refreshment from being near to Jesus; and when the priest, in compliance with her request, spread the corporal on her breast and laid Our Lord upon it, she exclaimed with the greatest delight: "O my sweet Jesus!" As she drew her last breath, the Sacred Host disappeared, and as it was not to be found, the bystanders were sure that our Saviour, in the Blessed Sacrament, had united Himself to her heart, to strengthen her in her passage and accompany her to Heaven.

In the eighth chapter of the life of St. Lawrence Justinian, it is related that there lived in Venice a nun who was prevented from receiving Jesus Christ on the feast of Corpus Christi. Being much grieved thereat, she besought St. Lawrence at least to remember her at Mass. Our Lord could not allow her piety to go unrewarded. Accordingly, while the holy Patriarch was saying Mass in the crowded church, the nun saw him enter her cell with the Blessed Sacrament to give her Holy Communion.

At other times Our Lord has made the miracle still more remarkable by employing the ministry of an Angel or a Saint, instead of a priest, or by dispensing altogether with a visible agent. The Blessed Gerard Majella [now St. Gerard Majella], lay-brother of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, when he was but nine years old, approached one day the communion-rail while the priest was distributing Holy Communion, impelled by a strong desire to receive his Saviour; but the priest, seeing his youth, asked him whether he had made his First Communion, and finding that he had not, sent him away. But the good heart of Jesus could not suffer the child to hunger after Him in vain: That very night Our Lord's Body was brought to him by the Archangel St. Michael.

In like manner St. Stanislaus Kostka was sick in the house of a Protestant relative; and debarred of every opportunity of receiving his beloved Lord, he made his appeal to the Queen of Heaven and obtained through her intercession the grace to receive the Blessed Sacrament at the hands of St. Barbara. One day while St. Bonaventure was assisting at Mass, he felt an ardent desire to receive Holy Communion, but abstained through fear of not being sufficiently prepared. Our Lord, however, could not refrain from gratifying His own desire; when the priest had broken the Host, the Saint perceived that a small particle of it had come and rested on his tongue.

I might multiply instances of such miraculous Communions, but those which I have adduced are sufficient to show how much Our Lord has done in order to satisfy His wish to enter into our hearts in Holy Communion. I will therefore proceed to point out another way by which He has manifested this desire, namely, the threats and the promises He has made in order to induce us to receive the Blessed Sacrament.

When a lawgiver wishes to insure the observance of a law, he promises rewards to those who keep the law and threatens with punishment those who violate it. And the greatness of these rewards and punishments is the measure of the importance which he attaches to the law. Now consider what Our Lord has done to urge us to receive Him frequently in the Blessed Sacrament. Not content with giving us the bare precept, "Take and eat, for this is My Body."

He has added thereto the strongest inducements. What more could He do to prevail upon us to receive Him than to promise us Heaven if we do so. "He who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood," says He, "shall have life everlasting." On the other hand, He threatens us with Hell if we refuse. "Amen, Amen, I say unto you, unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood, you shall not have life in you." Moreover, as He threatens with eternal torments those who never receive Him, or who do not receive Him when the precept of Communion requires it, so He also punishes, though less severely, those who from negligence and indifference refuse to receive Holy Communion as often as their state of life demands.

While St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi was praying one day before the Blessed Sacrament, she saw one of her deceased sisters in the choir, completely enveloped in a robe of fire and reverently adoring the Blessed Sacrament. By this the Saint was given to understand that the deceased nun was in Purgatory and that in penance she was to wear that mantle of fire and to adore the Blessed Sacrament for one hour every day-----because in her lifetime she had often, through negligence, omitted to receive Holy Communion. Now what do all these invitations, these promises, these rewards and punishments prove? What, but the unutterable desire of Jesus Christ to unite Himself to us in Holy Communion. He seems in a manner to force us to receive Him. He makes our temporal and eternal welfare depend on our receiving Him, and thus makes use of our natural desire for happiness to bring us to His Altar. He seems to say, "If you do not receive Me, you shall have no health, no strength or vigor, no comfort, peace or rest, no courage, zeal or devotion; you will be vehemently assailed by temptations, which you will not have strength to resist; you will commit mortal sin, lose My grace and friendship, and becoming a slave of the devil, you will finally fall into Hell and be unhappy forever."

I do not know that I can add any proof of our Saviour's desire to enter our hearts in Holy Communion more striking than those which I have already presented, but there yet remains one to be considered, which is certainly more affecting. I allude to the patience with which He has borne the insults which for eighteen hundred years [now nineteen hundred years] have been heaped upon Him in the Holy Eucharist. I will not offend you, dear Reader, with the relation of the indignities which have been offered to Our Dear Lord in the Sacrament of His love; it is too dark a page in the history of human depravity.

Suffice it to say that He has been loaded with almost every species of outrage which malice could suggest or impiety perpetrate. Infidels, Jews, heretics and sometimes even nominal Catholics have united together to insult Him. All the sorrows which Our Lord had to endure during His life on earth are repeated again and again in this Holy Mystery. Now why does Jesus Christ endure such affronts? Surely none of us would be willing to remain with those who continually maltreat and persecute us; a life in the desert, in the midst of extreme poverty and desolation, would be preferable to such a lot.

Why, then, is our Saviour so patient amid so many outrages? Is He not free to act as He pleases? Is He forced to remain with us in the Blessed Sacrament? Yes, He is forced. He does indeed sometimes vindicate His honor and visit irreverence with exemplary punishment, but there is one point to which His anger never goes: He will never take back the gift of His love. Men may do what they will, but the desire of Jesus Christ to be united with us will always force Him to remain in the Blessed Sacrament. This is the secret of Our Lord's endurance. He endures all things for the sake of the elect.

All the outrages which the wicked have helped upon Him are compensated for by one devout Communion, and He is willing to remain in our churches, abandoned, alone for hours and hours, that He may be able to unite Himself with the first soul that comes hungering for the Bread of Life. Oh, how true are the words which Jesus Christ spoke to His disciples at the Last Supper! "With desire I have desired to eat this Pasch with you."

God desires that we should receive Him. He commands us to receive Him; He threatens us with Hell if we refuse; He punishes us in Purgatory if we are careless in receiving Him. He promises to forgive all our ingratitude, to remit the temporal punishment due to our sins, nay, to give us Heaven itself if only we receive Him. He promises a special reward to those of His priests who encourage others to receive Him; and as if all this were not enough, He employs His Angels and Saints, yea, His Own Omnipotence, to convey the Blessed Sacrament to those who are prevented from receiving Him. Shall we not respond to this desire of Our Lord? Jesus, our King, the Creator of Heaven and earth, longs after us, and shall not we, His creatures and subjects, long after Him? Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, desires to feed His sheep, and shall not the sheep know His voice and follow Him?

Ah, if we knew that some great and rich prince had so set his heart on us as to find his happiness in dwelling with us, how impatiently would we expect his arrival; how eagerly would we count the days and hours until he had come! Now, Jesus Christ is far greater and richer than any earthly prince. What honor is so great as that of receiving our God and Saviour? And shall we say: "Delay, O Lord; come not now; wait a little longer!" Alas! That there should be any Christians who speak thus! Can we conceive anything more extraordinary than that a man who believes and knows that God desires to unite Himself to his soul should yet remain indifferent to so great a favor? Can anything show more clearly how the world and sin have usurped the place of God in the human heart, and blinded it to its true happiness? Let me warn you at least, dear Reader, against such folly and ingratitude. If your own desire does not impel you to receive Holy Communion, at least let the desire of Jesus Christ urge you. Do not stay away because your love is cold; go, and your love will grow warm. Begin by going to please Him, and you will keep on to please yourself.

This Sacrament is the great means of advancing in Divine love. Those who taste a little honey desire to eat more; but those who know not its sweetness do not desire it at all. In like manner, this heavenly banquet continually satisfies and creates spiritual hunger. The Saints, by often receiving their Saviour, obtained such a longing desire to possess Him as even to cause them suffering until it was satisfied. St. Teresa's desire for Holy Communion was so great that she used to say that neither fire nor sword could deter her from receiving her Divine Lord.

St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi used to go to that part of the Communion-rail where the priest came first to distribute the Blessed Sacrament in order to receive Our Lord as quickly as possible. St. Philip Neri was often unable to sleep at night on account of his great desire to receive Holy Communion. One night, as Father Antonio Gallonio was about to give him Holy Communion, he held the Sacred Host in his hand for some time; at last St. Philip, unable to endure the delay any longer, cried out: "Antonio, why do you hold my Lord in your hands so long? Why do you not give Him to me? Why? why? Give Him to me; give Him to me!" It is also related that this Saint, when taking the Precious Blood at Mass, used to lick and suck the chalice with such affection that it seemed as if he could not tear himself away from it. He gradually wore off the gilding on the rim of the chalice and even left there the print of his teeth.

But still more remarkable is that which is related of St. Alphonsus. Once, on Good Friday, being unable to receive Holy Communion, his affliction was so great that a violent fever came on him; his life was even in danger. The Doctor came and bled him, but there was no improvement until the next day, when the Saint learned that he could again receive his Saviour. On receiving these joyful tidings, the fever immediately left him. Gustate et videte quoniam suavis est Dominus. (''Taste and see how sweet is the Lord.") Come, then and taste this heavenly food for yourself. Let neither the example of others nor the pleasures of the world nor the coldness of your own heart deprive you of so rich a consolation.
 
How truly does the author of The Imitation of Christ remark: "If Jesus Christ were offered only in one city in the world, how cheerfully would men endure even hardships to go to that favored spot! How would they long for the time when they could receive their God. Many holy pilgrims have undertaken long and arduous journeys and have encountered dreadful perils by land and sea only that they might be able to weep in the places in which our Saviour suffered and to kiss the ground on which He trod.

What is there, then, that should prevent you from receiving your Saviour Himself? Should you not be willing to sacrifice everything-----to sacrifice health and riches and life itself that you might be deemed worthy of so great a favor? So, at least, thought the Christians of other days. I need not refer you to the examples of the early Christians-----there are instances even in later times. In the time of the penal laws in England under Queen Elizabeth a Catholic nobleman was fined four hundred crowns for having received Holy Communion; but, regardless of the iniquitous law, he continued to communicate, cheerfully paying the fine each time he was detected, although he was thereby obliged to sell two of his best estates. He declared that he never spent any money with greater joy than that which he was obliged to pay for the privilege of receiving his Lord. (Schmid's Histor. Catech.)

Still more affecting is the example which is related of a dying man in the time of St. Charles Borromeo, Archbishop of Milan. A dreadful pestilence had broken out in the city, and a certain man in the hospital of St. Gregory, having been attacked by it, was soon reduced to the last extremity. In this state, he was carried, more dead than alive, to a place where the dead bodies were thrown before being buried. Life, however, was not yet quite extinct, and after a night spent in this horrible situation, he heard in the morning the sound of the bell announcing the approach of the Blessed Sacrament. Seized with an ardent desire of receiving his Saviour, he extricated himself with great difficulty from the dead bodies that were piled upon him, and crawling to the feet of the priest who carried the Holy Viaticum, he conjured him to give him Holy Communion. The priest, touched with compassion, immediately communicated him, but the efforts the poor man had made were too much for his feeble strength, and while his lips were yet moving in prayer, and his eyes looking up to Heaven, he fell back cold and lifeless at the feet of the priest.

You, dear Reader, have no such efforts, no such sacrifices to make in order to receive your Lord; you need not undertake long journeys nor cross stormy seas and high mountains; Jesus Christ is at your door; you have but to go to the church and you will find Him. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose in receiving a good Communion. Avail yourself, then, of so great a privilege.

If hitherto you have communicated but seldom, for the future communicate oftener. Our Lord Himself solicits you; He repeats the cry He uttered on the Cross. Sitio! "I thirst." And for what does He thirst? He thirsts for your heart; He urges you as He did Zacheus: "Make haste, for today I must abide in thy house."

How exceedingly great is the reward of those who obey this loving invitation! Does not Jesus Christ declare that He will recompense those that receive Him and show mercy to Him in the person of the poor? How much more will He reward those who receive Him and show mercy to Him in person. To such He will say: "I was naked" in the Blessed Sacrament, stripped of My glory, and your faith, reverence and devotion supplied what was wanting to My Majesty; I was "imprisoned" in the form of bread and wine, and "sick" with love for you, and you did lovingly visit Me and refresh Me; I was a "stranger," unknown to the greater part of mankind, and you gave Me your heart for My abode; I was "hungry" and "thirsty," consumed with the desire of possessing your affections entirely, and you satisfied My desire to the utmost. Come, then, blessed of My Father, possess the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2019, 09:00:43 AM by Xavier »
Please listen to the frequent messages and take heed of the directions given from Our Living Lord and Our Loving Lady from around the world here: https://maryrefugeofholylove.com/ Great things are at stake. Please consecrate your life to the Blessed Mother so that the Kingdom of God may come, "Ad Sanctam Trinitatem per Mariam, Ut adveniat Regnum Deum, adveniat Regnum Mariae, ergo TOTUS TUUS ego sum, MARIA" See http://www.maria-domina-animarum.net/en/flowers/1-250

Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted and pluralized: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For all the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for Priests, Nuns and Monks, for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, and for All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/ It is recommended that you make this Life Offering as soon as you feel ready, and to renew it from time to time.

Please read the Blessed Mother's amazing promises in the link: A simple effective way for thousands of us to save millions of souls. The Doctors and Apostles say if we save even just one other soul through prayer and sacrifice, we also ensure the salvation of our own! Let us Offer our Lives in Sacrifice to Jesus and Mary Today, to save, if it were possible, all souls everywhere.
 
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Offline Sempronius

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Great texts, made my sunday a lot better.. keep up the good work Xavier!
 
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Offline Xavier

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Thanks, Sempronius. His Holiness Pope St. Pius X, who is called "the Pope of the Eucharist" loved to say, “Holy Communion is the shortest and safest way to Heaven.” We know Our Lord Jesus promised in the Sacred Heart revelation to give the Last Sacraments and the grace of final perseverance to all who hear Mass and receive Holy Communion on a mere 9 First Fridays. Our Lady similarly for 5 First Saturdays. The Twin Hearts together, for 9 Fridays and Saturdays together, the grace never to commit mortal sin! These show us how powerful that Holy Mass and the Holy Eucharist is, and how we can ask and obtain any grace, however difficult it may seem, at Holy Communion - both for ourselves and for others. After we are secure of never losing God, let us offer our Communions in reparation to console Our Lord's Heart and in love to obtain all graces for others, including faith, love and perseverance. Then, every Communion will be a source of new and abundant graces for us as well, and cause and lead us to love God more and grow deeper in union with Him.



CHAPTER 6
On Preparation for Communion


IN order to receive the abundant fruits of the Holy Eucharist, a certain cooperation is required on the part of the receiver-----not indeed that the efficacy of the Sacrament considered in itself depends at all on the recipient (this efficacy it has entirely from God)-----but because its salutary effects in each particular case depend upon the disposition with which it is received. The cooperation which is required on our part consists in general in approaching it with a sincere desire to receive the graces which are imparted through it, and afterward, in turning them carefully to account. In order to obtain this disposition, it is advisable to devote some time before and after Communion to preparation and thanksgiving. Of these, then, I will proceed to speak. First, of the preparation before Communion.

When speaking of preparation for Communion, the previous qualification of being in the state of grace is always presupposed. It is related of the Emperor Frederic that, having on one occasion gone to visit a nobleman at his own castle, he was received into an apartment which was thickly hung with cobwebs; whereupon, being transported with rage, he immediately left the house, exclaiming: "This room is better fitted for a dog-kennel than for the chamber of an emperor!"

How much more justly might Jesus Christ feel indignant at being received into a soul defiled with mortal sin? "He Whose eyes are pure and cannot behold iniquity!" Accordingly, St. Paul teaches us that we must prove ourselves before we eat of the Body of the Lord, meaning thereby that, if upon examination we find ourselves guilty of any grievous sin, we should cleanse our conscience by a good Confession.

There are certain snakes, says St. Bernard, which spit out the poison that is in their mouths before they begin to drink; and we, before approaching the fountain of Life, must spit out the poison of sin. This preparation, as I have said, is always presupposed, and every Catholic knowing it to be an indispensable requisite, it will not, therefore, be necessary to dwell longer upon it, especially as occasion will be taken to speak of it hereafter. I have said we must be free from mortal sin, for it is this only which absolutely renders us incapable of receiving the fruits of Communion; but venial sins, especially those which are fully deliberate, and even voluntary imperfections, greatly hinder the efficacy of the Sacrament.

One who now and then speaks in disparagement of his neighbor or tells petty falsehoods, though he may not commit a mortal sin, yet deprives himself of many graces which he would otherwise have received.

The first step in our preparation for Communion, after we have been reconciled to God, is an habitual effort to please Him. It is, moreover, carefully to be noticed that, in order to receive the full extent of grace attached to this Sacrament, our hearts must be free from all inordinate affections.

St. Gertrude on one occasion asked Our Lord how she ought to prepare for Holy Communion, and He replied: "I ask nothing more than that you should come with an empty heart."

There is also another disposition which is always presupposed, pertaining to the body. No one can receive the Flesh of Christ unless he be fasting, that is to say, unless he has abstained from eating or drinking anything whatsoever from the preceding midnight, the only exception to this rule being when the Holy Communion is administered to the dying by way of Viaticum. [The current rules allow water anytime right up to Communion and prescribe fasting for one hour before.-----Editor, 1994.] This law of the Church, which is intended to secure greater reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, is founded on the most evident reasons of propriety, so much so that St. Augustine takes it for granted that no Christian would be guilty of the indecency of taking anything into his mouth before the Body of the Lord has entered it. (Epist. 54) Besides this requisite, Christians generally employ a longer or a shorter time, according to their ability, in actual preparation; and of this, it will be useful to speak more particularly.

Having treated in a former chapter of the duty of reverence towards the Blessed Sacrament, I deem it useless to prove here at great length the propriety of making some actual preparation for Communion. Common sense is enough to teach every man that it is not becoming to receive his God into his heart without previous preparation. I suppose you have at some time witnessed the public reception of some great man whom the people wish to honor-----some distinguished warrior or successful candidate or great orator. What a crowd in the streets! What anxiety to secure a place for seeing! What a cry and tumult on all sides! And when the hero of the day arrives, what eagerness to get a sight of him! How dense the crowd becomes behind him! How happy they on whom he smiles or to whom he speaks! How greatly envied is the favored citizen with whom he will take up his abode! What hurry and bustle and excitement in the house where he is to lodge! Now stop and ask yourself, for whom is all this? For a man-----a poor, weak, mortal man. And I, alas, with unconcern, receive Him Who is the "Splendor of His Father's Glory and the Figure of His Substance"!

When King David was asked why he had prepared such a vast quantity of gold, silver and precious stones for the temple he was about to erect, he answered: "The work is great, for a house is not prepared for man, but for God." And yet, in that Temple the Holy of Holies, the Ark of the Covenant and the manna were but shadows. We have the true Holy of Holies, the Living Manna, the Life-giving Bread that came down from Heaven! Should we not, then, exert all our care in arranging a dwelling place for this Divine Guest! "When thou shalt sit to eat with a prince," says the wise King Solomon, "consider diligently what is set before thy face."

How much more diligently ought we to consider what we are about to do when we appear at the table of the great King of Heaven and earth to feed on the Flesh of His beloved Son! This reflection, so natural and obvious, is sufficient to show us the propriety of some actual preparation for Communion. To this I will add another reflection to show its great utility. It is in the highest degree advantageous to prepare ourselves for Holy Communion because the fruit it produces depends on the disposition with which we receive it. Divines use the following figure in illustration: As wood that is not seasoned will not burn well because the moisture that is in it resists the action of the fire, so the heart which is full of earthly affections is not in a fit state to be enkindled with the living fire of Divine Love by means of this Holy Sacrament.

Father Lallemant says that many souls are almost, as little benefited by the Holy Eucharist as the walls of the church in which it is preserved because they are as hard and as cold as the very walls themselves. And St. Bernard concisely expresses the same truth by saying: Sicut tu Deo apparueris, ita tibi Deus apparebit. "God will exhibit Himself to you just as you show yourself disposed towards Him." When, therefore, people complain of receiving but little fruit from their Communions, they but betray their own negligence. As the light of the sun far exceeds the light of the moon, so do the effects of the Holy Eucharist in a loving heart greatly surpass those which it produces in a tepid, slothful soul.

The well-known story of Widikend, Duke of Saxony, illustrates this. This prince, while yet a pagan, was at war with Charlemagne; having a great curiosity to see what took place among the Christians, he disguised himself as a pilgrim and stole into their camp. It happened to be the Paschal time, and the whole army were making their Easter Communion. The stranger watched the ceremonies of Mass with interest and admiration, but how much was he surprised when the priest administered the Sacrament to see in the Host an Infant of shining beauty! He gazed at the sight with amazement, but his astonishment became yet greater when he saw that this wonderful Child entered the mouths of some of the communicants with joy, while only with great reluctance It allowed Itself to be received by others. This vision was the means of the conversion of Widikend and the submission of his subjects to the Faith, for having sought instruction from the Christians, he understood that Our Lord meant to show him, not only the truth of the Real Presence, but that He comes into our hearts with willingness or unwillingness, as we are well or ill prepared for receiving Him. (Timal. Arende I., 1 Collat.)

Something similar is related in the life of the venerable Margaret Mary Alacoque. One day she saw Our Lord in the Host as the priest was giving Communion, and she noticed that when the priest came to some of the communicants, Our Lord stretched out His arms and seemed eager to unite Himself to them, while there were others toward whom He showed the greatest repugnance and only suffered Himself to be dragged into their mouths by certain cords and bands with which He was bound.
He explained to her afterwards that the souls which He entered willingly were those who were careful to please Him, and those to whom He showed so much aversion were tepid Christians, who received Him into hearts full of hateful faults and imperfections. He told her, moreover, that He entered into such hearts merely on account of His promises and the law which He had laid upon Himself in the institution of the Blessed Sacrament and that this was the meaning of the bands and cords which she had seen. "How, then," you ask, "am I to prepare for Holy Communion?"

The Church sufficiently indicates the dispositions for Holy Communion in the following words: Domine, non sum dignus, ut intres sub tectum meum, sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur anima mea. "Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed." These words were spoken by the Centurion, who came to our Saviour asking Him to heal his servant. Our Lord at once offered to go with him to his house to perform the cure, but the good Centurion replied: "Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter under my roof, but only say the word and my servant shall be healed." This answer pleased Our Lord so much that He not only instantly healed the servant, but greatly commended the Centurion's faith. These words express a great esteem for Jesus Christ, a great sense of unworthiness on the part of the supplicant, and a great confidence that he would obtain what he asked.

These are precisely the dispositions which the Church requires for the reception of Holy Communion. Hence she repeats the words of the Centurion in a loud voice each time she distributes the Bread of Life, in order to remind the communicants of the duty of approaching the Sacred Banquet with a deep sense of their own utter nothingness and with a great desire of being united to their Divine Saviour. To excite these affections when about to communicate, you have but to ask yourself the following questions: "Who is it that is coming?" "To whom does He come, and why is He coming?" "Who is coming in this Holy Sacrament?" "It is my Creator, Who has given me everything I possess, in Whom I live, and move, and am. It is God all Powerful Holy, all Beautiful! Jesus Christ is coming, the Eternal Son of the Father, who moved by love unspeakable, came down from Heaven into the pure womb of the Virgin, was born into this world and lived as man among sinners. The Good Shepherd is coming to seek His lost sheep; My Redeemer is coming Who died on the Cross for sinners. To whom is He coming? To a miserable sinner who has not fulfilled the end of his creation, to a steward who has wasted his master's goods, to a servant who has disobeyed his lord, to a subject who has rebelled against his prince, to a redeemed captive who has been unthankful to his deliverer, to a soldier who has deserted his commander, to a prodigal child who has turned his back upon his father, to a spouse who has been unfaithful to her bridegroom." Oh! what a mingling of sentiments, exalting and depressing, must arise in the heart when about to approach Holy Communion! How great the distance between Him Who is received and the sinner who receives!

Who can think of this and not feel himself completely unworthy of such a grace! Eusebius relates of St. Jerome that, when the Holy Viaticum was brought to him at the hour of his death, he exclaimed: "Lord, why dost Thou lower Thyself so much as to come to a publican and a sinner, not only to eat with him, but even to be eaten by him!" And then, casting himself upon the earth, he received his Saviour with many tears.

If a Saint who had spent a long life in penitential works for the love of Christ felt so penetrated with a sense of his unworthiness before God, how much more should we humble ourselves when we draw nigh to Him! Should we not, with a true sorrow for our past unfaithfulness, accuse ourselves before Him and resolve by the help of His grace to amend all that is displeasing in His sight? The Publican of whom we read in the Gospel stood far back in the temple and smote his breast, saying: "Lord, be merciful to me a sinner!" And should not we, when going to the altar, hesitate and smite our breasts, saying, in the depths of our hearts, "I am not worthy! I am not worthy!"

But now the soul, having perceived the depth of her own unworthiness, must once more lift up her eyes to Heaven and ask: "Why does this Holy God come to visit a sinner like me?" And here she finds immensity of goodness which fills her again with courage and joy. Why does He come? Surely not for Himself, for He has no need of us. We cannot make Him richer or happier; we cannot give Him anything that He has not first given us. He sees in us nothing of our own but misery and sin. He is perfectly happy. The Angels serve Him day and night. There is not one of them that would not willingly be annihilated if He were to will it.

What, then, is it that induces Him to come to us? It is love, pure undeserved love. He conies to apply to our souls the fruits of His Redemption which He accomplished on Calvary, for in this Sacrament He becomes to each one of us a Saviour in a special sense. He comes to accomplish the work for which He created us, to prepare us for the place in Heaven which He has destined for us. It is He that works in this Sacrament, not we. He created us; He redeemed us; now He comes to pour out upon us all the riches of His love; He comes to give us light to know and strength to do His will; He comes to repair what is decayed and to restore what is wasted; to forgive rebellion and unthankfulness; in a word, to receive us as children; to clothe us with the first robe; to put a ring on our hands and shoes on our feet; to eat and make merry with us. What, then, should be our sentiments when we approach Our Lord in this mystery but those of the returning prodigal: "I will arise and will go to my Father." And when at this wonderful banquet our good Father, Jesus Christ, falls upon our necks and gives us the kiss of peace, when He feeds us, not with the fatted calf, but with His own most precious Flesh, what has the soul to do but yield to His loving embrace and to say, with humble gratitude: "O Lord, I am not worthy! I am not worthy to be called Thy son!" Our mistake is this: we think we have much to do, and we have but little to do.

I have already said that habitual fidelity, even in the smallest matters, is a condition for our receiving special graces in this Sacrament, but at the moment of Communion what is chiefly necessary is a great confidence arising from a deep conviction of our own nothingness and from a sense of God's exceedingly great goodness. He comes to us with His hands full of graces; we should meet Him with an affectionate desire to be united to Him and with a hunger and thirst for His justice.

But perhaps you will say: "I see the truth of what you have said; I am sure that a great desire to receive Jesus Christ is the best disposition for approaching Him, but this is precisely my difficulty. I have not this desire; I am cold and dry; my heart is dull and sluggish. I go to Communion, not indeed without the wish to please Our Lord, but with little fervor or affection for Him. Our Lord Himself has given the reply to this difficulty. He said one day to St. Matilda: "When thou art about to receive My Body and Blood, desire for the greater glory of My name to have all the ardor of love which the most fervent heart ever had for Me, and then thou mayest receive Me with confidence, for I will attribute to thee, as if thou really hadst it, all that fervor that thou desirest to have."

What can be more consoling than this? You have no devotion, but you can wish to have it. You do not feel all the respect and confidence you would like to feel, but your wish to have more supplies what is wanting; you have no humility, but you can humble yourself for your pride; you have no love, but you can offer your desire to love. From the poor, small presents are accepted. Offer what you have, and if you have nothing, then do what the Saints recommend: say, "Lord, if a great king were to lodge with a poor man, he would not expect the poor man to make a suitable preparation, but would send his own servants to make ready for him; do Thou so, O Lord, now that Thou art coming to dwell in my poor heart!" This alone will be an excellent disposition for receiving and one very pleasing to Jesus Christ.

One day St. Gertrude went to receive Holy Communion without being sufficiently prepared. Being greatly afflicted at this, she begged the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the Saints to offer up to God in her behalf all their merits, that they might in some way supply her own deficiency; whereupon, our Saviour appeared to her and said: "Now, before the whole heavenly court, thou appearest adorned for Communion as thou wouldst wish to be." Comply, then, O Christian, with that which Jesus Christ requires of you. Communicate, but communicate as He desires that you should. Do not be content with keeping yourself free from mortal sin; make war against venial sin also, at least those which are fully deliberate; for though venial sins do not extinguish love, they greatly weaken its force and fervor. Strive also to wean your heart from creatures; endeavor to mortify your attachment to honors, riches and pleasures; spare no trouble for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven; practice little but frequent acts of self-denial; keep yourself always in the fear of God, and strive to adorn your soul with the virtues which Jesus Christ especially loves-----humility, meekness, patience, prayer, charity, faith, peace and recollection.

On the eve of your Communion, renew your good resolutions; spend some little time in prayer; go to rest with the thought, "Tomorrow I shall receive my Saviour"; and if you awake in the night, think of the great action you are about to perform. In the morning make again acts of love, humility, contrition and confidence, and then go forward to the altar with a sincere desire to love and honor Jesus Christ more and more. Do what you can, and however imperfect that may be, it will be acceptable to Jesus Christ, provided He sees in you a true desire to do more. By such Communions you will gain the precious graces which are imparted by this Holy Sacrament, for they will not be merely Communions, but real unions of Jesus Christ with your soul.

I will conclude this chapter with the following story: Father Hunolt, of the Society of Jesus, relates that two students were once discoursing together about the hour of their death. They agreed that if God would allow it, he who should die first should appear to the other to tell him how he fared in the other world. Shortly afterwards, one of them died and appeared soon after his death to his fellow-student, all shining with heavenly brightness and glory, and in answer to his inquiries, told him that by the mercy of God he was saved and was in possession of the bliss of Heaven. The other congratulated him on his felicity and asked him how he merited such unspeakable glory and bliss. "Chiefly," said the happy soul, "by the care with which I endeavored to receive Holy Communion with a pure heart." At these words the spirit disappeared, leaving in his surviving friend feelings of great consolation and an ardent zeal to imitate his devotion. "You have heard these things; blessed shall you be if you do them." (John 13:17)
Please listen to the frequent messages and take heed of the directions given from Our Living Lord and Our Loving Lady from around the world here: https://maryrefugeofholylove.com/ Great things are at stake. Please consecrate your life to the Blessed Mother so that the Kingdom of God may come, "Ad Sanctam Trinitatem per Mariam, Ut adveniat Regnum Deum, adveniat Regnum Mariae, ergo TOTUS TUUS ego sum, MARIA" See http://www.maria-domina-animarum.net/en/flowers/1-250

Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted and pluralized: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For all the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for Priests, Nuns and Monks, for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, and for All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/ It is recommended that you make this Life Offering as soon as you feel ready, and to renew it from time to time.

Please read the Blessed Mother's amazing promises in the link: A simple effective way for thousands of us to save millions of souls. The Doctors and Apostles say if we save even just one other soul through prayer and sacrifice, we also ensure the salvation of our own! Let us Offer our Lives in Sacrifice to Jesus and Mary Today, to save, if it were possible, all souls everywhere.
 

Offline Xavier

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CHAPTER 7
On Thanksgiving after Communion


IF a good preparation before Communion is so important, a good thanksgiving after Communion is of even greater importance. St. John Chrysostom says that when a person has eaten some delicious food at a banquet, he is careful not to take anything bitter in his mouth immediately after, lest he should lose the sweet flavor of those delicate viands. In like manner, when we have received the precious Body of Jesus Christ, we should take care not to lose its heavenly flavor by turning too soon to the cares and business of the world.

St. Francis de Sales expresses the same idea. "When the merchants of India," he says, "have brought home their precious porcelain, they are very careful in conveying it to their storehouses lest they should stumble and break their costly wares. In like manner should the Christian, when he carries the priceless treasure of Our Lord's Body, walk with great care and circumspection in order not to lose the costly gift committed to his keeping?" The meaning of both Saints is that after Communion we should spend some time in devout recollection and prayer. This is the general practice of good Catholics. And indeed, reason itself tells us that a good thanksgiving after Communion is of even more importance than a good preparation before it. If we are required to pause and consider what we are about to do when we approach Our Lord, what should be our devotion when He is actually in our hearts?

When the Blessed Virgin Mary visited St. Elizabeth, the aged Saint was astonished at the condescension of the glorious Mother of God, and said: "Whence is this to me, that the Mother of my God should come to me?" Now, in Holy Communion, it is the Lord Himself that comes to us, the Eternal "Wisdom which proceeded from the mouth of the Most High," the "Lord and Prince of the House of Israel, Who appeared to Moses in the burning bush," the "King of nations," "Emmanuel," "our King and Law-giver." To remain indifferent after having received the Blessed Eucharist is to evince either a total want of faith or a levity and stupidity unworthy of a reasonable being.

What a spectacle for the Angels, to see a creature approach that Sacred Host before which they bow in lowliest adoration and, when he has had the unutterable happiness of receiving his Redeemer, leave the church with as much unconcern as if he had but partaken of ordinary bread! If indeed this should be done by one who has had no opportunity for receiving instruction on this subject, no doubt the Angels will have compassion on his ignorance, but should a well-instructed Catholic be guilty of such ungrateful behavior towards Jesus Christ after Communion, I think that nothing but the mercy of Our Lord would prevent them from avenging the impiety.

St. Alphonsus relates that a priest, seeing a man leave the church immediately after Communion, sent the servers of Mass with lighted candles to accompany him home. "What is the matter?" asked the man. "Oh," said the boys, "we are come to accompany Our Lord, Who is still present in your heart. " If everyone who follows the example of this indevout communicant received the same reproof, the scandal of going directly from the altar to the world would soon cease.

Although the greatness of Our Lord is a sufficient reason why we should not leave Him alone in our hearts after Communion, it is not the argument which He Himself employs. There is in this Sacrament nothing that breathes of majesty. Our Lord is silent, whether we leave the church immediately or kneel and reverently converse with Him. The stones do not cry out against our ingratitude if, after eating the Bread of Angels, we do not give thanks to God. Jesus Christ might send twelve legions of Angels to stand around us after we have left His table, to remind us that He is present in our hearts, but He does not do this.

Now it is from this very fact of not surrounding Himself with anything calculated to inspire fear that we ought to draw the most powerful incentive to gratitude. This Sacrament is a Sacrament of love. In it God is pleased to treat with His creatures in all familiarity. Jesus Christ, having accomplished the work of our Redemption, draws nigh to converse with us, as He did to the two disciples on their way to Emmaus. He wishes to speak with us as one friend speaks to another. Oh then, what an affront it is to leave Him the moment that He comes to us! Scarcely to say one word to Him! Would you not consider it great unkindness if a loving friend had traveled far to see you, and when he has but a little time to stay, to leave him as soon as he had entered your house and go to attend to your business or to seek your pleasure?

Would you not rather give him the best welcome you could and prepare the best room in your house and adorn it with your richest furniture; would you not sacrifice something of your time to keep him company and exchange some tokens of love before you allowed him to depart? Now, should you not do as much for Jesus Christ, who has come so far to visit you, who has suffered so many sorrows for your sake, who is thinking of you always and has given you so many tokens of His love? It is by this argument that Jesus Christ Himself prefers to incite us to make a due thanksgiving after Communion, and it is one which must have irresistible weight with every faithful heart. I feel that this point needs no further proof. I will therefore pass on to consider the manner in which we ought to make our thanksgiving. What has been said in regard to preparation is, of course, equally true here, viz., that each one is free to use such prayers as he shall find most suited to his devotion. My object is only to show in what a good thanksgiving essentially consists.

Now it consists first in completing the union with Our Lord, which He has come to effect, by a sincere oblation of ourselves to Him. The moment of Communion is different from any other moment of our lives. Then we can truly exclaim, "My God and my All!" When we communicate, God Himself is present in our little hearts as our Friend and Bridegroom. Nothing can be more intimate than the union that then takes place between the Creator and His creatures. It is more like the Incarnation of the Eternal Son of God in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary than anything else. To her it was said, "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also, the Holy One which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."

And the same Son of God, the Holy One, that was born of the spotless Virgin, comes into our hearts in the Sacred Host. Think of all that is most beautiful and most precious in the world, of all the riches of the whole universe, of all the glory of Heaven, and you have as yet but a faint idea of the wealth of a soul that has received Holy Communion. Such a soul possesses not only earth and Heaven, but the Lord and Maker of Heaven and earth.

It is a mystery which almost baffles thought. Certainly God can never cease to be what He is; He can never cease to be awful [to fill with awe-----Web Master.] in His Greatness and Infinite in His Wisdom-----our Ruler, our King and our Judge-----but in this Sacrament, as if He had nothing to think of but the soul which He comes to visit, He lavishes upon her all the riches of His bounty and reveals Himself to her in no other but the most amiable and most humble manner. Perhaps it is for this reason that He has been pleased so often to manifest Himself as an Infant in the Sacred Host, in order to show us how small He has become for love of us and to take away from us all fear.

Of old it was said, Magnus Dominus et laudabilis nimis. "Great is the Lord and exceedingly to be praised. " But now we may rather say: Parvus Dominus et amabilis nimis. "Small is the Lord and exceedingly to be loved." Accordingly, we find from the expressions of the Saints that the thought which possessed their souls after Communion was admiration at the unutterable love of God.

St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi once asked a pious person after Communion what she was thinking of. "Of love," was her reply. "Yes," rejoined the Saint, "when we think of the immense love of Jesus Christ for us, we cannot think of anything else." It is related of Artaxerxes, King of Persia, that when he saw Themistocles, his dearest friend, he exclaimed, in a transport of joy: "I have Themistocles, Themistocles I have!"

With how much greater joy should not the soul exclaim after Communion: "I have my Jesus, my Jesus I have! I have found Him Whom my soul loves! I will keep Him, and not leave Him!" It is not, however, enough to wonder at our Saviour's love. Love must be mutual to produce union; and we must return Him love for love. Now is the time to repay Him for the trials and tears, the shame and sorrow, the contradiction and reproach which He underwent for the ransom of our souls.

They were already His by the title of creation, and now they belong to Him by the title of Redemption. We must make to Him a childlike, generous, sincere, and complete oblation. "But what," you say, "have I to offer? I am poor and indigent; I stand in need of everything. What can I give to the Lord, Who made Heaven and earth?" I will tell you. Imitate Aeschines, a disciple of Socrates, of whom Seneca relates that, not being able on account of his poverty to make such rich presents to his master as his fellow disciples did, he went out and said to him: "Master, my extreme poverty leaves me nothing to give you as a token of my gratitude; I offer you, then, myself, to be yours forever." "Truly," said Socrates, "you have given me more than all the rest." Act thus with Jesus Christ. You have no treasure to offer Him; you have no station to renounce for Him; you have no occasion to die for Him; you cannot do for Him what He has done for you, but you can give Him that which He values more than anything else-----your heart.

There is nothing that gives so much pleasure to Jesus Christ as a heart truly resolved to serve Him. Give Him, then, this pleasure; offer yourself to Him to be disposed of as He pleases; to receive indifferently at His hand bitter and sweet; to serve Him with all the fervor that you can; to avoid sin and to lead a Christian life. Do this, and then your Communion will really be a Communion, that is to say, a union with God.

To receive the Body of Christ is common to the good and the bad, but it is the good alone who are truly united to Him. Are you perhaps afraid to make such promises? "It is easy," I hear you say, "to make an offering of ourselves to Jesus Christ, but it is not so easy to carry it into effect." Oh, Christian soul, thou dost not yet understand the generosity of love! Did not Our Lord ask St. James and St. John whether they were ready to drink of the chalice that He would drink of, before He actually gave them the grace of Martyrdom? Did He not make us promise to renounce the devil and his works and his pomps and to live in obedience to the Christian law before He adopted us as His children in Baptism? We must first promise much, and then God will help us to do much. He comes into our hearts, not only to claim them as His Own, but to give us grace whereby we may truly make them His. After we have made an oblation of ourselves to Him, then we must immediately proceed to beg of Him the grace to fulfill that which we have promised-----and this is the second part of a good thanksgiving.

There is no doubt that petitioning Our Lord for special graces should be our principal occupation after Communion. "The time after Communion," says St. Teresa, is the best time for negotiating with Jesus Christ, for then He is in the soul, seated, as it were, on a throne of grace and saying as He said to the blind man: "What wilt thou that I should do to thee?" And another great servant of God says that in the beginning of his conversion he was accustomed to employ the time after Communion chiefly in making devout aspirations, but that afterwards he devoted almost the whole time to petition, which he found more profitable to his soul.

When a prince goes for a short time to visit his subjects in a distant province, his whole time is taken up in hearing their complaints, in redressing their grievances, in consoling them in their miseries and in relieving their wants. So Jesus Christ, our Heavenly King, comes in this Sacrament on a short visit to inquire into our wants and to relieve them. I say "to inquire into our wants," not as if He needed to be informed of them, but because, as St. Alphonsus says, He wishes that we should lay them before Him. When the storm was raging on the sea of Tiberias, Our Lord continued to sleep in the ship, although He knew well the danger of His disciples. Why did He do this? It was because He wished that they should awaken Him and implore His aid. Lay then before Him all your troubles, your weaknesses, your fears and your desires. Are you in temporal difficulties? Hear what He has said: "What man is there among you, of whom if his son ask bread, will he reach him a stone? Or if he ask a fish will he reach him a serpent? If you, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father Who is in Heaven, give good things to them that ask Him?" (Matt. 7:9-11)

Do you wish to subdue your passions and disorderly affections? Hear what He has said: "As the division of waters, so the heart of the king is in My hands." (Prov. 21:1) If the hearts of kings are like wax in His hands, is He not able to change your heart also? Is He not able to convert you as He converted the prophet David, St. Mary Magdalene, St. Paul, St. Margaret of Cortona and a host of others? Ask Him then to destroy in you what is bad and to make you what you wish to be, to change your wavering purposes into a firm resolution to follow His example, your fear of self-discipline into an earnest desire to advance in virtue and holiness. Ask Him to change your dissipated heart into a recollected one, your unmortified heart into a mortified one, your ambitious heart into an humble one, your faint and timid heart into a brave and courageous one, your irritable and peevish heart into a mild and patient one, your sinful heart into a holy one.

In the life of St. Catherine of Siena, we read of a wonderful grace that she received from Our Lord. He took out her heart and gave her His in its place. Each one of us has it in his power to receive a grace somewhat similar. Let us only ask of Jesus Christ, and He will transform us, as it were, into Himself. Pray to Him for humility, for patience, for meekness, for contempt of the world, for a lively faith, a firm hope, ardent charity; for brotherly love, for love of your enemies, for the prosperity of the Church, for the conversion of sinners, heretics and infidels; for the souls in Purgatory; for devotion to His Passion, to the Blessed Sacrament, to His Immaculate Mother; for the crowning grace of perseverance-----and He will give you all, for His Arm is not shortened nor His Love diminished.

The Sacrament of the Eucharist never grows old; it is as efficient now as it was at the time of the Apostles. There is nothing necessary to your true sanctity that your Lord is unwilling to impart to you. If you are diligent in asking graces of Him after Communion, if you persevere in asking, with a real desire to obtain, you will infallibly become a Saint-----yea, a great Saint!

There is another exercise of devotion which should form part of your thanksgiving after Communion: I mean Praise. It is good sometimes to rejoice; it enlarges the heart and gives it courage. "Rejoice in the Lord always," says St. Paul, "and again I say-----rejoice!" The life of men would be much happier than it is were they with a lively faith to receive Holy Communion often. How sorrowful soever you may be when about to receive, afterward you will not be without consolation. When Our Divine Saviour entered the Temple, the little children cried out, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" and shall not you sing a song of praise when He comes into the temple of your heart? Oh, how much should you rejoice! How great a thing it is to be a Christian! Where is the nation that has its gods so nigh as our God is with us? What king or emperor is so honored as the faithful Catholic? What Angel of Heaven so favored as the good communicant? "Do you not know," says St. Paul, "that you are temples of God?" Yes, indeed, each good Catholic is a true Christopher, that is to say, a carrier of Christ! After Communion, he carries in his heart Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son of God.

"All things are yours," says St. Paul; "all are yours and you are Christ's." "Exult ye who live in Sion!" Why should you take life so hard and complain of your crosses and trials and be so impatient in every difficulty? Why should you envy the rich of this world, the great and the honored?' Why should you vex yourself at injuries and groan in adversity? Why should you faint at the thought of self-denial and conflict? Are you not a Catholic? Have you not the sweet services of the Church to soothe you and her Sacraments to nourish you, her benedictions to strengthen you and her absolution to cleanse you? Have you not Mary for your Mother and the Angels and Saints for your patrons and protectors, and above all, in the Blessed Sacrament, Jesus for your Father?

O my soul, rejoice and sing a song unto the Lord! Alleluia! Praise the Lord, ye servants of God; praise ye the name of the Lord from henceforth, now and forever. From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same, the name of the Lord is worthy of praise. Who is as the Lord our God who dwelleth on high and looketh down on the low things in heaven and on earth, raising up the needy from the earth and lifting up the poor out of the dunghill, that He may place them with princes, with the princes of His people! Alleluia! Bless the Lord, my soul, and let all that is within me bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and never forget all He has done for thee: who forgiveth all thy iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with mercy and compassion; who satisfieth all thy desires with good things. He hath not dealt with thee according to thy sins, nor rewarded thee according to thy iniquities; for according to the height of Heaven above the earth, He has strengthened His mercy towards them that fear Him; and as far as the West is from the East, so far hath He removed our iniquities from us. As a father hath compassion on his children, so hath the Lord compassion on them that fear Him. Bless the Lord, all ye Angels, you that are mighty in strength and execute His word, hearkening to the voice of His orders. O my Soul, bless thou the Lord! My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For He that is mighty hath done great things to me, and Holy is His name. And His mercy is from generation to generation to them that fear Him. He hath shown might in His Arm; He hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their hearts; He hath put down the mighty from their seat and hath exalted the humble; He hath filled the hungry with good things and the rich He hath sent away empty; He hath received Israel His servant, being mindful of His mercy-----as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his seed forever.

Having spoken of the necessity of making a thanksgiving after Communion and shown the manner in which it may profitably be made, I must say a few words about the length of time which you should devote to It. Above all I must remark that I have no intention of putting your conscience under any law; in this point you are altogether free to consult the duties of your state of life, or even your inclinations. I know that the Saints desired to spend their lifetime in thanksgiving after Communion and felt a kind of reluctance to attend to temporal affairs after having received the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.

Hence, in The Imitation of Christ, the blessed Thomas a Kempis complains of the necessity of eating, drinking, sleeping and attending to temporal affairs because they interrupted his converse with the Lord and Master of his heart. But at the same time, I know that the Saints never allowed their prayers to interfere with the faithful performance of the duties of their state of life. It is very important to know that true devotion does not consist in sacrificing work to prayer, but in making prayer a preparation for work and work a continuation of prayer. Hence, then, your thanksgiving should not be longer than the duties of your state of life will permit.

Father Avila used to spend two hours in thanksgiving after Mass, even when he was very busy. St. Alphonsus advises everyone to devote at least half an hour to it, if it is at all possible. But whatever time you fix upon, do not imagine that your thanksgiving is at an end when you leave the church. The best thanksgiving is to cease from sin and to remain united with God; your half hour's prayer is only to help you. to do this. You cannot remain always in the church, but you can go to your business with a recollected mind. You cannot always keep your prayerbook and beads in your hands, but you can make ejaculatory prayer to God at every time and in every place.

It is said of St. Aloysius Gonzaga that he used to receive Communion once a week and that he was accustomed to spend three days in preparation before it and three days in thanksgiving after it. How did he manage to do this? Was he all the time prostrated before the Altar or reading a spiritual book? Not at all; he went wherever obedience called him, quietly performing his duties and keeping his heart lifted up to God. He offered up all his actions to Jesus Christ by way of thanksgiving, and he made now and then some short acts of faith, hope and charity, some acts of self-oblation or admiration or supplication. By this means, the angelic youth was enabled to walk continually with God; one Communion was the
preparation for another; thus, he constantly advanced in purity of heart and in love for Jesus Christ.

Now, everyone who has but little time at his disposal can make such a thanksgiving as this, if not with all the perfection of St. Aloysius, at least with great fruit and consolation to his soul. Everyone can offer to Jesus Christ the crosses he may meet with during the day and bear them patiently for the sake of Him whom he wishes to thank. He can crush the movements of impatience, the thought of vanity, the immodest glance, the word of bitterness, the laugh of folly, the look of pride. He can, for the love of the good Jesus, be just and true, pure and obedient, pious and humble.

This is the way to honor and please Jesus Christ. He did not institute this adorable Sacrament to give us a little excitement of devotion, but to make us holy. "I have chosen you," said Our Lord, "that you should bring forth fruits, and that your fruit should remain." "In this is My Father glorified that you bring forth very much fruit." Make then, Christian Soul, a good use of the precious moments after Communion. You will never fully understand how precious they are. Nothing will cause you more confusion after death than the little account you have made of the Blessed Sacrament.
It is related in the Book of Esther, that one night when King Assuerus could not sleep, he ordered the chronicles of his reign to be read to him. When the reader came to the place where it was related that Mardochai, the Jew, had once crushed a wicked plot against the King's life, Assuerus asked, "What reward has Mardochai received for this fidelity?" "None at all, " they answered him. Whereupon, in all haste, the King ordered the long delayed acknowledgment to be made to his deliverer, that Mardochai should be carried in procession through the streets clothed in royal apparel and crowned with the King's crown and seated upon the King's horse, and that it should be proclaimed before all: "This is the honor he is worthy of whom the King hath a mind to honor."

To you also, my dear Reader, there will come a sleepless night when mortal sickness shall tell you that death is near, and then you will look back upon your life and see many benefits for which you have made no acknowledgment. When you think of your Communions, you will say, "What acknowledgment have I made to my Deliverer who has so often saved my life?" When the two disciples at Emmaus understood that it was Jesus who had been with them by the way, they remembered how their hearts had burned as He conversed with them; so at the hour of death, you will see how precious were the graces you received when Jesus in the Holy Sacrament came into your heart. Your Communions will then seem to have been the greatest blessings of your life. The world will have disappeared, friends will have deserted you, all your past life will seem to have been a dream; but the moments when you received your Saviour will appear to you in their true bearing in eternity.

What regret will you not then feel for your unfaithfulness! How earnestly will you desire to live your life over again to repair your indevout thanksgivings! A holy nun who had suffered very much in this life appeared after her death to one of her sisters in religion. She told her that she would willingly return to the world and undergo once more all the pains she had suffered here on earth, provided she could say but one Hail Mary, because by that one prayer, her glory and joy would be increased by one degree for all eternity. (P. Michael a St. Catherine, Lib. III, Tract. 16)

If the blessed in Heaven are willing to do so much for one Hail Mary, what would they not do for one' Communion? And yet they cannot have it. It is the privilege of mortals alone to feed on the Flesh of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. I repeat, then: make great account of your Communions. Do now what you will wish to have done at the hour of death. Make the most of every moment of your thanksgiving. Pay to Jesus Christ all the honor that you possibly can. You cannot do as Assuerus did. Jesus Christ is great and you are poor and miserable; you cannot give Him royal honor-----you can but give Him the tribute of an humble loving heart. But this He is pleased to accept. Offer it to Him, then, in all sincerity. Converse with Him reverently and familiarly while you have Him in your heart; try to obtain some grace from Him which may remain after He has ceased to be sacramentally present with you and which may enable you to make your next Communion better. Thus you will live always united with Jesus Christ, and by your example and conversation you will edify your neighbor.

St. Veronica Juliana had, even at the age of three years, a great devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, and it is related of her that, not being permitted to receive Communion, she used to come very close to her mother after she had communicated and cling to her dress. One day her mother noticed the child and asked her why she thus hung around her, and she replied: "Mother, you taste of Jesus and you smell of Jesus!" If you too, my Reader, are careful to make a good thanksgiving, you will carry with you a sweet odor of sanctity, and Angels and good Christians will love to keep you company. You will advance in virtue and happiness here and, what is more, hereafter. When the tepid and indifferent will be lamenting in a bitter Purgatory their negligent thanksgivings, or will be cursing them in Hell as the first steps to mortal sin, you will be blessing the retired and mortified life which left you time to love and honor your Saviour. Nay, even this is not all, for your most bountiful Saviour will reward the little honor you have paid Him by a great and royal recompense. He will do far more for you than Assuerus did for Mardochai. He will cause you to be honored by all the Angels and Saints in Heaven, clothe you in royal attire and "confess your name before His Father," as He promised when He said: "Whosoever shall glorify Me, him will I glorify!" (1 Kings 2:30)
Please listen to the frequent messages and take heed of the directions given from Our Living Lord and Our Loving Lady from around the world here: https://maryrefugeofholylove.com/ Great things are at stake. Please consecrate your life to the Blessed Mother so that the Kingdom of God may come, "Ad Sanctam Trinitatem per Mariam, Ut adveniat Regnum Deum, adveniat Regnum Mariae, ergo TOTUS TUUS ego sum, MARIA" See http://www.maria-domina-animarum.net/en/flowers/1-250

Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted and pluralized: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For all the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for Priests, Nuns and Monks, for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, and for All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/ It is recommended that you make this Life Offering as soon as you feel ready, and to renew it from time to time.

Please read the Blessed Mother's amazing promises in the link: A simple effective way for thousands of us to save millions of souls. The Doctors and Apostles say if we save even just one other soul through prayer and sacrifice, we also ensure the salvation of our own! Let us Offer our Lives in Sacrifice to Jesus and Mary Today, to save, if it were possible, all souls everywhere.
 

Offline Xavier

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CHAPTER 8
On the Effects of Holy Communion


I AM sure, dear Reader, that if you would once begin the practice of frequent Communion in order to please Our Lord, you would continue it in order to please yourself. I will now proceed to make good this assertion by showing the great and admirable effects which this Bread of the Strong produces in the soul. First, it confers an increase of Sanctifying Grace. The life of the soul consists in its being in a state of acceptance or friendship with God, and that which renders it acceptable to God is Sanctifying Grace.

This grace, which was merited for us by Our Lord Jesus Christ, is infused into the soul by the Holy Ghost through the Sacraments; but each Sacrament does not confer it in the same manner. Baptism and Penance bestow it upon those who are entirely out of the grace of God, or in other words, who are spiritually dead; Baptism being the means appointed for those who have never been in the grace of God, and Penance for those who have lost it. These Sacraments are therefore called Sacraments of the Dead, as being instituted for the benefit of those who are in mortal sin or dead to grace. When these Sacraments are received with the right dispositions, they truly reconcile the sinner with God, so that from being an enemy of God, he becomes His friend and an object of His complacency. But this acceptance, though true and real, is not in the highest degree; it admits of an increase, as the Holy Scripture says: "Let him that is just be justified still; and let him that is holy be sanctified still"; and therefore God appointed the other Sacraments, the Sacraments of the Living, not only to convey special graces peculiar to each, but to impart an increase of Sanctifying Grace to those who are already in His favor.

A rich man, when he has taken possession of a field which he wishes to convert into a garden, is not content with putting a wall around it and clearing it of the most noxious weeds and setting it in good order, but he continues to cultivate it assiduously, to fill it with the most beautiful plants and to embellish it with new and choice ornaments. Thus Almighty God, in His love and goodness, has multiplied means by which the soul may be enriched with the graces and merits of Jesus Christ and become more and more agreeable and beautiful in His eyes.

Now among all these means, there is none greater or more powerful than the Blessed Eucharist. Each time that we receive our Saviour in Holy Communion, we participate anew in all the merits of His Redemption, of His poverty, His hidden life, His scourging and His crowning with thorns. The Holy Eucharist, then, differs from the other Sacraments in this, that while the other Sacraments bestow upon us one or another of the fruits of Christ's merits, this gives us the grace and merits of our Saviour in their source.

The soul, therefore, receives an immense increase of Sanctifying Grace at each Communion. Dear Christian, let us reflect upon this for a moment. It is no slight thing for a soul to be beautiful in the sight of God. That must needs be something great and precious which can render us-----sinful creatures as we are-----truly amiable before God. What must be the value of Sanctifying Grace, which can work such a transformation? What is it and who can declare
its price?

St. Thomas tells us that the lowest degree of Sanctifying Grace is worth more than all the riches of the world. Think, then, of all the riches of this world! The mines of gold, of precious stones, the forests of costly wood, and all the hidden stores of wealth, for the least of which treasures the children of this world are willing to toil and struggle and sin for a whole lifetime.

Again, consider that the lowest grace which a humble Catholic Christian receives at the rails of the sanctuary at dawn of day, before the great world is astir, outweighs all those riches. But why do I draw my comparison from the things of this world? St. Teresa, after her death, appeared to one of her sisters in religion and told her that all the Saints in Heaven, without exception, would be willing to come back to this world and to remain here till the End of Time, suffering all the miseries to which our mortal state is subject, only to gain one more degree of Sanctifying Grace and the eternal glory corresponding to it.
Nay, I even assert that all the devils in Hell would consider all the torments of their dark abode, endured for millions upon millions of ages, largely recompensed by the least degree of that grace which they had once rejected. These thoughts give us a grand and sublime idea of the value of grace; but there is another consideration that ought to raise our estimate of it still higher, namely, that God Himself, the Eternal Son of the Father, came down upon earth, was made man, suffered and died the death of the cross in order to purchase it for us. His life is in some way the measure of its value.

Now in Holy Communion, this Sanctifying Grace is poured upon us in floods! The King of Heaven is then present in our souls, scattering profusely His benedictions and making us taste of the powers of the world to come. Oh, if anyone of us were to see his own soul immediately after Communion, how amazed and confounded would he not be at the sight of it. He would take it for an Angel.

St. Catherine of Siena having been asked by her confessor to describe to him the beauty of a soul in the state of grace-----as it had been revealed to her-----replied: "The beauty and lustre of such a soul is so great that if you were to behold it, you would be willing to endure all possible pains and sufferings for its sake." Need we wonder, then, that the Angels loved to keep company with those Saints on earth who every day with great devotion received Holy Communion, and that even the faces of those who have been ardent lovers of the Blessed Sacrament have sometimes shone with the glory with which they were filled? Does not Christ say of such a soul: "How beautiful art thou, My beloved! How beautiful art thou."

What great value should we then not set on this Divine Sacrament? At each Communion, we gain more and more upon what is bad in our hearts; we bring God more and more into them, and we come nearer to that heavenly state in which they shall be altogether "without spot or wrinkle," holy and without blemish. Should we not, then, esteem this wonder-working Sacrament more than anything else in this world? Ought we not continually to give thanks to God for so great a blessing and, above all, show our thankfulness by receiving it frequently and devoutly? I leave it to you, O Christian soul, to answer what I have said. I will not dwell longer on this point; reflect and act accordingly. I must pass on to explain some of the other wonderful effects of this precious Sacrament. 

The benefit to be derived from Holy Communion which I will notice in the second place consists in this, that we are thereby preserved from mortal sin. In like manner as the body is continually in danger of death by reason of the law of decay which works unceasingly within us, so in like manner the life of the soul is constantly in jeopardy from that fearful proneness to sin which belongs to our fallen nature.

Accordingly, as Almighty God, in His Wisdom, has ordained natural food as the means of repairing the decay of the body and of warding off death, so has He seen fit to give us spiritual and heavenly food to keep us from falling into mortal sin, which causes the death of the soul. This food is the Holy Eucharist, as the Council of Trent teaches us, saying that the Sacrament of the Eucharist is "the antidote by which we are freed from daily faults and preserved from mortal sins." And hence St. Francis de Sales compares Holy Communion to the Tree of Life which grew in the midst of the garden of Paradise, saying that ''as our first parents by eating of that tree might have avoided the death of the body, so we, by feeding on this Sacrament of Life, may avoid the death of the soul."

Do you ask how the Blessed Sacrament preserves us from mortal sin? I reply: in two ways, by weakening our passions and by protecting us against the assaults of the devil. Everyone has some besetting sin, some passion which is excited in his heart more easily and more frequently than any other and which is the cause of the greater part of his faults. In some it is anger; in others, envy; in others, pride; in others, sensuality and impurity.

Now, however weak one may be, and by whatsoever passion he may be agitated, let him frequently receive the Body of Christ, and his soul will become tranquil and strong. The saints would express this by saying that, as the waters of the Jordan stood back when the Ark of the Covenant came into the river, so our passions and evil inclinations are repelled when Jesus Christ enters into our hearts in Holy Communion.

St. Bernard says: "If we do not experience so frequent and violent attacks of anger, envy and concupiscence as formerly, let us give thanks to Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, who has produced these effects in us." Accordingly, in the thanksgiving which the Church has provided to be used by the priest after the celebration of Mass, there is a prayer for imploring God that in like manner as the holy Martyr St. Lawrence overcame the torments of fire, the soul, which has been fed with this Bread of Heaven, may be enabled to extinguish the flames of sin. There are thousands of cases which attest the efficacy of the Blessed Sacrament in this respect.

In Ferrara there lived a man who in his youth was very much molested with temptations of the flesh, to which he too often gave consent, and thus committed many mortal sins. To free himself from this miserable state, he determined to marry; but his wife died very soon, and he was again in danger. He was not disposed to marry again; but to remain a widower was, he thought, to expose himself anew to his former temptations. In this emergency he consulted a good friend and received the advice to go frequently to Confession and Holy Communion. He followed this advice and experienced in himself such extraordinary effects of the Sacrament that he could not help exclaiming: "Oh, why did I not sooner meet with such a friend! Most certainly I would not have committed so many abominable sins of impurity had I more frequently received this Sacrament which maketh virgins." (Baldesanus in Stim. Virt. I, c. 8)

In the life of St. Philip Neri, we read that one day a young man who was leading a very impure life came to the Saint to Confession. St. Philip, knowing that there was no better remedy against concupiscence than the most sacred Body of Jesus Christ, counselled him to frequent the Sacraments. By this means he was in a short time entirely freed from his vicious habits and became pure like an angel. Oh, how many souls have made the same experience! Ask any Christian who has once lived in sin and afterwards truly amended, from what moment he began to get the better of his passions, and he will answer, from the moment that he began to frequent the Sacraments. How should it be otherwise? Jesus calms the winds and seas by a single word. What storm will be able to resist His power? What gust of passion will not subside when, on entering the soul, He says: "Peace be with thee; be not afraid; it is I!" The danger of mortal sin, however, arises not only from the strength of our passions, but also from the violence of the temptations with which the devil assails us; and against these, too, the Blessed Sacrament protects us.

When Ramirus, King of Spain, had been fighting a long time against the Saracens, he retired with his soldiers to a mountain to implore the assistance of Almighty God. While he was at prayer, St. James the Apostle appeared to him and commanded him to make all his soldiers go to Confession and Communion the day following and then to lead them out against their enemies. After all had been done that the Saint commanded, they again had an engagement with the Saracens and gained a complete and brilliant victory. (Chron. Gen. Alphon. Reg.)
 
In our conflict with the devil, how much more shall we not be enabled, by means of Holy Communion, to put him to flight and cover him with shame and confusion! St. Thomas says: "Hell was subdued by the death of our Saviour, and the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar being a mystical renewal of the death of Jesus Christ, the devils no sooner behold His Body and Blood in us, than they immediately take to flight, giving place to the Angels, who draw nigh and assist us." St. John Chrysostom says: "As the Angel of destruction passed by all the houses of the Israelites without doing them any harm, because he found them sprinkled with the blood of the lamb, so the devil passes by us when he beholds within us the Blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God."

And St. Ambrose says: "When thy adversary shall see thy habitation taken up with the brightness of the presence of God in thy soul, he departs and flies away, perceiving that no room is left for his temptations. Oh, how often has it happened that souls were so dreadfully tormented by the evil representations, suggestions and temptations of the devil as not to know what to do! But no sooner had they received Holy Communion, than they became at once quite calm and peaceful! Read the life of any of the Saints, and you will find instances of this; or ask any devout Catholic, and he will tell you that what I have asserted is but reality.

Nay, the devil himself must confess, and has often confessed, this truth. If he were forced to say why it is that he cannot tempt such and such a soul oftener and more violently, why it is that, to his own shame and confusion, he is forced to withdraw so often from a soul which once he held in his power,  what do you think he would answer? Hear what he once answered. A person whom by a special permission of God he was allowed to harass very much and I even drag about on the ground was exorcised by a priest of our Congregation, and the devil was commanded to say whether or not Holy Communion was i very useful and profitable to the soul.

At the first and second interrogatory he would not I answer, but the third time, being commanded in the name of the blessed Trinity, he replied with a howl: "Profitable! Know that if this person had not received Holy Communion so many times, we should have had her completely in our power." Behold, then, our great weapon against the devil! "Yes," says the great St. John Chrysostom, "after receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in the Holy! Eucharist, we become as terrible to the devil as a
furious lion is to man." When the King of Syria went out to take the prophet Eliseus captive, the servant of the man of God was very much afraid at seeing the great army and the horses and chariots, and he said: "Alas! alas! alas! my Lord; what shall we do?" But the prophet said: "Fear not, for there are more with us than with them. " And then he showed the trembling servant how the whole mountain was full of angels ready to defend them.

So, however weak we may be and however powerful our enemies, fortified with the Bread of Heaven, we have no reason to fear; we are stronger than Hell, for God is with us. "The Lord ruleth me, I shall want nothing. Though I should walk in the midst of the shadow of death, I fear no evils, for Thou art with me. Thou hast prepared a table before me against them that afflict me."

In concluding this point, let me then once more address to you, dear Christian, the words of exhortation. With what justice does not St. Francis de Sales appear to you, saying: "O Philothea, what reply shall reprobate Christians be able to make to the reproaches of the just Judge for having lost His grace when it was so easy to have preserved it?" If the means of avoiding sin had been very difficult, the case of the reprobate might seem hard, but who can pity him who has but to obey the easy command: "Take and eat; if any man shall eat of this bread he shall live forever." For a Catholic to fall into mortal sin is as if one should starve at a splendid banquet, and for a Christian to die in the power of the devil is to be in love with death.

But there are other riches in this Blessed Sacrament which remain to be unfolded. It not only increases in us sanctifying grace and preserves us from mortal sin, but it truly unites us to God, and this is the third effect of this Holy Sacrament. The most obvious sense in which this Sacrament is said to unite us to God is that which is suggested by the doctrine of the Real Presence itself. In the Holy Eucharist we receive the very Body and Blood of Jesus Christ; and as members of the same family are united together by the ties of the common blood which flows in their veins, so we become truly kinsmen of Christ by participation of the Blood which He received from His most Holy Mother and shed on the Cross for us.

Hence, St. Alphonsus says that as the food we take is changed into our blood, so in Holy Communion God becomes one with us-----with this difference, however, that whereas earthly food is changed into our substance, we assume, as it were, the nature of Jesus Christ, as He Himself declared to St. Augustine, saying, "It is not I that shall be changed into you, but you shall be changed into Me."

"Yes," says St. Cyril of Alexandria, "he who communicates unites himself as closely to Jesus Christ as two pieces of wax, when melted, become one." And the Saints have always been so penetrated with this belief that after Holy Communion they would exclaim: "O Jesus, now Thou art mine and I am Thine! Thou art in me, and I am in Thee! Now Thou belongest entirely to me, and I belong entirely to Thee. Thy soul is mine, and my soul is Thine! Thy life is mine, and my life is Thine!" But this is not all.

We are united to Our Lord's sacred humanity in order that we may be made conformable to His image in will and affections; accordingly, in the Eucharist we receive from Him infused virtues, especially Faith, Hope and Charity, the three distinguishing characteristics of the children of God. As to Faith, it is so much increased by Communion that this Sacrament might be called the Sacrament of Faith, not only because it makes the largest demand on our faith of any mystery of our Holy Religion, but also because it more than any other increases and confirms it. It seems as if God, in reward of the generous faith with which we believe this doctrine, often gives an inward light which enables the soul in some way to comprehend it, and with it the other truths of faith.

So, the Council of Trent says that "The mode of Christ's presence in the Eucharist can hardly be expressed in words, but the pious mind, illuminated by faith, can conceive of it." The reception of this Sacrament is the best explanation of the difficulties which sense opposes to it. It was in the breaking of bread at Emmaus that the two disciples recognized Jesus. He Himself gives us evidence of the reality of the Divine Presence in this heavenly food and makes us taste what we do not understand. One day a holy soul said to Father Surin of the Society of Jesus: "I would not exchange a single one of the Divine communications which I receive in Holy Communion for anything whatever that men or Angels might present to me."

Sometimes God adds to these favors the gift of a spiritual joy and delight, intense and indescribable. St. Thomas says that "Holy Communion is a spiritual eating which communicates an actual delight to such souls as receive it devoutly and with due preparation." And the effect of this delight, according to St. Cyprian, is that it detaches the heart from all worldly pleasures and makes it die to everything perishable. Nay, this joy is sometimes even communicated to the exterior senses, penetrating them with a sweetness so great that nothing in the world can be compared to it. St. Francis, St. Monica, St. Agnes and many others are witnesses of this, who, intoxicated with celestial sweetness in Holy Communion, exulted for joy and exclaimed with the psalmist: "My heart and my flesh have rejoiced in the living God. For what I have  in Heaven? and besides Thee what do I desire upon earth? Thou art the God of my heart and the God that is my portion forever. My Jesus, my Love, my God, my All."

Oh what a firm faith men would have in this mystery did they communicate often and devoutly! One single Communion is better than all the arguments of the schools. We have not a lively faith, we think little of Heaven, of Hell, of the evil of sin, of the  goodness of Our Lord and the duty of loving Him, because we stay away from Communion; let us eat and our eyes shall be opened. "Taste and see that the Lord is sweet."

Hope also receives a great increase from this Sacrament, for it is the pledge of our inheritance and has the promise of eternal life attached to it. "He who eateth of this Bread shall live forever. He who eateth My Flesh and drinketh My Blood abideth in Me and I in him. As the Father Who liveth sent Me, and I live by the Father, so he that eateth Me, the same also shall live by Me. He shall never hunger or thirst. He shall not die, but have life everlasting, and I will raise him up on the last day." (Cf. John 6)

St. Paul argues that' 'if we are sons, then we are heirs, heirs indeed of God, and joint heirs with Christ." And elsewhere he says that "we glory in hope of the glory of God." It is true that in this life we can never have an infallible assurance of our salvation, but Holy Communion most powerfully confirms and strengthens our hope of obtaining Heaven and the graces necessary for living and dying holily. However great the fear and diffidence may be with which our sins inspire us, what soul is not comforted when our Saviour Himself enters the heart and seems to say: "Ask whatever you will, and it shall be done unto you." "Can I refuse the less Who have given the greater? Can I withhold any necessary graces Who have given Myself? Shall I refuse to bring you to reign with Me in Heaven, Who am come down on earth to dwell with you?"

Charity, however, is the virtue which is more especially nourished by the Holy Eucharist. This may be called, by eminence, the proper effect of this Sacrament, as indeed it is of the Incarnation itself. "I am come to cast fire on the earth, and what will I but that it be kindled!" (Luke 12:49) And St. Dionysius the Areopagite says that" Jesus Christ in the most Holy Eucharist is a fire of charity." It could not be otherwise. As a burning house sets the adjacent ones on fire, so the Heart of Jesus Christ, which is always burning with love, communicates the flames of charity to those who receive Him in Holy Communion. Accordingly, St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Teresa, St. Philip Neri, St. Francis Xavier and thousands of others, by their frequent Communions, became, as it were, furnaces of divine love. "Do you not feel," said St. Vincent de Paul to his brothers in religion, "do you not become sensible of the Divine fire in your hearts after having received the adorable Body of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist?" In proof of the strength of love which souls derive from Holy Communion, I might appeal to the ecstasies and raptures which so many souls have experienced at the reception of the most Holy Eucharist. What were all these favors but flames of Divine love enkindled by this heavenly fire which, as it were, destroyed in them themselves and conformed them to the image of their Saviour.

Or, I might take my proof from those sweet tears which flow from the eyes of so many servants of God
when at the Communion rail they receive the Bread of Heaven. But I have a better proof than these transports of devotion: I mean suffering. This is the true test of love. St. Paul says that the Christian glories in tribulation because the charity of God is poured out into his heart, and so the Holy Eucharist, by infusing love into our hearts, gives us strength to suffer for Christ.

In the life of St. Lydwine, who was sick for thirty-eight years uninterruptedly, we read that, in the beginning of her sickness, she shrank from suffering. By a particular disposition of Providence, however, a celebrated servant of God, John Por, went to see her, and perceiving that she was not quite resigned to the will of God, he exhorted her to meditate frequently on the sufferings of Jesus Christ, that by the remembrance of His Passion she might gain courage to suffer more willingly. She promised to do so and fulfilled her promise, but she could not find any relief for her soul. Every meditation was disgusting and unpleasant, and she began again to break out into her usual complaints. After a while, her director returned to her and asked her how she had succeeded in meditating upon Our Lord's Passion and what profit she had derived from it. "O my Father," she answered, "your counsel was very good indeed, but the greatness of my suffering does not allow me to find any consolation in meditating on my Saviour's sorrows?"

He exhorted her for some time to continue this exercise, no matter how insipid soever it might be to her; but perceiving at last that she drew no fruit from it, his zeal suggested another means. He gave her Holy Communion and afterwards whispered in her ear: "Till now I have exhorted you to the continual remembrance of Christ's sufferings as a remedy for your pains, but now let Jesus Christ Himself exhort you." Behold! No sooner had she swallowed the Sacred Host than she felt such a great love for Jesus and such an ardent desire to become like unto Him in His sufferings, that she broke out into sobs and sighs, and for two weeks was hardly able to stop her tears.

From that moment the pains and sufferings of her Saviour remained so deeply impressed upon her mind that she thought of them all the time and thus was enabled patiently to suffer for Him, who for the love of her had endured so many and so great pains and torments. Her disease at last grew so violent that her flesh began to corrupt and to be filled with worms, and the putrefaction extended even internally, so that she had to suffer the most excruciating pains. But comforted by the example of Jesus Christ, she not only praised God and gave thanks to Him for all her sufferings, but even vehemently desired to suffer still more; nay, by meditating on the Passion of Jesus Christ, she was so much inflamed with love that she used to say, "It was not she who suffered, but her Lord Jesus Christ Who suffered in her." (Surius 14 April in Vita S. Ludwinae, Part I. C. 14)

Thus, by Holy Communion this Saint received a grace by which she has merited to be numbered among the most patient of Saints. Nor is this a single case. Animated by this heavenly food, St. Lawrence braved the flames, St. Vincent the rack, St. Sebastian the shower of arrows, St. Ignatius of Antioch the fury of lions, and many other martyrs every kind of torture which the malice of the devil could invent, content if they could but return their Saviour love for love, life for life, death for death.

They embraced the very instruments of their tortures; yea, they even exulted and gloried in them. Now this was the effect of the Holy Eucharist; this life-giving Bread imparted to them courage and joy in every pain and trial. For this very reason, in the early times of the persecutions, all Christians, in order to be prepared for Martyrdom, received the Blessed Sacrament every day, and when the danger was too pressing for them to assemble together, they even carried the Sacred Host to their own homes, that they might communicate themselves early in the morning. The same was done by Mary, Queen of Scots, during her captivity in England when she was deprived of the ministry of a priest.

It was for the same reason that Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist just before His Passion, that He might thereby fortify His Apostles for the trials that were coming on them. It is true we have not so fierce a conflict to endure as the early Christians had, nor has anyone such a dreadful sickness as St. Lydwine had; but in our lighter trials, we have also need of this fortitude of love; nor is it refused to us.
 
Multitudes of pious souls confess that it is the Holy Communion alone which keeps them steady in the practice of virtue and cheerful amid all the vicissitudes of life. How often do we hear such souls declaring that on the days they do not receive Communion they seem to themselves lame and miserable; everything goes wrong with them, and all their crosses seem tenfold heavier than usual. But when in the morning they have had the happiness of partaking of the Body of Christ, everything seems to go well; the daily annoyances of their state seem to disappear; they are happy and joyous; words of kindness seem to come naturally in their mouths; and life is no longer the burden which once it seemed to be.

O truly wonder-working Sacrament! Marvelous invention of Divine Love, surpassing all power of speech to describe or thought to fathom! When the children of Israel found in the fields the bread from Heaven which God gave them in the wilderness, they called it Manhu, "What is it?" because they did not know what it was. So, after all that we have said of the true Manna, the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, we must confess that we are unable to comprehend it. "Man does not live on bread alone." He has a higher life than that which is nourished by the fruits of the ground, a spiritual and Divine life, and this life is nourished by the Body of Christ.

Hidden under the Sacramental form, our Divine Saviour comes down to make us more and more acceptable to Him, to preserve us in this dangerous world from mortal sin, to make us true children of God, to console us in our exile, to give us a pledge of our eternal happiness, to shed abroad in our hearts the love of God.

And as if this were not enough and as if to set the seal on the rest, He is sometimes pleased to make His own most Sacred Body supply the place of all other nourishment and miraculously to sustain even the natural life of His servants by this Sacramental food. St. Catherine of Siena, from Ash Wednesday to Ascension Day, took no other food than Holy Communion. (Surius 29 April). A certain holy virgin of Rome spent five whole Lents without tasting anything else but the Bread of Angels. (Cacciaguerra)

St. Nicholas of Flue, of whom I have spoken, for fifteen successive years lived without other nourishment than the Sacred Body of Our Lord. (Simon Majolus Canicular, Collet IV). And St. Liberalis, Bishop of Athens, fasted every day in the week, taking nothing whatever, not even the Blessed Sacrament, and on Sunday his only nourishment consisted i of this heavenly food, yet he was always strong and I vigorous. (P. Nat. L. IV., Collat. Sanct. c. xciii)

We can but repeat: O wonder-working Sacrament!! We are at a loss what to say. We are silenced by the greatness of God's bounty. What can we do but humbly thank God in the depths of our hearts for so great a blessing, so rich a consolation in this valley of tears. There is nothing short of the vision of God in Heaven which the mind of man can conceive so precious as one Communion. "Thou hast given us, O Lord, Bread from Heaven, having in it all manner of delights!" "O sacred banquet in which Christ is received, the memory of His Passion is celebrated, the mind is filled with grace, and the pledge of future glory is given to us! Alleluia!"
« Last Edit: February 08, 2019, 01:25:02 AM by Xavier »
Please listen to the frequent messages and take heed of the directions given from Our Living Lord and Our Loving Lady from around the world here: https://maryrefugeofholylove.com/ Great things are at stake. Please consecrate your life to the Blessed Mother so that the Kingdom of God may come, "Ad Sanctam Trinitatem per Mariam, Ut adveniat Regnum Deum, adveniat Regnum Mariae, ergo TOTUS TUUS ego sum, MARIA" See http://www.maria-domina-animarum.net/en/flowers/1-250

Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted and pluralized: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For all the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for Priests, Nuns and Monks, for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, and for All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/ It is recommended that you make this Life Offering as soon as you feel ready, and to renew it from time to time.

Please read the Blessed Mother's amazing promises in the link: A simple effective way for thousands of us to save millions of souls. The Doctors and Apostles say if we save even just one other soul through prayer and sacrifice, we also ensure the salvation of our own! Let us Offer our Lives in Sacrifice to Jesus and Mary Today, to save, if it were possible, all souls everywhere.
 

Offline Xavier

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CHAPTER 9
The Excuses of Those Who Do Not Communicate Frequently


AFTER having heard of the great desire of Jesus  Christ to unite Himself to us in Holy Communion and the great benefit which we reap from such a union, we might naturally expect to find men eager to avail themselves of a means of grace so rich and so powerful. But our greatest misery is that we are blind to our true happiness. Such is the deceitfulness of sin and the subtlety of the devil that almost everyone has some reason to give why he at least should not receive Communion frequently, and thus all the arguments I have presented in favor of frequent Communion are frequently set aside under the most silly and frivolous pretexts. It will not be without utility to consider in detail the reasons which are alleged for such strange conduct, and I will therefore, Dear Reader, call up before you the various classes of Catholics who do not often approach Holy Communion, and I will examine the excuses which they give, that you may judge of their validity. I will make the examination class by class.

Why do you not go often to Communion?
1st Excuse. Because I do not receive the great graces you spoke of in the preceding chapter.
Answer. How do you know that you do not receive them? Is it because you do not feel them? But this is no certain proof that you do not really receive them. If you were sick and had no relish for food, would the food on that account cease to nourish you? Now it is the same with regard to the Blessed Sacrament, the spiritual food of your soul. Consolations and delights are graces which God bestows when and upon whom He thinks fit; and if He often deprives His servants of them, it is to try them, to keep the humble and to give them an opportunity of meriting greater graces. As corporeal food nourishes you and makes you strong without your perceiving it, so also does this heavenly food silently and imperceptibly enrich your soul with grace. You cannot see a plant grow, but you can see very well that it has grown; in like manner you do not see your soul grow in the spiritual life by receiving Holy Communion, yet experience shows you that it really does grow. You now live in the fear of God; you have not committed a mortal sin for years, perhaps not even in your whole life. You do not grow lukewarm in the practice of virtue; you fulfill your duties faithfully. Are not all these great graces and favors? And are they not all the admirable effects of Holy Communion? Is not the remedy that protects us from disease better than one that restores us to health? But let us suppose the truth of what you allege. I ask you why do you not receive great fruit from this Sacrament? Do you prepare yourself sufficiently? Do you not approach the altar negligently? Do you consider beforehand what you are about to do; and afterwards, do you reflect sufficiently on what you have done? Or do you commit venial sins willfully and with full deliberation? Are not these the reasons why you fail to derive from the reception of this Sacrament that profit which others draw from it? If so, you must ascribe the fault to yourself that Holy Communion does not produce in you all the fruit it should.

Why do you not receive Holy Communion frequently?
2nd Excuse. I fear to lose my reverence for it: the proverb says: "Familiarity begets contempt."
Answer. I admit the proverb is true in regard to men, but not in regard to God. The more familiar you become with men, the more faults and defects you discover in them, and on this account you will feel less respect for them; but this is not the case in regard to God. The more intimate you become with Him and the oftener you approach Him, the better you become acquainted with Him, the more perfections you will discover in Him, and the more you will love Him. Is it not a blasphemy to say that conversing with God makes man worse and more wicked and that, in order to be a Saint, one must withdraw from Him? Can the most perfect exercise of religion derogate from the respect which we owe to this
Sacrament? When do you make acts of faith, hope, love, adoration and humility if not after Communion? The Church prescribed daily Communion in the first ages of Christianity, and she now strongly recommends it by the Council of Trent. Can the Holy Church recommend or advise anything sinful?

Why do you communicate so seldom?
 3rd Excuse. Because I fear to receive Holy Communion unworthily.
Answer. I suppose you mean by this that you do not know for certain that you are in the state of grace. It is true we are required to be in the state of grace, but we are not required to have any greater certainty of it than that which is ordinarily given to good Christians. Will you wait till an Angel comes down from Heaven to tell you that you are in the state of grace? Do you not know that you can place far more reliance on the assurance of your confessor than in that of an Angel? If an Angel should appear to you, you might have some reason to fear that it was the devil come to deceive you; but you know that in listening to your confessor you have the promise of Christ that you shall not be led astray. Hence, St. Alphonsus says: "Place more confidence in the minister of God than in the revelations of all the Angels of Paradise." He adds, moreover, that there is no species of disobedience more hurtful than to omit a Communion prescribed by one's confessor, because such disobedience proceeds from a want of humility. Therefore, when you have the permission of your director, go forward with confidence. No one goes tremblingly to a feast, but cheerfully and joyfully. The Son of God does not appear on our altars under the appearance of bread in order to be regarded with fear, but to be approached with love and desire. Besides, if you fear to approach this Sacrament, do you not also fear to stay away from it? The Son of God declares in the parable of the great supper that the guests who declined their lord's invitation were entirely excluded from his friendship, even though their excuses for staying away had some plausibility. Should not this example cause you to fear?

Why do you not communicate often?
4th Excuse. I wish indeed to do so and trust that I am in the state of grace, but I am so much afraid of committing a sacrilege.
Answer. One never commits a sacrilege without intending it. This is but a deceit of the devil. Oh execrable malice! He seduced our first parents by the promise of a happy life to eat of that fruit which brought death into the world, and now he makes every effort to prevent Christians from eating the true Bread of Life by inspiring the fear that it may prove the cause of eternal death!

Why do you not communicate often?
5th Excuse. Because I commit so many faults, that it would seem like presumption to receive Holy Communion often.
Answer. It is no presumption for one who has many imperfections and defects to go often to Communion. Nay, it is not presumptuous to go, even though one commits many faults, provided they are not altogether willful and deliberate. Do you think you will commit fewer faults by staying away from Communion? Can you avoid sin without God's grace? And how will you obtain His grace if not from this Sacrament? I would rather advise you to go often because you are so imperfect, for the longer you stay away, the more imperfect you will become. The Church teaches that the Holy Eucharist is food and medicine at the same time; food for the healthy and medicine for the sick. Hence a holy Dominican nun used to say: "For my part, being sensible of my unworthiness, I would wish to communicate three times a day, for by more frequent Communion I should hope to render myself more worthy." Did not the Son of God answer to the Pharisees who were scandalized at seeing Him eat with sinners: "They who are in health need not a physician, but they that are sick." You say, "I am not worthy," thinking perhaps that such a sentiment proceeds from humility; but you ought to know that generally it shows greater humility to receive frequently than to receive seldom, because one who receives frequently, by applying so often a remedy to his sickness, acknowledges his infirmities. If indeed your abstaining from Holy Communion really proceeds from humility, it is not displeasing to God, but it would be a thousand times more acceptable to Him if you would join confidence to your humility. Fear is good, but love is far better.

One day when St. Frances of Rome was going to receive Communion, the devil said to her: "How can you, who are so full of venial sins, dare to receive the Immaculate Lamb!" She instantly perceived that the enemy intended to deprive her of so great a joy, and silenced him by spitting in his face. After this the Blessed Virgin appeared to her, and having praised her conduct, she said that our defects, instead of being an obstacle, should be an incentive to Communion, since in Communion we find the remedy for all our miseries.

Why do you communicate so seldom?
6th Excuse. Because I am not holy enough to receive Holy Communion worthily.
Answer. If you mean that, in order to receive Holy Communion worthily, it is required to have a holiness equal to His Whom you receive, then not even the Blessed Virgin was worthy. If you mean that it is necessary to have a purity without spot, then the Apostles were unworthy, because even they had imperfections and defects; and much more so were the first Christians, and yet they communicated daily. If you mean only that it is required to make a suitable preparation, the Church declares that the necessary preparation consists in not having knowingly a mortal sin on your conscience which you have not confessed, although indeed she advises and exhorts her children to a better and more perfect preparation, namely, to endeavor to avoid venial sins and strive earnestly to correct their faults. What is it, then, that keeps you back from Holy Communion? Do not fancy that the Son of God requires as a preparation for the reception of a Sacrament what is properly its fruit, effect and end, any more than a physician requires a sick person to be healthy as a preparation for taking medicine. Holiness and purity of soul are the effects of this Sacrament, according to the declaration of the Council of Trent; is it not then folly and injustice to demand them as a necessary preparation for its reception? Tell me, if those virtues were required, who could ever communicate, even at Easter?

Why do you stay away from Holy Communion?
7th Excuse. Alas! I have offended God so often and grievously in my past life that I dare not go often to communicate.
Answer. Have you offended Him more deeply than St. Augustine? Have you committed more sins than St. Margaret of Cortona did before her conversion? And do you not remember that Our Lord one day told this Saint that He would give her confessor a great reward for having advised her to go often to Communion? Or have you forgotten that He said to the venerable Prudentiana Zagnoni: "If you receive Me frequently in Holy Communion, I will forget all your ingratitude"? Remember that it was for the sake of sinners that the Son of God came down from Heaven. If you are truly sorry for your sins, if you have sincerely confessed them all, if you are firmly resolved not to sin anymore, then you have even a special right and claim to go to Communion. Our Lord said: "I am not come to call the just, but sinners to penance."

Why do you not go oftener to Communion?
8th Excuse. I fear that it may come to be a mere custom. 
Answer. A good custom is a good thing. Ought you to give up hearing Mass daily from fear of becoming used to it? Or omit your daily prayers from an apprehension of praying through custom?

Why do you not go often to Communion?
9th Excuse. Because when I do go, I am so cold, distracted and indevout.
Answer. There is a great difference between devotion and the feeling of devotion. One may have much devotion without feeling it at all. Sensible devotion is not always the best, for it is liable to many illusions. Besides this, it does not always depend upon us. God grants it to whom He pleases. If sensible devotion were required, most undoubtedly those who have it not would not be allowed to receive Holy Communion even at Easter. If you feel no devotion, humble yourself before God, but do not stay away from Him. The devotion which is necessary for receiving Holy Communion consists in approaching your Lord with humility, confidence and love; with a desire to honor Jesus Christ, to unite yourself to Him and to obey Him. You say: "I am so cold," but tell me, will you become warm by staying away from the fire? Would it not be wiser to go to Communion in order to become devout? Do you not know that Holy Communion is a fire which enkindles love, devotion and spiritual joy in the heart? Is it not true that the less frequently you receive, the less desire you have to receive, and that the oftener you receive, the more you will wish to receive?

Why do you not receive Communion more frequently?
10th Excuse. Because it seems to me that I feel more devotion when I receive but seldom.
Answer. That may be true, although it is not the general experience; however, it will always be true that if you communicate seldom, your soul will lack grace and fervor. One who kept a continual fast would become very weak and attenuated, although he might take his scanty food with the keenest relish.

Why do you not receive Holy Communion frequently?
11th Excuse. My confessor does not allow me.
Answer. If this is really the case, you must obey-----and supply as well as you can the want of the Holy Sacrament by multiplying spiritual Communions. Say to Jesus Christ: "Lord, I would receive Thee more frequently if I were not prevented by obedience," and He will be pleased with your obedience and your desire for Holy Communion. But are you certain that your confessor is not inclined to allow you frequent Communion? Do you often ask leave to communicate more frequently? This, at least, is in your power, and it is very useful and by no means opposed to the perfection of obedience. Your confessor knows that, to produce great fruit, this Divine food must be eaten with hunger, and as long as you show but little eagerness for the Holy Sacrament, he will not advise or permit you to communicate often. But perhaps you have asked for it several times, and he has not granted your request. Well, and how did you ask? Did you imitate St. Catherine of Siena, who when deprived of Communion by her confessor, exclaimed: "Father, give my soul its food!" Had you, like her, manifested with humility and resignation this holy hunger, your confessor would have treated you very differently; but because you appear cold and not unwilling to be repulsed from Communion, he prudently abstains from advising you to receive it very often.

Why do you receive Holy Communion so infrequently?
12th Excuse. I have not time to prepare myself as I ought.
Answer. How much time do you need for preparation? Must you spend the whole morning in prayer or in reading pious books? St. Teresa received Communion every day for twenty-three years; do you think she had nothing else to attend to? I think she was more busy than you will ever be. The first Christians went daily to Communion; do you imagine their occupations were of less consequence than yours, or their family affairs less troublesome? Shall I tell you the reason why the Saints and first Christians were able to prepare themselves for daily to Communion? They were more fervent than the Christians of the present day and had a greater love for Jesus Christ. If you foresee that you will not have time in the morning to prepare for Communion, endeavor the preceding evening to make some preparation by reading some pious book and making the acts which ought to be made in the morning; or rise a little before the usual time, and spend whatever time may be at your disposal in preparing yourself as well as you can; or endeavor to perform the duties of your state with a view to please God, and you may rest assured that this will be an excellent preparation for your Communion. St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi used to say to her sisters in religion: "Offer to God all your actions as a preparation for Communion; perform them with the intention of pleasing Him, and communicate."

Why do you not communicate often?
13th Excuse. I abstain in order to avoid the remarks of others.
Answer. If you communicate by the advice of your confessor and through a desire of correcting your faults and advancing in Divine love, you need not be disturbed at what others may say about you. Father Avila used to say that they who censured their neighbors for receiving Communion frequently perform the office of the devil. Why, then, should you pay attention to such people? If it be wrong to listen to the devil, is it right to listen to his agents? Do you not know that everything good must meet with contradiction? Let people say what they please; at the Day of Judgment they will find out their mistake, and then they will despise you for having listened to them.

Why do you communicate so seldom?
14th Excuse. Because the Church does not command me to receive oftener than once a year, and in obeying her I cannot go astray.
Answer. If the Church commanded you to eat meat or drink wine only once in the year, would you be so exact in keeping to the letter of the law? The Church requires us to abstain from flesh-meat on Fridays and to fast during Lent and at certain other seasons; do you never, for a slight cause, seek exemption from this precept? How is it that for the most part those who are such literal interpreters of the law of Easter Communion are so lax in the observance of the law of fasting? How is it that they who find one Communion a year just enough generally complain of one Lent a year as a great deal too much?  Ah! I fear that faith and reverence for the Church have but little share in this excuse and that the real reason of your urging this precept is the earthliness and sordidness of your affections. Your desires are low and groveling; you have more relish for the food of the body than for the food of the soul. With the Israelites in the desert, you prefer the good things, of Egypt to the Manna that comes from Heaven; and your taste is so corrupted by the impure pleasures of the world, that you can find no delight in the sweet fountains that flow from the Saviour's side. Believe me, this is no good sign; it is a sign of great danger; for as the Royal Prophet has said, "Behold, they that go far from God shall perish." But I have another remark to make on your excuse.

You have not represented the precept of the Church quite exactly. You have left out an important word. The Church says that her children must receive Holy Communion "at least once a year." I will tell you: In former times Christians were accustomed to communicate every day, and then their lives were holy and edifying and chaste and humble; and infidels and heretics, struck by the purity of their manners, were converted in crowds to the Faith. But in after ages, luxury crept in, and the world and the flesh had sway, and too many grew cold in love and lost their relish for this heavenly food.

And now what can the Church do to cure the evil? If she were to make it obligatory to receive Holy Communion frequently, she would run the risk of multiplying mortal sins and of plunging her imperfect members more deeply into guilt. She uses, therefore, a wise and loving moderation, and as a tender mother, when every other expedient fails, speaks sternly to her sick child and forces it to take the food or medicine which is absolutely necessary to life-----she enjoins, under pain of mortal sin, a single Communion in the year, as the least which can be required of a Christian!
But is this all that she wishes us to do? Oh no! She desires that we should continually nourish ourselves with the Bread of Life. In the Council of Trent she bewails the disuse of daily Communion and earnestly exhorts all the faithful to a frequent use of this sanctifying food. Since then you insist so much on obedience to the Church, show the spirit of an obedient child, and fulfill her ardent wish. It is true you will not fall under her censures if you receive but once a year, but you will be a much better Christian if you receive more frequently.

Why do you communicate so seldom?
15th Excuse. I do not see any necessity for it! There are many others who do not receive oftener than I do-----that is, once or twice a year-----and yet they are good Christians; yea, as good as those who receive very often.
Answer. I will not dispute your assertion. No one knows the heart of another, and I rather wish that you should form as charitable a judgment as you can of your neighbors who do not receive often. Neither will I say of all those who go often to Communion that they are exactly what they ought to be. But scarcely anyone will affirm that persons who communicate but once or twice a year are, generally speaking, as exemplary in their conduct as those who communicate frequently.

Point out to me those whom you consider the most pious; who live in the world without following its manners or adopting its principles; who, when adversity overtakes them, are calm and resigned to the will of God, and when it overtakes their neighbor, are ready for every act of charity; who are meek and kind, rich in good works and fond of prayer; who are constant in their attendance at Mass, diligent in seeking spiritual instruction, faithful in their duties and edifying in their conversation-----and I will show you these same persons regularly at the altar every month, fortnight, or week; yes, even oftener. Grant that among these frequent communicants there is but one who lives a truly devout life, still you have sufficient evidence of the fruit of this Sacrament, for you know that no one can live holily without the grace of God and that this Sacrament was instituted to impart grace to us in an abundant measure. "I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly." (John 10:10)

But after all, is this the proper way to reason? Do not ask whether others are good Christians, but whether you yourself are. You know a good Christian means something more than one who does not rob or commit murder or such like crimes. A good Christian means a person who endeavors to keep his heart pure in the sight of God and to overcome pride, envy, avarice, unchasteness and gluttony, to which his lower nature is so prone. Now, do you find within you no sting of the flesh, no movements of hatred or desires of revenge, no rebellion of pride? Palladius tells the story of a young man who, after endeavoring for a long time to corrupt a virtuous married woman, and finding her chastity proof against all his assaults, sought to revenge himself upon her through the intervention of the devil. By the permission of God, the evil one caused her to assume the appearance of a wild beast, and her husband, greatly distressed at so horrible a transformation, took her to St. Macarius, that by his prayers and blessing she might be delivered from the malice of the devil. The Saint easily effected this by his power with God; and after the good woman was restored to her natural appearance, he gave her this advice: "In future go more often to Communion than you have hitherto done, for know that the reason why God permitted you to appear in such a form is your negligence in not having received Communion for five successive weeks. So it has been revealed to me from on high. Remember it and take it to heart."

Five weeks! And you stay away for five months; yea, for an entire year, and find no necessity for receiving more often? And do you think the devil has been idle and that no hideous transformation has taken place in your soul in the eyes of the Angels? Has not your soul become a sow in impurity, or a tiger in rage, or a viper in treachery, or a filthy creeping worm in its low and groveling affections?

I leave it to yourself to answer. God grant that it may not be so. I know that it is the testimony and experience of the Saints that with all their efforts and continual use of the Sacraments they found it a hard thing to keep their hearts clean; and if for a short time they were prevented from receiving the Bread of Heaven, their hearts became withered and dry, and they exclaimed: "I am smitten as grass, and my heart is withered because I forgot to eat my Bread." (Ps. 101:5) I also know that Holy Scripture says: "They that go far from Thee shall perish." (Ps. 72:27)

And now, Dear Reader, I think you have come to the same conclusion, that there is no valid excuse for not communicating frequently and that, for the most part, they who give these excuses are influenced by a secret unwillingness to lead a Christian life in good earnest. They are unwilling to practice retirement, detachment from creatures and self-denial. They stay away from Communion as long as they can in order to avoid the rebuke of Jesus Christ for their sensuality, pride, vanity, uncharitableness and sloth. Miserable are the consequences of such a course of conduct. Not being able to find true peace of heart in religion, such men seek their consolation in exterior things and multiply faults and imperfections in proportion as they withdraw from God. And what is most lamentable is that not infrequently their venial sins lead them into mortal sins and they live in such a state for months, remaining in constant danger of being overtaken by a sudden and unprovided death, the just punishment of their ingratitude and indifference towards Jesus Christ.

I have saId "for the most part," for I know there are cases in which reluctance to receive this Sacrament proceeds from a vain fear of irreverence, inspired by the teaching of misguided men. I have said enough already to show the groundlessness of such a fear and its injuriousness to God; would that I could sufficiently express its hurtfulness to souls.

St. Vincent de Paul, when speaking of this subject, used to relate the following story: A noble and pious lady who had long been in the habit of communicating several times a week, was so unhappy as to choose for her confessor a priest who was imbued with the principles of the Jansenistic heresy. Her new director at first allowed her to go to Holy Communion once a week; but, after a while, he would not permit her to go oftener than once a fortnight; and at last he limited her to once a month. The lady went on in this way for eight months, when wishing to know the state of her soul, she made a careful self-examination; but, alas! she found her heart so full of irregular appetites, passions and imperfections that she was actually afraid of herself. Horror-struck at her deterioration, she exclaimed: "Miserable creature that I am! How deeply have I fallen! How wretchedly am I living! Where will all this end? What is the cause of this lamentable state of mine? I see! I see! It is for no other reason than for my having followed these new teachers and for having abandoned the practice of frequent Communion." Then, giving thanks to God, Who had enlightened her to see her error, she renounced her false guide and resumed her former practice. Soon after, she was enabled to get the better of her faults and passions, and to regain tranquility of heart. Oh how effectually do such men perform the work of the devil! The great adversary of mankind has nothing so much at heart as to keep men back from the means of grace, especially the Blessed Eucharist. In his warfare against the faithful, he acts as the nations bordering upon Abyssinia are said to do in their conflicts with the inhabitants of that country. The Abyssinians are known to observe a strict fast of forty days at a certain period of the year, and it is the cruel custom of their enemies to wait until they are weakened by this long abstinence, and then to rush upon them and gain an easy victory.

Thus I say it is with the devil: a forty days' fast from the Blessed Sacrament is a rich conquest for him. It is his greatest delight to keep men away from the altar. Every excuse for staying away from Holy Communion is legitimate in his eyes; every doctrine which teaches that it is useless or hurtful to frequent the Holy Eucharist is stamped with his approval; every taunt with which a tepid Catholic upbraids his more fervent brother for nourishing his soul often with the Bread of Life is music in his ears. And he is in the right, for let men but once be persuaded to deprive themselves of the strengthening Body of Jesus Christ, and the work of Satan is no longer difficult. When the soul is weak in grace, by reason of long abstinence from the Flesh of Jesus Christ, then the evil one comes down upon it with his strong temptations and almost without resistance makes it his slave.

Once more, those who discountenance frequent Communion do the devil's work. They give Hell much pleasure and deprive Our Lord of great delight. It is on this account that Our Lord so often visits with severe punishments those who dissuade others from receiving Him. A woman who mocked St. Catherine of Siena for going so often to Holy Communion, on her return home, fell down to the ground and died instantly without being able to receive the last Sacraments. Another woman, who had committed the same offense, became crazy all at once. Nay, even where the fault was much slighter, God has shown His displeasure. St. Lutgaard was in the habit of receiving Holy Communion very often, but her superioress, disapproving, forbade her doing so in the future. The Saint obeyed, but at that very moment her superioress fell sick and had to suffer the most acute pains. At last, suspecting that her sickness was a punishment for having interdicted frequent Communion to Lutgaard, she withdrew the prohibition, when lo, her pains immediately left her, and she began to feel better!

Come then, O Christian, to the heavenly Banquet which your Divine Saviour has prepared for you. "All things are ready." Jesus Christ desires to unite Himself to you. "Behold," He says, "I stand at the door and knock. Open to Me, My Sister, My beloved, My dove, My undefiled; for My head is full of dew, and My locks of the drops of the night." He has waited for you through a long night of sin, and now that He has restored you to the state of grace by the Sacrament of Penance, He wishes to take up His abode in your heart and to enrich you with His graces. Let no temptation whatever keep you from so great a Good.

With St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi say, "I would rather die than omit a Communion permitted by obedience." As often as your director advises you, go forward to receive your Lord with confidence and simplicity of heart, and reply to those who blame you for communicating so often as St. Francis de Sales advises you to do: "If," says he, "they ask you why you communicate so often, tell them that two classes of persons should communicate frequently: the perfect to persevere in perfection, and the imperfect to attain perfection; the strong not to become weak, and the weak to grow strong; the sick to be cured, and the healthy to prevent sickness.

"And as to yourself, tell them that because you are imperfect, weak and infirm, you stand in need of Communion." (Introduction to the Devout Life, c. 21). Tell them you wish to become patient, and therefore you must receive your patient Saviour; that you wish to become meek, and therefore you must receive your meek Saviour; that you wish to love contempt, and therefore you must receive your despised Saviour; that you wish to love crosses, and therefore you must receive your suffering Saviour; that you wish to love poverty, and therefore you must receive your poor Saviour; that you wish to become strong against the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil, and therefore you stand in need of your comforting and strengthening Saviour. Tell them He has said: "He that eateth My Flesh shall live by Me." I wish to live, and therefore I receive Jesus, my life, "that He may live in me and I in Him!"

He in Whose words you put your trust, will justify you; your soul will continually grow stronger in virtue; your heart will become more and more pure; your passions will become weaker; your faith more lively; your hope more firm; your charity more ardent; you will receive grace to live in the world as an heir of Heaven; and when at your last hour, the priest comes to administer the Holy Viaticum, you will be able to say with St. Teresa: "My Lord and my Bridegroom, so then the hour is come at last for which my heart has longed so much. Now is the time that we shall see each other face to face. Blessed be this hour! Thy will be done! O happy hour in which my exile has an end and my soul takes its flight to Thee for Whom it has longed so much!"


« Last Edit: February 09, 2019, 12:11:00 AM by Xavier »
Please listen to the frequent messages and take heed of the directions given from Our Living Lord and Our Loving Lady from around the world here: https://maryrefugeofholylove.com/ Great things are at stake. Please consecrate your life to the Blessed Mother so that the Kingdom of God may come, "Ad Sanctam Trinitatem per Mariam, Ut adveniat Regnum Deum, adveniat Regnum Mariae, ergo TOTUS TUUS ego sum, MARIA" See http://www.maria-domina-animarum.net/en/flowers/1-250

Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted and pluralized: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For all the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for Priests, Nuns and Monks, for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, and for All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/ It is recommended that you make this Life Offering as soon as you feel ready, and to renew it from time to time.

Please read the Blessed Mother's amazing promises in the link: A simple effective way for thousands of us to save millions of souls. The Doctors and Apostles say if we save even just one other soul through prayer and sacrifice, we also ensure the salvation of our own! Let us Offer our Lives in Sacrifice to Jesus and Mary Today, to save, if it were possible, all souls everywhere.
 

Offline Non Nobis

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I bought the book (on Kindle) but need to read it, especially on Sunday.
 
Xavier you are amazing in bringing together so many beautiful Catholic passages for this forum.  I often have a "tl;dr" ("l" might be for "long" or it might be for "lazy") problem with them, but I am glad they are there (like all my spiritual reading on Kindle  :().

You must be a speed reader/writer/editor/organizer along with being wise and (at least externally!) holy. God bless you.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2019, 01:02:02 AM by Non Nobis »
[Matthew 8:26]  And Jesus saith to them: Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith? Then rising up he commanded the winds, and the sea, and there came a great calm.

[Job  38:1-5]  Then the Lord answered Job out of a whirlwind, and said: [2] Who is this that wrappeth up sentences in unskillful words? [3] Gird up thy loins like a man: I will ask thee, and answer thou me. [4] Where wast thou when I laid up the foundations of the earth? tell me if thou hast understanding. [5] Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
 
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Offline Xavier

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Dear Non Nobis, you are gracious, kind and wise; but I am unworthy of those kind words. It's just amazing to me how many good books we have from traditional authors and my hope is only that all may spiritually profit from reading them. Reading this book seems to be so great a privilege that we should be willing to pay a great deal for the opportunity of reading it once; but now, by the grace of God, at little cost, we can read it not once but many times, renewing our fervor, love and devotion for Christ in the Holy Eucharist.

Anyway, Next Chapter deals with a great but necessary evil and how to avoid it. In Chapter 10, of The Blessed Eucharist: Our Greatest Treasure, Fr. Mueller describes the sacrilegious horror of unworthy Communions and the necessary steps Confessors and penitents alike must take to prevent it. May none of us ever be guilty of such a thing. May we make our Communions always after Confession, free from mortal sin, purely out of love for God, and out of desire for union with Him.

ETA: Two things Jesus once directed to a soul that could help avoid unworthy Communion, "4. Those who offer My Most Precious Blood and My Wounds, with contrition for their sins known and unknown, before each Communion they receive, they can be certain they'll never make an unworthy Communion and that they'll raise their place in Heaven. (Note well: if one is aware he has a mortal sin, then sacramental confession is required before going for Holy Communion)

5. Those who after Confession, offer My suffering for all the sins of their whole lives and pray voluntarily as a penance the Rosary of the Holy Wounds, their souls are as pure and beautiful as just after Baptism and therefore, they may pray after each such Confession for the conversion of a great sinner." That we discussed here.

Quote
CHAPTER 10
On Unworthy Communion

THERE remains, Dear Reader, one more subject to treat of before my task is ended: It is unworthy Communion. It is not so agreeable a subject as those with which we have been hitherto engaged; but reverence for our Divine Saviour, as well as zeal for the salvation of souls, require that the truth should be told. There is nothing that gives more honor to God and contributes more to our own welfare than the devout reception of the Holy Eucharist; and there is, on the contrary, nothing more injurious to God and more hurtful to our souls than an unworthy Communion.

You will perhaps ask in astonishment: "Are there, then, really people so wicked as knowingly and willfully to make an unworthy Communion?" Alas that I must say it, there are but too many! I do not mean to say that there are many who receive the Sacrament unworthily out of pure malice, with the express purpose of dishonoring God-----though as we have seen, even that has happened-----but I do say that there are many who wish to enjoy the privileges of a Christian while leading an immoral life and who dare receive the Author of all purity into a heart that is defiled by mortal sin.

This crime is committed by three classes of persons: First, by all those who are in mortal sin and who go to Communion after having been refused absolution; secondly, by all those who have willfully concealed a mortal sin in confession; and finally, by all those who, though they have confessed all their mortal sins, have nevertheless no true sorrow for them or no firm purpose of amendment. To the latter class belong all those that do not intend to keep the promises they made in Confession; who are not willing to be reconciled to those who have offended them; those who will not restore the property or good name of their neighbor; those who are not fully determined to keep away from taverns, grog-shops, and the like, that have proved occasions of sin to them; and finally, all those that will not break off sinful and dangerous company.

Now, if we consider the actual state of the world, we cannot help fearing that there are many Christians who make bad Communions. The Catholic priest, therefore, is in duty bound to warn the faithful against this grievous crime. Even in the very first ages of Christianity, in those days of primitive fervor, St. Paul was compelled to warn the Christians of Corinth against this heinous crime, and the few energetic words he addressed to them on that occasion comprehend all that may be said on the subject.

"Whosoever," he says, "shall eat this bread or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord." And again: "He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself." We will follow the Apostle, both in the choice of arguments and the order of presenting them. We will consider in the first place the heinousness of the crime which they commit who receive Communion sacrilegiously, and in the second place, the terrible chastisement that awaits them. St. Paul paints this crime in the most fearful colors: "Whosoever," he says, "shall eat this bread or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord." By this he evidently asserts that whoever receives the Blessed Eucharist unworthily is, in a certain sense, guilty of the murder of Our Lord. This may, at first sight, appear extravagant. It may seem harsh to class the sacrilegious communicant with the enemies of Our Lord, with those wicked men who put Him to death; but a little reflection will show how closely he resembles them.

While our Blessed Lord was yet living on earth, He had many cruel enemies. There were, however, three that persecuted Him with special malice. They were Herod, Judas, and the Jewish priests and people. In Herod we see cruel violence towards an innocent and unoffending babe; in Judas we see base treachery and ingratitude to a friend and benefactor; and in the Jewish priests we behold outrage, insolence and contempt of the Anointed Messias, the true Son of God.
Now we shall find all these crimes united in a sacrilegious Communion. "Go," said Herod to the Wise Men; "go and search diligently after the Child, and when you have found Him, bring me word that I also may come and adore Him." These words seem full of faith and reverence, but under this outward show of reverence, Herod concealed a wicked and cruel design. He was determined to destroy the new-born King of the Jews, and when he found that he had been disappointed, in his fury he slew all the children of Bethlehem and the neighborhood thereof.

He did not, however, succeed in destroying the Divine Infant. St. Joseph, in obedience to the command of God, carried Him into Egypt. There he remained until the Angel of the Lord appeared again to St. Joseph and said: "Take the Child and His Mother, and return to thy country, for those that sought the life of the Child are dead." O Angel of God! What dost thou say? They are dead who sought the life of the Child? Ah! Would that it were true!

Are not those wicked Christians who outrage their Saviour in the true Bethlehem, the house of bread, that is to say, at the very foot of the Sacred Altar, are they not so many Herods? They present themselves at the table of the Lord in the attitude of adoration; they strike their breasts as if in sorrow for their sins; they fold their hands as if in deep devotion, and they open those lips defiled by sin; they receive the innocent Lamb of God and make Him a prisoner in a sinful and polluted heart. Mortal sin is so opposed to God that, if He could die, sin would destroy Him.

To receive Our Lord into a heart that is defiled by mortal sin is to bring Him into the power of His greatest enemy; it is to treat Him with even greater cruelty than Herod. Herod was an unbelieving Jew, but those who receive Him unworthily are Christians and Catholics. They know Whom they maltreat; Herod did not know Him. Our Lord does not work a miracle to deliver Himself out of their hands, as He did to free Himself from the hands of Herod; He does not send an Angel to inform the priest who, among the throng that presses to the altar, are in the state of mortal sin; and even if He were to do so, the priest is not at liberty to make use of this knowledge-----at least not unless the criminal should be a notorious sinner-----so tender is Jesus of the reputation of those very men who are heaping outrages upon Him. He does not desert the consecrated species the moment He is laid upon the tongue of the sacrilegious communicant. No, true to His Own Institution, He remains and enters unresistingly even the basest heart! Oh what must be His feelings at such a moment? When Jesus was struck by that infamous servant in the judgment hall, in presence of Annas, He said: "If I have spoken ill, give testimony of the evil; but if well, why strikest thou Me?" It is thus too that Jesus seems to address the unworthy communicant: He says, "What have I done, O Christian soul, that thou shouldst treat Me so cruelly? Was it not enough that I had to flee from the rage of tyrants when I was on earth? Wilt thou too lift up thy hand against Me? Ah! From them I fled, but from thee I cannot flee. Strike then, I will not avoid the blow. Strike! It shall fall upon My heart, for My love has bound My hands. I do not resist."

In the early ages of the Church, distorted accounts of the Eucharistic Sacrifice having reached the ears I of the heathens, they accused the Christians of the horrid custom of murdering, in their assemblies, an infant whom they adored as their God. This was a base calumny, but alas, the accusation is but too true of those wicked monsters who are guilty of an unworthy Communion!

Yes, the unworthy communicant is another Herod, but he is even worse; he is a second Judas. All men abhor Judas Iscariot; his very name is held in execration. No Christian would bear the name of Judas. The Church seems unwilling to pronounce it, even when belonging to another Apostle. In the canon of the Mass, when the names of the twelve Apostles occur, she designates the Apostle who was named Judas Thaddeus simply as Thaddeus, omitting the title which he shared in common with the apostate traitor.

Now, whence comes this deep, universal detestation of Judas? What crime has he committed, thus to make him an object of horror to all men? Ah, you know it already! Judas was a traitor! He was guilty of the blackest ingratitude, the basest treachery. He professed to be the friend of Jesus; he had received innumerable benefits from Him; he had been treated as an intimate friend, and he used the knowledge which this intimacy gave him to betray his Master into the hands of His enemies. He came into the garden where Our Lord was praying with His disciples; he gave Him a kiss, the usual salutation between Our Lord and His Apostles, and said: "Hail Rabbi!" Immediately, the armed multitude he had brought with him seized upon Our Lord, bound Him and carried Him captive to the palace of the High Priest.

How touching is the reproach which Christ then made to Judas: "Ah, Judas! Dost thou betray the Son of Man with a kiss?" Our Lord seems to feel the circumstances of His betrayal even more than the betrayal itself. If it had been anyone but Judas, who was one of the Apostles, one whom Jesus had chosen to be a priest and prince of His Church, one whom He had admitted to His most unreserved intimacy; or if it had been done in any other way; if the wretched man had thrown off the mask; if he had openly joined the Jews and Roman soldiers; if he had come out like the rest, sword in hand-----it would have been less bitter. But to come as a friend, to come as a cherished disciple, to come with a kiss-----Oh, this was too much! This was that deep and cruel pang that pierced our Saviour to the heart! It is of this that Our Lord complains by the mouth of the Psalmist: "If my enemy had reviled me, I would indeed have borne it; and if he that hated me had spoken grievous things against me, I would perhaps have hidden myself from him. But thou, a man of my own mind, my guide and my familiar! In the house of God we walked with consent."

But oh how much more justly may Jesus make the same complaint of the sacrilegious communicant? The Holy Eucharist is a pledge of love. In Holy Communion, God lovingly caresses the soul. When St. John reposed in Our Lord's bosom, he did not enjoy so much familiarity with Him as does the soul that receives Him in Holy Communion. We call it "Communion" because it is a union between the soul and God. How horrible then must it be to abuse this Holy Sacrament, to receive it with a traitorous heart! How painful must it be to Our Lord to receive a false caress, to be folded in a sinful embrace, to be brought into the loathsome prison of a sinful heart!

O loving Saviour, how great is the wrong that is done to Thy love! Well has the prophet predicted of Thee: "The wicked have fought against me without a cause. Instead of making me a return for my love, they have only repaid me with evil and hate. They spoke indeed peaceably to me, but they devised guile. Their words were smoother than oil, but they are cruel darts." From the tabernacle I hear Thy outraged heart complain: "Behold, all ye that pass by the way, come and see the wounds with which I have been wounded in the house of my friends; attend and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow!"

The base treachery of Judas, however, was but the prelude to the many outrages that were heaped upon Our Lord by the Jewish priests and people. These too find a parallel in an unworthy Communion. When David had cut off a piece of the mantle of Saul, his royal enemy, his heart smote him because he had "lifted his hand against the anointed of the Lord." Indeed, this feeling was quite natural, for the greatness of an injury depends always on the dignity of the person offended.

Who would not feel more indignant at seeing a parent dishonored than at seeing a stranger? It is related in the life of St. Joseph Calasanctius, that in his old age he was summoned before court on some frivolous charge. He was rudely dragged from the altar; he was hurried' through the public streets bareheaded, under a burning sun, amid the shouts and jeers of the populace. Who could have looked upon the serene face of that hoary-headed old man as he was thus ignominiously dragged along without being moved to tears? How horrible a crime would it be in the eyes of the Catholic world to kill a bishop at the altar, or the Pope upon his throne! Justice would require that such a criminal should be punished with much greater severity than an ordinary murderer. How grievous, then, must have been the crime of those who persecuted Our Lord Himself. Let us read the simple words of Holy Scripture: "He was despised and the most abject of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with infirmity; He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; He was mute as a lamb before His shearers, and He opened not His mouth; He gave His cheek to the striker, and He was filled with reproaches; He was made a derision to the people and their song all the day long; He was cut off from the land of the living."

We feel the deep meaning of those words only when we ask, as did the Eunuch of St. Philip: "Of whom doth the prophet speak?" That face, bruised with blows and defiled with spittle, is the face of God-----that face which is the everlasting brightness of Heaven; those hands, transfixed with nails, are the hands of the Almighty, who in His wisdom laid the foundations of the universe; He who hangs between two malefactors on the accursed tree is the Immaculate Lamb of God, the Eternal Son of the Father.

"Ah!" you exclaim, "here human wickedness has reached its height!" Can there be a greater proof of God's patience than His forbearance at the perpetration of a crime like this? Yes, I will assert that almost every instance of unworthy Communion is even a stronger proof of God's patient endurance. In some respects, the dishonor which is shown Our Lord in an unworthy Communion is far greater than that which was shown Him at His death.

Then indeed He died a death of shame, but it was for the salvation of the world. He offered His soul because He willed it. He was satisfied because He saw the abundant fruit of His labors. But when He is received unworthily in Holy Communion, He is crucified anew, without any compensation and against His will. He is brought as a prisoner into the horrid and filthy dungeon of a sinful heart. He is chained there to passions which He loathes; He is forced to become, as it were, one with the sinner.

Can anything be conceived more horrible than this? Would it not be far better that the Sacred Host should be thrown upon a dunghill, that it should be devoured by an unclean beast than that it should be received into a heart defiled with mortal sin? Most certainly, for in that case Our Lord would suffer no real dishonor. He fills all things and is essentially everywhere. He cannot be sullied except in the heart of the sinner, where He is brought into contact with that which alone is hateful to Him-----sin.

It is related in the annals of the Society of Jesus that a young man who through shame had concealed a mortal sin in Confession had the rashness to receive Holy Communion, but on attempting to swallow the Host, he was seized with such excruciating pains that he was compelled to rush out of the church and to cast forth the Sacred Particle into the filth of the street. After this he felt instantly relieved. Our Lord gave him thereby to understand that the very filth of the street was more acceptable to Him than a heart that is defiled by sin.

Should any amongst us be still unmoved, still callous, grant, O Lord, that we may at least be touched by Thy chastisements! The impious Abiron placed his sacrilegious hand upon the censer, and immediately the earth opened and swallowed him up. The neglectful sons of the high priest Aaron filled their censers with unhallowed fire, and in an instant fire from Heaven killed them. Ophni and Phinees profaned the sacrifice offered to the Lord, and shortly after they fell under the sword of the enemy. Thus did God punish the disobedience of Israel. How then will He punish him who attacks His Own Divine Person, in whose name altars are erected and sacrifices offered? How will He punish him who is guilty of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ? It does not admit of a doubt that severer punishment awaits one who tramples upon the Son of God, profanes the Blood of the Covenant and insults the Spirit of Grace.

The Bethsamites cast a curious glance at the Ark of the Covenant, and immediately the ground was strewn with their dead bodies. Balthasar laid his profane hands upon the sacred vessels, and there suddenly appeared upon the opposite wall the fingers of a man's hand, tracing a few words, in which the sacrilegious monarch read his own sentence of death. Antiochus plundered the Temple of Jerusalem, and the avenging hand of God stretched him upon a bed of agonizing pain, where he died of a loathsome disease. Such were the chastisements of the Almighty in the Old Law.

What then will be the punishment of him who dishonors, not the Ark of the Covenant, but the Body of Jesus; who not merely raises to his polluted lips the holy vessels, but receives into his sinful heart the thrice Holy God Himself; who draws the Lord of Hosts from His sanctuary to place Him side by side with Satan in his heart; who becomes guilty of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ! What punishment is there for such a one? Listen once more to the words of St. Paul and tremble: "He who eats of this bread and drinks of this chalice unworthily, eats and drinks judgment to himself!" What an expression! Eats and drinks judgment to himself! His own condemnation! That is to say, his condemnation penetrates his innermost being. It incorporates itself with him; it flows in his veins; it becomes one flesh, one blood, one being with him.

O frightful punishment! He eats and drinks his own judgment! What kind of judgment does he eat and drink? A sentence of eternal damnation, a sentence of never-ending misfortune, a sentence sealed with the Blood of Christ Himself, a sentence which is often carried into execution even in this world! You see, continues St. Paul, your houses daily falling into ruin; you behold the daily ravages of war and pestilence; you see how unexpectedly death everywhere seizes upon its victims; you see how many among you are dragging along weak bodies, never enjoying an hour's health. (See 1 Cor. 11:30.)

Why, think you, do these troubles press upon you? Because many among you partake unworthily of the Body and Blood of Christ. The miserable end of King Lothaire and his vassals is but too evident an illustration of this. Lothaire, king of Loiraine, conceived a great dislike for his lawful queen. His eyes fell upon a beautiful young maid of honor of his court named Waldrada, and his heart followed his eyes. The Pope was informed of this scandal, and he commanded Lothaire to quit his paramour and to take back his lawful wife. He threatened to excommunicate the wicked king in case of refusal.

Lothaire made a thousand false promises; he even went to Rome in order to be absolved from the ban he had incurred. He requested the Pope to reconcile him solemnly during Mass, and he wished to receive Holy Communion from the hands of the Pope himself. The Pope took the most prudent measures to find out the sincerity of the king's intentions, but all to no purpose. He then celebrated Mass. The king, with many of the nobles of his court, was present. The time of Communion came, and the king, with his nobles, went to the altar-rail to receive. The Pope then turned to the monarch and, holding the Sacred Host in his hand, said in a loud and distinct voice: "O king, if you are sincerely resolved to quit Waldrada and to take back your lawful wife, then receive this Holy Sacrament unto life everlasting; but if you are not sincerely resolved, then do not dare to profane the sacred Body of Jesus Christ and eat your own damnation."

Lothaire turned pale and trembled, but he had already made a sacrilegious Confession, and now he sealed his doom by adding a sacrilegious Communion. The Pope turned then to the noblemen who were kneeling beside their king and said to them: "If you have taken no part in the crime of your king, then may the Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ be to you a pledge of eternal salvation." Some of the noblemen were terrified and left the altar-rail without receiving, but the greater part of them followed the example of their king. They had committed a fearful crime, and the punishment of God was swift and terrible. The king and his suite quitted Rome. They had no sooner arrived at the city of Lucca than they were attacked by a most malignant fever, in consequence of which they lost their speech; they were tormented by an inward fire, and their nails, hair and skin fell off, while on the other hand, the lives of those of the king's suite who had left the Communion-rail before receiving were spared, so that the vengeance of Heaven was quite evident.

Again, "He eats and drinks judgment to himself!" What kind of judgment does he eat and drink? A sentence involving darkness of the understanding and hardness of heart to a most frightful degree, possession of the devil, despair, an impenitent death and everlasting malediction. These punishments are in a particular manner indicated by the words of St. Paul: "He eateth and drinketh judgment to himself." Nothing makes any impression upon him; he is no longer edified at praiseworthy actions; he scoffs at those who practice virtue; all admonition is lost on him; he does not understand the heinousness of his sin. What is here said of an unworthy Communion he does not believe; he is perfectly indifferent to the affair of his salvation; his thoughts no longer rise above the narrow and impure circle of earthly interests; he is like a worm which day and night sucks in nourishment from the earth, its native element, groveling all the while in the mire; he cares little for spiritual things; eternal punishment has no terror for him. In such a condition, what is there that he would shrink from undertaking? We might indeed say to this wretch when he is leaving the sacred table what Jesus said to His betrayer: "What thou wilt do, do quickly; go now and accomplish thy criminal designs; let loose thy passions, for since thou hast dared to dishonor the Body of Christ, nothing will appear horrible or abominable to thee; nothing will be able henceforth to restrain thee. Unhappy wretch! hitherto thou hast been preserved from certain abominations by an innate feeling of horror; but now, go bravely forward, wallow in sin, for thy conscience has no longer a reproach for thee! Go on in the road to Sodom and Gomorrha! Give thyself up to the base desires of thy heart!"

No, nothing makes an impression upon such a heart. I here speak of what usually happens. Our Lord might indeed mournfully exclaim in his presence: "Verily, verily, one of you is about to betray Me!" It would affect him but little. Should he even hear from Jesus' own lips the terrible words, "Woe to him by whom the Son of Man will be betrayed," he would remain cold and unmoved. In vain would Jesus call such a sinner "friend" and give him the kiss of peace! In vain would He work miracles before him! His eyes would remain closed; or if they opened, it would be only to cast him into despair; to urge him, like Judas, to execute the sentence of his damnation; in a word, the spirit of darkness, Satan, has taken complete possession of him.

Is not Judas a most terrible example of this? He received unworthily; immediately the devil entered into him! St. Cyprian tells us of a certain young woman who, after an unworthy Communion, was instantly possessed by the devil. She became quite furious and in her rage bit her tongue to pieces and endeavored to kill herself. At last she died in horrible agony. Behold the judgment of God! But what is even worse than all, this sin dries up the fountain of hope in the breast and plunges the unhappy sinner into despair. Judas is also but too sad an illustration of this. After his sacrilege, "He went out and hanged himself."

The following example was witnessed by a priest of my acquaintance. He was called to the deathbed of a young man. No sooner had the dying youth perceived the Blessed Sacrament, than he exclaimed: "Behold Him Whom I received unworthily at my First Communion!" And turning his face towards the wall, he expired. Here, then, you see again a verification of the Divine Justice, which is the most terrible of all that could be inflicted in this life! I say in this life, for in the life to come, there is another scourge still more dreadful, namely, that remorse which will fill the soul of the sacrilegious communicant for all eternity. Here, however, description is baffled. Words are inadequate to express or describe it. The story of the wanderer mentioned in the "Spiritual Meadows" furnishes but a feeble illustration of it. There was a certain convent of most austere discipline presided over by an abbot of strict and holy life. One day a stranger came to this convent asking admission. He was received and lived there for nine years in the practice of the most rigorous penance. At the end of that time, he came to the abbot and told him that an infant whom he had slain when he followed the life of a highwayman had appeared to him and said in the most heartrending tone of voice: "Why didst thou kill me?" The abbot treated the poor man as if he were the victim of a diseased imagination and bade him go work in the garden. He did so, but the voice still rang in his ears: "Why didst thou kill me?" He went to the church to pray, but the voice followed him thither. At last, no longer able to endure his sufferings, he threw off the religious habit, went to the civil magistrate, confessed his crime and begged to be condemned to death. His request was granted and he was executed. Oh, if remorse can inflict so terrible a sting in this life, what will it be to hear the eternal cry of conscience in the caverns of Hell, the eternal malediction of Jesus Christ against those who have outraged Him in the Most Holy Sacrament!

Such then is the life and death of the sacrilegious communicant. Such is the vengeance of God. Having committed deicide, he must be punished as such. Yes, the Bread of Life becomes in his mouth the bread of malediction for body and soul, for time and eternity, unless he has recourse to the Mother of God, that by her powerful intercession she may prevail upon the heart of her Divine Son to forgive the crime with its punishment and obtain for the unworthy communicant courage to confess his sin and the gift of tears to weep over it, in order that thus, through the merits of the same Blood which condemned him, he may receive again by the sacramental absolution the grace of justification.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2019, 02:02:58 AM by Xavier »
Please listen to the frequent messages and take heed of the directions given from Our Living Lord and Our Loving Lady from around the world here: https://maryrefugeofholylove.com/ Great things are at stake. Please consecrate your life to the Blessed Mother so that the Kingdom of God may come, "Ad Sanctam Trinitatem per Mariam, Ut adveniat Regnum Deum, adveniat Regnum Mariae, ergo TOTUS TUUS ego sum, MARIA" See http://www.maria-domina-animarum.net/en/flowers/1-250

Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted and pluralized: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For all the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for Priests, Nuns and Monks, for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, and for All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/ It is recommended that you make this Life Offering as soon as you feel ready, and to renew it from time to time.

Please read the Blessed Mother's amazing promises in the link: A simple effective way for thousands of us to save millions of souls. The Doctors and Apostles say if we save even just one other soul through prayer and sacrifice, we also ensure the salvation of our own! Let us Offer our Lives in Sacrifice to Jesus and Mary Today, to save, if it were possible, all souls everywhere.
 

Offline Xavier

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In the next chapter, good Father Mueller encourages and explains the truly wonderful and highly beneficial practice of making many Spiritual Communions throughout the day. Highly recommended.

CHAPTER 11
On Spiritual Communion


WHEN a soul has once begun to practice frequent Communion, she can no longer live without it.

Even if she were to communicate every day, it would seem too little. She would desire, if possible, to receive Our Lord every moment. It is the Blessed Sacrament itself which produces this effect, for such is the sweetness of that Divine Food that they that eat it hunger still and they that drink it thirst again. It is Our Lord Himself who excites this desire in the hearts of the faithful, and He also has provided a means of satisfying it. While He was yet on earth, He not only imparted many graces to those who were near Him, but He also wrought many miracles in behalf of those who were at a distance.

In like manner, He now not only bestows many graces upon us when He actually enters our hearts in Holy Communion, but He also imparts many to us by means of Spiritual Communion. St. Catherine of Siena, while on one occasion assisting at the Mass of her confessor, St. Raymund, felt the most ardent desire to be united to Jesus Christ; but as she had been forbidden to communicate, she did not dare to receive. Our Lord, however, was so moved by the fervor of her love that He worked a miracle in her favor. At that part of the Mass in which the priest breaks the Sacred Host into three pieces, the smallest portion disappeared from the altar, flew through the air and rested upon the tongue of St. Catherine. St. Raymund was much disturbed at the disappearance of the particle, but the Saint relieved his anxiety by telling him that Our Lord Himself had been pleased to communicate her in reward for her great desire for Holy Communion. He displays a similar love towards everyone who has a true desire to be united to Him. As soon as a soul ardently desires to receive Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, He comes to satisfy her desire, not indeed as He did to St. Catherine under the Sacramental species, but by the way of Spiritual Communion. This devotion is so full of grace and consolation that it is of the greatest importance that everyone should know how to practice it. I will therefore say a word in explanation of it.

Spiritual Communion, according to St. Thomas, consists in an ardent desire to receive our Lord Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament. It is performed by making an act of faith in the presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, and then an act of love, and an act of contrition for having offended Him. The soul then invites Him to come and unite Himself to her and make her entirely His own; and lastly, she thanks Him as if she had really received Him sacramentally.

The Spiritual Communion may be made in the following manner: "O my Jesus, I firmly believe that Thou art truly and really present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love Thee with my whole heart, and because I love Thee, I am sorry for having offended Thee. I long to possess Thee within my soul, but as I cannot now receive Thee sacramentally, come at least in spirit into my heart. I unite myself to Thee as if Thou wert already there; never let me be separated from Thee."

 The graces which are bestowed in this way are so great that they may be likened to those which are imparted by an actual reception of the Sacrament.

One day Our Lord Himself told St. Jane of the Cross that as often as she communicated spiritually she received a grace similar to that which she received from her Sacramental Communions. He also appeared to Sister Paula Maresca, foundress of the Convent of St. Catherine of Siena at Naples, with two vessels, one of gold and the other of silver, and told her that in the golden vessel He preserved her Sacramental Communions and in the silver vessel her spiritual Communions. The Fathers of the Church go so far as to say that one who has a very great desire for Communion, accompanied with great reverence and humility, may sometimes receive even more graces than another who, without these dispositions, should actually receive Our Lord in the Sacramental species; for as the Psalmist says: "The Lord hears the desire of the poor, and fills their hearts with good things."

The advantages of this mode of Communion are very great. To practice it, you will not need to go to church or make a long preparation or remain fasting; you will not need to ask the permission of your confessor, or to seek a priest to give it to you as in Holy Communion. Hence, the venerable Jane of the Cross used to say: "O my Lord, what an excellent mode of receiving without being seen or remarked, without giving trouble to my spiritual father, or depending on anyone but Thee, who in solitude dost nourish my soul and speak to my heart."

But the chief advantage of Spiritual Communion is that it may be so often repeated. You can receive Sacramental Communion at most but once a day, but Spiritual Communion you may receive as often as you please. St. Alphonsus advises one who wishes to lead a devout life to make Spiritual Communions at his meditations, at his visits to the Blessed Sacrament and whenever he hears Mass. But especially he should endeavor to multiply them on the eve of his Communions because, as Father Faber of the Society of Jesus remarks, they are most powerful means to attain the dispositions necessary for a good Communion. The Saints were much addicted to this devotion.

The Blessed Angela of the Cross, a Dominican nun, was accustomed to make a hundred Spiritual Communions every day and a hundred more every night, and she used to say: "If my confessor had not taught me this method of communicating, I could scarcely live." If you ask how she could make so many, I answer with St. Augustine: "Give me a lover, and he will understand; give me a soul that loves nothing but Jesus Christ, and she will know how to do it."
Please listen to the frequent messages and take heed of the directions given from Our Living Lord and Our Loving Lady from around the world here: https://maryrefugeofholylove.com/ Great things are at stake. Please consecrate your life to the Blessed Mother so that the Kingdom of God may come, "Ad Sanctam Trinitatem per Mariam, Ut adveniat Regnum Deum, adveniat Regnum Mariae, ergo TOTUS TUUS ego sum, MARIA" See http://www.maria-domina-animarum.net/en/flowers/1-250

Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted and pluralized: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For all the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for Priests, Nuns and Monks, for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, and for All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/ It is recommended that you make this Life Offering as soon as you feel ready, and to renew it from time to time.

Please read the Blessed Mother's amazing promises in the link: A simple effective way for thousands of us to save millions of souls. The Doctors and Apostles say if we save even just one other soul through prayer and sacrifice, we also ensure the salvation of our own! Let us Offer our Lives in Sacrifice to Jesus and Mary Today, to save, if it were possible, all souls everywhere.
 
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Offline Xavier

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CHAPTER 12
Considerations on the Virtues that Jesus Christ Teaches Us in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar
Altered from Crasset

I. POVERTY

JESUS in the Most Holy Sacrament of the altar is a Master who teaches us every virtue. On earth He led a life of poverty. On the altar, too, we behold Him stripped of everything. It is the same to Him whether He be in a city or in a village; and He dwells as cheerfully in a ciborium of copper as in one of gold or of silver. In Heaven He has a royal retinue, but on earth, who keeps Him company? "I am a man," He says, "Who sees His poverty." We too see the poverty of Jesus, but oh how slow are we to imitate it! Our affections are fixed on fine dwellings, good food, good clothing, good attendance! We dislike feeling the want of anything or suffering the slightest inconvenience, just as though the Son of God had said: "Blessed are the rich, but not the poor; blessed are those that laugh, but not those that weep."

II. HUMILITY

A humble soul debases herself before God and acknowledges her absolute dependence upon Him. Mean and despicable in her own eyes, she accepts humiliations and contempt with cheerfulness. She is obedient to everyone and regards herself as the lowest, the vilest of creatures. She carefully conceals the graces with which God enriches her; she always seeks the last place and flies the praises of men, content to be praised by God alone. In the Most Holy Sacrament, Jesus offers Himself to honor His heavenly Father. Concealing His divinity and humanity under the appearances of bread and wine, He assumes a condition far more humiliating than that to which He reduced Himself in the crib, on the Cross or in the grave. Nay, He exposes Himself to the contempt, to the insults of idolaters, heretics and bad Catholics. And what is worse, He even submits to the horrible outrage of sacrilegious Communion. "In truth, Thou art a hidden God, my God and my Lord!" Thou art a humble God, and I am a proud creature! Thou fleest honors, and I seek them! Thou seekest humiliations, and I fly them!



III. PATIENCE

The body of the Son of God under the sacramental veils is indeed incapable of suffering, yet the love for sufferings which ever consumed the heart of Jesus is in nowise diminished. It was to leave us an eternal memorial of His Passion that Our Lord instituted this Divine Sacrament. He commemorates His sufferings, and He is desirous that we too should preserve the recollection of them. But though His Sacred Body is now incapable of suffering, His Divine Person is still sensible to every insult that is offered to Him! Oh, who can enumerate the outrages  heaped upon Jesus in this Sacrament of His love? Consider the affronts He daily receives from atheists, heretics, superstitious persons and particularly from bad Catholics. Think of the crimes, the sins of irreverence that are committed in His churches, in His own Divine Presence! Think of all the bad and sacrilegious Communions that are made! O Jesus! What admirable lessons of patience dost Thou not daily give us in this Divine Sacrament! But alas, I profit so little by them! I am so passionate, so impatient! I am unwilling to suffer anything from God or man. I cannot bear anything from my superiors, equals or inferiors. I am a burden to myself, and yet I wish that everyone should bear with me. How unreasonable!

IV. OBEDIENCE

It was in obedience to His heavenly Father that the Son of God became man; it was in obedience that His Blessed Mother conceived Him. He was born while obeying an earthly emperor. He lived under obedience to His parents and died out of obedience to His heavenly Father and to His unjust judges. Although He now reigns in Heaven, yet He is ever ready to obey man. He obeys all His priests, the bad as well as the good. He obeys at all hours, by day and by night. He obeys instantly. No sooner are the words of Consecration pronounced by the priest than Jesus is instantly present. He obeys in all places wherever the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered, whether it be on land or at sea, in a village or in a city, in a stately church or in a humble chapel. He submits to every sort of treatment. He suffers Himself to be preserved, to be consumed, to be given to all kinds of persons. He obeys without resistance, without complaint, without showing the least unwillingness. Christian soul, dost thou obey in this manner? Dost thou obey all thy superiors without exception? Dost thou obey blindly? Dost thou obey at all times, in all things, always showing that thou art a humble servant of the Lord, ready to follow the commands of thy superiors?

V. MORTIFICATION

The whole life of Jesus was one of continual mortification. He is now forever happy in Heaven; nevertheless, He has found a means to teach us by His Own example, even to the end of the world, how to mortify our senses, our will and our judgment. He mortifies His judgment by suffering Himself to be disposed of according to the good pleasure of His priests, to be carried whithersoever they will, to be used for good or bad purposes, just as if He were entirely blind and helpless. He mortifies His will in bearing the numberless indignities that are offered to His Holiness, to His Majesty and to His other Divine Perfections. He mortifies His senses by remaining present in the Sacred Host as if He were dead. He mortifies His tongue by keeping continually a profound silence. He mortifies His whole body, uniting Himself to mere lifeless appearances and remaining day and night in the tabernacle as in a prison of love. O my soul! addicted as thou art to sensual pleasures, what union can there be between thee and the mortified and crucified body of Jesus Christ? The Holy Sacrament continually reminds thee of His Passion and thou holdest suffering in horror! His life under the sacramental veils is entirely spiritual, and thine is entirely sensual!

VI. LOVE OF GOD

Jesus teaches us also in this Sacrament how we ought to love God. If we love God truly, we will perform His will in all things, we will keep His commandments, we will suffer much for Him and sacrifice ourselves to His honor. This is what Jesus teaches us on our altars. He sacrifices Himself daily-----nay, hourly-----for the honor of His Father and for the good of men. He has thus found out a means to renew His death in a mystical manner, at all times and in all places. All men should offer themselves to God in order to acknowledge their dependence upon Him, to thank Him for His numberless benefits, to ask new blessings from Him and to atone for their sins. Jesus Christ, as the head of the human race, has taken upon Himself this obligation and daily offers Himself to pay homage to God for all men, to give thanks to God for all the graces they have received from Him, to make satisfaction to His Justice so often offended by their grievous crimes and to obtain for them all the graces necessary for soul and body.

O wretch that I am! God takes upon Himself my sins, He lays down His life to deliver me from death, He bears for love of me a thousand insults, and I in return despise and offend Him, I only provoke His anger more and more. I am unwilling to suffer the least thing for Him, and thus I render His passion and death fruitless to me. What ingratitude! What hardness of heart! What cruelty and injustice!

VII. LOVE OF OUR NEIGHBOR

One of the objects of the Incarnation was to reunite men in the bonds of charity which had been severed by sin. Jesus Christ made this charity an express commandment. He calls it His only commandment. He declares that it is the true mark of His religion. To preserve this charity, He has left us His Body and His Blood under the appearances of bread and wine, in order that, partaking of one Bread, we may also be one body and one soul. And the more to ensure the practice of charity among men, He has made our natural desire for happiness the motive for loving one another. He has commanded us to partake of His Body and Blood under pain of eternal damnation, and the indispensable condition to our receiving this heavenly food is charity.

But, not content with all this, He continually gives us in the Blessed Sacrament most persuasive lessons of charity. While other shepherds clothe themselves with the wool of their flocks and feed on their flesh, Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, strips Himself in order to clothe us; He even gives us His Flesh and Blood for our food; and when a devout soul, transported at a favor so Divine, asks how she may repay so great a benefit, He replies: "Do good to your fellowmen, and I will hold you discharged of all your debts to Me. Whatsoever you do to them I will count it as done to Me." "Does it seem hard to you," He says, "to love your neighbor? Consider, then, how I have loved you. Does it seem hard to you to give and to forgive? Then think whether you are ever required to give anything as precious as the food which I give to you. Think whether you have ever to suffer as many affronts as I have suffered for your sake in this Sacrament of love! Is the disciple greater than his master, or the servant above his lord? Go, then, and do to others what I have done to you."
 
O Jesus, Thou hast conquered! We give our hearts to Thee that Thou mayest make them humble and gentle. O Thou, the Well-Beloved of the Father, who comest on earth and dwelleth in our tabernacles in order to impart to men Thy Divine Spirit of Charity, take from us all selfishness and hardness of heart and teach us how to love one another."

Please listen to the frequent messages and take heed of the directions given from Our Living Lord and Our Loving Lady from around the world here: https://maryrefugeofholylove.com/ Great things are at stake. Please consecrate your life to the Blessed Mother so that the Kingdom of God may come, "Ad Sanctam Trinitatem per Mariam, Ut adveniat Regnum Deum, adveniat Regnum Mariae, ergo TOTUS TUUS ego sum, MARIA" See http://www.maria-domina-animarum.net/en/flowers/1-250

Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted and pluralized: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For all the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for Priests, Nuns and Monks, for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, and for All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/ It is recommended that you make this Life Offering as soon as you feel ready, and to renew it from time to time.

Please read the Blessed Mother's amazing promises in the link: A simple effective way for thousands of us to save millions of souls. The Doctors and Apostles say if we save even just one other soul through prayer and sacrifice, we also ensure the salvation of our own! Let us Offer our Lives in Sacrifice to Jesus and Mary Today, to save, if it were possible, all souls everywhere.