Your Spirit Will Find Joy in Communion - Part 2

Such is the brevity of this life that, if we had to arrive at the knowledge of truth in general, and of divine truth in particular, only by the proofs of reason, be well assured we would know very few truths. But it is God’s will that much our knowledge should come by intuition. He has endowed us with an instinct by which, without the faculty of reason, we are able to distinguish good from evil, truth from falsehood. He has given us natural inclinations and antipathies. Thus, in our efforts to know our Lord, we first feel His goodness, and then we arrive at His other qualities, more by contemplation, by sight, and by instinct than by reason.

A great many people habitually make the mistake of talking to too much in their thanksgiving after Communion, that highest of prayers. By overmuch speaking, they render their Communion ineffective. Listen to our Lord a little after Communion. This is not the time to seek, but to enjoy. This is the time when God makes Himself known through Himself: “And they shall all be taught of God.” How does a mother teach her little child what endless love and tenderness she has for him? She is content to show her devotion that she loves him. God does the same in Communion. Remember that one who does not receive Communion will never know the Heart of our Lord or the magnitude of His love. The heart makes itself known through itself alone; we must feel it beating.

Sometimes you have no experience of your spiritual joy in Communion. Wait. Although the Sun is hidden, it is within you; you will feel it when you need to — be sure of that. What am I saying? Already you feel it! Are you not at peace? Are you not desirous of glorifying God more than ever? And what is that but the throbbing of the Heart of our Lord within you?

Lastly, the manifestation of our Lord in Communion makes His presence and His conversation indispensable to the soul. The soul that has known Jesus Christ and has enjoyed Him takes pleasure in nothing else. Creatures leave it cold and indifferent because it compares them with Him. God has left in the soul a need that no person, no creature, can ever satisfy.

Moreover, the soul feels a constant desire for Jesus and for His glory. Ever onward, without pausing to enjoy a moment’s rest: that is its motto. Its only longing is for Jesus, who leads it from clarity to clarity. Our Lord being inexhaustible, whoever receives Him can neither be sated nor exhaust Him, but desires only to plunge deeper and deeper into the abysses of His love.

Oh, come and enjoy our Lord often in Communion, if you wish truly to understand Him!

“Beware of abusing this privilege,” someone will say. Do the elect go to excess in their enjoyment of God? No! They never enjoy Him too much. Taste the Lord, and you will see. After you have received Communion, you will understand.

How sad that people will not believe us! They wish to judge God only by faith. But taste first; afterward you shall judge. And if the incredulous would but prepare themselves to receive Jesus Christ worthily, they would understand sooner and better than by any amount of persuasion and reasoning. Besides, the ignorant person who receives well knows more about it than the savant, however learned, who does not go to Communion.

To summarize briefly, I say that the intelligence finds its supreme happiness in Communion and that, the more often one receives, the happier one is spiritually. God is the only source of happiness; happiness is in Him alone, and He has reserved the right to bestow it through Himself. And well it is for us that we must go to God Himself to find happiness! In this way, we do not devote ourselves to creatures or find in them our highest good. Happiness is not even in the bestowal of the priest. He gives you a share in the fruits of the Redemption, cleanses you from your sins, and gives you the peace of a clear conscience; but happiness and joy he cannot give you.

Mary herself, who is the Mother of Mercy, will lead you back to the right way and will appease the anger of her Son, whom you have offended; but God alone will give you joy and happiness. The angel said to the shepherds, “I bring you good tidings of great joy; He who is its cause and its source, your Savior and God, is born to you.”

Oh, come, let us rejoice! This Savior is still on the altar waiting to flood our hearts, upon His entrance therein, with as much joy and happiness we are able to bear, in anticipation of the unspeakable and everlasting delights of the homeland of Heaven.

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Your Spirit Will Find Joy in Communion - Part 1

God desired to nourish our spirit, so He gave it His Bread, the Eucharist, announced by Holy Scripture: “He will feed them with the Bread of life and understanding.”

Now, there are no greater joys on earth than the joys of the spirit. Contentment of heart is less lasting because it is based on feeling, and feeling is apt to be inconstant. True joy is of the spirit and consists in the quiet knowledge of the truth.

The light-minded and coarse of soul enjoy nothing spiritually. Even pious souls that lack recollection will never experience spiritual joys. Frivolity of spirit is the greatest obstacle to the reign of God in the soul. If you wish to taste the sweetness of God and enjoy His presence, you must lead a life of recollection and prayer. Even so, your meditations will never yield true happiness if they are not based on Communion, but will only leave you with the sense of perpetual sacrifice.

Jesus Christ exercised the prerogative that was His to give us experience of true joy through Himself alone. The soul that only seldom receives Communion gives God no opportunity to dwell in it in a completely efficacious way. The one, on the contrary, that receives Him frequently will be longer and more often in His presence and, seeing Him and contemplating Him freely, will learn to know Him well and will end by enjoying Him.

In Communion, we enjoy our Lord in our Lord Himself. It is then that we have our most intimate communion with Him — a communion from which we gain a true and profound knowledge of what He is. It is then that Jesus manifests Himself to us most clearly. Faith is a light; Communion is at once light and feeling.

This manifestation of Jesus through Communion enlightens the mind and gives it a special aptitude for discerning more and more clearly the things of God. Just as the elect receive the power to contemplate the being and the majesty of God without being blinded, likewise Jesus, in Communion, increases our ability to know Him, and to such an extent that there is a vast difference in a person before and after Communion.

Take a child before his First Communion; he understands his catechism in the literal sense, word for word. But after Communion, his mind is, as it were, transformed; the child understands then, and feels, and is eager to know more about Jesus Christ. He is fortified and disposed to hear whatever truths you teach.

Can you explain this phenomenon? Before Communion, you hear about Jesus Christ and you know Him; you are told of His Cross, of His suffering. Doubtless you are affected and are even touched with compassion. But let these same truths be presented to you after you have received Communion, and oh, how much more deeply your soul is moved! It cannot hear enough; it understands much more perfectly. Before Communion, you contemplate Jesus outside you; now you contemplate Him within you, with His own eyes!

It is the mystery of Emmaus re-enacted. When Jesus taught the two disciples along the way, explaining the Scriptures to them, their faith still wavered, although they felt inwardly some mysterious emotion. But by their participating in the breaking of the bread, immediately their eyes were opened, and their hearts were ready to burst with joy. The voice of Jesus had not sufficed to reveal His Presence to them. They had to feel His Heart; they had to be fed with the Bread of understanding!

Second, this joy of spirit, this manifestation of Himself that Jesus gives us by Communion, awakens in us a hunger for God. This divine hunger draws us into the sweetness of His Heart, into the sanctuary of His Spirit. More by impression than by reason, it gives us knowledge of Him. It gives us a powerful attraction to the Eucharist and everything connected with it and enables us to enter with ease into Jesus Christ.

This ease, this attraction, mysterious to some extent, is the special grace of Communion. It is the spirit of kinship with God. From where, do you think, does that similarity of feeling, of acting, of morals in a family come, if not from family spirit, from family love, which unites all members in mutual affection? Such is the bond of earthly kinship.

Through Communion, we gain entrance into the love, into the Heart, of our Lord; we catch the spirit of His love, His own understanding, His own judgement. Is not the first grace of Communion, in fact, a grace of recollection that enables is to penetrate into Jesus Christ and commune intimately with Him? Yes, intimately. One who does not receive Communion knows, by faith, only the vesture, the outward appearance of our Lord. We can know Jesus Christ well only by receiving Him, just as we perceive the sweetness of honey only by tasting it. We can say, then, with a great saint, “I am more convinced of the truth of Jesus Christ, of His existence, of His perfections by a single Communion than I could be by all the reasoning in the world.” 

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The Bread of Life Gives You Strength

Holy Communion  by Saint Peter Eymard

It was Jesus who adopted the name Bread of Life. And what a name! He alone could give it to Himself. An angel charged with naming our Lord would have given Him a title consonant with His attributes, such as Divine Word, or Lord, or the like — but Bread: such a name he would never have dared to give to his God!

Bread of Life! Ah, but that is the true name of Jesus; in it is the whole Christ, in His life, in His death, and after His Resurrection. Crushed on the Cross and sifted like flour, He will have after His Resurrection the same properties for our souls as material bread has for our bodies; He will be in truth our Bread of Life.

Material bread nourishes and sustains life. Lest we faint away, we must keep our strength by taking food, of which bread is the very essential. It is more substantial to our bodies than any other nutriment and sufficient alone for life. The soul, in its natural life, must live forever; it has received that immortality from God. But the life of grace received in Baptism, and regained and renewed in the sacrament of Penance, that life of sanctity, more noble by far than the natural life, cannot be maintained without sustenance; and its principal nutriment is the eucharistic Jesus. The life restored by holy Penance will be brought to fruition in some sort by the Eucharist, which will cleanse us from our affections to sin, will blot out our daily offenses, will give us strength to carry out our good resolutions, and will remove from us the occasions of sin.

The Lord said, “He that eateth my flesh hath life.” What life? The life of Jesus Himself. “As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me.” In fact, food imparts its own substance to him who eats of it. Jesus will not be changed into us; He will transform us into His own image.

Our very body will receive in Communion a pledge of resurrection, and, even in this life, it will be more temperate, more obedient to the soul. It will but take its rest in the tomb, conserving the eucharistic seed, source of a more splendid glory for it in the day of eternal reward.

But we eat not merely to sustain life; we eat to gather as much energy as the work of life demands; it is hardly prudent and certainly insufficient to eat merely in order not to starve. The body must labor, and it will have to expend in its toil not its own substance — which would soon destroy it — but the superfluous strength it has drawn from good. It is a truism that we cannot give what we do not have; there, the man condemned to work hard without receiving sufficient food each day will soon lose his strength.

Now, the more we desire to come near to God and live a virtuous life, the more we must expect combat; consequently, we need to gather more and more strength in order not to be vanquished. For all these struggles of the Christian life, the Holy Eucharist will give the necessary strength. Without the Eucharist, prayer and piety soon languish. The religious life is nothing but a continual crucifixion of our nature and, of itself, holds no attraction for us. Without strong and gracious help, we do not willingly accept the Cross. Generally speaking, piety without Communion is dead.

Baptism, which bestows life, Confirmation, which increases it, Penance, which restores it — none of these is enough; these sacraments are only preparation for the Eucharist, which is their fruition and their crown.

Jesus said, “Follow me,” but that is difficult; it takes effort and demands the practice of the Christian virtues. We must remember that he alone who abides in our Lord will bear much fruit. And how shall we abide in Him if not by eating His Flesh and drinking His Blood?

Possessing Jesus within us, we are two persons, and the burden, so shared, is light. Therefore did St. Paul say, “I can do all things in Him who strengthened me.” And He who so strengthened him is the same who lives in us — Christ Jesus.

Whatever its appearance, moreover, bread possesses a certain attraction. The proof is that we never tire of it. Who has ever turned against bread, even when all food seemed tasteless? And where, pray, shall we find substantial sweetness if not in that honeycomb, the Holy Eucharist?

So it follows that piety which is not frequently nourished by Holy Communion has no sweetness; it is not rooted in, nor animated by, the love of Jesus Christ. It neither attracts us nor appeals to our love. It is harsh, austere, and rude. It would go to God by the way of sacrifice alone — a good way, surely, but how difficult it is not to give way to discouragement! The bow, bent too far, might break. Those who follow this road win much merit, without doubt, but they miss the heart and sweetness of sanctity, which are found only in Jesus.

You want to progress without Communion? But Christian tradition is against you! No longer say the Our Father, since you ask in that prayer for your daily Bread, the Bread you think to do without!

Without Communion, one is constantly in the heat of the battle. One knows only the difficulties in the acquisition of virtue, not the sweetness of its practice — the joy of working, not simply for oneself and moved solely by the hope of reward, but purely for the glory of God, from love of Him, from affection, like little children. He who receives Communion finds it easy to understand that having received much, he must give a great deal in return. That is piety — intelligent, filial, and loving piety. Besides, even in the severest trials, Communion makes the soul happy, filling it with tender and loving joy.

The height of perfection is to remain united with God in the midst of the most violent interior temptations, and it is when you are most tempted that God most loves you. Yet, in order that these storms may not overwhelm you, learn to return frequently to the divine fountainhead to renew your strength and to purify yourself more and more in that torrent of grace and love.

Receive Communion therefore! Eat the Bread of Life if you wish to live well, if you wish to obtain sufficient strength for the Christian combat, if you wish to possess happiness even in the thick of misfortune.

The Holy Eucharist is the Bread of the weak and of the strong. To the weak, clearly, it is necessary; but to the strong likewise, since they bear their treasure in fragile vessels and are threatened on every hand by desperate enemies. Let us, then, take care that we have a guard, a sure escort, fortifying food for our journey; this will Jesus be, our Bread of Life.

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Desire for Perfection

"Make and keep yourselves holy,” God commands us, "because I am holy." (Lev. 11:44; 19:2) "You are to be perfect, adds Jesus Christ, "even as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Mt. 5:48).

We are obliged, therefore, to make every possible effort to advance in holiness.  Sad experience teaches us, however, that it is very difficult to reach the level of sanctity to which we are called by God, and that it is impossible to achieve absolute perfection, which God alone possesses.  Why, then, does God place before us such an inaccessible goal?  Simply because, although He knows that we cannot attain the perfect holiness which is to be found in our heavenly Father, He wants us to desire it with all our hearts and to do our best to approach as near to it as we can.

This desire for sanctity should dominate all our actions. It may be impossible for us completely to achieve Christian perfection, but we should always strive towards it.  All our actions and affections should form a ladder which will enable us to climb nearer to this ideal.  If the desire for perfection dominates our entire lives, it will one day dominate and brighten the supreme moment of death.  If we lack this desire, we shall fall into a state of tepidity and of indifference to spiritual realities which will inevitably end in sin.

The Son of God ardently desired our welfare and happiness.  It was for this that He became man, preached His doctrine, gave us the Sacraments, and suffered and died on the Cross.  "I have greatly desired," He said on the eve of His passion, "to eat this passover with you" (Lk. 22:15).  He desired this because He wished to leave us Himself really present in the Blessed Eucharist as nourishment for our souls.

The entire life of Jesus Christ was a yearning for our everlasting salvation.  Can we remain cold and unmoved in the presence of such infinite goodness?  Surely we cannot.  Our lives also should be a continual and ardent yearning for perfection, inspired by gratitude as well as by an appreciation of our own true interests.

There are two kinds of desire. (1) There is passive desire, such as that of St. Augustine when he kept repeating that he wished to be converted on the morrow.  Hell is full of people who desired exactly that. (2) There is also efficacious desire, which is that of the man who intends to employ the necessary means of putting his resolution into practice.  This is the kind of desire by which we should be animated.  It may be that we shall encounter many falls and obstacles before we can carry out our resolutions, but the important thing is not to lose heart.  We must keep going forward with the help of God and, at least at the hour of death, our efforts will crowned with success.



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The Great Antiphons

(excerpts from The Liturgical Year, vol 1 by Dom Guerenger)

On December 17, the Church enters upon on the seven days which precede the Vigil of Christmas, and which are known in the liturgy under the name of the Greater Ferias. The ordinary of the Advent Office becomes more solemn; the antiphons of the psalms, both for Lauds and the Hours of the day, are proper, and allude expressly to the great coming. Every day, at Vespers, is sung a solemn antiphon, consisting of a fervent prayer to the Messias, whom it addresses by one of the titles given Him in the Sacred Scriptures.

In the Roman Church, there are seven of these antiphons, one for each of the greater ferias. They are commonly called the O’s of Advent, because they all begin with that interjection…

The canonical Hour of Vespers has been selected as the most appropriate time for this solemn supplication to our Saviour, because, as the Church sings in one of her hymns, it was in the evening of the world (vergente mundi vespere) that the Messias came amongst us. These antiphons are sung at the Magnificat, to show us that the Saviour whom we expect is to come to us by Mary. They are sung twice, once before and once after the canticle, as on double feasts, and this to show their great solemnity. In some Churches it was formerly the practice to sing them thrice; that is, before the canticle, before the Gloria Patri, and after the Sicut erat. Lastly, these admirable antiphons, which contain the whole pith of the Advent liturgy, are accompanied by a chant replete with melodious gravity, and by ceremonies of great expressiveness, though in these latter, there is no uniform practice followed. Let us enter into the spirit of the Church; let us reflect on the great day which is coming; that thus we may take our share in these the last and most earnest solicitations of the Church imploring her Spouse to come, to which He at length yields.

I.          — O Wisdom, that proceedest from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end mightily, and disposing all things sweetly! Come and teach us the way of prudence.

II.           — O Adonaï, and leader of the house of Israel, who appearedst to Moses in the fire of the flaming bush, and gavest him the law on Sinaï; come and redeem us by thy outstretched arm.

 III.          — O Root of Jesse, who standest as the ensign of the people; before whom kings shall not open their lips; to whome the nations shall pray: come and deliver us; tarry now no more.

 IV.          — O Key of David, and sceptre of the house of Israel! Who openest, and no man shutteth: who shuttest, and no man openeth; come, and lead the captive from prison, sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death.

V.           — O Orient! Splendor of the eternal light, and Sun of justice! Comw and enlighten them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.

VI.          — O King of Nations, and their desired One, and the cornerstone that makest both one; come and save man whom thou formedst out of slime.

VII.          — O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver, the Expectation and Saviour of the nations! Come and save us, O Lord our God!

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The Eucharist Meets Your Every Need

Holy Communion  by Saint Peter Eymard

The Eucharist Meets Your Every Need

The manna that God sent down every morning into the camp of the Israilites had all sorts of flavors and virtues; it not only restored failing energies and gave vigor of body, but it was a bread of sweetness. The Holy Eucharist, which it prefigures, possesses likewise every virtue.  It is a remedy for our spiritual infirmities, strength for daily weaknesses, and a source of peace, joy, and happiness.

The Eucharist, according to the Council of Trent, is a divine antidote that delivers us from common faults and preserves us from mortal sin.  It is an antidote that, in an instant, consumes the chaff of our spiritual imperfections.

Holy Communion is the war that God wages in us against our concupiscence and against the Devil, whom our evil passions constantly invite and who, through his connivance with our unruly appetites, holds some part of us in thrall.  Did not Jesus say, “Come to me, all you who labour beneath the burden of slavery of your past sins, and I will refresh and deliver you”?

Holy Penance cleanses us from sin, yet, purified though we be, we are left with the marks of our chains, the tendency to fall again.  The enemy, although driven out, still keeps his agents within the walls.  So Jesus comes to us to destroy the vestiges of our sins, to counteract our evil tendencies, and to prevent of the Devil from re-establishing his power over us.

Holy Communion is more than a remedy; it is a force that gives us powerful assistance in obtaining goodness, virtue, and holiness.

Certainly it is not easy to acquire a Christian virtue.  It means investing ourselves with the quality of Jesus; it is a divine education, a conformation of our ways to those of Jesus.  Now, in Holy Communion, Jesus Himself forms His likeness within us.  He becomes our own Teacher.  By the inspirations of His love, He awakens the gratitude we owe Him as our Benefactor, the desire to resemble Him, a foretaste of the happiness that lies in imitating Him and drawing our life from His.

How attractive the learning of virtue becomes through Holy Communion!  How easy is humility when we have seen the God of glory humble Himself so far as to come to a heart so poor, and a mind so ignorant, a body so miserable!  How easy is kindness when we are moved by the loving-kindness of Jesus in giving Himself to us in the goodness of His Heart!

How beautiful in our sight is our neighbor when we see him seated at the divine banquet, fed with the same Bread of Life, loved so generously by Jesus Christ!

How sweet do penance, self-mortification, and sacrifice become when we have received the crucified Jesus!  And with what urgency we feel the need of embracing the life of Him who saved us, of Him who gave us the Holy Eucharist!

The Christian is formed much more quickly in the Cenacle than in any other school.  The fact is, all the graces act at once in Communion; beneath the powerful influence of this divine Sun that is within us, penetrating us with His light and His fire, all the virtues of the Savior are reflected in our being.  Communion is, in effect, the divine mold of Jesus in our souls and in our bodies.

Hear the words of Jesus: “He who eateth my Body and drinketh my Blood abideth in me, and I in him.” So does Jesus live in the communicant, and the communicant in Jesus.  It is a joining of two lives, an ineffable union of love, one and the same life in two persons.

Furthermore, Holy Communion is happiness.  What is happiness if not the possession of an infinite good, the real and permanent possession of God?  Well, such is the divine fruit of Communion.

Communion is also peace.  Jesus is the God of peace. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you,” He said to His Apostles after He had given them Communion — not the troubled and stormy peace of the world, but the peace of God, so sweet that it passes all understanding.  With one word, Jesus quiets the tempest, with one glance He scatters and lays low our enemies.

Holy Communion, again, is sweetness.  It is the true manna that satisfies all our desires, because it possesses all sweetness.  It is that the celestial fragrance of the fair Lily of the Valley, which enraptures us in God.

The humble and recollected soul feels in its depths a certain joyous tremor caused by the presence of Jesus Christ; it feels itself unfolding beneath the warmth of this Sun of love; and experiences a well-being, an alertness, a sweetness, a force of union, of adhesion to God, that come not from itself.  It is aware of Jesus in all its being and looks upon itself as a paradise inhabited by God, where, as in another heavenly court, it may repeat all the praises, thanksgivings, and benedictions sung by the angels and saints to God in glory.

O happy moment of Communion, which makes us forget our exile and its miseries!  O sweet repose of the soul on the very Heart of Jesus!

This Master knows very well that we need to taste the sweetness of love now and then!  One cannot be always on the Calvary of suffering, nor in the thick of the battle.  The child needs the mother’s bosom; the Christian, the Heart of Jesus.

Yes, virtue without Communion is like the strength of the lion; it is the result of combat, of violence; it is hard.  If it is to have the gentleness of the lamb, we must drink the Blood of the spotless Lamb; we must eat this honey of the desert.

After all, happiness begets love; we love only that which gives happiness.  Seek no farther, then.  The Savior has placed this divine happiness neither in the different virtues nor in His other mysteries, but solely within Himself.  To taste His joy to the full, we must receive Him as our Food. “Taste and see how sweet is the Lord,” said the prophet.  And our Lord Himself said, “He who eateth my Flesh and drinketh my Blood hath everlasting life.” And that life everlasting is Heaven; it is sanctity beatified in Jesus Christ.

Thus the Savior’s virtues, the different mysteries of His life, and even of His passion are but so many roads whose destination is the eucharist Cenacle.  Only there has Jesus made Himself a lasting abode on Earth. There we must dwell, there live and die.

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Develop the Spirit of Communion

Holy Communion  by Saint Peter Eymard (Part 1)

The love of Jesus Christ reaches its highest perfection and produces the richest harvest of graces in the ineffable union He contracts with the soul in Holy Communion. Therefore, by every desire for goodness, holiness, and perfection that piety, the virtues, and love can inspire in us, we are bound to direct our course toward this union, toward frequent and even daily Communion.

Since we have in Holy Communion the grace, the model, and the practice of all the virtues, all of them finding their exercise in this divine action, we shall profit more by Communion than by all other means of sanctification. But to that end, Holy Communion must become the thought that dominates mind and heart. It must be the aim of all study, of piety, of the virtues. The receiving of Jesus must be the goal as well as the law of life. All our works must converge toward Communion as toward their end and flow from it as from their source.

Let us so live that we may be admitted with profit to frequent and even daily Communion. In a word, let us perfect ourselves in order to receive Communion worthily, and let us live with a constant view to Communion.

But perhaps you will say that your nothingness is overwhelmed by the majesty of God. Ah, but no! That majesty, the celestial and divine majesty which reigns in Heaven, is not present in Holy Communion. Do you not see that Jesus has veiled Himself in order not to frighten you, in order to embolden you to look upon Him and come near to Him?

Or perhaps the sense of your unworthiness keeps you away from this God of all sanctity, to show you His goodness simply and solely? Do you not hear that sweet voice inviting you: “Come unto me”? Do you not feel the nearness of that divine love like a magnet drawing you? After all, it is not your merits that give you your rights, nor is it your virtues that open to you the doors of the Cenacle; it is the love of Jesus.

“But I have so little piety, so little love; how can my soul receive our Lord when it is so lukewarm and therefore so repulse and so undeserving of His notice?”

Lukewarm? That is but one more reason why you should plunge again and again into this burning furnace. Repulsive? Oh, never, to this good Shepherd, this tender Father, fatherly above all fathers, motherly above all mothers! The more weak and ill you are, the more you need His help. Is not bread the sustenance of both strong and weak?

“But if I have sins on my conscience?” If, after examination, you are not morally certain or positively conscious of any mortal sin, you may go to Holy Communion. If you forgive all who have offended you, already your own offenses are forgiven you. And as for your daily negligences, your distractions during prayer, your first movements of impatience, of vanity, of self-love, as likewise for your failure, in your sloth, to put away from you immediately the fire of temptation — bind together all these shoots of Adam’s sin and cast them into the furnace of divine love. What love forgives is forgiven indeed.

Ah, do not let yourself be turned away from the Holy Table by vain pretexts! If you will not communicate for your own sake, then communicate instead for Jesus Christ. To communicate for Jesus Christ is to console Him for the neglect to which the majority of men have abandoned Him. It is to confirm His wisdom in instituting this Sacrament of spiritual sustenance. It is to open the riches of the treasures of grace that Jesus Christ has stored up in the Eucharist, only so that He may bestow His gifts. By receiving Communion, therefore, you fulfill the glorious purpose of the Holy Eucharist, for if there were no communicants, this fountain would flow in vain, this furnace of love would inflame no hearts, and this King would reign without subjects.

Holy Communion not only gives to the sacramental Jesus the opportunity to satisfy His love; it gives Him a new life that He will consecrate to the glory of His Father. In His state of glory, He can no longer honor the Father with a love free and meritorious. But in Communion, He will enter into Man, associate with him, and unite with him. In return, by this wonderful union, the Christian will give members, living and sentient faculties, to the glorified Jesus; he will give Him the liberty that constitutes the merit of virtue. Thus, through Communion, the Christian will be transformed into Jesus Himself; and Jesus will live again in him.

Something divine will then come to pass in the one who communicates; man will labor, and Jesus will give the grace of labor; man will keep the merit, but to Jesus will be the glory. Jesus will be able to say to His Father: “I love Thee, I adore Thee, and I still suffer, living anew in my members.”

This is what gives Communion its highest power: it is a second and perpetual incarnation of Jesus Christ. Between Jesus Christ and man, it forms a union of life and love. In a word, it is a second life for Jesus Christ.

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A Story of St. Michael — 11

Saint Michael is the angel mentioned by Hermas in his celebrated work The Pastor. One day he appeared to him with six other blessed spirits. Go, build, he said to them. Hermas saw a great tower being erected. The six builders and several thousand others brought them stones. The builders employed some of them, but broke others and threw them aside.  The ones they were throwing out rolled into a deep place occupied by a furnace where they became fiery. And as the spectator asked for an explanation of this scene, Saint Michael told him: The stones used for the construction are the faithful who walk in the path of the commandments, those which are rolled into the place of fire represent the sinners who died impenitent.

This is the Day of Judgement: the angels, under the direction of Saint Michael, will make this choice of souls. Let us be worthy stones to be used in the Divine construction.

Prayer :

At this terrible time, O Saint Michael, men will have need of your bountiful protection; I ask it of you for them. If I have to life in the days of abomination and desolation, do not permit that I am a victim of seduction; give me the strength and courage to resist to the blood, if necessary; mark my forehead with the saving sign; finally, let my name be written in the book of life, and may I follow the divine Lamb to His glorious kingdom. Amen.



St. Michael — Angel of the End Times

A day will come when, according to the biblical expression, our world will be closed like a book. This will be the day of God, the day of His justice, of His triumph. God must have the last word to show that He is the all-powerful Master, the sovereign judge. It is also necessary that in the face of the universe, virtue is rewarded, vice is punished and humiliated!

Saint Michael will have a grand role to fill in the events which will be accomplished then. In a brilliant way, he will appear as the soldier of God, the avenger of his rights.

But having placed a foot on the earth and the other in the sea, he will cry that there is no more time, and he will have to fight a great fight.

When will approach the end of the world, the man of sin will attempt a supreme effort against God and His Christ. Michael, the champion of the rights of God of Heaven, will rise again, and will defend the servants of Christ, overthrowing the seducer from his throne and kill him. This is the teaching of the of the doctors. They teach us, by the witness of Saint Gregory, that the Archangel Saint Michael will be the celestial envoy who will kill the Anti-Christ. It is written, it’s true, that the Lord Jesus will kill the Anti-Christ by a breath of His mouth; but the commentators understood by these words a command given by the Christ to His Archangel: Saint Michael will act as His minister, as a ray of His glory.

Then will sound the solemn hour, the last hour.

Next all the inhabitants of the earth must appear before the Eternal One. At the voice of the Archangel, at the resounding call of the trumpet, a mighty life will flow in the bowels of the upset ground and at the last sound of the angelic instrument, in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, the men will come out of their graves.

The cross of Jesus Christ, in the valiant hands of Saint Michael, the standard bearer, will hit their frightened eyes. Then, like the lightning that shines in the west and illuminates to the east, the Christ will appear majestically in the midst of a shining cloud of celestial spirits.

All men will be there, assembled by the angels: the wicked seized with terror, aghast in inexpressible anguish; the good ones filled with an indelible hope and raised by love, throwing themselves into the air at the coming of the Savior. The angels will make the preparatory separation for judgment and the discussion will open.

The sentence will be pronounced, the angels will fly to its execution. Taking the head of the brilliant cortege, Saint Michael will lead the Elect to Paradise and will present them before the throne of God. Then thundering like lightning, he will hurl the damned into the abyss of fire, and bury the gates forever. Such will be the prelude to eternity.

The Church calls this the Day of Judgement. Happy they who, while they live, have asked Saint Michael’s help and protection for they will not perish in the day of terror.

 

Practice: The sentence which is laid upon us on the last day will be such as we shall have prepared it during our lifetime; God will only ratify our choice: it's up to us to choose.

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