9 - 12 minutes readWednesday – First Week After Pentecost ~ St Alphonsus

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Wednesday – First Week After Pentecost

Morning Meditation

HOLY COMMUNION THE GREAT GIFT OF JESUS CHRIST TO MAN

Take ye and eat: this is my body-(Matt. xxvi. 26). Let us consider how great a Gift Jesus Christ has bestowed upon us in giving us His entire Self to be our Food in Holy Communion. St. Augustine says that Jesus, though He is the Almighty God, could give us no more. “Omnipotent though He is, He could give no more.”

I.

Consider how great a Gift Jesus Christ has bestowed upon us in giving us His entire Self to be our Food in the Holy Communion. St. Augustine says that Jesus, though He is the Almighty God, yet could give us no more: “Omnipotent though He is, He could give no more. ” And St. Bernardine of Sienna adds that no greater treasure can be in the heart of man than the Body of Christ: “What greater treasure can a soul desire or achieve than the most holy Body of Jesus Christ?” The Prophet Isaias exclaims: Make his works known among the people-(Is. xii. 4). Publish, O men, the loving invitations of our good God! If our Redeemer had not given us this Gift, who could ever have asked It of Him? Who could ever have dared to say to Him: Lord, if Thou wilt make us know Thy love, conceal Thyself under the species of bread, and allow us to feed on Thee? This very idea would have been reckoned folly. “Would it not have been thought madness,” says St. Augustine, “to say: Eat My Flesh, drink My Blood?” When Christ announced to His disciples this gift of the Most Holy Sacrament, which He intended to leave them, they could not bring themselves to believe, and many left Him saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat . . . This saying is hard, and who can hear it?-(Jo. vi. 53-61). But what men could never have imagined, the great love of Jesus Christ has thought of and accomplished.

St. Bernardine says that our Lord has left us this Sacrament as a Remembrance of the love He showed us in His Passion: This Sacrament is a memorial of His love.” And this agrees with what St. Luke records of the words of Jesus Christ Himself: Do this for a commemoration of me-(Luke xxii. 19). St. Bernardine adds that the love of Our Lord was not satisfied in sacrificing His life for us: before He died, He was constrained by this very love to give us the very greatest of all His gifts, by giving us Himself to be our Food: “In that excess of fervour, when He was ready to die for us, He was forced by exceeding love to do a greater work than He had ever yet accomplished, to give us Himself to be our Food.”

O my Jesus, what has led Thee to give Thy whole Self to be our Food? After this Gift, what hast Thou left to give us to force us to love Thee? O Lord, give us light, and make us know how excessive is the love which has made Thee reduce Thyself into Food to unite Thyself with us poor sinners. That Thou thus givest Thyself wholly to us is a reason why we should give ourselves wholly to Thee. My Redeemer, how could I have offended Thee Who hast loved me, and Who didst leave nothing undone to win my love? Thou didst become Man for me, Thou didst die for me, and didst make Thyself my Food; tell me what remains for Thee to do. I love Thee, O Infinite Goodness, Infinite Love!

II.

The Abbot Guerric says that Jesus has shown in this Sacrament the last effort of His love: “He poured forth upon His friends all the power of His love.” The Council of Trent expresses it still better in saying that in the Blessed Eucharist Jesus, “as it were poured forth the riches of His love towards man.”

What a proof of love it would be considered, says St. Francis of Sales, if a prince, being at table, should send a poor man a portion of his own, dish; and how much more if he should send him his whole dinner! But what would be thought if he should send him a portion of his own flesh? Jesus, in the Holy Communion, gives us not only part of His table, not only part of His Body, but His whole Body: Take ye and eat: this is my body.

And with His Body He gives us also His Soul and His Divinity. “In short,” says St. John Chrysostom, “He has given Himself wholly, and for Himself He has reserved nothing.” And the angelical Doctor says: “God has given us in the Holy Eucharist all that He is, and all that He has.” Behold this great God, Whom the whole world cannot contain, exclaims St. Bonaventure in admiration, makes Himself our Prisoner in the Holy Sacrament: “He Whom the whole world cannot contain is our Captive!” And if our Lord gives us His whole Self in the Blessed Eucharist, how can we fear that He will ever deny us any grace we ask of Him? How hath he not also, with him, given us all things (Rom. viii. 32).

Lord, come often into my soul, inflame me wholly with Thy holy love, and make me forget all else, to think of and love none but Thee. Most holy Mary, pray for me, and by thy intercession make me worthy frequently to receive Thy Son in His ever blessed Sacrament.

Spiritual Reading

CORAM SANCTISSIMO

SEVENTH VISIT

Behold I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world–(Matt. xxviii. 20). Thus our loving Shepherd, Who has given His life for us who are His sheep, would not separate Himself from us by death. Behold me, He says, beloved sheep, I am always with you; for you I have remained on earth in this Sacrament here you find me whenever you please, to help and console you by My presence. I will never leave you until the end of the world; as long as you are on earth. The Bridegroom, says St. Peter of Alcantara, wished to leave His bride company, that she might not remain alone during so long an absence; and therefore He left this Sacrament in which He Himself, the best companion He could leave her, remains.

My sweetest Lord, my most amiable Saviour, I am now visiting Thee upon this altar; but Thou returnest me the visit with far other love when Thou dost enter my soul in the Holy Communion. Thou art then, not only present to me, but Thou becomest my Food; Thou unitest and givest Thy whole self to me, so that I can then say with truth: My Jesus, Thou art now all mine. Since, then, Thou givest Thyself all to me, it is reasonable that I should give myself all to Thee. I am a worm, and Thou art God. O God of love! O love of my soul! when shall I find myself all Thine, in deeds, and not in words only? Thou canst do this; by the merits of Thy Blood increase my confidence, that I may at once obtain this grace of Thee, that I may find myself all Thine, and in nothing my own. Thou graciously hearest, O Lord, the prayers of all: hear now the prayers of a soul that indeed desires really to love Thee. I desire to love Thee with all my strength; I desire to obey Thee in all that Thou willest, without self-interest, without consolations, without reward. I wish to serve Thee through love, only to please Thee, only to content Thy Heart, which is so passionately enamoured of me. My reward will be to love Thee. O beloved Son of the Eternal Father, take possession of my liberty, of my will, of all that I possess, and of my entire self, and give me Thyself. I love Thee, I seek after Thee, I sigh after Thee; I desire Thee, I desire Thee, I desire Thee!

Ejac. My Jesus, make me all Thine own.

AN ACT OF SPIRITUAL COMMUNION

My Jesus, I believe that Thou art truly present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love Thee above all things, and I desire to possess Thee within my soul. Since I am unable now to receive Thee sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace Thee as already there, and unite myself wholly to Thee; never permit me to be separated from Thee.

VISIT TO MARY

Our own most amiable Lady, the whole Church proclaims and salutes thee as, “Our hope”! Thou; then, who art the hope of all, be also my hope. St. Bernard called thee “the whole ground of his hope,” and said: “Let him who despairs hope in thee.” Thus also will I address thee: My own Mary, thou savest even those who are in despair; in thee I place all my hope.

Ejac. Mary, Mother of God, pray to Jesus for me!

Concluding Prayer

Most holy Immaculate Virgin and my Mother Mary, to thee, who art the Mother of my Lord, and Queen of the world, the advocate, the hope, the refuge of sinners, I have recourse today I, who am the most miserable of all. I render thee my most humble homage, O great Queen, and I thank thee for all the graces thou hast conferred on me until now, particularly for having delivered me from hell, which I have so often deserved. I love thee, O most amiable Lady; and for the love which I bear thee, I promise to serve thee always, and to do all in my power to make others love thee also. I place in thee all my hopes; I confide my salvation to thy care. Accept me for thy servant, and receive me under thy mantle, O Mother of Mercy. And since thou art so powerful with God, deliver me from all temptations, or rather obtain for me the strength to triumph over them until death. Of thee I ask a perfect love of Jesus Christ. From thee I hope to die a good death.

O my Mother, for the love which thou bearest to God, I beseech thee to help me at all times, but especially at the last moment of my life. Leave me not, I beseech thee, until thou seest me safe in Heaven, blessing thee, and singing thy mercies for all eternity. Amen. So I hope. So may it be.

Evening Meditation

THE PRACTICE OF THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST

XX.-HE WHO LOVES JESUS CHRIST IS NOT VAIN, BUT HUMBLES HIMSELF, AND IS GLAD TO BE HUMBLED

I.

St. Francis of Sales said, “to support injury is the touchstone of humility and of true virtue.” If a person aspiring to spirituality practises prayer, frequent Communion, fasts, and mortifies himself, and yet cannot put up with an affront, or a biting word, what is it a sign of? It is a sign that he is a hollow reed, without humility and without virtue. And what indeed can a soul do that loves Jesus Christ, if she is unable to endure a slight for the love of Jesus Christ, Who has endured so much for her. Thomas a Kempis, in his golden little book of the Imitation of Christ, writes as follows: “Since you have such an abhorrence of being humbled, it is a sign that you are not dead to the world, have no humility, and that you do not keep God before your eyes. He that has not God before his eyes is disturbed at every syllable of censure that he hears.” Thou canst not endure cuffs and blows for God-endure at least a pass.

II.

Oh, what surprise and scandal does that person occasion, who communicates often, and then is ready to resent every little word of contempt! On the contrary, what edification does a soul give that answers contempt with words of mildness, spoken in order to conciliate the offender; or perhaps makes no reply at all, nor complains of it to others, but continues with placid looks and without showing the least sign of indignation! St. John Chrysostom says that a meek person is not only serviceable to himself but likewise to others, by the good example he sets them of meekness in bearing contempt: “The meek man is useful to himself and to others.” Thomas a Kempis mentions, with regard to this subject, several things in which we should practise humility. He writes as follows: “What others say shall command an attentive hearing, and what you say shall be taken no notice of. Others shall make a request and obtain it; you shall ask for something and meet with a refusal. Others shall be magnified in the mouths of men, and on you no one shall bestow a word. Such and such an office shall be conferred on others, but you shall be passed by as unfit for anything. With such like trials the Lord is wont to prove His faithful servant, and to see how far he has learnt to overcome himself and to hold his peace. Nature, indeed, will at times not like it; but you will derive immense profit thereby, if you support all in silence.”

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