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THE 



BLESSED EUCHARIST 



GREATEST TREASURE. 



BY MICHAEL MULLEE, 

Priest of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. 



" In the midst of you standeth One Whom you know not— the Iatchet of Whose 
shoe I am not worthy to loose." — John i. 26, 27. 



ELEVENTH REVISED EDITION. 



NEW YORK AND CINCINNATI; 

FR. PUSTET, 

Pbinteb to the Holy Apostolic See and the S. Cong, op Rites. 



1880. 






V 



Copyright, 
ERWIN STEINBACK, 

1878. 




J m prima tur L : 



MAETINUS JOANMES, 

Arcfdep. Baltt 



Dib 22 Octobee, 1867. 



PROTEST OF THE AUTHOR. 



TN obedience to the decrees of Urban VIII. of holy 
memory, I protest that I do not intend to attribute 
any other than purely human authority to all the mira- 
cles, revelations, graces and incidents contained in this 
book ; neither to the titles holy or blessed applied to 
the servants of God not yet canonized, except in cases 
where these have been confirmed by the Holy Roman 
Catholic Church and by the Holy Apostolic See, of 
whom I profess myself an obedient son ; and, therefore, 
to their judgment I submit myself and whatever I have 
written in this book. 



PREFACE 



My Dear Reader and Brother in Jesus Christ : 

1 N"CE the spirit of devotion that has urged me to 
U write this book, animates you to read it and 
makes us the happy children of the same loving 
Father, should you ever hear any person say I mio-ht 
have spared myself the labor, there being already so 
many learned and celebrated works which treat of 
this subject, I beg you to answer that our Lord Jesus 
Christ, in the Adorable Sacrament, is such an abun- 
dant fountain that the more it flows the fuller it be- 
comes, and the fuller it is the more it flows, which 
signifies that the most Holy Eucharist is so great 
and so sublime a mystery that the more we say of 
it the more remains to be said. If St. Alphonsus 
could say with all truth of the Passion of our Lord, 
" that eternity will not suflice to meditate adequately 
upon it," we may aflirm the same of Jesus Christ 
hidden in the Blessed Sacrament, and with a thou- 
sand times more justice apply to our subject what 
St. Augustine says in praise of the Blessed Virgin, 
viz : that all the tongues of men, even if all their 



PREFACE. 

members were changed into tongues, would not be 
sufficient to praise her as she deserves. 

"Worldly lovers are accustomed frequently to men- 
tion and praise those whom they love, that others 
also may praise and applaud them ; how poor and 
weak should we then consider the love of those who 
call themselves lovers of the Blessed Sacrament, and 
yet who seldom speak of it or think of endeavoring 
to inspire others with a love of it. The true lovers 
of the most Blessed Sacrament do not act thus ; they 
speak of it, praise it everywhere, in public and in 
private ; whenever it is in their power they try to 
enkindle in the hearts of all those ardent flames of 
love with which they themselves burn for their be- 
loved Jesus. 

The object of this little book is, then, to make 
Jesus, in the Blessed Eucharist, more generally 
known and better loved. Our Divine Saviour is 
ready to bestow innumerable graces through this 
Sacrament, which are lost in consequence of the ig- 
norance and indifference of men. When the most 
Holy Sacrament of the Altar is not revered and loved, 
scandals will abound, faith will languish, and the 
Church mourn. On the other hand, if this Sacra- 
ment be worthily frequented, peace will reign in 
Christian hearts, the devil will lose power and souls 
will be sanctified. " As many as received Him to 
them He gave power to be made the sons of God." 
It has seemed to me that a work explanatory of the 
prominent points of this mystery, written in a 



PREFACE. 

simple and familiar style, would greatly contribute to 
remove the obstacles to a right appreciation of this 
wonderful Sacrament of Divine love ; and with this 
conviction I have ventured to lay the following pages 
before the public, trusting, with the blessing of God, 
they may prove useful to many souls. 

As Almighty God in His goodness imparts His 
favors to His faithful followers in divers ways, some 
times by enlightening their minds in a supernatural 
manner, and even conversing with them familiarly 
as it were, and as the nature of this work is intended 
to be practical, not controversial, I have thought it 
expedient for the edification of pious souls to intro- 
duce into it, after the manner of the Holy Fathers, 
both some revelations made to certain saints, and 
several miraculous facts concerning this mystery. I 
know there are some persons who, boasting of being 
free from prejudices, take great credit to themselves 
for believing ^o miracles but those recorded in the 
Holy Scriptures, esteeming all others as tales and 
fables for foolish women. But it will be well to re. 
member here a remark of the learned St. Alphonsus, 
who says, " that the bad are as ready to deride mira- 
cles as the good are to believe them ; adding, that, as 
it is a weakness to give credit to all things, so, on 
the other hand, to reject miracles which come to us 
attested by grave and pious men, either savors of 
infidelity which supposes them impossible to God, or 
of presumption which refuses belief to such a class 
of authors. We give credit to a Tacitus, a Sueto- 



X PREFACE. 

nius, and can we deny it without presumption to 
Christian authors of learning and probity. There 
is less risk in believing and receiving what is related 
with some probability by honest persons and not re- 
jected by the learned, and which serves for the edifi- 
cation of our neighbor, than in rejecting it with a 
disdainful and presumptuous spirit." Hence Pope 
Benedict XI V. says : " Though an assent of Catho- 
lic faith be not due to them, they deserve a human 
assent according to the rules of prudence by which 
they are probable and piously credible." 

Eow should the Reverend Clergy deem this pub- 
lication ever so little calculated to promote devotion 
to the Blessed Sacrament, the compiler will believe 
himself amply rewarded for his labor if they en 
courage its circulation. 

Michael Muller, C. S.S. R. 

St. Alphoxsus', Baltimore, Md. 
December 8th, 1867. 





CONTENTS 



7^^; 



CHAPTER I. PAe* 

The Doctrine of the Real Presence . . . 1 

CHAPTER II. 
On the Reverence due to Jesus Christ in the 

Blessed Sacrament .... 29 

CHAPTER III. 
On the Love op Jesus Christ in the Blessed 

Sacrament 44 

CHAPTER IV. 

On Yisiting Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sac- 
rament . . 61 

CHAPTER V. 
On the Great Desire of Jesus Christ to enter 

into our Hearts in Holy Communion . . ¥l 

CHAPTER VI. 
On Preparation for Communion . . . .91 

CHAPTER VII. 
On Thanksgiving after Communion . . . 105 

CHAPTER VIII. 
On the Effects of Holy Communion . , .124 

xi 



XU CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER IX. *>A« B 

The Excuses of those who do not Communicate 

Frequently .... . 145 

CHAPTER X. 
On Unworthy Communion 167 

CHAPTER XL 
On Spiritual Communion 185 

CHAPTER XII. 

Considerations on the Virtues that Jesus 
Christ Teaches us in the Most Holy Sac- 
rament of the Altar 189 

CHAPTER XIII. 

The Most Holy Festival of Corpus Christi and 

its Origin 191 

CHAPTER XIV. 
Additional Examples Relating to the Real 

Presence 208 

CHAPTER XV. 
The Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass . . 244 

CHAPTER XVI. 

On the Ceremonies of Mass .... 276 

CHAPTER XVII. 

An Exhortation to hear Mass Devoutly . . 287 

CHAPTER XVIII. 

Examples Relating to the Holy Sacrifice of 

the Mass 304 

Hymn . 320 

Oblation 322 



THE BLESSED EUCHARIST 



OUR 



GREATEST TREASURE. 



CHAPTER I. 




THE DOCTRINE OF THE REAL PRESENCE. 

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 Liu ! If I had known that, I would have thrown 

l 



2 THE DOCTRINE OF 

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 cap- 
tive 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 know- 
ing Him ? " It is because He has put on a strange gar- 
ment, and appears in disguise. Our Lord Jesus Christ 
abides in two places : in heaven, where He shows Him- 
self 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 



THE REAL PRESENCE. 3 

iesus 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 substan* 
tiaUy 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 so new and wonder- 
ful a 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 Eedeemer 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 



4 THE DOCTRINE OF 

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 mir- 
acle. This great miracle was the feeding of five thou- 
sand men with five loaves and two fishes. The people 
having witnessed this miracle, were all so full of rever- 
ence 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 intro- 
duce the subject of the heavenly food which He was 
about to give to the world. "Amen," said Jesus, "I 
say to you; 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." ] 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." 2 In these words He shows the superi 

' St. John vi. 26, 27. ' 9 ^W. v. 32, 33. 



TEE REAL PRESENCE. 6 

ority 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 so wonderful a 
kind of bread, said to Him : " Lord, give us this bread 
always." x 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." 2 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." 3 His 
disciples hearing this, said : " This saying is hard, and 
who can hear it." 4 Jesus, knowing that' His disciples 
murmured at this, said to them: "Does this scandalize 
you?" 5 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 

1 SI. John v. 34, 3 Ibid. v. 57. ' Ibid. v. 62. 
1 ioid. v. 52. 4 Ibid. v. 61. 

J* 



B THE DOCTRINE OF 

'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." 1 Remark the 
noble simplicity of the apostle's faith. They believe 
the words of their Master without the least hesitation ; 
they receive His words in that sense in which the other-' 
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 prom- 
ises, and too powerful to find difficulty in fulfilling 
them. 

From this time forward the disciples were constantly 
expecting that Jesus Christ would fulfil 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." 2 

Now in these words we must consider especially rhe 

' SI, John v. 68-70. a St. Matt. xxvi. 2ft M. 



THE REAL PRESENCE. 7 

speaker. It was God Himself. It was the same God 
Who created heaven and earth out of nothing ; Who, 
in the beginning, said: a 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, with the exception of eight persons, by water ; 
Who destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah 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, Je- 
sus 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 as- 
cended 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 in- 



8 THE DOCTRINE OF 

stantaneously changed bread into His Body, and wise 
into His Blood. 

To those who doubt this, we may apply the reproof 
idnch St. Jane Frances de Chantal once gave to a Cal- 
/inist 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 be- 
lieve 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 
communications with idolatry, and to abstain from 
things offered to idols, and he uses the following argu- 
ment to persuade them: "The chalice of blessing which 
we bless, is it not the communion of the Blood of 
Christ f And the bread which we break, is it not the 
communion of the Body of the Lord?" 1 Here he ex- 
pressly says that in the Holy Eucharist we communi- 
cate and partake of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. 
And still further on he says, in the same epistle to the 

1 \ Cor. x. 16. 



THE REAL PRESENCE. 9 

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 far- 
ther and says : " He that eateth and drinketh un- 
worthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, 
not discerning the Body of the Lord." 1 How could 
the Apostle declare that any one 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 be- 
cause 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 
Antioch, who lived in the first century, wrote as fol- 
lows to the faithful of Smyrna : " Because the heretics 
refuse to acknowledge the Holy Eucharist to be 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, in order that our souls may be filled with God 
Himself." " Who," asks St. John Chrysostom, 2 "will 
give us of his flesh that we may be filled." 3 This, Christ 

1 1 Cor. xi. 29. a De Resurrect, carnis c. viii. 3 Job xxxi. 31. 



10 THE DOCTRINE OF 

has done, allowing Himself not only to be seen, but to 
be touched too, and to be eaten, to be united to us, thus 
gratifying all our wishes. Parents often give their 
children to others to nurse them: not so do I, says 
Christ, — "I nourish you with My flesh and plr.^ My- 
self before you. I was willing to become your brother , 
for your sake I took flesh and blood ; and again I de- 
liver to you that flesh and blood by which I became sc 
nearly related to you." 1 In like manner do all thi 
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 J 
have borne for thirty-three years, the very body thai 
shall be to-morrow nailed to the cross. 

Moreover, as in Him the human nature was insepa- 
rably united to the divine, He Himself — His whole 
humanity and divinity — was contained under that out- 
ward appearance of bread. "How is this possible? 7 ' 
you ask. I answer : " By the Almighty power of God.* 
Is it not as easy for Him to change bread into His 

1 Homil. in Joan. xlvi. 



THE REAL PRESENCE. \ 1 

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 
Heal 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 Aim ighiy, Cre- 
ator of heaven and earth." "Stop," said the other; 
"that is enough. You say that you believe in &n 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 ms&nt 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. Un- 
der the image of our Saviour he wrote the words : 



12 THE DOCTRINE OF 

" 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 dis- 
putants, 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 
to this doctrine. In the early ages of the Church, he 
incited Simon the Magician and the Manicheans to deny 
it, and in later times, he seduced Berengarius to follow 
their example ; but he never succeeded so well as with 
Luther, Calvin, Zwinglius, and the other heresiarchs 
of the sixteenth century. Luther acknowledges him- 
self that the devil once appeared to him in a visible 
shape, saying to him : " During fifteen years you have 
daily celebrated private Masses, what if all those Masses 
have been a horrible idolatry ? What if the body and 
blood of Jesus Christ be not present there, and that 
yourself adored and made others adore bread and 
wine." 1 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 
Ml into his power, but will obtain eternal life, and on 

1 See History of the Keformation, by M. J. Spalding, D.D.. Archbishop 
of Baltimore, vol L, note B., p. 476. 



THE REAL PRESENCE. 13 

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 succes- 
sors, the Catholic bishops and priests, to consecrate, i. e. f 
to change bread and wine into His Body and Blood. 
" Do this,' 7 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 human- 
ity and Divinity. After consecration 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 sensi- 
ble quality is just the same after the consecration as it 
was before it. In a word, whatever is capable of being 
perceived bv the senses remains, but the substance, 
2 



t 4 VBE DOCTRINE OF 

which is perceived by the understanding alone, and not 
by the senses, is changed. 

But you will ask perhaps: "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 
vv e do not see.'' * 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." 2 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 mani- 
festations of Himself in the Blessed Sacrament which 
He has sometimes granted to His chosen servants. 

One day, when St. Louis, king of France, was in- 
vited to go to a church in which our Lord appeared in 
the Holy Eucharist under the form of an infant, he re- 
plied : " I will not go to see my Lord in the Holy Eu- 
charist, 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 

1 St. Paul. ' John sx - 29 * 



THE REAL PRESENCE. 15 

host one day at Mass, saw blood issuing from it, * i ^re 
upon, filled with reverential awe, he determined to lead 
a holier life in future, and in fact he soon became re- 
nowned for his sanctity. St. Hugo happened 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 sen- 
sible 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 with- 
out seeing, as our Lord Himself assures us. "Blessed 
are they that have not seen and yet believe." ■ 

The second reason why our Lord hidp< 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 ap- 
proach Him? Surely no one. But Jesus most ear- 
nestly 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 sen- 
sible manner in the Holy Eucharist. Church history 

1 St. John xx. 29 



16 THE DOCTRINE OF 

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 com- 
munion 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 w T hen 
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,' 7 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 in- 
spired great veneration." This miracle gave rise to a 
confraternity in honor of the Most Holy Eucharist, to 
which several popes, especially Paul III. and Innocent 
XL granted numerous indulgences. 1 

In the village of Les Ulmes de St. Florcnt> in the 

1 X\ Favre Le Ciel ouvert. 



THE RE A L PRESENCE. 1 ? 

diocese of Angers, the following miracle occurred on 
the second of June, 1666, the Saturday within the oc- 
tave 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 parish- 
ioners to come and witness the miracle : " If there be 
any infidel here," said he, " let him now draw near." 
Every one 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 testi- 
mony in favor of this miracle, caused it to be proclaimed , 
throughout the whole of France. 

The Blessed Nicholas Fattori, a Franciscan friar, re- 
markable 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 sanc- 
tified 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. 
2* b 



18 THE DOCTRINE OF 

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

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 Mass, went one Sunday to receive holy com- 
munion 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 Pon- 
tiff 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 re- 
ceive 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 confirma- 
tion of the truth, would cause all to see with the eyes 
of the body what the unbelief of this woman had pre- 
vented her from seeing with the eyes of the soul. Ac- 
cordingly, 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 Trhifi 
Who declares : " The bread which I give is My flesh, 
and My blood is drink indeed." This woman never 



THE REAL PRESENCE. 19 

again doubted of the Real Presence, and soon made 
great progress in virtue. 

I shall adduce only one more instance which is re- 
lated by St. Alphonsus, in his History of Heresies. It 
occurred about the time in which Wiekliffe 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 con- 
vert those unhappy wretches. They now concealed the 
particles in a meadow near the city of Posen. Some 
time afterwards, a cowherd, on crossing this meadow, 
saw the small particles of the host rising into the air 
and shining like fiery flames; he saw, moreover, thafc 
the oxen fell on their knees as if in adoration. The 
cowherd, who was a Catholic, told his father what he 
had seen, and the father, having also witnessed the mir- 
acle, acquainted the magistrate of the fact. Thereupon 
a great concourse of people flocked to the place to wit- 
ness 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 Bohemia; and Stephen, 
the Archbishop, testifies to his having seen in this 
church these bloody particles. 



20 THE DOCTRINE OF 

aou 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, 
s it was in the entire host. The Fathers of the Church 
.^rplain this by the comparison of a broken mirror, for, 
jiUBt as each part of the mirror reflects the entire image 
which the whole reflected before it was broken, so als* 
floes each particle of the host contain Christ's body en- 
tire, 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 
<j;<ler 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. More- 
over, 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 to bo again 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 
: .s present whole and entire under the species of bread 
as well as in the least particle of it, and He is also 
present whole and entire under the species of wine, as 
well as in the least particle of it. On this account, the 
Church moved by several weighty reasons, commuiu- 



THE REAL PRESENCE. 



91 



cates the faithful under the form of bread only, know- 
ing that they are thereby deprived of no part of the 
Sacrament, but that they receive the blood of J&u3 
Christ as truly as if they drank it out of the chalice. 
That our Lord's blood is contained along with Hia 
body in the sacred host, is proved, not only by the 
authority of the Church and the Scriptures, and by tha 
arguments from reason which I have just stated, bnJ 
also by numerous miracles. Some of those wliksli I 
have already related prove this doctrine. I will ih. •• 
fore, add but one more. 

It is related in the chronicles of the Hieronimites, 
that a religious of that order, named Peter of Cavane- 
las, 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: On? 
Saturday, as he was saying Mass in honor of ou: 
Blessed Lady, a thick cloud descended upon the altar 
ind enveloped it completely. When the cloud had 
disappeared, he looked for the host he had consecrated, 
Out could not find it. The chalice, too, was empty. 
Full of prayer, 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 hand- 
writing. 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 



22 THE DOCTRINE OF 

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 eon- 
soling is the doctrine of the Real Presence ! Indeed, it 
is one of the most wonderful and most consoling of all 
doctrines. It is the centre of Catholic devotion, and 
has ever been the object of the most rapturous contem- 
plation 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 1 will con- 
clude 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 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 Sacra- 
ment, even when it was hidden and at a considerable 
distance. Blessed Ida of Lou vain was always sensible 
of fcbi 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 



THE REAL PRESENCE. 23 

tric^e 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 wit- 
nessed by her friend Eva. 1 One day the Franciscans 
of Yillonda invited the holy Carmelite Cassetus to visit 
them, and to try him they took the Blessed Sacrament 
out of the tabernacle in which it was usually kept iind 
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 Cas- 
setus turned towards the high altar, but Cassetus im- 
mediately pointed out the spot where the Blessed Sacra- 
ment 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." 2 

St. Francis Borgia had the same gift, and on enter- 
ing 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 Tyrol- 
ese Virgin, upon whom God bestowed so many miracu- 
lous 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 pass- 

1 Ibid. " ■ Ibid. 



24 THE DOCTRINE OF 

ing by, carrying the Viaticum to the sick, without bell 
or chant, or any sound that could give notice of its 
approach. 1 

In the life of St. Lidwina of Holland, it is recorded 
that the priest, in order to try her, gave her an uncon- 
secrated 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 Car- 
melite 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, car- 
ried 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. 2 

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." 

1 Catholic Magazine. ■ Her life by P. Poesl, C. S.S. R. 



THE REAL PRESENCE. 25 

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 impos- 
sible, 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 con- 
siders 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 cre- 
ated 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; 



%6 THE DOCTRINE OF 

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 effica- 
cious 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 Ave should ask for it again and 
again without ceasing. Pray, therefore, for it, 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. Heai 
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 afthis, and said to 
himself: "O my Lord! what shall become of me? I, 
too, must one day preach on Thy presence in the Holy 



THE REAL PRESENCE. 27 

Eucharist ; but how feeble will my words be in com- 
parison 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, par- 
ticularly 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 content- 
ment of heart as in a church where the Blessed Sacra- 
ment 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 under- 
stood." 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 re- 
proached 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 



28 THE DOCTRINE OF THE REAL PRESENCE. 

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 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 Di- 
vine Presence?" Alas! this reproach is but too just. 
How true are the words of the Evangelist : " He w r as 
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 Evangel- 
ist 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 re- 
ward 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, hast yet believed." 



CHAPTER II. 




ON THE REVERENCE DUE TO JESUS CHRIST 
IN TEE BLESSED SACRAMENT. 

YOUNG Portuguese travelled 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 gar- 
ments and a torn cloak, and hastened to the house of 
his cousin Peter. In this disguise he claimed relation- 
ship : " 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 posi- 
tion, and thus, by ties of kindred, I crave hospitality 
at your hands." "Ah! would to heaven I could ac- 
commodate you, my dear John," replied Peter. " Ex- 
cuse me, my house is wholly occupied." John, play- 
ing 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 



s* 



29 



30 ON TIIE REVERENCE DUE TO 

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 mul- 
titude 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 oppor- 
tunity 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 



JESUS CHRIST IN THE BLESSED SACRAMENT. ol 

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 ? Un- 
fortunately, to a very great number of Christians of the 
present day. How is that, you will ask me, perhaps ? 
Because, as they paid little or no attention to their rela- 
tive in his poverty, so, in the same manner, a great 
many Christians pay little or no reverence to. Jesus 
Christ, when humbly concealect 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, a^ 
though wrapped in the purest devotion, 'Yell, 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 sorcer- 
ess, 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 hardlv 



62 ON THE REVERENCE DUE TO 

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 forgetful- 
ness 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 taber- 
nacle and in the remonstrance. They are deceived by 
their senses. In the remonstrance, or in the hands of 
the priest at Mass, they see nothing but the white host, 
and their thoughts penetrate no farther. But if they 
only reflected on what their faith teaches, viz., that 
under that little host Jesus Christ conceals His heav- 
enly 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 was 
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 



JESUS CHRIST IN THE BLESSED SACix^MENT. 33 

the Royal Antechamber! Theresa loud word is an 
impertinence ; there, unbecoming attire is a crime. But 
hark I 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 obse- 
quious courtiers stand in the presence of their King. 
What an unpardonable breach of decorum would it not 
be for any one, 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 h 
indignant with us for even making the comparison, and 
it is with reason. For what is an emperor when com- 
pared to the King of Heaven and earth? lie 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 I" 
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 ex- 
teriorly, 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." 

C 



34 ON THE REVERENCE DUE TO 

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 Cove- 
nant ! No one dared approach it ; yet fifty thousand 
persons who, through curiosity, ventured to gaze there- 
at, were struck dead, as a punishment for their rash 
act I 1 Yet, what did the ark contain? "A golden pot 
that had manna, and the rod of Aaron that had blos- 
somed, and the tables of the covenant." 2 But in the 
Holy Eucharist, faith tells us that God Himself is pres- 
ent, 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 wor- 
shippers, whose deportment will correspond to their 
belief. The modest attire, the guarded eye, the bended 
knee, the meekly folded hands, will bespeak the convic- 
tion 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 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 
ai?: rations inflamed, the eye melted to tears of tender- 

1 1 Kings vi. 19. 5 Heb, ix. t. 



JESUS CHRIST IN THE BLESSED SACRAMENT. 35 

ness, and the voice broken with sighs like those of the 
poor puMican: " God, be merciful to me a miner!" 
or like unt^ that of St. Peter, " Lord, retire from me, 
j or 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, be- 
sides the dogma which assures him that he is in the 
presence of his God. If, then, he be but a little recol- 
lected, he will be, almost necessarily, respectful. 

This, then, is the great means of preserving a rever- 
ent deportment, to remember Who He is that is en- 
closed 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 exam- 
ples, 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 1 testify to having seen 
at the time of Mass many hosts of Angels in human 
form, clothed with white garments and standing round 
the altar as soldiers stand before their king. But what 

' De SiK-erd., lib. 0. c. 4- v 



36 ON THE REVERENCE DUE TO 

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 un worthiness to appear be- 
fore the Divine Majesty. O 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 be- 
fore 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 move- 
ment ! ! O what a subject of confusion ! What hu- 
miliating 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 man- 
kind, 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, 



JESUS CHRIST IN THE BLESSED SACRAMENT. 3? 

mingled with the common throng. Inclemency Q f 
weather deterred him not from paying this tribute of 
honor to his Lord. One day, as he was devoutly ac 
companying the Blessed Sacrament with uncovered 
head, a page held his hat over him, to shield him from 
the burning sun. " Never mind," said Philip, " th* 
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 
th*m complain of being tired. Shall I, then, complain 
of fatigue when I am waiting upon my Lord and my 
(rod, 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." 1 

Whilst the Lutheran heresy was spreading its rav- 
ages throughout Germany, Charles V., of Spain, haet- 

1 Bursa's History of Austria. 



38 ON THE REVERENCE DUE TO 

ened 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 cele- 
brated with every possible pomp and magnificence ; the 
Emperor Charles assisted thereat with the most edifying 
devotion. At the procession, the Prince Bishop of May- 
ence carried the Most xldorable Sacrament, being sup- 
ported on the right by Ferdinand, the Koman 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 Pomcrania; 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 un- 
covered 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 in- 
herited 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 



JESUS CHRIST IN THE BLESSED SACRAMENT. 39 

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. Be- 
fore 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 bespeak honor 
and ease, cheerfully submit to humiliation, inconven- 
ience, 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 forego our ease. This 
being the case, whilst we honor the great ones of the 
earth, shall we refuse to join with them in worshipping 
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, then, add 
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 mi- 
nute ritual and her costly ornaments, but to inspire or 



40 ON THE REVERENCE DUE TO 

express reverence for her Divine Spouse? Why is the 
priest who celebrates Mass, and the faithful who receive 
communion, 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 gen u flex i or s, 
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 inju- 
ries which Jesus Christ has received from men, whether 
at the time of His visible sojourn on earth or since the 
establishment of His Eeligion, especially in the Sacra- 
ment of His love. 

What is the procession of Corpus Christi but o. re- 
versal of the judgment which an unbelieving world 
passed upon our Lord, and a compensation for the out- 
rages 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 Cai- 
phas, 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 envi- 
ous 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 
TT im reverence. As then His ears resounded with the 



JESUS CHRIST IN THE BLESSED SACR ANIENT. 41 

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 remon- 
strance; while civil magistrates, with their insignia, and 
troops of heroes, with glittering arms and waving ban- 
ners, 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 w T e 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 remon- 
strance. 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 of Paul and bend the 
knee when it costs us the most excruciating pain to do 
so. Nevertheless, we are bound, at least, to avoid of- 
fending our Divine Lord, and dishonoring Him to His 

face. We are bound, when about to receive Holy Com- 

4* 



42 . ON THE REVERENCE DUE TO 

munion, carefully to prepare ourselves by a good con- 
fession, 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, rev- 
erent, and humble in attitude and deportment. We 
ought to regard all our members as, in some way, con- 
secrated by Jesus Christ Whom we so often receive, or, 
at least, Whom we visit in the Church. It is not fit- 
ting that the feet, which have 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, im- 
pure, 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 
are such indecencies perpetrated ! 

When one thinks of the offences which Jesus Christ 
receives in this Sacrament, of the sacrilegious commun- 
ions 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 le- 
ceive, all this is enough to make the true Christian 
shudder with horror. Yes, we are inclined to believe 
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 Sacramrni, 



JESUS CHRIST IN THE BLESSED SACRAMENT. 43 

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 re- 
ceive 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. O 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. 





CHAPTER III. 

ON THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST IN THE 
BLESSED SACRAMENT 

NE clay 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. This 
happened in the following manner : Our Divine Re- 
deemer 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 de- 
tain their Divine Master, Jesus Christ, with them on 

44 



ON THE LO VE OF CHRIST IN THE SACRAMENT. 4f 

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 Apos- 
tles, 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 car- 
penter?" "Why do you listen to Him?" said the 
Pharisees. " Do you not see that He has a devil, that 
He is possessed, that Pie 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 dis- 
honored 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 g«&i£» 
flexion before Him as if they wished to mock Him; 



4<5 OK THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST 

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 con- 
secrated 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 — con- 
tempt, mockery and insult, or coldness and indifference 
towards His Divine Majesty! Certainly, the expecta- 
tion 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 heie so long, to re- 
main on earth for eighteen hundred years, yea even until 
the end of the world, to be present in the Blessed Sacra- 
ment in every place, in every parish church in America, 
Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, in the isles of the sea, 
aT>d even sometimes in the midst of the ocean itself? 



IN THd blessed sacrament. 47 

\h! 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 iu 
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 Sacra- 
ment when, in the twelfth year of His age, He travelled 
to Jerusalem, or at the wedding in Cana, or when He 
was thirty years old and began to teach publicly, or Ho 
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 fromeirt 



48 ON THE LOVE JF JESUS CHRIST 

of His life, in order that men might the better see the ex- 
cess 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 chil- 
dren, in order to show them how much he loves them. 
What time do you think, this father will choose for be- 
stowing these gifts, as being best calculated to make a 
deep impression on them? He will wait until he is on 
his death-bed, 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 bequeatl 
to those whom they love that which they value th* 
most. At the very moment when they are seeking h 
betray Me; at the very moment when the Pharisees an« 
Jews f.re planning to remove me out of the world, I 



IN THE BLESSED SACRAMENT. 49 

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 ! AVhat man or Angel would ever have 
conceived such a thing ! And supposing it had oc- 
curred 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 sacrile- 
gious ? Now, what the angels could never have con- 
ceived, nor men dared to ask, the immense love of God 
has given us unasked. 

Hence our Lord was right indeed to say to His Dis- 
ciples 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 death-bed says to her 
weeping children: "Dear children, I must now die, and 
leave you. I recommend you to God, and to the pro- 
tection 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 
6 D 



50 ON THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST 

will remain always with you in My most Holy Sacra- 
ment. 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 
oread 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 towards 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 Thy- 
self 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, 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 



IN THE BLESSED SACRAMENT. 51 

Moses on Mount Sinai; Who, at Babylon, delivered 
the three youths from the flames of the burning fur- 
nace; 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 Chris- 
tian, you esteem Simeon happy in having been per- 
mitted 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 vouch- 
safed 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 
the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph 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 the Blessed Virgin 
and St. Joseph, but you have a still greater happiness, 
for the Saviour Himself nourishes you and gives Him- 



52 ON THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST 

self 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 his- 
tory here and there records, when the cravings of hun- 
ger 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 giv<5 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 mu\;h as 
to give his own life for them ; while no king ever loved 
a beggar so much as to suffer, for his cake, the loss of 
life or limb j while even a mother ran grow cruel to- 
wards the fruit of her womb, Jesus / our God and our 
King, has loved us so much as to ^ive Himself to us 
whole and entire. His Flesh and Blood, His Human- 
ity and Divinity really and substantially. 

"I am the good Shepherd," says Jesus; "a good 
shepherd gives his life for his sherp." He seems to 
say to us : "I give my life for you, each day, at each 
Holy Mass, at each Holy Commurion. I am the God 



IN THE BLESSED SACRAMENT. 53 

of Supreme Wisdom ; but I cannot find a more ade- 
quate 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 con- 
soling!" It is so, sweet Lord, I acknowledge Thy infi- 
nite love, and full of amazement at Thy immense char- 
ity, I find no better words to express my wonder than 
those of Thy saints : " Lord, Thou hast become foolish 
from love towards us." l " 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!" 2 

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, some one 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?" jSTo, 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 

1 -5t. Mary Magdalene de Pazzis. 5 St. Augustine. 

6* 



54 ON THE LOVE OF JESUS CUEIST 

eyes being dazzled. None of us could look steadily a\ 
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 over- 
whelmed with awe and terror ? Yea, a mortal agon} 
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 in- 
supportable to them. Cain, too, acted in the same man- 
ner 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 



IX THE BLESSED SACRAMENT. 55 

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 w T hen the Bethsamites looked 
upon the ark of the covenant with irreverent curiosity. 
More than fifty thousand were punished with death for 
having gazed at the ark of the covenant of the Lord, 
containing a golden pot that had manna, and the rod 
of Aaron that had blossomed, and the tables of the cov- 
enant. 1 " 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 
oenefit, 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 spe- 
cial love by concealing Himself in the Blessed Sacra- 

1 Hebrews ix. 4. 



56 ON THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST 

ment, 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, never- 
theless, 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 almost 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. 

O, 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 be- 
hold 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, inti- 
mate 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 approach 
their Divine Saviour with love and affection. ISTo one 
would venture to draw near to Him, in order to con- 
verse witfi Him, and to explain to Him his wants. Th<» 



IN THE BLESSED SACRAMENT. 57 

anfathomable Mystery of the Blessed Sacrament would 
no longer be amor amorum — (i. e. love of all love, 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 Ma- 
jesty 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 refieiam vos." (Come 
to Me all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will 
refresh you. 1 ) "Venite omnes/ 7 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 refieiam vos, I will refresh fou, I 

1 Matt. xi. 28. 



58 ON THE LOVE OF JESUS CUEIST 

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 ami- 
able and sweet heart of Jesus Christ invented this won- 
derful 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 
de 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 un* 



IN THE BLESSED SACRAMENT. 59 

Sjf^akable happiness. I hear Thee complain of us, O 
dear Jesus, as Thou didst one day complain to the 
Blessed Margaret Alacoque, 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 re- 
turn 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 com- 
plaint 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 in- 
digent; 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 which is almost beside itself 
with love — 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 touch- 
ing 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 



60 ON THE LOVE OF CHRIST IN THE SACRAMEJST. 

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 com- 
mandments, 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." 



CHAPTER IV. 




ON VISITING JESUS CHRIST IN THE BLESSED 
SACRAMENT 

HERE 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. 
iVh ! tell us where He is ; we desire so much to see Him ; 
we have made so long a journey in order to become ac- 
quainted 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 in- 
cident among the many wonderful events in the life of 
our God and Saviour. On hearing, or reading the ac- 
count, 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 liad lived at the time of the Apostles, 

6 m CI 



62 ON VISITING JESUS CHRIST 

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 travelling far or of making 
many inquiries to find Him. He is, as we know by faith, 
in our churches, not far from our homes. The Magi could 
find Him in one place only ; we can find Him in every 
part of the 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 hap- 
pier than they — no faithful soul can doubt it. 

But can we say also that we know how to avail our 
selves of this happiness ? Alas ! how many are ther^ 
perhaps who must confess that, up to this day, they have 
never visited Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, re- 
sembling Jutta, the niece of the Empress, St. Cunegunda, 
of whom it is related that she stayed at home, without 
any plausible reason, whilst 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 life-long monitor for her. Such 
a monitor, however, is not given to every one 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, 1, >t only for her- 
self, but especially for all those who are cold and indif- 



IN THE BLESSED SACRAMENT. 63 

ferent 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." 1 O, 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." 2 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 : 
u 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 ? O, 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 ungrate- 
fully if you did not have recourse to him in your neces- 

1 Frov. viii. 31. 3 St. Matt, xi, 28. 



(J4 ON VISITING JESUS CHRIST 

sities. 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 necessi- 
ties ? What would you say of such a lord ? " Oh ! " 
you would exclaim, a 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 have 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 sin« 
ners ; He takes up His abode in our churches for the 
convenience of each one of us. O 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 Pazzis, 
as we read in her life, visited Jesus Christ in the 
Blessed Sacrament thirty-three times a day. The Coun- 
tess of Feria, a fervent disciple of the venerable Father 
Avila, and afterwards a nun of the Order of I J o>r Clares, 



IN THE BLESSED SACRAMENT. 65 

was callod 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 ad- 
vanced 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 Aloys la Nuza, 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 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 
"ime, when that period had elapsed it was as great a 
6* E 



66 ON VISITING JESUS CHRIST 

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 v>f the 
Saints confound us, who have so little love for Jesus 
Christ and are so negligent in visiting Him ! But 
some one 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 be- 
cause you like them. If you appear but seldom befvo 



IN THE BLESSED SACRAMENT. 67 

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 
Bohemia? or St. Lewis, 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. 
Ag-ain, do not sav, "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 
liict if God did not bless their temporal affairs, they 
V aid : it traced, nay, that they would be even in- 



68 ON VISITING JESUS CHRIST 

jurious and hurtful to their souls. Whenever St. 
Vincent of Paul had to transact any important business, 
he would go before the Blessed Sacrament and rec- 
ommend 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 Sac- 
rament St. Francis Xavier, too, found strength for his 
toils in India. Whilst his days were passed in saving 
souls, he passed much of the night in prayer before tin 
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 Assisium, he went immediately to com- 
municate 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 Counsellor, 
and I do carefully what He inspires me to do. He 
governs me, and it is by Him that I govern thoee 
whom He has confided to me." Do you, O Christian, 
understand this language? Do you understand how 
the blessing of heaver is to be obtained upor your 
affairs and undertakings ? Oh, were you to vis: it Jcsui 



IN THE BLESSED SACRAMENT. 69 

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 as- 
sured, that you will experience what so many holy 
souls have experienced whilst before the Blessed Sac- 
rament, 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 



70 ON VISITING JESUS CHRIST 

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 Sac- 
rament, for ever so short a time. 

Our Lord manifested this readiness to Blessed Bal- 
thasar 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, ordered them 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 open- 
ing 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 Assisium, in order to 
sack the city, St. Clare went before the Blessed Sacra- 
ment and prayed there in the following manner : " O 
Lord, shall, then, Thy servants be delivered up into 



IN THE BLESSED SACRAMENT. 71 

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 Insbruck 
to so great a height that he could neither venture to 
descend again, nor could any one 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 recom- 
mending 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 com- 
menced 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 un- 
perceived, and when the Emperor was about to reward 
b'm, he suddenly disappeared. 1 

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 lie bestow spiritual graces and favor" 

1 Dauroltius, c. 3, tit. 37. 



72 ON VISITING JESUS CHRIST 

upon our souk. Whence did St. Thomas Aquinas draw 
all that knowledge which enabled him to write so learn- 
edly 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 j " 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 representa- 
tions, 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 con- 
vert 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 them- 
selves 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 



rN THE BLESSED SACRAMENT. 73 

heretics of the suburbs of Focigni came to abjure theii 
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 beat 
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 ISeri, St. Catherine, of Genoa, and St. Wences- 
laus, King of Bohemia. The latter 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 
barring 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 con- 



74 ON VISITING JESUS CHRIST 

versing frequently with Jesus Christ in the Blessed 
Sacrament. The oftener and the longer they con\ersed 
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 de- 
rived 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 : " No- 
where have holy souls made more admirable resolutions 
than here at the feet of their hidden God. Out of grat- 
itude to my Jesus, veiled in this great Sacrament, I 
must declare, that it was through this devotion, visit- 
ing Him in His tabernacles, that I withdrew from the 
world, where, to my misfortune, I had lived to 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 
f Hy — banquets, plays, parties, amusements — these are 
enjoyments full of bitterness and remorse; trust oie, 
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, receiver 
more comfort from Jesus than the world vvilh all its 
pleasures and pastimes can ever afford. What dei^Y.'., 



IN THE BLESSED SACRAMENT. 75 

u. be before the altar Avith 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 para- 
dise. 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 towards 
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, perhaps, gain 
more 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 audit shall be given you." 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. 7 " 

To this little exhortation I can add nothing more 
consoling, nothing more encouraging or more persua- 
sive. 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 experi- 
ence 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 

1 Matt. vii. 7. 



76 VISITING CHRIST IN THE BLESSED SACRAMENT. 

in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, and to ex- 
claim, in the fulness 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 re- 
membrance 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, cer- 
tainly you will feel it when your soul has left the body, 
and you know how near you have been to Jesus Christ 
on earth. O 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 hence- 
forth, daily to spend some time, say a half-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 com- 
pany with Me on earth; you shall, from henceforth, 
enjoy My Presence in heaven forever and ever " 



CHAPTER V. 




ON THE GREAT DESIRE OF JESUS CHRIST TO 

ENTER INTO OUR HEARTS IN 

HOLY COMMUNION 

N a preceding chapter I treated of the great 
love which Jesus Christ has shown us in the 
institution of the Holy Eucharist, and be- 
cause 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 pay- 
ing" 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 espe- 
cially 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 an- 
swer, 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 burna 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 
7* 77 



78 ON THE 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 eifort 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, accord- 
ing 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 great- 
ness 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 



ENTER INTO OUR HEARTS IN HOLY COMMUNION. 79 

Any with the children in the street, or to stay at home 
imid the splendors of his father's court, he will cer- 
tainly prefer the former. " Thus I too," said our Lord, 
* find my pleasure in being with you ; and having in- 
stituted the Blessed Sacrament for this end, any one 
who prevents a soul from receiving Me, deprives Me 
of a great pleasure." He also said to St. Mechtildis : 
"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 
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 in- 
deed powerful arguments to convince us of His exces- 
sive desire to enter our hearts in Holy Communion ; 
but the extraordinary miracles which He has per- 
formed, in order to enable His servants to receive Him 
frequently in Holy Communion, are still more power- 



80 ON THE GREAT DESIRE OF JESUS CHRIST TO 

ful arguments. St. Theresa, 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 ill- 
ness 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 sub- 
ject 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 slip 
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 V As she drew her last 
breath, the sacred host had disappeared, and as it was 
not to be found, the by-standers were sure that our 
Saviour, in the Blessed Sacrament, had united Himself 
to her heart, to strengthen her in her passage and ac- 
company her to heaven. 

In the eighth chapter of the life of St. Lawrence 



ENTER INTO OUR HEARTS IN HOLY COMMUNION. 8i 

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 un- 
rewarded. 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 An- 
gel or a Saint, instead of a priest, or by dispensing alto- 
gether with a visible agent. The Blessed Gerard Ma- 
jella, lay-brother of the Congregation of the Most Holy 
Redeemer, when he was but nine years old, approached 
one day the communion-rail, whilst the priest was dis- 
tributing Holy Communion, impelled by a strong de- 
sire to receive his Saviour ; but the priest, seeing his 
youth, asked him whether he had made his first Com- 
munion, 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 thf 
Blessed Sacrament at the hands of St. Barbara. 



82 ON THE GREAT DESIRE OF JESUS CHRIST TO 

One day whilst St. Bonaventure Avas assisting at 
Mass, lie felt an ardent desire to receive Holy Com- 
munion, but abstained, through fear of not being suffi- 
ciently prepared. Our Lord, however, could not re- 
frain 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 Commun- 
ions, 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 law-giver 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 everlast- 
ing." On the other hand He threatens us with hdl if 
we refuse. "Amen, Amen, I say unto you, unless you 



ENTER INTO OUR HEARTS IN HOLY COMMUNION. 83 

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 Com- 
munion as often as their state of life demands. 

While St. Mary Magdalen of 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 Sacra- 
ment. By this the Saint was given to understand that 
the deceased nun was in purgatory, and that in pen- 
ance 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 eter- 
nal 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 re- 
ceive 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 tempta- 
tions which you will not have strength to resist; you 



84 ON THE GREAT DESIRE OF JESUS CHRIST TO * 

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 Commun- 
ion 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 pa- 
tience with which He has borne the insults which, for 
eighteen hundred years, have been heaped upon Hini 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 some- 
times 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 des- 
olation, 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 constrained 
to remain with us in the Blessed Sacrament ? Yes, He 
is. He does, indeed, sometimes vindicate His honor { 



EN'FFAl INTO OUR HEARTS IN HOLY COMMUNION. 85 

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 
heaped 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 
Pie may be able to unite Himself with the first soul 
that comes hungering for the Bread of Life. 

O, 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 re- 
ceive 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 we only receive Him. He 
promises a special reward to those of His priests who 
encourage other to receive Him ; and, as if all this were 
not enough, R z employs His Angels and Saints, yea, 
His own Omnipotence, to convey the Blessed Sacrament 
fco 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 
8 F 

r 



86 ON THE GREAT DESIRE OF JESUS CHRIST TO 

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 dwell- 
ing 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 fai 
greater and richer than any earthly prince. What 
honor is sp 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 be- 
lieves 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 ad- 
vancing 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 spir- 
itual hunger. 



ENTER INTO OUR HEARTS IN HOLY COMMUNION. 87 

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. Theresa'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 of 
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 onr Lord as quickly as 
possible. St. Philip Neri was often unable to sleep at 
night, on account of his great desire to receive Lloly 
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 : "An- 
tonio, 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 press his lips to the chalice with such 
affection that it seemed as if he could not tear himself 
away from it. He thus gradually wore off the gilding 
on the rim of the chalice. But still more remarkable 
is that which is related of St. Alphonsus. Once, on 
Good Friday, being unable to receive Holy Commun- 
ion, his affliction was so great that a violent fever 
;ame on him ; his life was even in danger. The doc- 
tor 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 



88 ON THE GREAT DESIRE OF JESUS CHRIST TO 

tidings, the fever immediately left him. " Gustate et 
videte quoniam suavis est Dominus — 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 Imi- 
tation 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 re- 
ceive their God. Many holy pilgrims have undertaken 
long and arduous journeys, and have encountered dread- 
ful 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 com- 
municate, 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 



ENTER INTO OUR HEARTS IN HOLY COMMUNION. 89 

any money with greater joy than that which he was 
obliged to pay for the privilege' of receiving his 
Lord. 1 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 pes- 
tilence 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 ap- 
proach 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, 

1 Schmid's Histor. Catecb. 



90 CHRIST DESIRES TO BE UNITED WITH US. 

You have everything to gain and nothing to lose in 
receiving a good Communion. Avail yourself, then, 
of so great a privilege. If you have communicated 
hitherto but seldom, communicate oftener for the future. 
Our Lord Himself solicits you ; He repeats the cry He 
uttered on the cross : " Sitio \" "I thirst." And fcr 
what does He thirst ? He thirsts for your heart ; He 
urges you as He did Zacheus : " Make haste, for to-day 
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 who 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 want- 
ing 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. 



CHAP TEE VI. 




UN preparation for communion. 

N order to receive the abundant fruits of the 
Holy Eucharist, a certain co-operation 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 co- 
operation 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 

91 



92 ON PRE PA RA TION 

apartment which was thickly hung with cobwebs ; 
whereupon, being transported with rage, he immedi- 
ately 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 
irink ; 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, espe- 
cially 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 re- 
ceiving the fruits of Communion ; but venial sins, es- 
pecially those which are fully deliberate, and even vol- 
untary imperfections, greatly hinder the efficacy of the 
Sacrament. One who now and then speaks in dispar- 
agement of his neighbor, or tells petty falsehoods, 
though he may not commit a mortal sin, yet deprives 
himself of many graces wh'ch he would otherwise have 
received. 



FOR COMMUNION. 93 

The first step in our preparation for Communion, 
arter 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 on^ 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 re- 
ceive the Flesh of Christ unless he be fasting, that is 
to say, unless he has abstained from eating or drinking 
any thing whatsoever from the preceding midnight; the 
only exception to this rule being when the Holy Com- 
munion is administered to the dying by way of Viati- 
cum. 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. 1 Besides this requisite, Christians gen- 
erally 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 

1 Epist. 54. A 



94 ON PREPARATION 

making some actual preparation for Communion. Com 
mon sense is enough to teach every man that it is not 
becoming to receive his God into his heart without pre- 
vious 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 see- 
ing ! 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 
witli 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 " Splen- 
dor of His Father's Glory and the Figure of His Sub- 
stance ! " 

When king David was asked why he had prepared 
so vast a 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 



FOR COMMUNION. §L 

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 jpropriety of some actual preparation for 
Communion. To this I w r ill add another reflection to 
show its great utility. It is in the highest degree 
advantageous to prepare ourselves for Holy Com- 
munion, 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 wall? 
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 say- 
ing : " Sicut tu Deo apparucris, ita tibi Deus apiparebit" 
"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 



96 ON PREPARATION 

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 Charle- 
magne ; 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 cere- 
monies 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 reluc- 
tance 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 un- 
derstood that our Lord meant to show him, not only 
the truth of the Eeal Presence, but that lie ^.iies into 
our hearts with willingness or unwillingness, as we are 
well or ill prepared for receiving Him. 1 

Something similar is related in the life of the Blessed 
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 

1 Timal. Arende I., 1 Collat, 



FOR COMMUNION. 97 

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 re- 
pugnance, 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 
hieum, sed tantum die verbo, et sanabitur anima mea. 
Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter 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 ser- 
vant. 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 my roof, but only say the word and my servant 
yhall be healed." This answer pleased our Lord so 



98 ON PREPARATION 

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 ap- 
proaching 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 ! all Wise ! all Holy ! all Beautiful ! Jesus 
Christ is coining, 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 Re- 
deemer 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 cieation; to a 



FOR COMMUNION. 99 

steward, who has wasted his master's goods ; to a ser- 
vant 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 Com- 
munion ! 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 be- 
fore 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 Pub- 
lican, of whom we read in the Gospel, stood far back 
in the temple, and smote his breast, saying : " Lord, bo 
merciful to me a sinner ! " And should not we, when 



1 00 QN PRE PARA TWN 

going to the altar, hesitate and smite our hearts, 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 u n worthiness, 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 immen- 
sity of goodness which fills her again with courage and 
joy. Why does Pie 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 
comes to apply to our souls the fruits of His Redemp- 
tion 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 i& 
decayed, and to restore what is wasted ; to forgive re- 
bellion and unthankfulness ; in a word, to receive us as 
children ; to clothe us with the first robe ; to put a ring 



FOR COMMUNION. 101 

on our hands, and shoes on our feet ; to eat and make 
merry with us. 

What, then, should be our sentiments, when we ap- 
proach our Lord in this mystery, but those of the re- 
turning 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 em- 
brace, 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 
tc 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 Com- 
munion, 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 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 j my heart is dull and 
sluggish. I go to Communion, not, indeed, without the 
wish to please our Lord, but with little fervor or affec- 



1 02 ON PREPARA TIOK 

tion for Him. Our Lord Himself has given the reply 
to this difficulty. He said one day to St. Mechtildis : 
" 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 mayst receive Me with con- 
fidence, 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 want- 
ing ; you have no humility, but you can humble your- 
self 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 Com- 
munion 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 ap- 



FOR COMMUNION. 103 

geared to her and said : "Now, before the whole heav- 
enly court, thou appearest adorned for Communion as 
thou wouldest wish to be." 

Comply, then, O Christian, with that which Jesus 
Christ requires of you. Communicate, but communi- 
cate 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 pleas- 
ures ; spare no trouble for the sake of the kingdom of 
heaven ; practise 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, 
" to-morrow 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 accept- 
able 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 



104 ON PREPARATION FOR COMMUNION. 

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 heav- 
enly brightness and glory, and in answer to his inqui- 
ries 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 T endeavored to receive Holy Communion with 
a pure heart." At these words the spirit disappeared, 
leaving in his surviving friend feelings of great conso- 
lation, and an ardent zeal to imitate his devotion. " If 
you know these things, blessed shall you be if you do 
them." 1 

1 John xiii. 17. 




CHAPTER VII. 

ON THANKSGIVING AFTER COMMUNION 

F a good preparation before Communion is so 
important, a good thanksgiving after Com- 
munion is even of greater importance. St. 
John Chrysostom says, that when a person 
has eaten some delicious food at a banquet, he is care- 
ful not to take anything bitter in his mouth immedi- 
ately after, lest he should lose the sweet flavor of those 
delicate viands. In like manner, when we have re- 
ceived 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 con- 
veying it to their store-houses 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 circum- 
spection, 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 

10" 



106 ON THANKSGIVING 

recollection and prayer. This is the general practice 
of good Catholics. And, indeed, reason itself tells us 
that a good thanksgiving after Communion is even of 
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 conde- 
scension 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 j " " Emmanuel," " our King and 
Lawgiver." To remain indifferent, after having re- 
ceived 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 gnilty of such uu- 



AFTER COMMUNION. 107 

grateful behavior towards Jesus Christ after Commun- 
ion, 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 ; 
" O," said the boys, " we are come to accompany our 
Lord, Who is still present in your heart/' If every 
one who follow/; the example of this indevout commu- 
nicant 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 w T e 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 



108 



ON TBANKSG1 VING 



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. O, then, what an affront it is to leave Him 
the moment that Pie comes to us ! Scarcely tc say one 
word to Him ! Would you not consider it great un- 
kindness, if a loving friend had travelled 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 ex- 
change 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 think- 
ing 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. 



AFTER COMMUNION. 109 

Now, it consists first, in completing the union with 
»ur Lord, which He has come to effect, by a sincere 
ablation of ourselves to Him. The moment of Com- 
m.mion 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 of the Most High shall over- 
shadow 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 pos- 
sesses 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 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 

fomes to visit, He lavishes upon her all the riches of 

1 c\ 



110 OjS thanksgiving 

His bounty, and reveals Himself to her in no other bin 
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;' 7 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 Com- 
munion, was admiration at the unutterable love of God. 

St. Mary Magdalene of 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, Themisto- 
cles I have!" With how much greater joy should not 
the soul exclaim after Communion : " I have my Jesus, 
ray 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 



AFTER COMMUNION. Ill 

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 ^Eschines, 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 at His Hand 
bitter and sweet indifferently; 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 be really a Communion, that is to say, a union 
with God. 

To receive the Body of Christ is common to the 



112 ON THANKSGIVING 

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 jwn, 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 immedi- 
ately proceed to beg of Him the grace to fulfil that 
which we have promised — and this is the second jjart 
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. 
Theresa, " 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 be- 
ginning of his conversion, he was accustomed to employ 



AFTER COMMUNION. 113 

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 to visit, for a short 
time, 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 Pie wished that they should awake 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 chil- 
dren, how much more will your Father Who is in 
heaven, give good things to them that ask Him?" 1 Do 
you wish to subdue your passions and disorderly affec- 
tions? Hear what He has said : "As the division of 
waters, so the heart of the king is in My hands." 2 If ' 

1 St. Matt. vii. 9- A. a Prov. xxi. 1. 

10* H 



114 ON THANKSGIVING 

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 reso- 
lution to follow His example; your fear of self-disci- 
pline 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 cour- 
ageous one; your irritable and peevish heart into a 
mild and patient one; your sinful heart into a holy one. 
In the life of St. Catharine of Sienna, we read of a 
wonderful grace that she received from our Lord. He 
took out her heart and gave her Ms 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 Lovo dimin- 



AFTER COMMUNION. 115 

ished. 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. 
H you are diligent in asking graces of Him after Com- 
munion ; 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 en- 
larges thG heart and gives it courage. " llejoice in the 
Lord always," says St. Paul, "and again I say— Ke- 
joice! " The life of men would be much happier than 
it is were they, with a lively faith, often to receive 
Holy Communion. Hoav sorrowful soever you may 
be when about to receive, afterward you will not be 
without consolation. When our Divine Saviour en- 
tered the temple, the little children cried out: " Ho- 
sanna to the Son of David ! " and shall not you sing a 
song of praise when He comes into the temple of your 
heart? O, 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. Lbf Incarnate Son of God. 



116 ON THANKSGIVING 

"All things are yours," says St.. Paul; "all are 
yours and you are Christ's.' 7 " Exult ye who live in 
Sion ! " Why should you take life so hard, and com- 
plain 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 yon, 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? 
Oh ! 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 for- 
ever. 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 
lookcth 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 peop. ;. 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 



AFTER COMMUNION. 117 

wivvi 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 ex- 
alted 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 thanks- 
giving 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 inten- 
tion of putting your conscience under any law ; in this 



118 ON THANKSGIVING 

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 life-time in 
thanksgiving after Communion, and felt a kind of re- 
luctance to attend to temporal affairs after having re- 
ceived 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 every one 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 prayer-book and beads in your hands, buf 



AFTER COUMVXIOX. 119 

you can make ejaculatoiy prayer to God, at every time 
and in every place. 

It is said of St. Aloysius of Gonzaga, that he used to 
receive Communion once a week, and that he was ac- 
customed 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. Pie 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 con- 
tinually with God ; one Communion was the prepara- 
tion for another, thus he constantly advanced in purity 
of heart and in love for Jesus Christ. Now, every one 
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. Every one 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 



J 20 ON THANKSGIVING 

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." (i 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 un- 
derstand 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 the King 
^ssuerus 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 Mordachai, the Jew, 
had once crushed a wicked plot against the King's life, 
Assuerus asked " what reward had Mordachai received 
for his 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 Mordachai 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 sleep- 
less 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 acknowl- 



AFTER COMMUNION. 12] 

edgment. 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 Ernmaus understood that it was Jesus 
Who had been with them by the way, they remem- 
bered 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 disap- 
peared, 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 willing! v return to the world and undergo once 
more all the pa ins she had suffered here on earth, pro- 
vided 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. 1 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 Eucha- 

1 P. Michael a St. Catharina. Lib. III. Tract. 1G. 
11 



J 22 ON THANKSGIVING 

list. I repeat, then, make great account of your Com- 
munions. 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 Assu- 
erus did. Jesus Christ is great, and you are poor aud 
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 whilst 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 Com- 
munion 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 hei 
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 



AFTER COMMUNION. 123 

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 Mordechai. He will cause 
you t) be honored by all the angels and saints in 
heave: l; 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 glo- 
rify!' 

1 1 Kings ii. 30. 





CHAPTER VIII. 

ON THE EFFECTS OF HOLY COMMUNION. 

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 tli€ 
great and admirable effects which this Bread of the 
Strong produces in the soul. First, it confers an in- 
crease of sanctifying grace. The life of the soul con- 
sists 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. Bap- 
tism and Penance bestow it upon those who are entirety 
out of the grace of God, or in other words, are spirit 
ually 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 

124 



ON THE EFFECTS OF HOLY COMMUNION. 125 

sin or dead to grace. When these Sacraments are re- 
ceived 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 com- 
placency. 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 Sacra- 
ments, 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 Avail 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 r»r 
more powerful than the Blessed Eucharist. Each time 
that Ave receive our Saviour in Holy Communion, Ave 
participate anew in all the merits of His Redemption, 
of His poverty, Plis hidden life, His scourging, and 
His crowning with thorns. The Holy Eucharist, then, 

differs from the other Sacraments in this, that while the 
*11 



12fi ON THE EFFECTS 

other Sacraments bestow upon us one or another of the 
fruits of Christ's merits, this gives us the gra^ and 
merits of our Saviour in their source. The soul, there- 
fore, 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 transftmua- 
tion? 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 will- 
ing to toil, and struggle, and sin for a whole life-time„ 
Again, consider that the lowest grace which an humble 
Catholic Christian receives at the rails of the sanctuary 
at dawn of day, before the great world is astir, out- 
weighs all those riches. 

But why do I draw my comparison from the things 
of this world ? St. Theresa, after her death, appeared 
to one of her sisters in religion, and told her that all 
the saints in heaven, without exception, would be will- 
ing 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 



OF HOLY COMhCNWN. 127 

bJ> ictif) .ng 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 have once 
rejected. These thoughts give us a grand and sublime 
idea of the value of grace ; but there is another con- 
sideration 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, suf- 
fered and died the death of the cross in order to pur- 
chase it for us. His life is in some way the measure 
of its value. 

Now, this sanctifying grace is poured upon us, in 
Holy Communion, in floods ! The King of heaven is 
then present hi our souls, scattering profusely His 
benedictions, and making us taste of the powers of the 
world to come. O, if any one 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 Sienna, having been asked by her 
confessor to describe to him the beauty of a soul in a 
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 'yere 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 



128 ON THE EFFECTS 

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 Sacra- 
ment ? 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 heav- 
enly 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 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 Chris- 
tian 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 un~ 
ceasingly within us, so, in like manner, the life of the 
soul is constantly in jeopardy from that fearful prone- 
ness to sin which belongs to our fallen nature. Accord- 
ingly, as Almighty God, in His Wisdom, has ordained 
natural food as the means of repairing the decay of the 



OF HOLY COMMUNION. 129 

b*<ly and of warding off death, so has He seen fit to 
give us a 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, u 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 weaken- 
ing our passions, and by protecting us against the 
assaults of the devil. Every one 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 

T 



130 ON THE EFFECTS 

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 pro- 
duced these effects in us." Accordingly, in the Thanks- 
giving 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 tempta- 
tions. 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 : " O, why 
did I not sooner meet with such a friend ! Most cer- 
tainly I would not have committed so many abominable 
sins of impurity had I more frequently received this 
Raorament which maketh virgins." 1 

In the life of St. Philip Neri, we read that one day 

: Bftlcksanus in Skim. Vkt, I. e. ft. 



OF 110 L Y GO MM UNI ON. 131 

a \ mg man who was leading a very impure life, came 
to tre 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 
lime, entirely freed from his vicious habits and became 
pure like an angel. O ! 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 fre- 
quent 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 Al- 
mighty God. Whilst at prayer, St. James the Apostle 
appeared to him and commanded him to make all his 
soldiers go to Confession and Communion the day fol- 
lowing, 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.' 

' Chroo. Qea. Alpbcro. Reg. 






132 ON THE EFFECTS 

How much more, in our conflict with the devil, shall 
we not be enabled, by means of Holy Communion, to 
put him to flight and cover him with shame and con- 
fusion ! 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 adver- 
sary shall see thy habitation taken up with the bright- 
ness of the presence of God in thy soul, he departs and 
flies away, perceiving that no room is left for his temp- 
tations. 

O ! how often has it happened that souls were so 
dreadfully tormented by the evil representations, sug- 
gestions 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 con- 
fessed this truth. If he were forced to say why it is 
that h.3 cannot tempt such and such a soul oftener and 



OF HOL Y COM M UNION. 1 3# 

more violently, why" it is that, to his own shame and 
eon fusion, 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 even drag about 
on the ground, was exorcised by a priest of our Con- 
gregation and the devil was commanded to say whether 
or not Holy Communion was very useful and profitable 
to the soul. At the first and second interrogatory he 
would not 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 
12 



i34 ON THE EFFECTS 

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 exhorta- 
tion. With what justice does not St. Francis de Sales 
appeal to yon, 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 for- 
ever." 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 



OF HOLY COMMUNION. 135 

die 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 diiference, 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 sa- 
cred Humanity in order that we may be made conform- 
able to His image in will and aifections ; accordingly, 
in the Eucharist, we receive from Him infused virtues, 
especially faith, hope and charity, the three distinguish- 
ing characteristics of the children of God. 

As to faith, it is so much increased by Communion 
that this Sacramert might be called the Sacrament of 



136 ON TILE EFFECTS 

Faith , not only because it makes as large a demand on 
our faith as any mystery of our Holy Religion, but 
also because It more than any other increases and con- 
firms 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 op- 
poses 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 re- 
ceive in Holy Communion, for anything whatever 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 delischt 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 



OF HOLY COMA! UNION. 137 

,^nses, 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 sweet- 
ness in Holy Communion, exulted for joy and ex- 
claimed with the psalmist: "My heart and my flesh 
have rejoiced in the living God. For what have I 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." O ! 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, be- 
cause 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 Sacra- 
ment, 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." l St. Paul argues that " if 

1 St. John, chap. 6. 

12* 



138 ON THE EFFECTS 

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 as- 
surance of our salvation, but Holy Communion most 
powerfully confirms and strengthens our hope of ob- 
taining 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 re- 
fuse 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 espe- 
cially nourished by the Holy Eucharist. This may be 
called, by eminence, the proper effect of this Sacra- 
ment, as indeed it is of the Incarnation itself. "I am 
come to cast fire upon the earth, and what will I but 
that it be kindled ! " l And St. Dionysius, the Areo- 
pagite, says that " Jesus Christ in the most Holy Eu- 
charist 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 Magdalene of Pazzi, St. Catherine of Sienna, 

' St. Luke xii. 49, 



OF HOLY COMMUNION. 139 

St. Theresa, 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 of 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 rap- 
tures which so many souls have experienced at the re- 
ception 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 Chris- 
tian glories in tribulation, because the charity of God 
is poured out into his heart ; and so the Holy Eucha- 
rist, by infusing love into our hearts, gives us strength 
to suffer for Christ. 

In the life of St, Ludwina, who was sick for thirty- 
eight years uninterruptedly, we read that, in the be- 
ginning of her sickness, she shrunk 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 



140 ON THE EFFECTS 

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 hei 
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 after- 
wards whispered in her ear : " Till now / have ex- 
horted 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 suf- 
ferings 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 



OF II OL Y CO MM UNI ON. 141 

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/' 1 

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, Bishop of Antioch, the 
fury of lions, and many other martyrs every kind of 
torture which the malice of the devil could invent, con- 
tent 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 

1 Surius, H, Apr'l, in vita S. Ludwinge, part I. c. 14. 



142 ON THE EFFECTS 

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. 1 It was for the same reason that Christ in- 
stituted 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 any one such a dreadful sickness as St. Lud- 
wina had j but, in our lighter trials, we have also need 
of this fortitude of love ; nor is it refused to us. Multi- 
tudes of pious souls confess that it is the Holy Com- 
munion 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 
da)-s they do not receive Communion they seem to them- 
selves 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, every- 
thing 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! 
Marvellous invention of Divine Love! surpassing all 
power of speech to describe, or thought to fathom! 
"When the children of Israel found in the fields th« 

' The same was done by Mary, Queen of Scots, during her captiv'ty I* 
England when she was deprived of the ministry of a priest. 



OF HOLY COMMUNION. 143 

bread from heaven which God gave them in the wilder- 
ness, 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 com- 
prehend 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 pre- 
serve 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 was 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 
Sienna, from Ash AYednesclay to Ascension day, took 
no other food than Holy Communion. 1 A certain holv 
virgin of Rome spent five whole lents without tasting 
anything else but the Bread of Angels. 2 

Nicholas de la Flue, for fifteen successive years, lived 
without other nourishment than the Sacred Body of 
our Lord. 3 And St. Liberalis, Bishop of Athens, fasted 
every day in the week, taking nothing whatever, not 

1 Surius, 29 April. 2 Cacciaguerra. 

3 Simon Majolus Canicular. Collet IV. 



344 ON THE EFFECTS OF HOLY COMMUNION 

even the Blessed Sacrament, and on Sunday his onb 
nourishment consisted of this heavenly food, yet he was 
always strong and vigorous. 1 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, hav- 
ing 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 ! Alleluj?, ! " 

1 P. Nat. L. IV., Collat. Sanot. o. xciii. 




CHAPTER IX 

THE EXCUSES OE THOSE WHO DO NOT COM- 
MTJNICATE FREQUENTLY. 

FTEE, 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 every one 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, there- 
fore, dear reader, call up before you, the various classes 
of Catholics who do not often approach Holy Commu- 
nion, and examine the excuses which they give, that 
you may judge of their validity. I will make the 
examination class by class. 

13 K 145 



146 THE EXCUSES OF THOSE WHO 

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 j and if He often deprives His servants 
of them, it is to try them, to keep them 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 luke- 
warm in the practice of virtue j you fulfil your duties 
faithfully. Are not all these great graces and favors? 
and are they not all the admirable effects of Holy Com- 
munion ? Is not the remedy that protects us from dis- 
ease better than one that restores us to health? But 
let us suppose the truth of what you allege. I ask you 



DO NOT COMMUNICATE FREQUENTLY. 147 

why do you not receive great fruit from this Sacrament? 
Do you prepare yourself sufficiently ? Do you not ap- 
proach the altar negligently ? Do you consider before- 
hand what you are about to do, and afterwards, do you 
reflect sufficiently on what you have done ? Or do you 
commit venial sins wilfully 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? 

2d 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, the 
oftener you approach Him, the better you become ac- 
quainted with Him; the more perfections you will dis- 
cover in Him, and the more you will love Him. Is it 
not a blasphemy to say 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 insis'ed upon daily Com- 



148 THE EXCUSES OF THOSE WHO 

munion 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 ? 

M Excuse. Because I fear to receive Holy Com- 
munion 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 Chri3- 
tians. 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 per- 
mission 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 



D NO T COMMUNICA TE FREQ UENTL Y. 149 

t^garded with fear, but to be approached with love 
and desire. Besides, if you fear to approach this Sac- 
rament, 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 in- 
tending it. This is but a deceit of the devil. O ! ex- 
ecrable 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 ? 

6th Excuse. Because I commit so many faults, that u 
would seem like presumption to receive Holy Com 
muni on 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 
wilful and deliberate. Do you think you will commit 
fewer faults by staying away from Communion ? Can 



13* 



150 THE EXCUSES OF THOSE WHO 

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 im- 
perfect 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, be- 
ing sensible of my unworthiness, I would wish to com- 
municate three times a day, for by more frequent Com- 
munion 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 infirm- 
ities. If, indeed, your abstaining from Holy Commun- 
ion really proceeds from humility, it is not displeasing 
to God, but it would be a thousand times more accept- 
able to Him if you would join confidence to your hu- 
mility. 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 in tended to deprive her of so great a joy, and 



DO NOT COMMUNICA TE FREQ UENTL Y. 151 

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; 
^ince 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 Apos- 
tles were unworthy, because even they had imperfec- 
tions 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 mor- 
tal sin on your conscience which you have not con- 
fessed, 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 



152 THE EXCUSES OF THOSE WHO 

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 recep- 
tion ? 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 re- 
ward for having advised her to go often to Communion ? 
or have you forgotten that He said to the venerable 
Prudentiana Zagnoni: "If you frequently receive Me 
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 any more, then 
you have even a special right and claim to go to Com- 
munion. 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 



DO NOT COMMUNICATE FREQUENTLY. 153 

to give up hearing Mass daily from fear of becoming 
used to it ? or omit your daily prayers from an appre- 
hension of praying through custom ? 

Why do you not go often to Communion ? 

9th Excuse. Because, when I do go, I am so cold, 
ilistracted and indevout. 

Answer. There is a great difference between devotion 
and the feeling of devotion. One may have much de- 
votion 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 at 
Easter. If you feel no devotion, humble yourself be- 
fore God, but do not stay away from Him. The de- 
votion which is necessary for receiving Holy Commu- 
nion 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 wisei 
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 fre 
quently ? 



154 THE EXCUSES OF THOSE WHO 

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 if 
you communicate seldom, your soul will lack grace and 
fervor. One who should keep 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 fre 
quently ? 

11 th 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 nun* 
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 Com- 
munion? 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 Sienna, who, when deprived of Commun- 



DO NOT COMMUNICA TE FREQ UENTL Y. 1 55 

ion by her confessor, exclaimed : " Father, gi ve my 
soul its food ! " Had you, like her, manifested with 
humility and resignation this holy hunger, your con- 
fessor would have treated you very differently ; but be- 
cause 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 infre- 
quently ? 

12th Excuse. I have not time to prepare myself as I 
ought. 

Answer. How much time do you need for prepara- 
tion ? Must you spend the whole morning in prayer 
or in reading pious books? St. Theresa received Com- 
munion every day for twenty-three years ; do you think 
she had .nothing else to attend to? I think she waf 
more busy than you will ever be. The first Christians 
went daily to Communion; do you imagine their occu- 
pations 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 Communion ? They were 
more fervent than the Christians of the present day, 
and had a greater love for Jesus Christ. If you fore- 
see that you will not have time in the morning to pre- 
par? 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 
npend whatever time may be at your disposal in pre- 



156 THE EXCUSES OF THOSE WHO 

paring yourself as well as you can ; or endeavor tc 
perform the duties of your state with a view to please 
God, and you may rest assured that this will be an ex- 
cellent preparation for your Communion. St. Mary 
Magdalene of Pazzi used to say to her sisters in re- 
ligion : "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 youi 
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 re- 
ceiving 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 a year, would you bs so 



D NO T CO MM UNICA TE FREQ UENTL Y. 157 

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 Com- 
muiuon, are so lax in the observance of the law of 
fasting ? How is it, that they who find one Commun- 
ion 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 grovelling; 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 com- 
municate every day, and then their lives were holy, 

14 



158 THE EXCUSES OE THOSE WHO 

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 re- 
quired of a Christian. But is this all that she wishes 
us to do ? Oh ! no. She desires that we should con- 
tinually 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 fulfil her ardent wish. 
Tt 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? 

Ibth Excuse. I do not see any necessity for it! 
There are many others who do not receive oitener than 



DO NOT COMMUNICATE FREQUENTLY. 159 

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 
any one will affirm that persons who communicate but 
once or twice a year, are, generally speaking, as ex- 
emplary 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 fol- 
lowing 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 neigh- 
bor, are ready for every act of charity; who are meek 
and kind, rich in good works and fond of prayer; win- 
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, 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 gtm 
to us in an abundant measure. " I am come that "they 



160 THE EXCUSES OF THOSE WHO 

may have life, and that they may have it more abun- 
dantly." 1 But, after all, is this the proper way to 
reason ? . Do not ask whether, others are good Chris- 
tians, 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 over- 
come 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 per- 
mission 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. Macarins, 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 ap- 
pearance, he gave her this advice: "In future go 
oftener 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 hiving 
received Communion for five successive wesks. So it 

1 John x. 10. 



1)0 NOT COMMUNICATE FREQUENTLY. 161 

i is 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 oftener ? And do you think 
the devil has been idle, and that no hideous transfor- 
mation has taken place in your soul in the eyes of the 
Angels? Has not your soul become a sow, in im- 
purity ? or a tiger, in rage ? or a viper, in treachery ? 
or a filthy creeping worm, in its low and grovelling 
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/' 1 I also know that Holy Scripture says: 
" They that go far from Thee shall perish." 2 

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 practise retirement, detachment 
from creatures, and self-denial. They stay away from 
Communion as long as they can in order to avoid the 
rebuke of Jer^us Christ for their sensuality, pride, vanity, 

, A m r ' ! - c - 5- Q Ps. Ixxii. 27. 

14* T 



1G2 THE EXCUSES OF THOSE WHO 

uncharitableness and sloth. Miserable are the conse- 
quences 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 unfrequently 
their venial sins lead them into mortal sins, and that 
they live in such a state for months, remaining in con- 
stant danger of being overtaken by a sudden and un- 
provided 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 pro- 
ceeds from a vain fear of irreverence inspired by the 
teaching: of misguided men. I have said enough al- 
ready 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 of Paul, 
when speaking of this subject, used to relate the follow- 
ing 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 w T as imbued with the principles of the Jan- 
senistic 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 care- 
ful self-examination ; but, alas ! she found her heart so 



DO NOT COMMUNICATE FREQUENTLY. 163 

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 ! Plow deeply have I fallen ! How wretch- 
edly 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 fol- 
lowed 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 tran- 
quillity of heart. O how effectually do such men per- 
form 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 Sa- 
crament 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 use- 



164 THE EXCUSES OF THOSE WHO 

less 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 nourish- 
ing 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 discounte- 
nance 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 Sienna 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 Avoman, who had com- 
mitted the same offence, became crazy all at once. 
Nay, even where the fault was much slighter, God has 
shown His displeasure. St. Ludgardis was in the habit 
of receiving Holy Communion very often, but her supe- 
rioress disapproving, forbade her doing so in future. 
The saint obeyed, but, at that very moment, her supe- 
rioress 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 Lud- 



D O NO T CO MM UNICA TE FREQ UENTL Y. 165 

gardis, she withdrew the prohibition, when, lo ! hec 
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 Him- 
self to you. " Behold/' He says, "I stand at the door 
and knock. Open to Me, My Sister, My beloved, My 
dove, My undenled; 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 Sacra- 
ment 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 Magdalene of Pazzi say: "1 would 
rather die than omit a Communion permitted by obe- 
dience. As often as your director advises you, go for- 
ward to receive your Lord with confidence and sim- 
plicity 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 per- 
fection: 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/ 71 Tell them you wish to be- 

1 Introduction to a Devout Life, c. 21. 



L66 EXCUSES FOR INFREQUENT COMMUNION. 

come patient, and therefore you must receive your pa- 
tient 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 re- 
ceive 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 devil, the 
flesh and the world, 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 pas- 
sions 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 ad- 
minister the Holy Viaticum, you will be able to say 
with St. Theresa: "My Lord and my Bridegroom, so, 
then, the hour is come at last for which my heart has 
longed so much. Xow 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!" 




CHAP TEE X. 

ON UNWORTHY COMMUNION. 

HERE remains, dear reader, one more sub- 
ject to treat of before my task is ended ; it is 
unworthy Communion. It is not so agree- 
able 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, re- 
quire 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 wilfully to make an un- 
worthy 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 whilst leading an immoral 

167 



168 ON UN WORMY COMMUNION. 

life, and who dare receive the Author of all purity into 
a heart that is denied 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 j secondly, by all 
those who have wilfully concealed a mortal sin in con- 
fession j and, finally, by all those who, though they 
have confessed all their mortal sins,. have, nevertheless, 
no true sorrow for them, and no firm purpose of amend- 
ment. 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 
full} determined to keep away from taverns, grog- 
shops, and the like, that have proved occasions of sin 
to them j and, finally, all those that w T ill 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 Com- 
munions. 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, 
>hall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord." 



ON UNWORTHY COMMUNION. 1G9 

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 un- 
worthily is, in a certain sense, guilty of the murder of 
our Lord. This may, at first sight, appear extrava- 
gant. It may seem harsh to class the sacrilegious com- 
municant with the enemies of our Lord, with those 
wicked men who put him to death ; but a little reflec- 
tion 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 perse- 
cuted Him with special malice. They were Herod. 
Judas, and the Jewish priests and people. In Herod 
we see cruel violence towards an innocent and unoffend- 
ing Babe ; in Judas we see base treachery and ingrati- 
tude to a Friend and Benefactor, and in the Jewish 
priests we behold outrage, insolence and contempt of 
the Anointed Messiah, the true Son of God. Now we 
shall find all these crimes united in a sacrilegious Com- 
munion. "Go," said Herod to the Wise Men; "go 
16 



170 ON VN WORTHY COMMUNION. 

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 trader this outward show of reverence, 
Herod concealed a wicked and cruel design. lie was 
determined to destroy the new-born King of the Jews, 
and when he found that he had been disappointed, he 
slew, in his fury, all the children of Bethlehem and the 
neighborhood thereof. He did not, however, succeed 
in destroying the Divine Infant. St. Joseph, in obe- 
dience 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 out- 
rage 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 
refcdve our Lord into a heart that is defiled by mortal 
sin is to bring Him into the power of His greatest 



ON UNWORTHY COMMUNION. 171 

Sfcwmy— 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 kid 
upon the tongue of the sacrilegious communicant, No ! 
true to His own Institution, He remains and enters un- 
resistingly even the basest heart. O! 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 , bu.t if well, why strikest 
thou Me ?" It is thus, too, that Jesus seems to address 
the unworthy communicant: -'What have I done," He 
says, " oh 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! : t shall fall upon My heart, 



172 ON UNWORTHY COMMUNION. 

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 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 toe true of 
those wicked monsters who are guilty of an unworthy 
Communion ! 

. Yes, the unworthy communicant is another Herod ; 
bul he is even worse, he is a second Judas. All men 
abhor Judas Iscariot ; his very name is held in execra- 
tion. 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 
Ma'js, when the names of the twelve Apostles occur, 
she designates the Apostle who was named Judas Thad- 
deus simply as Thaddeus, omitting the title which he 
shared in common with the apostate traitor. JS r o\v, 
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 bene- 
fits 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 ene- 
mies. He came into the garden where our Lord was 
praying with His disciples — he gave Him a kiss, tha 



ON UNWORTHY COMMUNION. 173 

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 
Beems to feel the circumstances of His betrayal even 
more than the betrayal itself. If it had been any one 
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 un- 
reserved intimacy ; or if it had been done in any other 
way ; if the wretched man had thrown off the mask j 
if he had openly joined the Jews and Roman soldiers • 
if he had come out !ike 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 — 
! 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 in- 
deed have borne it j 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 O ! 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 



174 ON UNWORTHY COMMUNION. 

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 Commun- 
ion. 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 ! Plow 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; at- 
tend and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sor- 
row ! " 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 oft' 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 of- 



ON UNWORTHY COMMUNION 175 

fended. 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 bare- 
headed, under a burning sun, amid the shouts and jeers 
of the populace. Who could have looked upon the se- 
rene 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 
Buch 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 ab- 
ject 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 
Bpeak?" That face, bruised with blows and denied 
with spittle, is the face of God — that face which is the 
everlasting brightness of heaven ; those hands, trans- 



176 ON UN WORTH! COMMUNION. 

fixed 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 Sor 
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 Com- 
munion is even a strong proof of God's patient endur- 
ance. 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 dun- 
geon 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 es- 
sentially everywhere. He cannot be sullied except in 



ON UNWORTHY COMMUNION. 177 

the heart of the sinner, where He is brought into con- 
tact 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 mor- 
tal 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 sacri- 
legious hand upon the censer, and immediately the 
earth opened and swallowed him up. 1 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 sacri- 
fice offered to the Lord, and shortly after they fell un- 
der the sword of the enemy. Thus did God punish the 
disobedience of Israel. How will He, then, 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 

1 Numbei'3 xvi. 
M 



178 ON UNWORTHY COMMUNION 

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 not long after, the ground was strewn 
with their dead bodies. Balthasar laid his profane 
hands upon the sacred vessels, and there suddenly ap- 
peared 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 dis- 
honors, 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 
liis heart; w r ho 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 te 
himself!" What an expression! Eats and drinks 
judgment to himself! His own condemnation i 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 



ON UNWORTHY COMMUNION. 179 

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 pesti- 
lence; 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." 

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 illustra- 
tion of this. Lothaire, king of Lorraine, conceived a 
great dislike to 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 Lo- 
thaire 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. Pie 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 inten- 
tions, but all to no purpose. He then celebrated Mass. 



180 ON UNWORTHY COMMUNION. 

The king, with many of the nobles of his court, was 
pres.nl. The time of Communion came, and the king, 
with his nobles, went to the ajtar-rail to receive. The 
Pope then turned to the monarch, and holding the sa- 
cred host in his hand, said in a loud and distinct voice! 
" O king, if you are sincerely resolved to quit Wal- 
drada and to take back your lawful wife, then receive 
this Holy Sacrament unto life everlasting j 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 Commun- 
ion. 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 Eome. 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, whilst, 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 



ON UNWORTHY COMMUNION. 181 

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 everlast- 
ing malediction. These punishments are, in a particu- 
lar 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 practise 
virtue; all admonition is lost on him; he does not un- 
derstand 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, grovelling 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 crim- 
inal designs ; let loose thy passions, for, since thou hast 
dared to dishonor the Body of Christ, nothing will ap- 
pear horrible or abominable to thee, nothing will be 
able henceforth to restrain thee. Unhappy wretch! 
hitherto thou hast been preserved from certain abomi- 
nations by an innate feeling of horror ; but now, go 

16 



182 ON UNWORTHY C0MMUN1OJS. 

bravely forward, wallow in sin, for thy conscience has 
no longer a reproach for thee ! Go on in the road to 
Sodom and Gomorrah ! 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/ 7 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 j in a 
word, the spirit of darkness, Satan, has taken complete 
possession of him. Is not Judas a most terrible exam- 
ple 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 but too sad an illustration of this, also. After his 
sacrilege, " he went out and hanged himself." 



ON UNWORTHY COMMUNION 183 

The following example was witnessed by a priest of 
my acquaintance. He was called to the death-bed of 
a young man. No sooner had the dying youth per- 
ceived the Blessed Sacrament, than he exclaimed : " Be- 
hold 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 in- 
adequate 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 prac- 
tice 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 high- 
wayman, had appeared to him and said in the most 
heart-rending 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 



184 ON UNWORTHY COMMUNION. 

thither. At last, no longer able to endure his suffer- 
ings, he threw off the religious habit, went to the civil 
magistrate, confessed his crime, and begged to be con- 
demned to death. His request was granted and he was 
executed. O ! 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 maledic- 
tion 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. Hav- 
ing 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 repent, do suitable penance, and receive par- 
don from a merciful God, who never repels a sinner 
who has a contrite and humble heart. An efficacious 
means for obtaining this grace is, to have 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 absolu- 
tion the grace of justification. 




CHAPTER XI. 

ON SPIRITUAL COMMUNION. 

HEN a soul has once begun to practise fre- 
quent Communion, she can no longer live 
without it. Even if she were to communi- 
cate 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 pro- 
duces this effect, for such is the sweetness of that Divine 
Food, that they that eat it still hunger, 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 Sienna, 
whilst on one occasion assisting at the Mass of her Con- 
fessor, 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, 
16* 185 



186 ON SPIRITUAL COM M UNION. 

however, was so moved by the fervor of her love, that 
Pie 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 re- 
lieved his anxiety by telling him that our Lord Him- 
self had been pleased to communicate her, in reward 
for her great desire for Holy Communion. He displays 
a similar love towards every one who has a true desire 
to be united to Him. As soon as a soul ardently de- 
sires 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 every one should know how to prac- 
tise it. I will, therefore, say a word in explanation 
of it. 

Spiritual Communion, according to St. Thomas, con- 
sists 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 sacra- 
mentally. The Spiritual Communion may be mado in 



ON SPIRITUAL COMMUNION. 187 

tkd following manner : "Omy Jesus, I firmly believe 
that Thou art truly and really present in the Most Holy 
Sacrament. I love Thee with my whole heart, and be- 
cause I love Thee, I am sorry for having offended Thee. 
I long to possess Thee within my soul ; but as I can- 
not 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 Sac- 
rament. 

One day our Lord Himself told St. Jane of the Cross, 
that as often as she communicated spiritually, she re- 
ceived 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 Sienna 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 Commun- 
ions, 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, accompa- 
nied 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 practise it you will 



18S OF SPIRITUAL COMMUNION. 

not need to go to church, or make a long preparation, 
or remain fasting j you will not need to ask the per- 
mission 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 re- 
marked ; without giving trouble to my spiritual Father, 
or depending on any one 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 medi- 
tations, 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 Commun- 
ions, 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 Commun- 
ions 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." 



CHAPTER XII. 

CONSIDERATIONS ON THE VIRTUES THAT 
JESUS CHRIST TEACHES US IN THE MOST 
HOLY SACRAMENT OF THE ALTAR. 



ALTERED PROM CRASSET. 




I. — Poverty. 

ESUS, in the Most Holy Sacrament of the 
altar, is a Master Who teaches us every vir- 
tue. 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 to feel the want tff anything, 
or to suffer the slightest inconvenience, just as though 

189 



190 ON THE VIRTUES TEAT JESUS CHRIST 

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. 

An 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 every one, 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 in- 
sults 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 an 
humble God, and I am a proud creature ! Thou fleest 
honors, and I seek them ! Thou seek est humiliations, 
and I fly them ! 



TEACHES US IN THE MOST HOLY SACRAMENT. 191 



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 no wise 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 every one should bear 
with me. How unreasonable ! 



192 OiV THE VIRTUES THAT JESUS CHRIST 



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 heav- 
enly 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. 
Pie obeys instantly. JSTo sooner are the words of con 
secration pronounced by the priest, than Jesus is in 
stantly 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 an 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, with- 
out 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 an humble servant of the 
Lord, ready to follow the commands of thy superiors ? 



TEACHES US IN THE MOST HOLY SACRAMENT. 193 



V. — Mortification. 

The whole life of Jesus was one of continual morti- 
fication. He is now forever happy in heaven ; never- 
theless, 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 car- 
ried 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 in- 
dignities that are offered to His Holiness, to His Ma- 
jesty 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 ! 

17 N 



194 ON THE VIRTUES THAT JESUS CHRIST 



VI. — Love of God. 

Jesus teaches us also in this Sacrament, how we 
ought to love God. If we love God truly, we will per- 
form His will in all things ; we will keep His com- 
mandments, 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 ac- 
knowledge 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 satisfac- 
tion 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! A God 
takes upon Himself my sins, He lays down His life to 
deliver me from death, and 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! 



TEACHES US IN THE MOST HOLY SACRAMENT. 195 



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 com- 
mandment. 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 prac- 
tice 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 in- 
dispensable condition to our receiving this heavenly 
food is charity. But not content with all this, He con^ 
tinually gives us in the Blessed Sacrament most per- 
suasive 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 fellow-men, 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 ? 



196 ON THE VIRTUES TAUGHT IN THE SACRAMENT. 

Consider, then, how I have loved you. Does it seem 
hard to you to give and to forgive f 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 dis- 
ciple 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 mayst make them humble 
and gentle. O Thou, the Well-Beloved of the Father, 
Who comest on earth and dwellest 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. 




CHAPTER XIII. 




THE MOST HOLY FESTIVAL OF CORPUS 
CHRISTI AND ITS ORIGIN. * 

ANY a century had passed over the Church 
of Christ before there was any distinct feast 
of the Blessed Sacrament, and when, in the 
thirteenth century, our Lord chose that it 
should be instituted, He had recourse to a holy nun, 
in a vision, to be the instrument of this devotion in 
His Church. St. Thomas was living then, and so was 
St. Louis ; but God chose neither the learning of the 
one nor the royal power of the other to be the means of 
executing His desire. From the age of sixteen, for 
many years, a vision perpetually haunted a young Bel- 
gian nun, Juliana of Eetinne, whenever she knelt in 
prayer. A brilliant moon continually appeared before 
her, with one small portion obscured and invisible, She 
tried in vain to chase the vision away ; at last our Lord 
Himself came to explain it to her. He said it was to 
show that the ritual year of the Church would remain 
incomplete until the Blessed Sacrament had a feast of 
its own, and He wished it to be instituted for the fol- 
lowing reasons : — v 

17* 1G7 



198 THE MOST HOLY FESTIVAL OF 

1st. In order that the Catholic doctrine might re- 
ceive aid from the institution of this festival, at a time 
when the faith of the world was growing cold and 
heresies were rife. 

2dly. That the faithful, who love and seek truth and 
piety, may be enabled to draw from this source of life 
new strength and vigor to walk continually in the way 
of virtue. 

3dly. That irreverence and sacrilegious behavior to- 
wards the Divine Majesty in this adorable Sacrament 
may, by sincere and profound adoration, be extirpated 
and repaired. 

Lastly. He bade her announce to the Christian world 
His will that this feast should be observed. 

Tremblingly the maiden received the command, and 
heartily did she pray to be released from the charge. 
Our Lord answered her, that the solemn devotion 
which He ordered to be observed, was to be begun by 
her, and to be propagated by the poor and lowly. 
Twenty long years had passed away and the secret still 
lay hidden in Juliana's breast ; she dared not reveal it 
to any one, and yet an interior impulse urged her on. 
So terrible was her repugnance that she shed tears of 
blood over it. At length she imparted it to her con- 
fessor, and, with her leave, he consulted others, espe- 
cially James de Threzis, Archdeacon at the Cathedral 
of Liege. This priest was afterwards, for his piety and 
learning, elected Bishop of Verdun, then Patriarch of 
Jerusalem, and at last Pope of Rome, called Urban IV 

From that time it became a public question, ana 



CORPUS OHBISTI AND ITS ORIGIN. 199 

rarely were men divided upon it. Canons and monks 
protested against the new devotion, and urged that the 
daily sacrifice was sufficient to commemorate the love 
of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament without a special day 
being particularly assigned for that purpose. But the 
faithful nun prayed on; civil discord raged around her; 
the city where she lived was lost and won, sacked by a 
lawless army, and retaken; three successive convents 
were either burned or otherwise destroyed over her 
head, yet no earthly troubles could make her forget the 
task which her Lord had assigned her. She died be- 
fore it was accomplished, yet she had done enough in 
her lifetime to provide for its execution. In her wan- 
derings, she had met with a few men with devotion to 
feel and learning to defend the feast of the Blessed Sac- 
rament. When she was in her grave, the Sovereign 
Pontiff, Urban IV., wrote to inform one of her com- 
panions that he himself had celebrated the feast, with 
the Cardinals, in the holy city. The triumph of the 
Blessed Sacrament was complete ; St. Thomas Aquinas 
composed its office; the devotion spread through the 
length and breadth of Europe. 

From that time to this every church in a Catholic 
country, from the Cathedral of a royal city to the vil- 
lage chapel, keeps the festival. The procession issues 
into the streets followed by the authorities of the realm ; 
it is the public recognition, by the Catholic world, of 
Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, The prophetic eye of 
our Lord saw in the futurity this very doctrine attacked 
and the faith in sore danger. In the full career of the 



200 THE MOST 110 L Y FESTIVAL OF 

victory of His Church, in the zenith of medieval splen- 
dor, He foresaw our times. Surely no omen was ever 
better fulfilled than that which promised the Church 
good service, by the institution of the feast of Corpus 
Christi. In France it has survived every revolution ; 
its re-establishment has ever been the measure of the 
Church's power, and the proof of her return. It is the 
dove with the olive-branch which proclaims the passing 
away of the mighty deluge. The memory of the pro- 
cession in which, when a child, he scattered flowers 
before the Blessed Sacrament, as it passed through the 
streets, is a hold on the very libertine, and the pledge 
of his final conversion. The civil and military pomp 
displayed is a proof that the country is still Catholic, 
and the very infidel compelled to pass the Blessed Sac- 
rament head uncovered, or to remain within his house, 
bears witness to. the fact that public opinion is Christian, 
and to the triumph of the Blessed Sacrament. 1 

I believe, dear reader, that for your edification and 
instruction, concerning the Most Holy Feast of our 
divine Redeemer's Sacred Body, I can place nothing 
better before you than the Brief of Urban IV., which 
runs thus : 

" Ueban, Bishop, 

Servant of the Servants of God, to our Venerable Breth- 
ren, the Patriarchs, Archbishops, and other Prelates 
of the Church: 
" When our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, ere He 

left the world and returned to His Father, ate, on the 

1 John Bern Dalgairns, priest of the Orat. of St. Philip Neri. 



CORPUS CHR1STI AND ITS ORIGIN. 201 

eve of His passion, the Last Supper with His disciples, 
He instituted the Most Holy and precious Sacrament 
of His Body and Blood, in which He gave us the for- 
mer for our food and the latter for our drink ; ' for as 
often as we eat of this bread and drink of this chalice, 
we show the death of our Lord/ At the institution of 
this mystery, He said to His Apostles: 'Do this m 
commemoration of Me ? — giving them to understand 
that the great and adorable Sacrament, which He then 
instituted, was the greatest and most excellent remem- 
brance of His infinite love towards us ; an admirable, 
agreeable, sweet, secure, and supremely excellent re- 
membrance, in which all the benefits of God are re- 
newed, above all comprehension, in which we can find 
every pleasure, every sweetness and the most secure 
pledge of eternal life. It is the sweetest, holiest, and 
most salutary remembrance, which recalls to our mind 
the great grace of our Eedemption, which keeps us 
from evil and strengthens us in good, which promotes 
our advancement in virtue and grace, our divine Sa- 
viour producing in us all these effects by His real 
presence. 

" The other mysteries which the Church reveres, we 
adore in spirit and in truth, but in none of them do we 
enjoy the real presence thereof. It is only in the com- 
memoration of the Last Supper that Jesus Christ is 
truly present and truly with us. When He ascended 
into heaven, He said to His apostles and disciples: 
Behold I will be with you unto the end of the world/ 
die said this in order to console them for His absence, 



202 THE MOST HOLY FESTIVAL 03 

and to assure them that He would always remain evfe.4 
corporally in their midst. O worthy and ever adorable 
remembrance, which reminds us that death has lost its 
sting, and that we are saved from ruin, since the living 
Body of the Lord, which was raised upon the wood of 
the Cross, has restored life to us. It is a most glorious 
remembrance, which fills the faithful with salutary joy, 
and causes them, in the effusion of their joy, to weep 
tears of thanksgiving. We exult at the remembrance 
of our Eedemption, and, because it reminds us of the 
death of Jesus, Who purchased us, we cannot restrain 
our tears. Over this mystery, which prepares joy for 
us and elicits our tears, we rejoice weepingly and weep 
joyfully, because our hearts are entranced with joy at 
the remembrance of so great a benefit, and, in the sense 
of the most just gratitude which we owe it, we cannot 
refrain from tears. O infinite, divine love ! O exceed- 
ingly great condescension of our God ! O astounding 
niracle of His liberality ! Not enough to make us 
masters of the goods of this world, He even places all 
creatures at our command. This was not even enough 
for His goodness to us. He raised man to so great a 
dignity, as to give him Angels to guard him, and celes- 
tial spirits to serve him, and to guide the elect to the 
possession of the inheritance which is prepared for them 
in heaven. 

"After so many brilliant proofs of His munificence, 
He has given us a still greater pledge of His unspeak- 
able charity, by bestowing Himself oh us. Exceeding 
the very fulness of His gifts, and the very measure of 



CORPUS CHRISTI AND ITS ORIGIN. 203 

His love, He offers Himself for our food and drink. 
O sublime and admirable liberality, in which the Giver 
is the Gift, and the Gift is the very one Who gives ! 
O unexampled liberality, by which He gives Himself! 
Our God has given Himself to be our food, because 
man, condemned to death, as he is, can be restored to 
life by this means only. By eating the forbidden fruit 
he incurred death, and by partaking of the tree of life, 
he has been redeemed. In the former was the sting of 
death, in the latter the food of life. By eating the for- 
mer he inflicted a wound upon himself, by eating of the 
latter he recovered health. Thus the partaking of the 
one food wounded him, the partaking of the other 
healed him. Wound and cure proceed from the same 
source, and what entailed death upon us has restored 
us to life. Of the former it is said : ' On the day on 
which you shall eat thereof, you shall die the death;' 
and of the latter, i He that eats of this bread shall live 
for ever/ O substantial food, which perfectly satisfies 
and truly nourishes, not the body, but the heart ; not 
the flesh, but the soul ! 

" Our compassionate Eedeemer, Who knew that man 
needed spiritual nourishment, has, in this institution of 
charity and mercy, prepared for his soul the most pre- 
cious and most nourishing food that His wisdom could 
devise. Neither could any work have been better be- 
fitting the Divine liberality and charity, than that the 
Eternal Word of God, Who is the real food, and the 
real repast of the reasonable creature, should, after He 
was made flesh, give Himself to flesh and blood, that 



204 TEE MOST HOLY FESTIVAL OF 

is to say, to man, for his nourishment. Man has eaten 
the bread of Angels, and, therefore, our Lord said: 
' My flesh is meat indeed ! ' This divine bread is eaten, 
but it is not changed, because it assumes no other form 
in him who eats It. It transforms the worthy receiver 
into Him Whom it contains. O most excellent, most 
adorable, and most venerable Sacrament, to which we 
can never give adequate praise, honor and glory, and 
whose benefits we can never justly extol ! O Sacra- 
ment, which is worthy of being revered from, the bottom 
of the heart, loved with the most tender and fervent 
affection, and of being deeply engraved upon our mem- 
ory in indelible characters ! O most precious remem- 
brance, which ought to be made known and exalted in 
all places, which all Christians ought ever to remember 
with feelings of the deepest gratitude, which we can 
never sufficiently meditate upon, or ever sufficiently 
worship. We are, therefore, bound to cherish a per- 
petual remembrance of it, so that we may constantly 
have Him before our eyes, Who offers this inestimable 
benefit to us. For the more we consider the gift, the 
more we prize Him who bestows It. 

" Although we daily commemorate this benefit in the 
Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, yet, we think it just that, 
in order to confound the infidelity and madness of 
heretics, we should solemnize, at least once in the year, 
and celebrate a feast, in Its honor, with the greatest 
pomp and magnificence possible. On the day on which 
lesus Christ instituted this Sacrament, the Church is 
occupied with the reconciliation of sinners, the blessing 



CORPUS CHRIST I AND ITS ORIGIN. 205 

of the holy oils, the washing of the feet, and other 
mysteries. Wherefore, sufficient time is not left to 
honor this most sublime Sacrament, and thus it becomes 
necessary to appoint another day for this end. Finally, 
it is the custom of the Church to devote particular days 
for the veneration of her saints; although she daily 
honors them by prayers, litanies, in the Mass, etc., as 
also on other occasions. But, since on these days, 
christians often do not comply with their duties to- 
wards the saints, either through negligence or press of 
domestic affairs ; or, from human weakness, our Mother, 
the Holy Church, has appointed a certain day for the 
general commemoration of all the saints, so that by this 
solemnity the omissions which may, perchance, have 
occurred, may be repaired. Now, if this has already 
been introduced into the Church, how much more are 
we not bound to do the same with regard to the life- 
giving Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Jesus 
Christ, Who is the glory and the crown of all the saints. 
We shall then be enabled to repair and make up for 
our want of devotion, and other defects which we may 
have had in hearing Mass, and ask our Lord's pardon 
for the same. And, indeed, at the time when our dig- 
nity was not so elevated as it now is, we learned how 
the Lord revealed to some few Catholics that the feast 
of Corpus Christi was to be celebrated throughout the 
whole Church. Therefore, in order to strengthen and 
exalt the true faith, we have thought it just and reason- 
able to ordain that, besides the commemoration which 
the Church daily makes of this Holy Sacrament, a par- 
18 



l 206 THE MOST HOLY FESTIVAL OF 

ticular festival shall be celebrated every year, on a cer- 
tain day, namely, on the fifth day of the week after the 
octave of Pentecost, on which day pious people will vie 
with each other to hasten in great crowds to our churches, 
where the clergy and laity will send forth their holy 
hymns of joy and praise. On this memorable day, faith 
shall triumph, hope be enhanced, charity shall shine, 
piety shall exult, our temples shall re-echo with hymns 
of exultation, and pure souls shall tremble with holy 
joy. On this day of devotion, all the faithful shall 
hasten to our churches with joyful hearts, to discharge 
their obligations with unlimited obedience, and thus, in 
a worthy manner, celebrate this great feast. May the 
Lord vouchsafe to inflame them with so holy a zeal, that, 
by the exercise of their piety towards Him Who has re- 
deemed them, they may increase in merit, and that He 
may also give Himself to them in this life for their 
food. May this God likewise be their reward in the 
other world. We, therefore, inform and exhort you, in 
the name of the Lord, and through these apostolic let- 
ters we command you, in virtue of holy obedience, and 
enjoin upon you to have, every year, on the above- 
named fifth day of the week, this so glorious and praise- 
worthy feast celebrated in all the Churches and places 
of your diocese. Moreover, we command you to ex- 
hort, yourself and through others, those under your 
charge, so to prepare themselves, the Sunday before, by 
a' perfect and sincere confession, by alms, prayers and 
other good works, which are suitable to this day of the 
Most Blessed Sacrament, that they may reverently par- 



CORPUS CIIRISTI AND ITS ORIGIN. 207 

take of the same, and by this means receive an increase 
of grace. And as We also desire to stimulate, by Spir- 
itual gifts, the faithful, to the celebration and venera- 
tion of this feast, We grant to him or her, who, truly 
penitent, confessing his or her sins, attends the morning 
service or vespers of the day, one hundred days' Indul- 
gence ; and to him or her who is present at Prime, 
Tierce, Sext, None and Complin, forty days for each of 
these hours. 

" Finally, relying upon the merciful Omnipotence of 
God, and trusting in the Authority of the Holy Apos- 
tles Peter and Paul, We remit to him or her, who, 
during this Octave, shall be present at the morning 
service, Vespers and Mass, one hundred days of pen- 
ance imposed upon them." 




CHAPTER XIV. 

ADDITIONAL EXAMPLES RELATING TO THE 
REAL PRESENCE. 



^^<^1ADBERT relates, that a certain priest named 
| pOJ Plegile asked of oar Saviour the favor to be 
,jR5d P erm itted to see Him with his bodily eves in 
~^ ^ V ' the Holy Eucharist. As this request did not 
proceed from unbelief, but rather from an ardent love, 
it was granted. One day, during Mass, this pious 
priest knelt down after the consecration and besought 
our Lord anew to grant his request. An Angel then 
appeared to him and bade him arise. He raised his 
head and saw our Divine Saviour in the form of an in- 
fant. Full of joy and reverence, he begged our Lord 
to conceal Himself again under the Sacramental species, 
and immediately the Holy Eucharist assumed its usual 
appearance. This miracle was also witnessed by many 
other persons. 1 

2. The Abbe Favre also relates a miracle which took 
place at Turin in the year 1453, during the pontificate 
of Nicholas V. One night a thief entered me of the 



P. Favre. 

208 



EXAMPLES RELATING TO THE REAL PRESENCE. 209 

churches of the city and stole the sacred vessels. Ho 
then loaded his 'horse with the sacred burden, and at- 
tempted to leave the ciy at daybreak; but his horse 
fell on its knees, and with all his efforts the thief could 
not make it rise. The people at length began to sus- 
pect something, so they took off the burden from the 
horse and found, to their horror, the sacred vessels. A 
consecrated host which had remained in the ciborium 
rose into the air to the height of about sixty feet. The 
Bishop, hearing of this fact, went in procession to the 
place accompanied by a great multitude. As soon as 
he arrived there, the holy host descended into the chal- 
ice which he held in his hand and was carried to St. 
John's Cathedral. A splendid church was erected on 
the spot in which this great miracle happened, and on 
I he balustrade the following inscription is still to be 
Been : " Hio stetit equus." 1 This miracle is still an- 
nually commemorated by a festival kept throughout the 
whole diocese, and by a solemn procession in the city 
of Turin. God was pleased to work this miracle to 
confirm the faith of the people against the errors of the 
Hussites, and Albigenses, who were then ravaging that 
part of Italy. A few years ago, during one of these 
annual processions, another miracle took place which is 
too remarkable to be omitted. An impious barber had 
the impertinence to ridicule a person, whom he was 
shaving, for wishing to assist at this procession. He 
then went into the street in order to insult the Catho- 
lics and to ridicule the Blessed Sacrament. He kept his 

1 " Here the horse stopped." 
18* 



210 ADDITIONAL EXAMPLES 

hat on, and would not take it off, though repeatedly 
ordered to do so. But, behold ! the moment that the 
Blessed Sacrament passed by him he was struck by the 
Divine Justice and fell to, the ground a corpse. This 
event made such an impression on the whole city that 
the commissary caused the body of the impious man to 
be exposed before the court-house for thirty-six hours. 
A great many of the eye-witnesses of this fact are still 
living j among others, M. Raet, formerly Rector of 
Plancherine, in the diocese of Chauberg, who was stay- 
ing at Turin when this melancholy occurrence took 
place. 

3. In 1369, the following incident occurred in the 
Netherlands. A Jew of Enghien, named Jonathas, 
prefect of the synagogue, persuaded a Jew of Brussels, 
named John de Lou vain, who was apparently converted 
to Christianity, to bring him some consecrated hosts. 
The latter, urged on by the promise of a large sum of 
money, entered one night the church of St. John the 
Baptist at Malembeck, which was situated without the 
city, took the ciborium, containing fifteen hosts, and 
gave it to Jonathas. This wicked Jew now began to 
offer every imaginable indignity and outrage to our 
Blessed Lord in the mystery of His love. A few days 
after this occurrence, Jonathas was murdered. His 
wife, considering his death to be a just chastisement of 
God, and fearing lest she might be punished in a simi- 
lar manner, went to Brussels and gave the ciborium, 
with the hosts, to some Jews, who preserved them til] 
Good Friday of the year 1370. On this day they 



RELATING TO THE REAL PRESENCE. 211 

created the sacred hosts with every kind of indignity. 
At last they pierced them, and immediately miraculous 
blood began to flow from them. These impious wretches 
were so terrified at this sight that they fell to the grounds 
On recovering from their terror, they resolved to send 
the hosts to the Jews of Cologne. A woman named 
Catherine was charged with this commission. She, 
however, full of fear and remorse of conscience, carried 
the hosts to her parish priest at Aix-la-Chapelle, and 
gave him an account of all that had happened. The 
priest then informed the duke and duchess of the whole 
affair. The impious Jews were arrested and tried, and 
having been fully convicted of the crime, they suffered 
the punishment they so justly deserved. This hap- 
pened on the eve of Ascension day, 1370. This his- 
tory is recorded in the archives of the city of Brussels. 
The sacred hosts are still preserved in the church of St. 
Gudule in the same city. There are also several pictures 
in this church representing this event. 

4. The following miracle is related by St. Francis de 
Sales. In a certain church in the town of Favernay, 
in France, the Blessed Sacrament was once exposed on 
a side altar to the adoration of the faithful. During 
the exposition, a spark happening to fall from one of 
the lighted tapers, set the altar on fire. In a short 
time everything was destroyed ; even the repository, in 
which the Blessed Sacrament was kept, was consumed. 
The Blessed Sacrament itself, however, remained in its 
place, and when the priest endeavored to carry it to the 
high altar, he found that he could not move it. He 



212 ADDITIONAL EXAMPLES 

then began to celebrate Mass, and when he came to the 
consecration, the host came, of its own accord, to the 
high altar, and remained there till after the Communion, 
when it returned to its former place and remained sus- 
pended in the air as before. This miracle was repeated 
for several years in succession. St. Francis de Sales 
says that he himself made a pilgrimage to the place in 
order to witness this miracle. 

5. In the year 1563, a Lutheran nobleman in the city 
of Erfurt, ridiculed the Blessed Sacrament as it was car- 
ried in procession by the Rev. Father Th. Baumeier. 
" Behold/' said he, " what a ridiculous thing that old 
man is carrying!" No sooner had he uttered these 
words than he fell speechless to the ground. Dr. J. 
Hebenstreit was instantly called in, but pronounced 
him beyond recovery. A few days after the nobleman 
was a corpse. 1 

6. Many facts of the kind have occurred even in our 
own day. The three following are related on the au- 
thority of ecclesiastics who were inhabitants of the 
places in which they occurred : There lived at Wittem, 
near Aix-la-Chapelle, a pious person who was accus- 
tomed to see Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament 
whenever she assisted at Mass. Now, one day she did 
not behold our Lord as usual. She went, therefore, to 
the priest after Mass and said : " Rev. Father, you have 
committed such and such a fault, and this is why I did 
not, as usual, see Jesus Christ during your Mass." The 
priest was filled with surprise at these words, as he knew 
that what she said was true. 

1 William of Gent. 



RELATING TO THE REAL PRESENCE. 213 

7. In Holland a church was set on fire. Among 
those present was an old man who rushed boldly into 
the flames in order to take away the Blessed Sac- 
rament. Immediately the flames divided before him 
and left him a passage to the high altar. He then took 
down the Blessed Sacrament and carried it away with- 
out receiving the slightest injury. A painting repre- 
senting this miraculous occurrence is still to be seen in 
the church in which it took place. 

8. About thirty years ago, on the feast of Corpus 
Christi, several of the citizens of Duren, near Aix-la- 
Chapelle, were sitting together in an inn fronting on 
the great market-place, when the solemn procession of 
the Most Holy Sacrament passed by. Among those 
present was the son of the burgomaster. Now, as the 
priest gave the benediction, with the Blessed Sacrament 
at the altar that had been erected in the square, this 
young man held up a silver dollar in his hand and 
mimicked the sacred ceremony. In a few days the very 
arm with which he had committed this crime began to 
mortify ; the mortification soon extended to the shoulder, 
and, after a short time, the unhappy man died. More- 
over, from this moment the blessing of God forsook 
his house ; several of his family died, and the rest sunk 
into poverty and disgrace. 

9. The three following instances will be of special 
interest, as they have happened in this country. In the 
year 1824, Mrs. Ann Mattingly, of Washington, D. C, 
was miraculously cured of a severe illness in the fol- 
lowing manner : She had been suffering from a dan- 



214 ADDITIONAL EXAMPLES 

gerous cancer for seven years. Every remedy was tried, 
but in vain ; the disease was incurable. She lost the 
use of her left arm ; her back and shoulders became ul- 
cerated in consequence of her long confinement to her 
bed, and the symptoms of approaching dissolution be- 
gan to appear! In this state, finding that all natural 
means were unavailing, she had recourse to God. In 
concert with Prince Hohenlohe and her pastor, the Rev. 
Stephen L. Dubuisson, she began a novena in honor of 
the Most Holy Name of Jesus, and at the end of the 
novena she received the Blessed Sacrament. When she 
was about to receive Holy Communion, believing that 
the time had come when she must either die or be re- 
stored to health, she uttered these words : " Lord 
Jesus ! Thy holy will be glorified." Her tongue was 
so rough and parched from fever that she was unable to 
swall@w the host for five or six minutes ; but the moment 
she swallowed it all pain instantly left her, her body 
was entirely healed, and she found herself in perfect 
health. She immediately arose and dressed herself, and 
after having knelt down to give thanks to God, she re- 
ceived hundreds of visitors who came to congratulate 
her and to witness the miracle. These facts are all at- 
tested by a number of competent witnesses, and any 
one who desires to examine the evidence, can find a full 
statement of the case in the works of Bishop England. 
10. At the burning of the Ursuline Convent near 
Charlestown, Mass., when the nuns were driven from 
their cloister at the hour of midnight by a fanatical 
mob, one of the ruffians had the hardihood to open the 



RELATING TO THE REAL PRESENCE. 2l5 

tabernacle, and seizing the sacred vessels, he poured into 
the pocket of a companion the consecrated hosts which 
they contained. The latter, on his way back to Charles- 
town, treated the sacred particles with the most atro- 
cious irreverence, and even jestingly offered them to a 
tavern-keeper in payment for the liquor he had drank. 
He then returned home and related to his wife an ac- 
count of the night's proceedings. Shortly afterwards 
be went into the yard, but as lie did not return, the 
family became uneasy, and sought for him everywhere. 
After searching for some time, they found him a ghastly 
corpse. He had died the death of Arius. This fact 
was related by the late Bishop Fenwick of Boston. 

11. The Rev. Anthony Urbanek, who, in the years 
1847 and 1848, exercised the functions of the holy min- 
istry in the city of Milwaukee, in the State of Wiscon- 
sin, gave the following account of a wonderful conversion 
wrought by the recital of the " Hail Mary " : He fre- 
quently visited a Protestant family by the name of 
Pollworth, natives of Hanover, but then residing a few 
hours' drive from Milwaukee. After a short time Mrs. 
Pollworth joined the Catholic Church, but her husband 
remained obstinate, and would often say that he would 
never become a Catholic. He would not even allow 
his children to be baptized, although his wife resorted 
to every possible means to obtain his consent. All who 
knew him used to say it would require nothing less 
than a miracle to make a Catholic of Pollworth. The 
priest continued his visits, and their conversation gen- 
erally fell upon the truths of Catholicity. But every 



216 ADDITIONAL EXAMPLES 

effort to convince Mr. Poll worth was vain ; he had 
always a thousand objections to present. On one of 
these visits, after having long and uselessly endeavored 
to open the eyes of his headstrong friend to the truth 
of the Catholic faith, Rev. Mr. Urbanek at last said 
to him : " I see well, Mr. Pollworth, that I can do 
nothing with you." At that moment the good priest was 
suddenly inspired with a feeling of extraordinary con- 
fidence in the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, and, 
continuing to address Mr. Pollworth, he added : " But 
you must, at least, promise me one thing." " What may 
that be?" asked his friend in the Low German dialect. 
" I will tell you after you will have promised it," an- 
swered Rev. Mr. Urbanek. " It is not difficult, and 
you can conscientiously do it." After a good deal of 
argument, Mr. Pollworth finally promised to do w r hat 
might be asked of him. " Then," said the priest, " say 
on every Sunday henceforth one ' Hail Mary ' for my 
intention, and you will, in a short time, experience a 
great change in your feelings." Mr. Pollworth laughed 
at these words; but he kept his promise faithfully. 
About fourteen days after the promise was made, he 
suddenly accosted his wife thus : "lam going to Mil- 
waukee now, to buy some new clothes for the children." 
The astonished wife asked : " But why at this time so 
particularly?" " Well, I have at last made up my mind 
to let the children be baptized," was his reply. The 
news spread like wild-fire through the entire neighbor- 
hood. "Pollworth has, at length, consented to have 
his children baptized," was in every one's mouth. 



RELATING TO THE REAL PRESENCE. 217 

He, moreover, begged the Eev. Mr. Urbanek to have 
the ceremony performed with the greatest solemnity. 
The Rev. Pastor invited another Priest and two Clerics 
to assist at the baptism, which took place before High 
Mass. After Mass, the Most Blessed Sacrament was 
exposed and the hymn i Pange Lingua ' sung by the 
choir. The newly baptized children stood close to the 
altar steps, and their father immediately behind them. 
During the singing of the hymn, it suddenly occurred 
to Mr. Pollworth to look at the Blessed Sacrament, but 
being forced by the immense crowd that was pressing 
towards the sanctuary to stand, if he would not kneel 
upon his children, he feared lest a free glance at the 
Sacred Host might have the appearance of irreverence. 
However, he was not long able to resist the inclination. 
He looked towards the altar and saw the Sacred Host 
as it always is ; but, it soon increased to the size of a 
mill-stone, and in the centre of it there appeared the 
Good Shepherd with a lamb upon His shoulders. This 
sight did not perplex the man : he wished to convince 
himself of what he seemed to see. He accordingly 
closed one eye for a while and thus looked at the appa- 
rition, and then again with both eyes, until he was fully 
satisfied that J:here was no illusion in the matter. Be- 
sides, it was a clear noonday, and he was standing 
scarcely two steps from the altar. After the lapse of 
about five minutes, the vision disappeared, and the sa- 
cred host resumed its original appearance. On leaving 
the church, Pollworth asked some of his neighbors 

whether they had seen nothing singular during the di- 

19 



218 ADDITIONAL EXAMPLES 

vine service; but when he perceived that they knew 
nothing of the apparition, he said no more. The next 
day he invited the priest to pay him a visit, and as soon 
as Rev. Mr. Urbanek entered the house, Pollworth 
said : " Now, indeed, is the lost sheep at last found, after 
its long straying among the briers. I wish to become 
a Catholic." A few days later he was received into the 
Church, and after he had made his Profession of Faith, 
he solemnly attested by oath to the truth of the vision 
above related. On the same day a bigoted Calvinist 
was baptized. Upon the simple assurance of Mr. Poll- 
worth of what had taken place he had been converted. 
The Right Rev. Bishop granted to the congregation of 
the church, in which the wonder had taken place, the 
privilege of having, on every 16th of July, the day of 
the apparition, a solemn procession with the Blessed 
Sacrament, exactly as on Corpus Christi. Pollworth 
and his family always go to Holy Communion on this day. 
12. Towards the close of the last century, there lived 
a very impious man in Rottweil, a little town of Swabia, 
Germany. One f day, when in the most solemn pro- 
cession of Corpus Christi, the Blessed Sacrament passed 
by the house of this impious wretch, he had the dia- 
bolical audacity to scoff at the Blessed Sacrament in a 
most horrid manner. He placed himself before the 
window, in his shirt-sleeves, with his butcher's apron 
on and a white night-cap on his head. By appearing 
in this unbecoming dress he wished to show his con- 
tempt and disrespect to the Holy Eucharist. What 
was still worse, as the Blessed Sacrament passed by him 



RELATING TO THE REAL PRESENCE. 219 

he spat upon it. Only a few persons noticed bis im- 
piety, otherwise it would have been immediately 
avenged. But what men failed to do God was not 
slow in accomplishing. This blasphemer soon after 
died the death of a reprobate. This, however, was not 
all. The dreadful scandal which he had given, and 
which had become generally known, and the outrage 
which he had offered the Divine Majesty, required a 
public act of reparation. God made use of the fol- 
lowing means to effect this : Immediately after the death 
of this impious man, such horrible noises, such fright- 
ful groanings, lamentations and bowlings were heard 
in his house that no one could stand it any longer. 
Every person easily guessed the cause of it ; the diffi- 
culty was, how to remove it. At last, as if inspired by 
God, they had recourse to the following expedient : It 
was resolved that this man's portrait should be painted 
in the same dress and posture in which he had appeared, 
to scoff at the Blessed Sacrament, and that the painting 
should be placed in the opening of the wall instead of 
the window, in order to show to all who should pass by 
how God punishes the scoffers of the Blessed Sacrament. 
Strange to say, no sooner was this painting placed in 
the wall, than the house became quiet, Some years 
afterwards the wife of a Protestant preacher, who lived 
opposite, could no longer bear the sight of this horrid 
portrait. Accordingly, her husband went to the Civil 
Magistrate to obtain an ordinance for the removal ol 
the picture. His petition was granted ; but no sooner 
was the painting removed than the former frightful 



220 ADDITIONAL EXAMPLES 

scenes returned, and continued until the alarmed people 
of the house obtained permission to restore the painting 
to its place. One of our Fathers related this event to 
me, as an eye-witness of the fact. 

13. In a procession at Valencia, when Blessed 
Nicholas Fattori was carrying the Blessed Sacrament, 
all at once a flock of birds came and formed a crown 
just above the canopy, singing most melodiously, and 
steadily accompanying the procession; their warbling 
notes harmonizing beautifully with the ecclesiastical 
chant. When, afterwards, he was asked about this, he 
answered with a smile, that they were Angels who 
came from heaven to honor their Divine King. 1 

14. At the time when the modern heresies in re- 
lation to the Keal Presence were arising, our Lord was 
pleased to illustrate this doctrine by a miracle. A 
nobleman of Tyrol named Oswald Mulser, on coming 
to make his Paschal Communion, insisted on being 
communicated with a large host. This was an act of 
pride and unbelief, but the priest was induced, through 
human respect, to give him a large host instead of a 
small one, such as are ordinarily given; but, in the 
very moment when the host was placed on his tongue, 
the ground opened under his feet as if to swallow him. 
He had already sunk down to his knees when he seized 
hold of the altar, which yielded like wax to his hand. 
Seeing now the vengeance of God overtaking him, he 
repented of his pride, and prayed for mercy. As God 
would not permit him to swallow the sacred host, the 

1 His Life. 



RELATING TO THE REAL PRESENCE. 221 

priest removed it and replaced it in the tabernacle. It 
was the color of blood. The author who records this 1 
says, that he himself saw the host tinged with blood, 
the altar bearing the impress of Oswald's hands, and 
the ground into which he was sinking still hollow, and 
covered with iron bars. Witnesses testify to these 
visible evidences of the miracle, even to the present 
day. 

15. Three years ago one of our priests received a 
letter from his Father in Treves, Germany. In this 
letter a very melancholy example was related that 
occurred in that city on the occasion of the solemn 
procession of Corpus Christi. When the procession 
passed by the house of a certain Protestant gentleman, 
his servant-girl, who was a Catholic, said to her master : 
" O come and see the splendid procession and the faith 
of the Catholics." In answer to this invitation, the 
gentleman uttered a most horrible blasphemy against 
the Blessed Sacrament. No sooner had it left the 
blasphemous lips than he fell to the ground dead. The 
whole city looked upon this instantaneous death as an 
evident chastisement of God for the horrible crime of 
blasphemy. 

16. "One day," said the Cure d'Ars, when cate- 
chising the people, " two Protestant ministers came to 
me who did not believe in the Real Presence of our 
Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. I said to them : ' Do 
you think a piece of bread could detach itself, and, of 
its own accord, go and place itself on the tongue of a 

1 Tilman Bredenbaeh. 
19* 



222 ADDITIONAL EXAMPLES 

person who came near to receive it ? ' i No/ said t\ /. 
' Well then, it is not bread/ " The saintly Curate 
then related the following fact: "There was a man 
who had doubts about the Real Presence, and he said : 
'What do we know about it? it is not certain what 
consecration is! What happens on the altar at that 
moment? 7 But this man wished to believe, and he 
prayed to the Blessed Virgin to obtain faith for him. 
Listen attentively to this: I do not say that this 
happened somewhere, but I say that it happened to 
myself. At the moment this man came up to receive 
Holy Communion the Sacred Host detached Itself from 
my fingers, while I was yet a good way off, went of 
Itself and placed Itself upon the tongue of that man. 7 ' 1 

17. The same Cure relates also, that a priest once, 
after consecration, had some little doubt whether his 
few words could have made our Lord descend upon 
the altar; at the same moment he saw the host all red, 
and the corporal tinged with blood. 

18. Charles II., king of Spain, took a ride in his 
carriage at Madrid, on the twentieth of January, 1685 T 
accompanied by many personages of nobility and high 
rank, and followed by a large concourse of the common 
people. Perceiving a priest approaching with the 
Blessed Sacrament, he quickly alighted from his car- 
riage and knelt down to adore his Saviour in the Holy 
Eucharist, after which he begged the priest to take his 
place in the carriage. Taking his hat in his left hand, 
and holding, like a coachman, the reins of the horses, 

1 Spirit of the Cure d'Ars. 



RELATING TO THE REAL PRESENCE. 223 

vie followed on foot, with uncovered head, to the house 
of the sick person. Here he again knelt down to 
adore his Lord and God in the Blessed Sacrament. He 
served the priest to the best of his power. Finally, he 
bestowed a rich present on the family, in order that 
the sick man might die with less solicitude for those 
he was to leave behind him. 1 

19. It may excite surprise to hear that irrational 
animals can teach us lessons of reverence towards the 
Most Holy Sacrament, but such is the case. There are 
not a few instances on record which prove that the 
Divine Author of nature has been pleased sometimes 
so to direct the instinct of brutes that, by their be- 
havior, they might confound the pride of heretics and 
infidels, or awaken the devotion of lukewarm and in- 
different Catholics. In the life of St. Anthony of 
Padua, a very striking miracle is recorded. As Al- 
mighty God, by the prophet Isaias, proposed the 
docility of the ox and the ass as a rebuke to the 
stubbornness of the children of Israel, so, in this in- 
stance, He made use of a brute beast to reprove the 
folly of those who reject the mystery of the Eeal 
Presence. In the time of St. Anthony of Padua, there 
lived at Tolosa, a city of Spain, a very obstinate heretic, 
Bovillus by name, who denied the Real Presence of 
fesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Although St. 
Anthony compelled him to acknowledge interiorly the 
truth of this doctrine, he persisted obstinately in his 
heresy. At last, he professed his willingness to be- 

1 Bollandus. 



224 ADDITIONAL EXAMPLES 

lieve provided he should see a miracle wrought in 
proof of it. "What, then, do you desire?" St. An- 
thony asked. "I will," said the heretic, "keep my 
mule without food for three days ; afterwards, I will 
bring him to you. On one side I will place food before 
him, and on the other side you shall stand with the 
Blessed Sacrament. In case the mule leaves the food 
and goes to you, I will believe that Jesus Christ is 
truly and really present in the Blessed Sacrament." 
St. Anthony having agreed to the proposal, on the day 
appointed a great concourse of people were assembled 
together in the public square to see the issue. St. An- 
thony, after having said Mass, took the Blessed Sac- 
rament and carried It with him to the square. Then, 
when the hungry animal had been brought near and 
food put before him, St. Anthony, holding in his hands 
the Blessed Sacrament, thus spoke : " In the name of my 
Creator, Whom I am not worthy to hold in my hands, 
I command thee to draw near and prostrate thyself 
before thy God, to give due honor to Him, that the 
heretics may learn from thee how they ought to wor- 
ship their God in the Blessed Sacrament; " and behold! 
no sooner had St. Anthony thus spoken than the mule 
left his food, went before the Blessed Sacrament, and 
bowed his head to the ground as if to adore it. At 
this sight, Bo villus, and many other heretics, were 
converted and professed their faith in the Real Presence. 
20. St. Francis of Assisi, whose power over irrational 
creatures almost carries us back to the days of man's 
original innocence, was followed by a sheep wherever 



RELATING TO THE REAL PRESENCE. 225 

he went. This sheep went even into the church, and r 
during the time of Mass, would keep quiet until the 
consecration, when it would kneel down as if to adore 
its Creator. 

21. The most striking fact of this reverence shown 
by animals, and one which would seem almost incred- 
ible if its truth was not vouched by such authors as 
John Eusebius and Stephen Menochius, is related of a 
baker's dog at Lisbon. This dog, without ever having 
been taught to do so, seemed to exhibit towards the 
Most Blessed Sacrament all that devoted fidelity which 
so often distinguishes the attachment of these animals 
to their masters. As soon as the bell rang to announce 
that the Blessed Sacrament was to be carried to the 
sick, he would run to the church, and, lying down at 
the door, he would wait till the priest came out with 
the Blessed Sacrament, when he would join the proces- 
sion, running from one side to the other as if he was 
deputed to keep order. Once the bell was rung about 
midnight. The dog instantly jumped up to go in all 
haste to the church, but the doors of the house being all 
locked so that he could not get out, he went to his mas- 
ter's room, whining and barking, in order to awaken 
him, but not being successful, he went to another per- 
son, whom he pulled by his clothes to the door of the 
house, and held on to him till he opened it. Once in 
Holy Week he watched for twenty-four hours succes- 
sively when the Blessed Sacrament was exposed in the 
sepulchre. He would not permit the slightest indeco- 
rum in the presence of the Biassed Sacrament, and so 

P 



226 ADDITIONAL EXAMPLES 

long as he was in the church, no one dared to sit or 
stand. On one occasion, as the Viaticum was being 
carried to a sick person, he found a pedlar asleep on 
the roadside; he barked until the man awoke, uncov- 
ered his head and knelt whilst the Viaticum was pass- 
ing. On one occasion he compelled a country woman, 
who was riding on an ass, to dismount and adore the 
Blessed Sacrament. Sometimes he was mistaken in the 
signal, and would go to the church when the bell had 
rung for a funeral ; in such cases he would return home 
immediately. No one, not even his master, was able to 
break him of this habit, and whether they tried to en- 
tice him with food, or fastened him up, all was in vain. 
In the one case, he would snap at the meat once or 
twice, then, as if fearing to be late, he would run off to 
the church. In the other case, he would howl so dread- 
fully that they were glad to release him. Thus has 
God been pleased to give us, through a creature devoid 
of understanding, a lesson in our duty. 

22. There is no kind of miracle which, to our Cath- 
olic instincts, strikes us as less miraculous than a mira- 
cle wrought by the Blessed Sacrament. The miracles 
of our Blessed Lord in the Gospels, as compared with 
those of His Apostles and Disciples in the Acts of the 
Apostles, seem natural and obvious. Once acknowl- 
edge Our Blessed Lord's Divinity, and all distinction 
between the natural and the supernatural seems to cease 
in His regard, and miracles flow as the direct conse- 
quence of His Presence. In the same way, once grant 
the doctrine of the Real Presence in the Blessed Sacra- 



RELATING TO THE REAL PRESENCE. 227. 

ment, and the wonder is that miracles are not of daily 
and hourly occurrence in our churches. The word 
"miracle" is, perhaps, ill selected to express what is 
here intended, since every offering of Holy Mass is in 
reality a far greater miracle than anything else in the 
world. Every Sacramental act of Holy Church is mi- 
raculous, inasmuch as it is supernatural. The super- 
natural order is as incidental to the ordinary working 
and life of the Church as the natural order is incidental 
to the government of the world. It is not the " super- 
natural " which is infrequent, but " manifestations of 
the supernatural." These are only granted occasion- 
ally at rare intervals for the sake of encouragement or 
proof, and generally as a reward for very deep and 
ardent faith. As the Archbishop of Westminster re- 
marks in his prefatory commendation of this miracle, it 
is a manifestation of Supernatural power to " confirm 
our consciousness of the operations of the Holy Ghost, 
both Sacramental and miraculous, which, like His pres- 
ence, from which they flow, are perpetual in the 
Church." 

The present miracle is introduced to us under the 
double warranty, so to speak, of the Cure' of St. Martin 
at Metz, who narrates it, and the Bishop of Metz, who 
indorses the narrative, with his imprimatur, in the fol- 
lowing words : 

" Bishop's Palace, Metz. 
" Having considered the following narrative to be as 
edifying as we know it to be strictly conformable to 



228 ADDITIONAL EXAMPLES 

truth, we have approved of its publication. It is 
scarcely possible to imagine anything more likely tc 
awaken in the hearts of Christians earnest sentiments 
of faith, trust, and love for our Lord Jesus Christ in 
the Blessed Sacrament of the altar, and to increase 
amongst us devotion to the Institution of the Perpetual 
Adoration, than this simple recital of what took place 
in the Church of St. Martin during the religious ser- 
vices of that holy time. It would seem as if our Blessed 
Lord had wished to show by a signal favor how accept- 
able is this homage to His Divine Heart, and had 
chosen for that token the sudden and miraculous cure 
of a young girl whose faith had led her to fall at His 
feet, and to cry out with lively faith and humble con- 
fidence, 'Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me 
whole ! ' 

"At Metz, 8th September, 1865. 

" * Paul, Bishop of Metz." 

The statement of the Cure carries conviction to every 
candid reader by the truthful simplicity of its style. 
Ann Clery, who was the daughter of a distinguished 
member of the magistrature, still living, was sent to 
school at the convent of the Sacred Heart at Metz, at 
the age of thirteen. Soon after she first went to school, 
her health gradually decayed, and after several serious 
attacks, her malady assumed the form of the disease 
which her Paris physician described as " muscular and 
atrophical paralysis." For more than nine years she 
lingered in a state of infirmity, pronounced by one doc- 



RELATING TO THE REAL PRESENCE. 229 

tor after another as incurable. In 1859 her physician 
had declared that she would be a cripple as long as she 
lived. 

"From that time — that is, from the middle of the 
year 1859 up to the present time — Mdlle. de Clery 
lias not been attended by any physician. Her mother 
alone watched over her health. Her infirmities kept 
increasing. She could hardly digest any food. Her 
thinness and weakness were pitiable. Violent head- 
aches, three or four times a week, added to her prostra- 
tion of strength. She could not be laid on the bed or 
the couch without suffering intense pain ; and at such 
moments a strange effect of these paroxysms was visible 
in her face. Her eyelids became inflamed and of a 
purple color; this gave to her countenance an inde- 
scribable appearance of suffering. Paralysis was be- 
ginning to affect her arms, the only limbs she had 
hitherto retained the use of. It was feared that she 
would soon lose the principal means of occupation and 
amusement within her reach — the exercise of her skill 
in fancy works. The future prospects of this young 
lady seemed sad indeed to human prevision; but the 
time was at hand which God, in His wisdom, had fixed 
upon for the fulfilment of His merciful designs." 

Her resignation to God's will was most complete. 
During several years a priest brought her Holy Com- 
munion every week, and she spent her time in embroid- 
ering altar cloths or making artificial flowers for Cor- 
pus Christi. 

She felt a great longing to be carried to the church 
20 



230 ADDITIONAL EXAMPLES 

of St. Martin, for the forty hours 7 devotion which was 
to take place on the 12th, 13th, and 14th of last June. 
The state of her'health prevented the accomplishment 
of her wish until the third day. 

"On the morning of the 14th of June, Ann received 
Communion in her bed. At twelve o'clock, which was 
the hour of adoration assigned by the parochial regula- 
tions to the inhabitants of the street in which the Hotel 
Coetlosquet is situated, she was carried to the church — 
she, a woman of twenty-three years of age — like a baby 
of a few months, by her maid Clementine, who sat down 
on a bench on the left side of the nave and held her on 
her knees. Madame de Clery and Mdlle. Therese de 
Coetlosquet knelt, the one by her side, and the other on 
the bench behind, in order, as much as possible, to screen 
her from observation. Madame and Mdlle. Paulin de 
Coetlosquet, who had preceded them, were kneeling in 
another part of the church. Neither the invalid her- 
self, nor any of her friends, were expecting the extraor- 
dinary event about to take place. 

"After a few moments' rest from the fatigue she 
had gone through, and which was producing, as usual, 
a purple flush in her eyelids, Ann fixed her attention 
on the Blessed Sacrament; and after some instants' 
silent adoration, she said the prayer she often used at 
the moment of Communion : ' Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou 
canst cure me.' At the same instant she felt so violent 
a pain in her whole body that it was all she could do 
not to scream out. She prayed earnestly for strength 
k> bear it, and then added : ' My God, if it is Thy will 



RELATING TO THE REAL PRESENCE. 231 

that I should be carried back to my sick-bed, give me 
grace at least to be always resigned to Thy Holy will/ 
I cannot describe what then happened between God and 
her sou]. She says she felt penetrated with faith and 
hope, and, as she expresses it, became conscious that she 
was cured. She wanted to kneel. Her maid whispered 
to her: ' Mademoiselle, you will fall down/ But Ann 
threw herself on her knees, and said to those about her: 
i Pray, pray ; I am cured ! ' These words filled them 
with astonishment; tears and sobs mingled with their 
prayers. Madame de Clery, overwhelmed with emo- 
tion, in a state of bewilderment, not knowing what to 
think or to believe, led her daughter out of the church. 
She could not credit the evidence of her senses when she 
saw her standing on her feet, and then walking only 
with the help of her arm. They went into a summer- 
house in the adjacent garden, and there the poor 
mother, whose fears made her incredulous, ascertained 
that the knots under her daughter's knees had entirely 
disappeared. Ann entreated to be allowed to return to 
the church, where she remained for three quarters of 
an hour kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament, without 
feeling the least tired, and pouring forth praises and 
thanksgivings. 

" When I was told what happened, I went to the 
summer-house, but could not attend to any of the per- 
sons assembled around Ann. I could only look at her 
in silence and astonishment, whilst with intense grati- 
tude to God she showed me that she could stretch out 
her limbs, walk, kneel, and hold up her head without 



232 ADDITIONAL EXAMPLES 

effort. She was completely cured. God had done the 
work ; and His work, accomplished in an instant, was 
perfect. All the ailments which had afflicted her had 
disappeared at the same time as the paralysis, and the 
weakness which follows long illness did not attend her 
recovery. Numerous proofs evinced it. The hour of 
vespers was at hand. Ann said she wished to be present 
at the service. Following the dictates of natural pru- 
dence — for I was not certain how far, in restoring her 
health, God had given back to her her strength also — 
I advised that she should rest, or, at least, if she was 
bent on coming to the church that day, that she should 
wait in the summer-house till the time of Benediction. 
She complied with my request; but when the hymn 
'Pange lingua/ &c, resounded in her ears — 'Sing, my 
soul, the mystery of the glorious Body of Christ' — she 
could not sit still, and hastened to join the crowd which 
filled the church. 

"The next day, which was the Feast of Corpus 
Christi, she heard a Mass in Thanksgiving, and went to 
Communion, kneeling at the altar amongst all the other 
communicants — a happiness she had not enjoyed for 
nine years. She was present during the whole of the 
High Mass, which is celebrated every Thursday in 
honor of the Blessed Sacrament, and in the afternoon 
was again in the church, kneeling before the altar and 
pouring forth the expressions of her ardent thankful- 
ness. Three days afterwards — that is, on the Sun- 
day on which the Feast of Corpus Christi is kept in 
France — Ann spent seven hours in presence of the 



RELATING TO THE REAL PRESENCE. 233 

Blessed Sacrament, hearing Mass, attending Benedic- 
tion, or visiting our Lord at other times. When she 
was urged to moderate her devotion and to husband 
her strength, she replied that ; far from feeling the least 
fatigue, she experienced an increase of strength and 
vitality whenever she approached our Blessed Lord." 

23. Having received information from many persons 
of the wonderful occurrence which I am now going 
briefly to relate, says St. Alphonsus in his book, "Visits 
to the Blessed Sacrament," I endeavored to collect evi- 
dence sufficient to enable me to publish an account of 
it : and I first obtained a full relation of the fact, 
written by a priest of the same town, who was one of 
the eye-witnesses of the miracle. But not satisfied 
with this, I read myself the authentic process which 
was drawn up by the Archiepiscopal Court of Naples, 
by order of his eminence Cardinal Sersale, the present 
Archbishop. The process is very long, consisting of 
364 pages, — a most careful investigation into the facts 
having been made by the officers of the court from the 
evidence of many priests and lay persons, all of whom, 
in perfect agreement, made their depositions on oath. 

It happened, on the morning of the 28th of January 
in the past year 1772, at a place called S. Pietro a Pa- 
terno, in the diocese of Naples, that the tabernacle of 
the parish-church, in which the BJessed Sacrament was 
reserved, was found open, and that the two ciboriums, 
a large and a small one, containing many particles, had 
been taken away. 

For several days the whole neighborhood was in the 

20* 



234 ADDITIONAL EXAMPLES 

greatest distress and grief; and though the most dili- 
gent search was made, no tidings could be obtained 
either of the ciboriums or of the sacred particles. At 
length, on Thursday, the # 18th of February, a certain 
youth, Giuseppe Orefice, of about eighteen years old, 
as he was passing in the evening near the property of 
the Duke of Grottolelle, saw a number of lights, which 
had the appearance of bright stars. The following 
evening he saw the same thing ; and on coming home 
he told his. father what he had seen; his father, how- 
ever, would not believe him. 

On the following day, about an hour before sunrise, 
the father was passing by the same spot, with Giuseppe 
and his brother Giovanni (a child of eleven years), who, 
turning to his father, said : " See, father, the lights of 
which Giuseppe spoke to you yesterday evening, and 
you would not believe him." 

On the evening of the same day, the same boys, on 
coming home, again saw the lights in the same place. 
D. Girolamo Guarino, the confessor of Giuseppe Ore- 
fice, was then informed of it, who, in company with 
his brother, D. Diego, also a priest, went to the spot 
where the lights had been seen, and meanwhile sent for 
Orefice, who, on coming there with his brother and a 
person called Tomaso Piccino, again saw the lights; 
but at that time the priests saw nothing. 

On the evening of Monday, the 23d of February, 
Orefice returned to the spot with Piccino and a man 
named Carlo Marotta, and met on the road two strangers 
who stopped and asked them what those many Ugh to 



RELATING TO THE REAL PRESENCE. 



235 



were which they had just distinctly seen, and which 
twinkled like stars? They replied that they did not 
know ; and, taking leave of the strangers, they ran in 
haste to mark the spot where they had seen the lights. 
As soon as they had marked the spot, which was distant 
a few steps from the hedge, and in which was a poplar 
tree higher than the rest of the trees, they went to find 
the two priests already mentioned, told them what had 
occurred, and returned all together to the spot. 

When they were all there, with a child of five years, 
nephew to the two priests, the child cried out, " See, 
there are the lights, which look like two candles." 1 
At the same moment Orefice saw these two lights, and 
said they shone like two stars; Carlo and Tomaso also 
saw them, and three other children of Signor Guarino, 
close to the poplar already mentioned. 

After this they heard the shouting of many people, 
who, from a stack of straw which was on the property, 
were begging the priest to come and see in the stack a 
great light in the appearance of a flame. In the mean- 
time, a woman, named Lucia Marotta, threw herself 
with her face to the ground on the spot where the light 
was seen. 

The priests and many other persons ran up, and 
having lifted up the woman, commenced to dig the 
ground; but then they found nothing. The two 
brothers, Giuseppe Orefice, with Tomaso Piccino and 
Carlo Marotta, then returned to the town, and going 

' Here we must observe, that the lights did not always appear in the same 
manner. 



236 ADDITIONAL EXAMPLES 

along the Strada Kegia, they heard the cries of those 
who had remained on the spot. Going back there, 
Piccino fell suddenly upon his face; and after a few 
steps, Giuseppe felt himself pushed forward on the 
shoulders, and he also at once fell to the ground. In 
the same way, and at the same moment, the other two, 
Carlo Marotta and Giovanni, Giuseppe's brother, also 
fell; and all four felt their heads wounded, as if they 
had received a severe blow with a stick. 

Having got up, they went forward a few steps; and 
both Giuseppe, as also Carlo, Tomaso, and Giovanni, 
saw a brilliant light as of the sun coming forth from 
beneath the poplar tree; and they all four saw rising 
out of this light, to about four or five feet in height, a 
dove, which was almost as brilliant as the light itself: 
the dove, however, gliding down into the earth at the 
foot of the poplar, from which it came out, disappeared, 
as also did the light. What the dove signified is not 
known ; but it appears certain that it was something 
supernatural; and all the persons already mentioned 
gave evidence of the fact upon oath before the Vicar- 
General of Naples. 

After this, remaining in the same place, they all cried 
out : " See, there are the lights ! " And going on their 
knees, they began to seek for the sacred particles. 
While Piccino was scooping out the earth with his 
hands, they saw one particle come out white as paper. 
They then sent to call the priests. D. Diego Guarino 
came, and kneeling down he took the sacred particle 
and put it in a white linen handkerchief, amid the 



RELATING TO THE REAL PRESENCE. 237 

tears and devotion of all the people, who wept bit- 
terly. 

He then began to search more carefully ; and having 
removed some more earth, he saw a group of about 
forty particles appear, which had not lost their white- 
ness, although they had been buried for nearly a month 
from the time they were stolen. They were placed in 
the same handkerchief, and the earth in which they 
were found was also removed. 

It being now rumored about, other priests of the 
place came to the spot, bringing with them a ciborium, 
cotta, stole, canopy, and torches. In the meantime, a 
priest and a gentleman went to Monsignor the Vicar- 
General to know what was to be done. An order came, 
that the particles should be carried processionally to the 
church. They did so, and arrived at the church about 
half-past eleven at night, when the particles were placed 
in the tabernacle. 

This took place on the night of the 24th of Febru- 
ary. The people were much consoled, but not fully so, 
because the greater part of the particles, as was supposed, 
were still wanting. 

But on the evening of the following Tuesday, the 
25th, a small light, but very brilliant, was seen in the 
same place as at first, by many persons, country-people, 
gentlemen, as also by the priests D. Diego Guarino and 
D. Giuseppe Lindtner, who wrote for me an account of 
the whole aifair, as I mentioned at the beginning. This 
priest being much terrified, pointed to a mustard-plant 
which was growing there, and cried out : "O Jesus, O 



238 ADDITIONAL EXAMPLES 

Jesus ! look at the light there, look at it ! " Upon 
which the others also saw a most dazzling light, which 
rose about a foot and a half from the ground, and formed 
itself on the top into the figure of a rose. Giuseppe 
Orefice, who was there, affirmed that the light was so 
brilliant that his eyes remained for some time dazzled 
and dimmed. 

They began, therefore, to seek the remainder of the 
particles in that place, but found none; but on the 
evening of the following day, the 26th of February, a 
number of lights were seen round the stack of straw by 
three cavalry soldiers of the regiment called Borbone, 
Pasquale de S. Angelo of the diocese of Atri and Penne, 
Giuseppe Lanzano, and Angelo Di Costanzo of Acerra 
who were all examined before the Archiepiscopal court 
These deposed before Monsignor the Vicar-General, 
that as they were riding round the royal villa of Ca- 
serta, where his majesty the king then resided, they 
saw on the property above mentioned " several lights 
like shining stars." These are the very words of the 
soldiers, as taken down in the process. 

Moreover, on the same evening of the 26th, Signoi 
D. Ferdinando Haam, a gentleman of Prague in Bo- 
hemia, Chancellor and Secretary for letters to the Em- 
bassy of his Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty, was 
returning from the city of Caserta at about nine at 
night, along the Strada Regia, near to the above-men- 
tioned property : he got down from his carriage to go 
and see the place where he had heard the stolen parti- 
cles had been found two days before. On arriving 



RELATING TO THE REAL PRESENCE. 239 

there he found many persons, and among them the 
priest D. Giuseppe Lindtncr, with whom he was ac- 
quainted, who told him the whole history, both of the 
sacrilege and of the miraculous discovery of the parti- 
cles. Signor Haam, after having heard the priest, re- 
lated that he also, eight or nine days before, on the 17th 
or 18th of the month, not having then heard either of 
the particles that had been stolen or of the lights that 
nad been seen, was passing by this place about nine at 
night, and that he saw "a great number of lights 
amounting to about a thousand," and at the same time 
a number of persons who were standing in silence and 
with devotion round the lights. Being much fright- 
ened at what he saw, he asked the driver what those 
lights were ; he replied, " that perhaps they were ac- 
companying the Most Holy Viaticum to some sick per- 
son." " No," replied Signor Haam, " that cannot be, 
otherwise we should at least hear the bells." Hence 
he suspected that these lights were the effect of some 
diabolical sorcery, and so much the more as the horse 
had stopped, and would not go on a step; he, therefore, 
made the driver get down, but it was impossible to 
make the horse go on, it trembled all over and foamed 
at the mouth. At length, after many attempts, the 
horse, drawn away as by force out of the road which 
led to the ground, set off with such speed that the 
driver cried out : " O Jesus ! what will come of this ? " 
And so Signor D. Ferdinando returned to Naples 
seized with great fear. He himself deposed the whole 
of this in the Archiepiscopal Court, as may be read in 
the process, page 60, &c. 



240 ADDITIONAL EXAMPLES 

On the evening of Thursday, the 27th, at about 7 
o'clock, Giuseppe Orefice and Carlo Marotta went to 
the place where was the stack of straw, which they 
found had been burned by the priests D. Girolamo 
Guarino and Giuseppe Lindtner, in order that they 
might more easily search for the missing particles: 
they found also Giuseppe Piscopo, Carmine Esposito, 
aud Palmiero Novello, prostrate on the ground and 
weeping, because they had seen a little light appearing 
and then disappearing before them several times. When 
Orefice heard this, he knelt down, and began to recite 
the acts of faith, hope, and charity : when he had fin- 
ished he returned with the others to see what the light 
was, which, according to the deposition of Orefice, rose 
up about four fingers from the earth, and then disap- 
peared as it were in the ground. After this, having 
put a mark over the place where the light had ap- 
peared, so as not to be mistaken, Orefice and Marotta 
went to inform the priest D. Girolamo Guarino, who 
came immediately to the place and found many persons 
kneeling there : he began to search with care about the 
ground on which the mark had been placed. 

At this moment many persons again saw the light ; 
and Guarino, who did not see it, made the sign of the 
cross upon the ground, and ordered his brother Giu- 
seppe to scoop out the earth on which the stack of 
straw had stood, on the left of the cross, with a pick- 
axe which he had in his hand ; but he found nothing. 
However, just as they were thinking of digging in 
another part, Giuseppe Orefice, who was on his knees 



RELATING TO THE REAL PRESENCE. 211 

all the time, put his hand on the ground, and finding 
that it was soft and yielding, mentioned it to the Rev. 
Guarino,' who, taking a knife from his brother, stuck it 
into the ground, on the spot which had been marked 
with the cross ; and when it was at its depth, he heard 
a noise as if several hosts united together were broken. 
He drew the knife out of the ground, and with it a 
little ball of earth, to which he saw many particles were 
attached. Struck with fear at what he saw, he cried 
out in astonishment: "Oh, oh, oh!" and then fainted 
away; so that, as he himself deposed, his sight failed 
him, and, losing all power over himself, the knife, with 
the ball of earth and the particles, fell from his hand. 

As soon as Guarino recovered his senses, he put the 
particles in a white linen handkerchief, covered them 
up, and laid them in the hole in which they had been 
found ; for, on account of the trembling which had come 
over him, and especially in the arms, he was not able 
to stand upright. The parish priest, being informed 
of what had happened, came quickly to the spot, where 
he found all kneeling before this hidden treasure ; and 
having taken better information of the event, he went 
back to his church, and sent a canopy, veil, a number 
of wax-tapers, and a chalice, in which the sacred par- 
ticles were put. The assistants spread the veil over a 
little table covered with silk, on which the Blessed Sac- 
rament reposed; round this a number jf persons knelt 
with lighted torches, and many people arrived, not only 
from the town, but also from the surrounding villages, 
with their priests; all of whom shed tears of tender 
M Q 



242 ADDITIONAL EXAMPLES 

devotion. In the meantime the priest Lindtner and 
Signor Giuseppe Guarino went off to find Monsignor 
the Vicar-General, and returned about ten o'clock, with 
orders to carry in procession the particles that had been 
found, to the parish church of S. Pietro a Paterno. 
They did so, and along the way they all sang, praising 
and thanking Almighty God. As soon as they arrived 
at the church, benediction was given with the chalice, in 
the midst of the tears and cries of devotion of the whole 
people, who could not leave off weeping and thanking 
the Lord for the great consolation they had received. 

We read in the history of olden times of many such 
like prodigies in confirmation of the truth of the most 
Holy Sacrament. I myself, in my History of Heresies, 
have related many examples on this matter in the time 
of the impious Wickliffe, who was the first of modern 
heretics to deny the truth of this venerable Sacra- 
ment. At that time Almighty God was pleased to 
work many miracles to confound their incredulity, 
which I have inserted in the book just mentioned. 1 
Nevertheless, there are not wanting certain critical 
spirits who altogether refuse to believe these ancient ac- 
counts, and say, " But who saw them?" Now, if such 
a one should doubt the fact which I have now related, 
and which was proved with such exactness in the 
Archi episcopal court of Naples, he can easily certify 
himself of the truth of it by going to the town of S. 
Pietro a Paterno, which is not far from the city, where 
he will find many lay persons and ecclesiastics who will 

1 Chap. 11. 36, 37. 



RELATING TO THE REAL PRESENCE, 243 

a 5 sure him that they beheld, with their own eyes, the 
prodigies here related. 

For the rest, let others say what they please; for my 
own part I hold the faet to be more than certain, and 
therefore I wished to make it known by publishing an 
account of it. It is true that the miracle here described 
does not call for any other than mere human feuh ; 
nevertheless, of all such facts grounded on human faith, 
I do not know if there be one that is more deserving 
of belief than this that I have related, considering the 
extreme care with which the information was taken by 
the Neapolitan court, and the evidence, not of credu- 
lous women, but of seventeen men, lay and ecclesiastics, 
who judicially deposed on oath all that they had seen 
with their own eyes. All these circumstances, which 
are so many marks of truth, make the fact more than 
morally certain. Hence I hope that all those who read 
this account will not be disinclined to believe it, but 
will do what they can to make it known for the gloiy 
of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. 



^^W^j 




CHAPTER XV. 



THE MOST HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS 



£||s||EFORE speaking of the Most Holy Sacrifice 
of the Mass, I must first explain to you what 
is meant by sacrifice. A sacrifice or oblation, 
in its most general sense, is anything that is 
offered to God. In this sense, a sacrifice may consist 
of the internal motions of the heart, as Holy Scripture, 
for instance, calls a contrite heart "a sacrifice to God." 
But, in its strict sense, a sacrifice is an offering to God 
of some sensible object, to acknowledge, by the de- 
struction or change of this object, the sovereign power 
of God, and His absolute dominion over all creatures, 
as also to render Him the homage due to His Divine 
Majesty. 

All nations have agreed upon the propriety of making 
such oblations to the Being to Whom they give supreme 
honor. The Holy Scripture, the most ancient of all 
histories, tells us that Cain and Abel offered sacrifices 
to God soon after the fall of our first parents. At the 
time of the deluge we find Noah offering clean animals 
to God, and the same was often done by Abraham and 

244 



THE MOST HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE 31 ASS. 245 

nis posterity. Now, how are we to account for so gen- 
eral an agreement of mankind about this mode of wor- 
shipping God? Reason alone must convince man of 
the necessity of expressing, in some external way, his 
obligation of dependence on God. We are composed 
of soul and body, and as we know that God has a right 
to t\i2 services of both, we cannot be satisfied until we 
have given an adequate expression to the emotions of 
our heart. It is not very probable, however, that natu- 
ral reason dictated that particular species of oblation 
which has been in use amongst most nations : I mean 
animal sacrifice. For, although the sense of guilt, 
which has weighed upon all men ever since the fall of 
Adam, would naturally have suggested to them the 
necessity of some expiatory offering whenever they were 
about to approach God, yet we cannot see why they 
should have chosen to sacrifice an animal for that pur- 
pose. On the contrary, the offering to God of the life 
of a harmless creature, in expiation of the sins of men 
considered apart from Divine Revelation, would seem 
to be even absurd. It is, therefore, most probable, that 
God Himself instituted animal sacrifice, in the begin- 
ning of the world, to foreshadow the meritorious sacri- 
fice of Christ, and to give man a means of acknowledg- 
ing his guilt. Now, domestic animals have been gen- 
erally chosen for sacrifice, chiefly for two reasons : first, 
because they stood in the nearest relation to man, and 
consequently were the most fitting substitutes to bear 
the penalty which he had incurred ; and secondly, be- 
cause, by their gentleness and innocence, they served to 
21* 



246 THE MOST HOLY SACRIFICE 

represent the meek and spotless Lamb of God. How 
ever, this original revelation concerning animal sacrifice, 
of which we find traces among all nations, became very 
much corrupted in the course of time. Supposing that 
that which they loved and prized the most would be 
the most acceptable offering to God, men went at last so 
far as to sacrifice their fellow-men, nay, even the lives 
of their own children. Of course such sacrifices were 
in the highest degree hateful in the sight of God. In 
order, therefore, to teach men how to worship Him 
properly, the Lord chose a particular people, to whom 
He gave express and minute directions about the sacri- 
fices that they were to offer. This was the Jewish na- 
tion. Out of this nation He chose a particular family 
— the family of Aaron — who were to offer Him sac- 
rifice. These sacrifices ordained by God were of various 
kinds : offerings of adoration, offerings of impetration. 
sin-offerings, and thanksgiving offerings. In some of 
these sacrifices the victim was only partially consumed 
by fire, while in others it was entirely consumed. The 
latter were called holocausts or burnt-offerings. This 
system of worship lasted until the coming of our Saviour. 
It was then abolished, because all these sacrifices were, 
in themselves, utterly incapable of appeasing the wrath 
of God. They were meritorious merely because they 
prefigured the death of Christ ; consequently, after that 
event, these sacrifices became entirely unmeaning and 
worthless. Ever since the death of Christ there has 
been no bloody sacrifice, for the death of our Lord was 
the true propitiation for the sins of the world. 



OF THE MASS. 247 

The Prophet, however, expressly foretold the insti- 
tution of a new kind of sacrifice, a real sacrifice, though 
an unbloody one, which was to succeed the abrogated 
sacrifices of the Old Law, and to be offered unceasingly 
in every part of the world. The passage to which I 
allude is very remarkable ; it is from the prophet Mala 
chy, i. 10 : "I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord 
of Hosts," addressing the Jewish people, " and I will 
not receive a gift of your hand, for, from the rising of 
the sun even to the going down, My name is great 
among the Gentiles : and in every place there is sac- 
rifice, and there is offered to My name a clean oblation 
for My name is great among the Gentiles, said the Lord 
of Hosts." Here we have the promise that, when the 
Jewish sacrifices should have ceased, another and far 
more precious sacrifice should be offered, visible indeed 
like them, but unlike them possessed of an intrinsic 
sanctity, a. sacrifice that was to be offered from the rising 
to the setting of tha sun ; a sacrifice that was to be of- 
fered in every place, even to the end of time. 

Now, all these attributes are found, and found only 
m the Catholic sacrifice of the Mass. This is so evi- 
dent that all the Fathers of the Church, with one 
accord, interpret this passage as a clear prophecy of this 
most adorable sacrifice. It is a real sacrifice in the 
proper sense of the word, because our Lord is not only 
really present in the consecrated host, but He also truly 
offers Himself to His heavenly Father. It is not, how- 
ever, a bloody sacrifice, because our Lord is not really 
slain in the Mass ; His death is merely represented in 



248 THE MOST HOLY SACRIFICE 

a mystical manner by the separation and destruction of 
the species. According to some of the Holy Fathers, 
the word Mass is derived from the Latin word " missa" 
or " missio," which signifies a " sending," because God 
sends His well-beloved Son to be our victim, and the 
priest sends Him back to the Eternal Father as our 
ransom and our intercessor. But you may ask, does it 
not argue a want of perfection in the sacrifice of Christ 
on the Cross to continue thus to offer Himself in the 
Mass? By no means. The sacrifice of the Mass is 
the same that was offered on the Cross, the only differ- 
ence being in the manner of offering. The victim is 
the same in both — it is Jesus Christ, the true Lamb of 
God, really slain on the Cross, mystically slain in the 
Mass ; the priest, too, is the same ; it is Jesus Christ, 
the true High Priest, Who offered Himself immediately 
on the Cross, and who offers Himself mediately by the 
ministry of His priests in the Mass. In itself, the 
sacrifice which our Saviour offered on the Cross is of 
infinite value, and it is more than sufficient for our 
redemption. But of what use will it be to us, unless 
it is applied to our souls ? Of what use is it to a poor 
person to know that there is somewhere a sum sufficient 
for his ransom, if that sum be not really given to him ? 
Cardinal Hosius gives a beautiful illustration of this 
truth. " Suppose," he says, "that there were, in a cer- 
tain city, a large fountain of water, sufficient to supply 
the wants of all the inhabitants. Suppose that this 
fountain was situated in the centre of the city, and en- 
tirely open to all, will the mere fact of the existence of 



OF THE 3IASS. 249 

i.ach a fountain be sufficient to supply everybody's 
wants? Must not every one that stands in need of 
this water either draw it himself or have it brought to 
him by some means or other ? Now, there is a foun- 
tain of living water flowing from the open side of Jesus 
Christ ; it is a never-failing fountain ; a copious foun- 
tain, sufficient, and more than sufficient, to wash away 
the sins of the whole world, and to impart life to all 
the children of men. In order, hoAvever, that we may 
experience the wonderful virtue of this living water, it 
must be applied to our souls. Now, Jesus Christ has 
established certain channels through which the waters 
of His grace come to us. Baptism is one of these chan- 
nels ; the daily Sacrifice, which we call Mass, is another. 
By this sacrifice, the fruit of the sacrifice accomplished 
on the Cross, and the precious blood there shed for us, 
are applied to our souls. How unjustly, then, do the 
Protestant ministers reproach us with obscuring the 
sacrifice of the Cross by our daily sacrifice of the Altar ! 
Would it not be absurd to say, that to desire baptism, 
and to place one's confidence in water instead of in the 
blood of the Redeemer, would be to disparage the 
merits of Christ ? Now, just as absurd is it to say that 
ive, by our daily sacrifice, obscure the glory of the 
iacrifice of the Cross, and detract from its dignity, since 
ve, by this very means, only participate in the sacrifice 
of the Cross and make it available to our salvation." 1 

Moreover, our Divine Saviour instituted the sacrifice 
of the Mass in order that His religion might not be 

1 Ccmfessio Cathol. Fidei in Synodo Petriconensi, c. 41, fol. 94. 



250 THE MOST HOLY SACRIFICE 

wanting in what even the Jewish religion possessed, a 
continual sacrifice, and that we might have an adequate 
means to worship Him properly. The sacrifice of the 
Mass, therefore, far from derogating from the sacrifice 
of the Cross, only brings it nearer to us, and renews 
and extends its effects in a wonderful manner. 

Our Blessed Lord instituted this sacrifice of the Mass 
at the Last Supper. On the very night in which He 
was betrayed, He changed bread and wine into His 
Body and Blood, and gave to the Apostles and to their 
successors, the power to do the same in commemoration 
of Him. In obedience to the commands of our Lord, 
the Apostles frequently offered up the Holy Sacrifice 
of the Mass, as we see from the Acts of the Apostles, 1 
and from the writings of the Fathers of the Church, 
especially of St. Ignatius, Martyr, and St. Clement, 
both disciples of the Apostles. The wooden altar, on 
which St. Peter and the succeeding Popes, down to St. 
Sylvester, used to say Mass, is still preserved at Rome. 
St. Matthew, the Apostle, was pierced with a lance in 
the very act of saying Mass. When St. Andrew, the 
Apostle, was required by the tyrant Aegeas, to sacrifice 
to the gods, if he wished to escape the punishment of 
the cross, he replied : " I daily offer up on the altar to 
the only true and Almighty God, the Immaculate 
Lamb, which, though it is consumed, remains always 
living and entire. And, indeed, St. Paul expressly 
declares, in the Epistle to the Hebrews : " We have an 
altar, whereof they have no right to eat, who serve the 

1 Chap. ii. 42. 



OF THE MASS. 251 

tabernacle." 1 An altar implies a sacrifice, since an 
altar is used only for sacrifice. Now, as there is no 
other sacrifice in the Christian religion than that of the 
Eucharist, it follows that the altar, of which the 
Apostle speaks, must have been an altar for saying 
Mass. The Fathers of the Church commonly speak 
of the Mass as "a salutary sacrifice." St. Cyprian, in 
the third century, calls it. "an everlasting sacrifice." 2 
St. Augustine, in the fourth century, declares it to be 
" a true and august sacrifice, and that it has supplanted 
all former sacrifices." 3 But no one has spoken of the 
subject in more sublime terms than St. John Chrysostom : 
"O wonder!" he exclaims in his Homily <De Sacra 
Mensa/ " At this table, so magnificently furnished, the 
Lamb of God is immolated for thee j there the Cherubim 
are present; there the Seraphim attend; there all the 
Angels join with the priest in praying for thy welfare." 
And again, in his book, " De Sacrificio," 4 he says: 
" When thou beholdest the Lord immolated and lying 
upon the altar, and the priest bending over the sac- 
rifice and praying, and all the assistants reddened with 
that precious blood, dost thou think that thou art still 
on earth ? Does it not rather seem to thee that thou 
art wrapt into Paradise, and beholding, with the eye 
of thy soul, the things that are done in heaven ? " In 
his eighty-third Homily he says : " How surpassingly 
pure ought he to be who offers such a sacrifice ? Ought 
aot the hand that divides this sacred flesh— the mouth 

• Heb. xiii. 10. ' De Civit. Dei. cap. xx. 

Lib. dfl OTWML. ' Lib - iiL 



252 THE MOST IIOL Y SA CRIFICE 

that is filled with this spiritual fire — the tongue that 
is dyed with this most sacred blood, be purer than the 
light of the sun ? Think how thou art honored, to 
what a banquet thou art admitted ! That, before which 
the Angels tremble and veil their faces, is our food ; we 
are united to Christ ; we are made one body and one 
flesh with Him ! " " Who shall declare the power of 
the Lord and set forth all His praises ? " 

These passages give us a very exalted idea of the 
dignity and value of the sacrifice of the Mass, and yet 
they fall far short of the reality. Indeed, if all the 
learned and saintly men that ever lived, or ever will 
live, were to unite with the Angels and Saints of 
heaven, and with the Blessed Mother of God herself, 
and were each to strive, to the utmost of his power, to 
set forth the dignity of the Mass, they would all be 
unable to praise it worthily. 

t None of the. Doctors of the Church has written so 
fully and profoundly on this subject as St. Thomas 
Aquinas, and our Lord Himself commended him for 
his efforts to explain and illustrate it ; but even he did 
not receive the praise of having written worthily on the 
subject ; our Lord only said to him : " Thomas, bene de 
me scripsisti" — " Thomas, thou hast- written well con- 
cerning Me." Nay, if our Lord Himself were to ap- 
pear to us and to describe the greatness of the Mass, 
we should not be able to understand Him, for the Mass 
is infinite in dignity, since it is God Him&^lf Who is 
the priest and victim. St. Chrysostom was, therefore, 
right in applying to this glorious mystery khe words 



OF THE MASS. 253 

of the Psalmist : " Who shall declare the power of the 
Lord and set forth all His praises ! " 

But, besides the great dignity of the Mass, there is 
another reason for which we should esteem this holy 
sacrifice : it is its great utility. Mass is, in the first 
place, a sacrifice of adoration ; secondly, a sacrifice of 
thanksgiving ; thirdly, it is a sacrifice of propitiation ; 
and fourthly, a sacrifice of impetration. I said, in the 
first place, that the Holy Mass is a sacrifice of adora- 
tion, that is to say, a sacrifice by which we render to 
God a worship corresponding to His greatness. It is 
evident, that we are bound to worship God, for even 
our reason tells us that honor should be given to whom 
honor is due. We usually honor men according to 
their rank and acquirements. We honor a man of 
learning, for instance, more than an ignorant rustic ; a 
saint more than a sinner ; a prince more than a peasant ; 
a priest more than a layman. Now, God is infinite in. 
all His perfections, and consequently desires supreme 
honor and reverence. He alone is, as the Holy Scrip- 
ture says, "Blessed and Mighty, the King of Kings, 
and Lord of Lords ; Who alone hath Immortality and 
inhabiteth Light inaccessible ; Whom no man hath seen 
nor can see ; to Whom be honor and empire everlast- 
ing." Now, how are we to render to God the honor 
that is due to Him ? I have said already, that sacrifice 
was the mode by which we acknowledge the supreme 
sovereignty of God ; but where shall we find a sacrifice 
pure and precious enough to be offered to His Majesty ? 
It is plain that we, finite creatures, have nothing of 
22 



254 THE MOST HOLY SACRIFICE 

ourselves great enough to offer Him ; even the sac *ince 
of our lives would be an inadequate homage. " What 
then, shall we offer to the Lord that is worthy ? Where 
with shall we kneel before the high God ? " 1 

Almighty God Himself has furnished us with an of- 
fering, as He declared one day to one of His servants, 
who was burning with love for Him, and with an ar- 
dent desire to honor Him. " O" said this fervent soul, 
" I would that I had a thousand tongues, that I might 
praise God always! O, that I had hearts without num- 
ber wherewith to love Him ! O, that the whole world 
were mine that I might see Him loved and served by 
all men ! " " My daughter," replied an inward voice, 
" thy zeal and love are extremely pleasing to Me ; but 
know, that I am more honored by a single Mass than 
by all the honors that thou couldst ever conceive or de- 
sire." The reason of this is plain. The victim, which 
is offered to God in the Mass, is our Lord Jesus Christ 
Himself, the well-beloved Son of His Father, equal to 
Him in all things j and, therefore, this sacrifice must 
be of infinite dignity and value. In this sacrifice we 
offer to the Eternal Father all the honor which Jesus 
Christ gives Him, and thereby make up for our natural 
poverty. Hence Father Paul Segneri well says in his 
a Homo Christianus " : 2 u If, on the one hand, the 
Blessed Mother of God, and all the Saints and Angels 
off heaven, were to prostrate themselves before God in 
the deepest humility and reverence, and on the other 
hand, the humblest priest on earth were to offer but 

' Mit&eas vi. 6. P. 1. diei. 12. 



OF THE MASS. 255 

one Mass, the offering of the priest would give more 
honor to God than the united adoration of all those 
Angels and Saints. 

In the second place, we need a sacrifice of thanks- 
giving, for we are bound to return thanks to God for 
all the benefits He has bestowed on us. How many 
blessings have we not received from God? creation, 
preservation and all the blessings of His Providence ; 
redemption by vocation to the true faith ; the grace of 
repentance, deliverance from hell, the promise of heaven, 
the Sacraments, holy inspirations, the examples and in- 
tercession of the Saints. What a debt of gratitude do 
we owe for so many favors ? Jesus, son of Sirach, re- 
quires us to " give to the Most High according to what 
He has given to us." * But what can we render to God 
for all that He has done for us ? We cannot pray al- 
ways ; we cannot, like David, compose a whole book 
of inspired hymns in praise of God's wonderful deal- 
ings with us; and even if we could, our thanksgiving 
would be insufficient and unworthy of God. Now God, 
in His mercy, has given the devout soul a means of 
paving this immense debt of gratitude. The Mass is a 
Eucharistie sacrifice, that is to say, a sacrifice of thanks- 
giving. Jesus Christ has left us Himself to be offered 
therein by way of thanksgiving to His heavenly Father. 2 

1 Eccl. xxxv. 12. 

5 It is a doctrine of the Catholic Church, that Mass can be of- 
fered to God alone. This is indeed implied in the very nature of a sacri- 
fice. When, therefore, Catholics speak of the Mass of such and such a 
Saint, or of offering Mass in honor of a Saint, they mean a Mass offered 
tc God in thanksgiving for the graces bestowed on that Saint, or for the 
graces obtained through his intercession. 



256 THE MOST HOLY SACRIFICE 

He gives thanks to the Eternal Father for us, and thus 
we are enabled to return to God even more than we 
have received from Him. Two pious souls were one 
day discoursing about the graces they had received from 
God. One of them complained of her inability to give 
due thanks to God for all she had received ; the other 
smiled and said : " I give to God every day more than 
I ever received from Him." This answer naturally 
surprised the former, and she asked how this was pos- 
sible. " Oh," replied the latter, " I go to Mass every 
day and offer up Jesus Christ to my heavenly Father 
for all the graces He has bestowed upon me; and Jesus 
Christ, the well-beloved Son of God, is certainly of 
greater worth than all the benefits which I have ever 
received, or ever will receive/ 

In the third place, the Mass is a projnticdory sacrifice, 
that is to say, a sacrifice by which God is entreated — 
or supplicated to forgive us our sins, and to remit the 
temporal punishments due to them. Such a sacrifice is 
very necessary, for we are bound not only to adore and 
thank God, but also to beg of Him new graces. JNow, 
the most important grace that we can ask of God is the 
pardon of our sins. Sin is an offence against the Ma- 
jesty of God. Now, were all the men that ever lived 
to unite, they could not repair the outrage that is done 
to God by one venial sin. Hence, Almighty God, Who 
is in a certain sense infinitely offended by sin, instituted 
the sacrifice of Mass by which an infinite satisfaction is 
continually rendered to Him. The Council of Trent 
declares 1 that the same Jesus Christ Who offered Him- 

1 Sees. 12, c. 1. 



OF THE MASS. 257 

i If up on the cross for the sins of the whole world, is 
txdily offered up by the priest in the Holy Mass. The 
sacrifice of the Mass is the same as the sacrifice of Cal- 
vary, the only difference being that on the cross He 
really 'suffered and shed His blood in a visible manner, 
while in the Mass He offers Himself without suffering, 
and sheds His blood in a mystical manner. Our sins, 
indeed, are not directly and immediately remitted by 
the Mass, but Almighty God is moved by this mystical 
sacrifice to impart to us the fruits of the meritorious 
Death and Passion of Christ, especially the grace of a 
true sorrow for our sins. The Council of Trent says 1 
that God, appeased by the sacrifice of the Mass, forgives 
even the most enormous sins by granting to the sinner 
the grace of doing penance for. them. The Holy sac- 
rifice of Mass, then, obtains for us the grace to do pen- 
ance for our sins. Without doubt it is to this efficacy 
of the Mass that we must attribute the less frequent oc- 
currence in later times of those terrible punishments 
which God formerly inflicted on the wicked. The 
whole world was once destroyed by a deluge on account 
of sin. Seventy thousand men fell victims to a pesti- 
lence sent by God to punish the vanity of King David. 
Fifty thousand of the Bethsamites were punished with 
death for the irreverent curiosity with which they gazed 
upon the Ark of the Covenant. Why are there so few 
instances of such punishments since the coming of Jesus 
Christ? Sin has lost none of its inherent wickedness; 
on the contrary, it has become much more malicious by 

x Sess. 22, c. 3. 
22* R 



258 THE MOST HOLY SACRIFICE 

reason of the more abundant graces of God. The holy 
Fathers tell us that, without doubt, it is because, in all 
countries, and at all times, every hour, Jesus Christ is 
offered up by the priests of the Catholic Church, and 
the hands of God are bound. The voice of the blood 
of the Lamb of God prevails over the sins which cry 
to heaven for vengeance, and benedictions descend where 
punishments are due. How could it be otherwise ? 

Through the blood of Christ, visibly shed on the 
cross, the dying malefactor obtained the grace of con- 
version. Now, why should not they receive the same 
grace who, with a good will, assist at Mass, where the 
same blood is shed in a mystical manner? Will God 
ihe Father refuse to grant us true contrition for our 
sins when we offer Him the blood of His beloved Son 
Jesus Christ in satisfaction for them, and beseech Him, 
by the merits of this blood, to have mercy on us ? 

A nobleman, named Alphonsus Albuquerque, was 
once on the point of being shipwrecked. He had 
given himself up for lost; but happening to see a child 
crying near him, he took it into his arms, and raising 
it towards heaven, he exclaimed : " Lord, if I do not 
deserve to be heard, at least hear the cries of this inno- 
cent babe and save us." ISio sooner had he uttered 
these words than the storm subsided, and he was saved. 
Let us imitate his example. We are in peril; we have 
offended God and are in danger of losing our immortal 
souls. Must we despair ? ]S T o ; let us offer to God the 
Divine Infant in the Mass, and say : " Lord, we have 
grievously sinned against Thee, and are undeserving 



OF THE MASS. 259 

of pardon ; but look upon the sufferings of this Thine 
innocent Son, and have mercy on us!" This is what 
St. Anselm exhorts us to do. He says that Jesus 
Christ, desirous to save us from eternal death, encour- 
ages us all, and says : " Fear not, O sinner ; if by your 
sins you have made yourself the slave of hell, and are 
unable to deliver yourself, offer Me to My Eternal 
Father, and you shall escape death." And the Mother 
of God gave the same advice to Sister Frances Farnese. 
She put the Infant Jesus into her arms and said : " Be- 
hold, here is my Son j endeavor to save your soul by 
offering Him frequently to God." 

Besides the remission of the eternal punishment due 
to sin, we also obtain, by the holy sacrifice of the Mass, 
the remission of the temporal punishment. This grace 
we obtain in proportion to our good dispositions. On 
this account, the Saints, who have always been desirous 
to render to God a full satisfaction for their sins, have 
made it a point to hear as many Masses as possible. 
St. Margaret of Cortona, reflecting on her many griev- 
ous sins, and wishing to atone for them, went once to 
her confessor and asked him what was the best way for 
her to make satisfaction to God for her sins. He told 
her that the easiest way was to hear as many Masses as 
possible. From that time forward she was very careful 
to assist at all the Masses she possibly could. 

There is still another way in which the Mass is bene- 
ficial to us. We need not only forgiveness of sins, but 
also numberless other blessings both for soul and body. 
By the sacrifice of the Mass we can obtain all these 



260 THE MOST II OL Y SA ORIFICE 

favors. Mass is also an impetratory sacrifice. St. Por- 
phyria, Bishop of Gaza, was once going to Constanti- 
nople to ask a favor of the emperor Arcadius. On his 
way he met the servants of the emperor carrying with 
them his infant son, Theodosius. The holy man im- 
mediately drew near and placed his petition in the 
hands of the young prince. The emperor, agreeably 
surprised at this singular artifice of the bishop, readily 
granted his petition through love for the little bearer. 1 
We must adopt a similar means, in order to obtain 
favors from God. We need numberless and continual 
blessings of Providence; blessings on our daily labors; 
strength to resist sin and to bear patiently the manifold 
trials and contradictions of this life ; steadfastness in 
faith, hope, and charity. Now, in the Mass, Jesus 
Christ, the Son of God, is ever ready to carry up our 
desires to the throne of His heavenly Father. * Let us, 
then, with confidence, charge Him with our petitions,' 
and let us rest assured that His heavenly Father will 
for His sake, grant us all we ask. There are innumer- 
able examples of the efficacy of the Mass in obtaining 
from God every possible grace. 

St. Augustine relates 2 that the house of a man, named 
Hesperius, was dreadfully disturbed, day and night, by 
evil spirits. But no sooner had Mass been celebrated 
in it than all the disturbance ceased, and nothing of the 
kind ever occurred there afterwards. St. Gregory re- 
lates that, on certain days, the fetters used to fall fron- 
the hands of a Christian captive who had been take? 

1 Schmid's' Historical Catechism. 2 De civitate Dei Lib. II. c. 8. 



OF THE MASS. 261 

prisoner by the barbarians, and after his deliverance 
he found out that, on those days, his relatives had 
offered Mass for him. In the life of St. John the 
Almoner, an instructive narrative is told of two trades- 
men, Peter and John, one of whom had a large family 
to support, while the other had to provide only for 
himself and his wife. Peter, although he was accus- 
tomed to hear Mass every day, managed to maintain 
his family very comfortably, while John could scarcely 
gain a subsistence, although he labored so hard that he 
very seldom found time to hear Mass, and was some- 
times even obliged to work on holy-days of obligation. 
One day John asked his more prosperous neighbor how 
it happened that, with so large and helpless a family, he 
always managed to live comfortably, while he himself 
and his w T ife were always in want, although he worked 
day and night. Peter promised to show him the place 
where he always found everything he needed. Next 
morning he called on John and led him to the church, 
where they both heard Mass. After Mass, Peter took 
leave of him and went home. He did the same the 
next day ; but upon his calling the third day for the 
same purpose, his friend said : " If I had wished to go 
to Mass, I would not have needed you to lead me there, 
as I know the way myself; what I wanted was to know 
where you find your wealth, that I also might become 
rich." " I know no place," answered the pious trades- 
man, " where there is so much to be obtained for this 
world and for the next as in the church ;" and in proof 
of what he said, he added the words of our Lord : "Seek 

1 



262 THE MOST TTOL Y 8 A ORIFICE 

ye, therefore, first the kingdom of God and His justice, 
and all these things shall be added unto you." 1 John 
immediately understood the good lesson which his 
friend wished to teach him, and, enlightened by the 
Holy Ghost, he resolved to change his life and to hear 
Mass every day. He did so. In a very short time he 
found himself greatly improved temporally and spirit- 
ually. 

In the year 871, the Danes invaded England, and 
Ethelred, the king of England, having collected a small 
army, went out to meet them. But trusting more in 
the protection of God than in the valor of his arms, he 
went first to hear Mass. While he was assisting at 
Mass., messengers came to tell him that the Danes were 
at hand, and that he must prepare immediately for bat- 
tle; but he answered that he would not go until he had 
received his Saviour in Holy Communion. He stayed 
in the church till Mass was over, and then went forth 
to attack his enemies. After a short conflict he suc- 
ceeded in putting them to flight. 2 

One day, as St. Bernard was about to say Mass in 
the church of St. Ambrose at Milan, the people brought 
to the church a lady of high rank, who had been sick 
for many years. She had lost her sight, her hearing, 
and her speech, and her tongue had become so long 
that it protruded out of her mouth. St. Bernard 
having exhorted the people to join him in praying for 
her, began to celebrate Mass, and as often as he made 
the sign of the cross over the host, he made it over the 

1 Matt. vi. 33. ■ Baronius. 



OF THE MASS. 263 

sick woman also. As soon as he had broken the host 
and said : " Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum" she was 
instantly cured. The people, filled with joy and as- 
tonishment, began to ring the bells, and soon the whole 
city hastened to the church to witness the miracle and 
to give thanks to God. 1 

St. Philip Neri used to have recourse to the sacrifice 
of the Mass in all matters of importance. By means 
of this holy sacrifice he succeeded in converting many 
Jews and heretics. 

We see from these examples the great power of the 
Mass as m impetratory sacrifice, and that it is not in 
vain that the priest prays that through it " we may be 
filled with every heavenly blessing and grace." But I 
have yet one more grace to speak of which we can ob- 
tain through this sacrifice. The Mass is a very effica- 
cious means of obtaining relief for the souls in purga- 
tory. This is the common doctrine of the Fathers. 
St. Jerome says that by every Mass, not only one, but 
several souls are delivered from purgatory, and he is 
of opinion that the soul for which the priest says Mast 
suffers no pain at all while the holy sacrifice lasts. 2 The 
Fathers of the Council of Trent declare that, by the 
sacrifice of the Mass, the souls in purgatory are most 
efficaciously relieved. This was clearly the belief of 
St. Monica, the mother of St. Augustine, when she re- 
plied on her death-bed to her son's inquiries concern- 
ing her place of burial. " Bury me," said she, " where- 

1 Life of St. Bernard. 

a Apud Bern, de Busto, Serm. 3 de Missa. 



264 TJTE MOST HOLY SACRIFICE 

ever you please ; all that I ask of you is to remember 
me at the altar of the Lord." 

In the time of St. Bernard, a monk of Clairvaux 
appeared, after his death, to his brethren in religion to 
thank them for having delivered him from purgatory. 
On being asked what had contributed most to free him 
from his torments, he led the inquirer to the church 
where a priest was saying Mass. "Look," said he, 
" this is the means by which my deliverance has been 
effected ; this is the power of God's mercy ; this is the 
salutary sacrifice which takes away the sins of the 
world." Indeed, so great is the efficacy of this sacri- 
fice to obtain relief for the souls in purgatory, that die 
application of all the good works which have been per- 
formed from the beginning of the world would not 
afford so much assistance to one of these souls as would 
be imparted by a single Mass. I will illustrate this by 
an example drawn from the history of the Order of St. 
Dominic. The Blessed Henry Suso made an agreement 
with one of his brethren in religion that as soon as one 
of them died the survivor should say two Masses every 
week, for one year, for the repose of his soul. It came 
to pass that the religious with whom Henry had made 
this contract died first. Henry prayed every day for 
his deliverance from purgatory, but forgot to say the 
Masses which he had promised. The deceased appeared 
to him with a sad countenance, and sharply rebuked 
him for his unfaithfulness to his engagement. Henry 
excused himself by saying that he had often prayed for 
him with great fervor, and had even offered up peni- 



OF THE MASS. 265 

tential works for him. " O, my brother," exclaimed 
the soul, " blood, blood is necessary to give me some 
relief and refreshment in my excruciating torments. 
Thy penitential works, severe as they are, cannot de- 
liver me. There is nothing that .can do this but the 
blood of Jesus Christ, which is offered up in the sacri- 
fice of the Mass. Masses, Masses, these are what I 
need." 

If, then, dear Christian, you wish to offer the Divine 
Majesty a fitting worship ; if you wish to thank Him 
as you ought for the innumerable benefits He has con- 
ferred on you ; if you wish to expiate the sins you have 
committed against Him; if you wish to obtain for 
yourself and others all the blessings you need for soul 
and body ; if you wish to practise charity to the suffer- 
ing souls in purgatory, you will find a suitable means 
to do all this in the sacrifice of the Mass. You have 
bun to unite your homage, your thanksgiving, your 
contrition, and your petitions to the fourfold offering 
which Jesus Christ therein makes for you ; v u have 
but to offer to the Eternal Father the victim that k 
mystically immolated on the altar, and your worship 
becomes infinitely pleasing to God, and infinitely profit- 
able to you. 

The Mass, in itself, is, indeed, always of the same 
value, whether those who assist at it be devout or in- 
devout; but the fruit we derive from it is greater or 
less, according to our dispositions. When our Lord 
offered His life on the cross as a sacrifice for the sins 
of the world, those who were present received the fruits 
23 



266 THE MOST HOLY SACRIFICE 

of that sacrifice in very different degrees. Some received 
no grace at all, but went away as hardened as they had 
come, while others received great and special favors. 
The good thief obtained an entire remission of all his 
sins and of the punishment due to them ; St. Mary 
Magdalene received a large increase of sanctifying 
grace. So it is also at Mass. The Council of Trent 
says that God gives the grace of contrition and forgive- 
ness of sins to those who assist at this sacrifice with a 
sincere heart, with faith and reverence. The same may 
be said of all other blessings ; — they are given more or 
less in proportion to the devotion and purity of inten- 
tion of those who assist at Mass. In one of the prayers 
which the priest recites in the canon, he says : " Be 
mindful, O Lord, of all here present, whose faith and 
piety are known to Thee." It follows from this that 
one person may gain more graces from a single Mass 
than another would gain from twenty or thirty. When 
you go to the well to draw water, you can only take as 
much as your vessel will hold ; if it be large, you can 
draw much water; if it be small, you can draw but 
little. Now, the Mass is an inexhaustible fountain of 
blessings; it is, to use the language of Scripture, the 
Saviour's fountain, from which the precious graces He 
has merited for us, gush forth upon our souls ; and the 
vessel in which we receive these graces are our faith 
and devotion. If our faith be lively and our devotion 
ardent, the blessings of heaven will fill our hearts ; if 
our hearts be filled with the thoughts of this world, we 
F.hall receive but a small share of these blessings. All 



OF THE MASS 267 

<5his was once shown in a vision to Nicholas de la Flue, 
a holy hermit of Switzerland, who was greatly en- 
lightened by God in spiritual matters. While this 
good man was one day present at Mass, he saw a large 
tree full of the most beautiful flowers. He soon no- 
ticed that the flowers began to fall down upon those 
who were present. But some of the flowers, as soon as 
they fell, became withered and dry, while others re- 
tained their freshness and fragrance. After Mass, he 
related this vision to his brother, and requested him to 
explain its meaning. The brother replied that he, too, 
had seen the vision, and he explained it as follows: 
" The tree," said he, " is the Holy Mass ; the beautiful 
flowers which it bears are the fruits of the Holy Mass ; 
the withering of many of the flowers signifies that 
many of the graces which our Lord distributes in the 
Mass are lost, because Christians are not recollected 
and devout while they assist at this sacrifice, or because 
they afterwards allow worldly thoughts to stifle all the 
good inspirations which they have received ; the flowers, 
which retained their odor and beauty, signify the per- 
manent fruits which those Christians derive from the 
Mass who assist at it with reverence and devotion, and 
who, after having left the church, are still mindful of 
the great blessings which they have received from this 
holy sacrifice. 1 

After having seen of what great importance it is to 
hear Mass devoutly, you will not be surprised to learn 
that the devil makes every effort to distract Christians 

1 Dr. Herbst. vol. II. p. 409. 



268 THE M OST H OL Y 8 A ORIFICE 

whilo they are assisting at this holy sacrifice. It has 
been often remarked that infidels and idolaters never 
behave disrespectfully at the sacrifices which they offer 
to their false gods. Now, this is not strange, for, as 
Picus Mirandola justly remarks, there is no reason why 
the devil should tempt them to irreverence, since it is 
he himself who is honored by their superstitious cere- 
monies ; but as he knows how highly God is honored 
by the great sacrifice of the Christians, he does all in 
his power to keep the faithful from church, or, at least, 
to make them indevout or irreverent when they are 
there. Once, when the Israelites were fighting against 
the Philistines, and were on the point of being debated, 
they had the Ark of the Covenant brought to the camp. 
As soon as it came, they all raised a great shout, so that 
the earth rang again. The Philistines heard the shout, 
and were struck with terror on learning that the God 
Who had done such wonderful things against the 
Egyptians was come into the camp of their enemies. 
" Woe, woe to us ! " they cried ; " who shall deliver us 
from the hands of these high gods?" Plowever, driven 
to desperation by the greatness of their danger, they 
exhorted one another to fight manfully : " Let us take 
courage," they cried ; "let us behave like men, O Phil- 
istines ! lest we become the servants of the Hebrews, as 
they have served us. Let us take courage and fight 
bravely." 1 In like manner, when the signal is given 
for beginning Mass, the great adversary of mankind ia 
seized with rage and terror. " Woe ! woe ! " he cries, 

1 1 Kings iv. 5, 10. 



OF THE MASS. 200 

" what shall we do ! This is that sacrifice which every 
day snatches so many souls from our grasp ; this is the 
weapon with which Antony and Francis, and so many 
others, have defeated us and weakened our power. 
■'What shall we do ! " Then, urged on by the rage he 
feels at his own impotence, he employs all his cunning 
to destroy at least some part of the good fruits of the 
Mass ; he prevents the sinner from escaping from his 
power by placing before him some dangerous object on 
which his eyes may rest; he deprives the devout Chris- 
tian of the strength and consolation which he would 
have received during Mass by filling his mind with 
vain thoughts and worldly cares, so that he cannot 
attend to what is going on; and thus he gradually 
leads him into mortal sin. It is thus that, notwith- 
standing the presence of God on our altars and the 
infinite value of the sacrifice,, so many precious graces 
are lost during Mass. 

In order to reap all the fruits of the Mass, you should 
unite your intention at the beginning with that of the 
priest who offers the Holy Sacrifice. You may do this 
briefly, thus : " O, my Lord, I offer up to Thee this 
Sacrifice for the same ends for which Thou didst insti- 
tute it, and for which Thy priest now celebrates it, be- 
seeching Thee to grant that the souls of the living as 
well as the souls in purgatory may share in its fruits." 
After this you may spend the time of Mass in such 
prayers as your devotion may suggest. According to 
the Blessed Leonard of Port Maurice, it is a very good 
plan to divide the whole Mass into four parts, corre- 
23* 



270 THE MOS T HOL Y SA ORIFICE 

sponding to the four principal objects for which Mass is 
offered, that is to say : to consider the Mass from the 
beginning to the Gospel, as a. sacrifice of propitiation ; 
from the Gospel to the elevation as a sacrifice of impe- 
tartion ; from the elevation to the communion as a sac- 
rifice of adoration ; and from the communion to the end 
as a sacrifice of thanksgiving. In the first part you 
will consider the holiness of God and the enormity of 
sin ; and bewailing your offences, you can offer the Im- 
maculate Lamb to the Father, and ask, in the name of 
that Immaculate Lamb, a more complete forgiveness of 
your sins and of the temporal punishment due to them, 
and a more profound spirit of penance. In the second 
part, you can offer this sacrifice to obtain special graces 
from God for yourself and others ; pray for the welfare 
of Christendom, for the propagation of the Catholic 
faith, for the extirpation of heresy, for peace among 
Christian rulers, for grace to fight against your beset- 
ting sin ; and be not unmindful of the poor souls in 
purgatory. In the third part, you will consider youi 
own nothingness and God's greatness ; then offer up to 
Him the homage of His well-beloved Son, and in union 
with the same sublime homage of Jesus Christ offer up 
your own acts of adoration to the Heavenly Father. 
You can rejoice in His glory and desire, that all men 
should render Him due honor. In the fourth part, 
you may consider what God is in Himself, and what 
He is in His saints, and offering to Him the thanksgiv- 
ing which Jesus Christ makes in the Mass, you may 
add an affectionate oblation of yourself and of all you 



OF THE MASS. 271 

/*T*ve, in return for the great mercies He lias shown you. 
Xou may here make a special acknowledgment of the 
graces which the Lord has bestowed on the Blessed 
Virgin Mary, our Mother, and on your Angel Guardian; 
or, at the beginning of Mass, you may briefly make 
these intentions, and spend the rest of the time in medi- 
tating on the passion of Jesus Christ, or on some eter- 
nal truth ; or you may here make use of your Book of 
Devotions ; or you may say the Rosary of the Blessed 
Virgin. In case you say the Rosary, it is good after 
the word « Jesus" in each Hail Mary, to add : « Who 
offers Himself in this sacrifice to His Heavenly Father." 
By these means the time of Mass will never seem irk- 
some, and you will derive great fruit from the most 
holy sacrifice. 

After all these reflections on Mass, no one will find 
it strange if the holy Church obliges her children under 
pain of mortal sin to assist at this holy sacrifice on Sun- 
days and festivals of obligation. On other days, it is 
true, the faithful are not bound to hear Mass, but our 
holy Mother, the Church, earnestly wishes that all her 
children should and would assist at this salutary sac- 
rifice as often as possible. In most churches Mass is 
said every day, in some several times a day; and wher- 
ever it is offered the people are invited to assist. The 
good Catholic then will feel himself impelled always to 
assist at this holy "sacrifice, unless an important reason 
prevents him from so doing. I could cite you many 
interesting examples which would show you how anxious 
pious Catholics have always been to hear Mass. St. 



272 THE MOST HOLY SACRIFICE 

Louis, King of France, used to hear two Masses every 
day j sometimes even three or four. Some of his 
courtiers murmured at this, but the King gave them a 
sharp reprimand, saying : " If I were to ask you to 
play, or to go hunting with me three or four times a 
day, you would find no time too long, and now you feel 
weary of staying in the church during one or two 
Masses for the honor of our Lord and Saviour." ' In 
the time of Queen Elizabeth of England, when the se- 
vere prohibitions against the exercise of the Catholic 
religion were in force, a rich Catholic was condemned 
to pay five hundred scudi in gold for having dared to 
assist at Mass. The nobleman selected the brightest 
and most beautiful pieces of Portuguese gold, on which 
the cross was stamped. Presenting them to the officers, 
one of them, a Protestant, smiled and made some jocose 
remark with reference to the beauty of the coins. " I 
would have considered it a sort of sacrilege," said the 
Catholic, " to offer a baser coin to pay for the privilege 
of adoring my Saviour in the Blessed Sacrament. This 
cross," pointing to the crest on the piece, " reminds me 
of the Cross of my Lord, which I shall ever be willing 
to bear for His sake ; the purity of the gold recalls to 
my mind the purity of His love, which I shall evei 
seek and treasure up." 2 

Gillois relates that in the beginning of the presenl 
century, there lived in Poibon, a town in the clioces* 
of Grenoble, a peasant, who by his great devotion at 
Mass edified every one who saw him. He lived three 

1 Rainaldus in Annal. 1270, No. 19. Q Schmidt's Example-book. 



OF THE MASS. 273 

miles from the church, and yet he never failed to he 
one of the first worshippers in the morning. In the 
latter years of his life, he was subject to severe pains in 
his legs, which prevented his walking so far in the win- 
ter season, but as soon as the spring came on, he used 
to rise about one o'clock in the morning, and dragging 
himself by means of crutches, reached the church after 
a painful and laborious walk of four hours. 

Sir Thomas More, Martyr, and Chancellor of Eng- 
land, daily assisted at Mass with the greatest reverence 
and devotion. On one occasion, while hearing Mass, 
he was sent for by the King, apparently on urgent busi- 
ness, but he did not stir ; soon after a second messen- 
ger came, and after a while a third, with the express 
command to leave the church immediately and come to 
the royal chamber, where the King awaited him, he 
replied : " I am now serving the Lord of lords, Whose 
service I must first perform." 1 Would to God that 
you, too, would imitate such fervent Christians. The 
Apostle St. Paul, speaking of the blessedness of those 
who believe in Christ, says : " I give thanks to my 
God always for you, for the grace of God, that is given 
you in Christ Jesus : that in every thing ye are made 
rich in Him in all utterance and in all knowledge, so 
that nothing is wanting to you in any grace. 2 

Mass alone of itself is an inexhaustible treasure of 
graces. Be careful to profit well by it. Resolve, if 
possible, to hear Mass every day. Do not imitate those 
lukewarm Christians, who stay away from church for 

1 Staplcton's Life of Sir Thowm3 More, chap. &, 
• 1 Cor. i. 4-6. 



274 THE MOST HOLY SACRIFICE 

the most trivial reasons. For them, a little rain, a damp 
mist, the slight inconvenience of heat, a little moisture 
under foot, rise up as a sufficient excuse. Early in the 
morning, when angels are descending from heaven to 
take their stand around the altar of the Most High, do 
you, too, set out to assist at the holy sacrifice, and emu- 
late their devotion during the performance of this stu- 
pendous mystery. Do not think the time is lost which 
you spend in hearing Mass ; it will prove most profi- 
table to you in this life and in the next also. See how 
many sins you will expiate by it ! how many punish- 
ments you will avert ! how many graces you will draw 
down upon yourself and others ! how many merits you 
will store up for heaven ! This I can promise you : be 
diligent in hearing Mass, and you will find in it all that 
you need, your happiness here below and your happi- 
ness hereafter. Amid all the vicissitudes of life, at the 
Altar you will find true peace and support. At one 
time it will be Mount Calvary for you, where you will 
weep tears of sympathy for your Saviour and of grief 
for your sins and for those of others ; at another time 
it will be Mount Thabor, where heavenly joy will be 
poured into your sorrowing heart and tears will be wiped 
away from your eyes. Again, that same Altar will be 
a Crib of Bethlehem for you, where you will gather 
strength to bear contempt, poverty, pain and desolation. 
Yes, at the Altar you will find that Mount of Beati- 
tudes, where you will learn the vanity of all earthly 
things, and the way to true and lasting pleasure ; and, 
in fine, it will be to you Golgotha, where you will learn 



OF TEE MASS. 275 

to die to yourself and to live to Him Who died for you. 
All this and much more you will find in the MafcS, if 
you cherish a tender devotion to it. Persevere in this 
devotion and you will soon experience the truth of what 
I have said, tasting the sweets of those inspired ejacu- 
lations : " How lovely are Thy tabernacles, O Lord of 
Hosts ! Thou hast prepared a table before me against 
them that trouble me. Better is one day in Thy courts 
above thousands ! Blessed are they that dwell in Thy 
house, O Lord : they shall praise Thee forever and 




CHAPTER XVI. 

ON TEE CEREMONIES OF MASS. 



^Hxl 0IJ may ask > dear reader > " If our Lord a]s ° 

mMl ° rdained the cerem onies of Mass ?" I answer 
g|Jp| no. He instituted only the essential parts of 
^-^£i the Mass. He left it to His Church to pre- 
scribe the rites and ceremonies to be observed in its 
celebration. However, most of the ceremonies of Mass 
are of great antiquity, and many of them are, without 
doubt, of Apostolic origin. It is principally for two 
reasons that the Church has prescribed so many cere- 
monies in the celebration of Mass. First, because Mass, 
being the highest act of religious worship, the Church' 
desires that it should be celebrated with a solemnity and 
reverence corresponding in some degree to the greatness 
of the sacrifice. Secondly, because, if the various cere^ 
monies 6f Mass are well understood, they will greatly 
excite and foster a reverence and spirit of devotion it 
the hearts of the faithful. They all refer to our Sa- 
viour's passion and death, of which the Mass is a com- 
memoration. Hence the ritual of the Mass is arranged 
in accordance with the awful tragedy of Calvary. The 



ON THE CEREMONIES OF MASS. 277 

priest, the representative of Christ, is clad in garments 
like those in which the Redeemer was attired on the 
day of His cruel death. The amice or white cloth 
worn around his neck, represents the handkerchief with 
which our Lord was blindfolded; the alb, or long 
white garment, signifies the white robe which Herod 
put on our Saviour in mockery ; the cincture or girdle, 
the maniple on the left arm, and the stole passing round 
the neck and crossed upon the breast, represent the 
cords and strings with which our Lord was bound, and 
by which He was dragged through the streets of Jeru- 
salem ; the chasuble, worn over all the others, signifies 
the scarlet robe in which He was arrayed when Pilate 
showed Him to the people, saying : " Behold the man ! " 
the altar, with its crucifix, represents Mount Calvary ; 
the chalice signifies the Saviour's tomb ; the paten, his 
tombstone, and the purifier, with the pall and corporal, 
the linen cloths in which His Sacred Body was wrapped 
when it was laid in the tomb. 

When the priest begins Mass, he says with the 
Server some prayers at the foot of the altar, during 
which he bows very profoundly. This signifies our 
Lord's entering upon His passion in the garden of 
Gethsemani, where He sweat blood and prayed pros- 
trate on the ground. These prayers of the priest are a 
kind of preparation for Mass. He begins by saying: 
"In nomine Patris, et Filii et Spiritus SancU," —"In 
the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the 
Holy Ghost." It is as much as to say : " 1 act now by 
the authority of God the Father, Whose priest I am • 
24 



278 ON THE CEREMONIES OF MASS. 

and of God the Son, in Whose place I am priest ; and 
of God the Holy Ghost, by Whom I am priest;" or, 
"I offer this sacrifice in the name of the Father, to 
Whom I offer it ; and of the Son, Whom I offer ; and 
of the Holy Ghost, by Whom I offer it." Then he 
says a psalm expressive of humble trust in God, which 
is followed by the confiteor and the ordinary prayers 
accompanying it. After this he ascends the altar and 
kisses it. This part reminds us of the seizure of our 
Lord by the Jewish multitude, into whose hands he 
was betrayed by the perfidious kiss and cruel treachery 
of Judas. And now begins what may be called the 
preliminary part of the Mass, which answers to the 
time when our Lord was interrogated about His doc- 
trine before the tribunals of Caiphas and Pilate ; it lasts 
till the end of the creed. Having read the Introit, or 
short verses from Scripture, the priest says nine times, 
" Kyrie eleison" Lord have mercy on us, thereby 
giving us to understand how constant and persevering 
we ought to be in prayer. Immediately after the 
Kyrie follows the Gloria in excelsis, the hymn which 
the angels sang at the birth of Jesus Christ. Surely 
if such a hymn of praise was sung by the heavenly 
choirs when our Saviour commenced the work of our 
redemption, we ought to render to Him a tribute of 
gratitude no less fervent when at holy Mass we com- 
memorate and participate in all His benefits and merits. 
Therefore, every one should recite this divine hymn 
along with the priest, or at least join his intention with 
him, and say some Gloria Patri, by way of thanks- 



ON THE CEREMONIES OF MASS. 279 

giving. After the Gloria, the priest turns to the 
people and says, Dominus vobiscum, and the Server, in 
their name, replies, Et cum spiritu tuo, a salutation and 
response which occur very often during Mass. The 
meaning of the former is, " The Lord be with you," 
and of the latter, "And with thy spirit," and the 
Church intends, by this frequent interchange of holy 
affections between the priest and the people, to excite 
devotion, and to teach us how we should desire, above 
all things, to remain always in the peace of God. The 
priest extends his arms when he says these words, 
to express the exceedingly great charity which Jesus 
Christ bears towards the faithful, and to show how He 
wishes them ever to remain united to Him in the bonds 
of true love, and obedient to His commandments. The 
outstretched hands of the priest at the " Dominus 
vobiscum" signify also the outstretched arms of our 
dying Lord on the Cross, Who, dying for all mankind, 
wished to receive them in His arms and press them to 
His heart in token of His undying love for them. The 
Dominus vobiscum is followed by the collect of the 
day, and after that follow the Epistle and the Gospel. 
These vary according to the season, and may be found 
translated in many of the ordinary . prayer-books. 
When the Epistle is ended, the Server says, Deo 
Gratias, " Thanks be to God," that is to say, for the 
good instruction contained in the Epistle; the Server 
then carries the Missal to the other side of the altar for 
the reading of the Gospel — at the left. This signifies 
that, after our Lord had been taken prisoner, He was 



280 ON THE CEREMONIES OF MASS. 

led about from one iniquitous judge to another; from 
Annas to Caiphas, from Caiphas to Pilate, from Pilate 
to Herod, and from Herod back again to Pilate. This 
ceremony means also that when the Jews had rejected 
the Gospel, it passed over to the Gentiles who received 
it with joy. When the priest begins the Gospel, he 
makes the sign of the cross on the Book to remind us 
that our Lord died for the truth of the doctrine which 
He taught, and that we, also, should ever be ready to 
lay down our lives for the same truth. After that, the 
priest makes the sign of the cross on his forehead, on 
his lips, and on his heart, and the people do the same. 
This action is very significant, and should never be 
omitted. By signing the forehead with the sign of the 
cross, we declare that w T e entirely submit our minds to 
the teaching of faith ; by signing the lips we testify our 
readiness to profess our faith before men ; and by sign- 
ing the heart we remind ourselves of the duty of care- 
fully preserving the word of God in our hearts. At 
the end of the Gospel the Server says, Laus tibi, 
Christe, "Praise be to Thee, O Christ!" viz: for His 
love, shown in the work of Redemption, which the 
Gospel makes known to us. The Gospel is followed 
by the Creed, or explicit confession of the truths which 
our Saviour has taught us ; and when the priest says 
Et incarnatus est, etc., all kneel down in adoring grat- 
itude to the Son of God for having become man for us. 
Now begins the Offertory, or the first part of the 
Mass, with which Mass may properly be said to com- 
mence. The priest uncovers the chalice, and, taking 



ON THE CEREMONIES OF MASS. 281 

the paten with the host upon it, in his hands, he sol- 
emnly offers it to God the Father. He afterwards does 
the same with the chalice, into which he has poured the 
wine ; but before offering the chalice he drops into it a 
little water, in remembrance of the water that flowed 
from our Saviour's side, and also to signify that as the 
w T ater becomes inseparably incorporated with the wine, 
so are we closely united to Jesus Christ in Holy Com- 
munion. Then turning to the people he says, Orate, 
Fratres, etc., "Pray, my brethren," thereby inviting 
them to join with him in more instant supplications 
that the sacrifice which he is about to complete may be 
offered with suitable devotion. We have seen that St. 
Chrysostom, speaking of the moment in which this tre- 
mendous sacrifice is consummated, says : " so great is 
then the abstraction of the pious mind from all sublu- 
nary things, that it seems as if one were caught up into 
Paradise and saw the things that are done in Heaven 
itself." It is possible that when he wrote these words 
he may have had in his mind the part of the service 
which comes next in order; for now the priest calls 
upon the people to banish all earthly thoughts, and to 
think of God alone, saying, Sursum Corda ! " Lift up 
your hearts;" and the people, in obedience to the call, 
answer by the Server, Habemus ad Bominum, " We lift 
them up to the Lord." Then once more he appeals to 
them, saying, in view of the countless mercies of God, 
Gratias agamus Domino Leo nostro, " Let us give 
thanks to the Lord, our God;" and they answer as 
before, Dignum et justum est, "It is meet and just;" 
24* 



282 ON THE CEREMONIES OF MASS. 

whereupon, taking up the words which they have just 
uttered, he proceeds: "It is very meet, just, right, and 
salutary, that we should always, and in all places, give 
thanks to Thee, O holy Lord, Father Almighty, Eter- 
nal God, through Christ, our Lord." This part of the 
service is called the preface, and it includes a particular 
thanksgiving for the special blessings which the holy 
Church commemorates. The preface ends with a peti- 
tion that our praises be accepted before the altar of the 
Most High, in union with the adoration of the Angels, 
who rest not day or night, saying, "Holy, holy, holy 
Lord God of hosts !» At these words the sanctus bell 
is rung to give notice of the approaching consecration. 
Here all should kneel and keep as quiet as possible, 
avoiding even coughing or moving unnecessarily ; for 
now the canon or most solemn part of the Mass begins, 
and the consecration, or the second and most essential 
part of the Mass, soon takes place. When in the act 
of consecrating, the priest performs the same actior. 
which Jesus Christ performed at the Last Supper. He 
takes the host into his hands, and, lifting up his eyes 
to Heaven, he repeats the words which our Lord made 
use of; and, by the divine power of those words, the 
bread is changed into the true body of our Saviour. 
After this he pronounces the words of consecration over 
the wine in the chalice. The bell is rung three times 
at each consecration as a warning to the people to adore 
Jesus Christ present on the altar. This is done accord- 
ing to the ancient usage of the Church. "No one," 
says St. Augustine, "eats of this flesh — the Holy 
Eucharist —without having first adored it," 



ON THE CEREMONIES OF MASS. 283 

The priest elevates the host after he has consecrated 
•t, and so he does with the chalice, in order that the 
faithful may compensate, in some degree, by the loving 
adoration of their hearts, for the insults, mockeries, and 
injuries which our Lord received when He was lifted 
up on the cross. . The priest also makes the sign of the 
cross very often over the sacred species. This is to 
remind us of the many pains and sorrows which our 
Lord Jesus Christ endured for us during His crucifix- 
ion. All the prayers of the canon are said by the priest 
in such a low tone of voice that they cannot be heard. 
This is in memory of those awful hours during which 
Jesus Christ hung on the cross and bore, in silence, the 
scoffs and blasphemies of the Jewish multitude. But 
at the Pater Noster the priest raises his voice; this is to 
remind the faithful of the last seven words which our 
Saviour spoke in a loud voice when hanging on the 
cross. After the Pater Noster, the- priest breaks the 
host, signifying thereby the death of Christ, or the 
separation of our Lord's soul from His body ; at the 
same time he drops a small particle of the host into the 
chalice, to signify that our Lord's soul descended into 
Limbo, to announce to the Patriarchs their redemption. 
At the communion of the priests, or the third part of 
the Mass, the bell is rung again in order that the faith- 
ful may be reminded also to receive communion, at 
least spiritually. The act of communion represents the 
burial of Christ, At this moment we should offer our 
hearts as a Sepulchre to our Lord ; that is to say, we 
should resolve to close them against the world, and to 



284 ON THE CEREMONIES OF MASS. 

keep them pure and incorrupt, that they may be the rest- 
ing-place of Him Who died for love of us. After com 
munion the priest says some prayers in thanksgiving, 
after which he turns and says, "« jfo Missa est." Thi* 
means that the Mass is ended; accordingly immediatelv 
afterwards he dismisses the people with his benediction 
by making over them the sign of the cross, to remind 
them once more that every blessing comes from the 
death of Christ, Then the Gospel of St. John is read, 
at the end of which the Server says, "Deo Gratias/ 
Thanks be to God for His great mercy in having per- 
mitred us to assist at so precious and so holy a sacrifice. 
Thus the ceremonies of Mass evince the deep wisdom 
of our holy Mother, the Church, and if one has but a 
little good will, they will be a powerful means of lead- 
ing the mind on to the great and inestimable mysteries 
which the Holy Sacrifice contains. When our Saviour 
was crucified on Mount Calvary, the sun was darkened 
the rocks were rent, and the whole earth quaked; the 
-Roman centurion, seeing the things that were done' was 
greatly afraid and said, "Indeed this was the Son of 
God." So the mystical renewal of the sufferings of 
Christ which is made at Mass, continually excites emo- 
tions of faith and love in those who assist at it with 
sincere hearts. Truly, Mass is the most powerful means 
to foster faith and fervor. For this reason the devil 
persuaded Luther to attack this holy sacrifice, as the 
most infallible means of preparing the high road to 
Protestantism, that is to say, a general apostasy from 
Christianity. As soon as God would permit the Mass 



ON THE CEREMONIES OE MASS. 285 

to be abolished, the gates of hell would exert a fearful 
power against the Church, and even threaten destruc- 
tion to the Christian religion. Nevertheless, it is pos- 
sible to remain indevout and cold, even with so great a 
means of grace at our command. In the very temple 
of God, our Lord found those that sold oxen, sheep, and 
doves, and the changers of money sitting. 

St. Chrysostom says of some Christians in his days, 
that they committed greater sins by their irreverence in 
Church than they would have done by remaining away 
altogether. It was on account of sacrileges perpetrated 
in Church that the Kingdom of Cyprus fell into the 
hands of the Turks. But I need not go to history for 
instances of irreverence ; modern times furnish, alas ! 
too many, which prove how easy it is for one whose 
heart has grown hard and cold to treat the most holy 
things with disrespect. Be, then, always on your guard 
against the spirit of unbelief. The love of the world 
soon deadens our appreciation of spiritual things. 
Strive to cherish a tenderness of heart for the greatest 
and most lovely mystery of our holy religion. When 
you go to Mass, say with St. Francis : " Now, ye worldly 
affairs and thoughts of business, leave me and remain 
outside, while I go into the Sanctuary of the Most High 
to speak to the great Lord of Heaven and earth." Be 
reverent whilst you are assisting at Mass, and when it 
is over, leave the Church with such sentiments of hu- 
mility and piety as if coming from the awful scene of 
the death of Jesus Christ on Mount Calvary. In fine, 
go forth to your duties with the same resolution with 



286 



ON THE CEREMONIES OF MASS. 



which you would have gone had you stood with Mary 
and St. John beneath your Saviour's Cross, namely j to 
merit Heaven by fulfilling the obligations of your state 
of life; and by bearing with patience all sufferings, 
trials, hardships, and injuries for the love of Jesus 
Christ, Who loved us to such an excess, and Whom 
we shall never be able to thank sufficiently, nor repay 
His ever-burning love. 





CHAPTER XVII. 

AN EXHORTATION TO HEAR MASS DEVOUTLY. 

LL good works together," says the saintly 
Cure of Ars, " are not of equal value with the 
sacrifice of the Mass, because they are the 
works of men, and the Holy Mass is the work 
of God." Martyrdom is nothing in comparison ; it is 
the sacrifice that man makes of his life to God; the 
Mass is the sacrifice that God makes of His Body and 
of His Blood for man. Yet, how little is this most 
august sacrifice valued by most men ! If some one 
were to say to us, " at such a place and at such an hour, 
a dead person will be raised to life," we should run 
very fast to see it. But is not the consecration which 
changes bread and wine into the Body and Blood of 
God a much greater miracle than the raising of a dead 
person to life? Ah! if Christians knew better the 
value of the holy sacrifice of the Mass, or rather, if 
they had more faith, they would be much more zealous 
to assist at it with reverence and devotion. 

To increase your zeal and fervor in hearing Holy 
Mass with greater devotion, let me relate a marvellous 
vision in which St. Gertrude saw our Lord Jesus Christ 

287 



288 



A N EXHOR TA TION 



celebrate Mass in a mystical manner: On "Gaudete'- 
Sunday, as Gertrude prepared to communicate at the 
first Mass, which commences "Borate," she complained 
to our Lord that she could not hear Mass; but our 
Lord, who compassionates the afflicted, consoled her, 
saying: "Do you wish, My beloved, that I should say 
Mass for you?" Then, being suddenly rapt in spirit, 
she replied: "I do desire it, O beloved of my soul; 
and I most ardently beseech Thee to grant me this 
favor." Our Lord then intoned the " Gaudete in 
Domino semper" with a choir of saints, to incite this 
soul to praise and rejoice in Him ; and as He sat on 
His royal throne, St. Gertrude cast herself at His feet 
and embraced them Then he chanted the " Kyrie 
eleison" in a clear and loud voice, while two of the 
princes of the choir of thrones took her soul and 
brought it before Gocl the Father, where she remained 
prostrate. 

^ At the first Kyrie eleison, He granted her the remis- 
sion of all the sins which she had contracted through 
human frailty; after which, the. Angels raised her up 
on her knees. At the second, He pardoned her sins of 
ignorance; and she was raised up by these princes, so 
that she stood before God. Then two Angels of the 
choir of Cherubim led her to the Son of God, who 
received her with great tenderness. At the first Christe 
eleison, the saint offered our Lord all the sweetness of 
human affection, returning it to Him as to its Source; 
and there was a wonderful influx of God into her soul,' 
and of her soul into God, so that, by the descending 



TO HEAR 'MASS DEVOUTLY. 289 

notes, the ineffable delights of the Divine Heart flowed 
into her, and by the ascending notes, the jovs of lie.-- 
soul flowed back to God. At the second divide eleiscm, 
she experienced the most ineffable del'ghts, which she 
offered to our Lord. At the third Christe eleison, the 
Son of God extended His hands and bestowed on her 
all the fruit of His most holy life and conversation. 

Two Angels of the choir of Seraphim then pre sn ted 
her to the Holy Spirit, Who penetrated the three powers 
of her soul. At the first Kyrie eleison, He illuminated 
her reason with the glorious light of divine knowledge, 
that she might always know His will perfectly. At 
the second Kyrie eleison. He strengthened the irascible 
part of her soul to resist all the machinations of her 
enemies, and to conquer every evil. At the last Kyrie 
eleison, He inflamed her love, that she might love God 
with her whole heart, with her whole soul, and with 
her whole strength. It was for this reason that the 
choir of Seraphim, which is the highest order in the 
heavenly hosts, presented her to the Holy Ghost, Who 
is the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity, and that 
the Thrones presented her to God the Father, mani- 
festing that the Father, Son, and IJoly Ghost are one 
God, equal in glory, co-eternal in majesty, living and 
reigning perfect Trinity ihrough endless ages. 

The Son of God then rose from His royal throne, 
and, turning towards God the Father, en toned the 
Gloria in excelsis, in a clear and sonorous voice. At 
the word gloria, He extolled the immense and incom- 
prehensible omnipotence of God the Father; at the 
25 T 



290 AN EXIIOR TA TION 

words in excelsis, He praised His profound wisdom ; at 
Deo, He honored the inestimable and indescribable 
sweetness of the Holy Ghost. The whole celestial 
court then continued in a most harmonious voice, Et in 
terra pax hominibus bonai voluntatis. Our Lord being 
again seated on His throne, St. Gertrude sat at His feet, 
meditating on her own abjection, when He inclined 
towards her lovingly ; then she rose and stood before 
Him, while the Divine splendor illuminated her whole 
being. Two angels from the Choir of Thrones then 
brought a throne magnificently adorned, which they 
placed before our Lord; two princes from the Choir of 
Seraphim placed Gertrude thereon, and supported her 
on each side, while two of the Choir of Cherubim stood 
before her, bearing brilliant torches ; and thus she re- 
mained before her Beloved, clothed in royal purple. 
When the heavenly hosts came to the words Domine 
Dens Rex Cwlestis, they paused, and the Son of God 
continued alone chanting to the honor and glory of His 
Father. 

At the conclusion of the Gloria in excelsis, the Lord 
Jesus, Who is our true High Priest and Pontiff, turned 
to St. Gertrude, saying, Dominus Vobiscurn, dilecta — 
"The Lord be with you, beloved;" and she replied, 
"Et spiritus mens tecum, prwdilecte — "And may my 
spirit be with Thee, O my Beloved." After this she 
inclined towards the Lord to return Him thanks for 
His love in uniting Her spirit to His Divinity, Whose 
delights are with the children of men The Lord then 
read the Collect, Deus, qui hanc sacratissimam noctem, 



TO HEAR MASS DEVOUTLY. 291 

which He concluded with the words, Per Jesum Chris- 
tum jihim tuum, as if giving thanks to God the Father, 
for illuiainating the soul of Gertrude, whose unworthi- 
ness was indicated by the word noctem (night) which 
was callid most holy, because she had become marvel- 
lously eunobled by the knowledge of her own baseness. 

St. John, the Evangelist, then rose and stood between 
God and her soul. He was adorned with a yellow gar- 
ment, which was covered with golden eagles. He com- 
menced the Epistle Hcec est sponsa, and the celestial 
court concluded, Ipsi gloria in scecula. Then all chanted 
the gradual Specie tua, adding the Versicle Audi filia et 
vide. After this they commenced the Alleluia. St. Paul, 
the great Doctor of the Church, pointed to St. Gertrude, 
saying, Mmulor enim vos — " For I am jealous of you ; " 1 
and the heavenly choir sang the prose, Filial Sion exul- 
tent. At the words Dum non consentiret, St. Gertrude 
remembered that she had been a little negligent in re- 
sisting temptations, and she hid her face in shame j but 
our Lord, Who could not bear to behold the confusion 
of His chaste queen, covered her negligence with a col- 
lar of gold, so that she appeared as if she had gained a 
glorious victory over all her enemies. 

Then another Evangelist commenced the Gospel 
Exultavit Dominus Jesus, and these words moved the 
Heart of Jesus so deeply that He arose, and, extending 
His hands, exclaimed aloud, Confiteor tibi Pater, mani- 
festing the same thanksgiving and gratitude to His 
Father as He had done when He said the same words 

1 2 Cor. xi. 2. 



292 



AN EXHORTATION 



on earth, giving special thanks for the graces bestowed 
on this soul. After the Gospel He desired Gertrude to 
make a public profession of faith, by reciting the Creed 
in the name of the whole Church. When she had con 
eluded, the choir chanted the offertory, Domine Deus in 
simplicitate, adding, Sanctificavit Moyses. The Heart of 
Jesus then appeared as a golden altar, which shone with 
a marvellous brightness, on which the angel guardians 
offered the good works and prayers of those committed 
to their care. The Saints then approached, and each 
offered his merits to the eternal praise of God, and for 
the salvation of St. Gertrude. The angelic princes, 
who' had charge of the Saint, next approached and 
offered a chalice of gold, which contained all the trials 
and afflictions which she had endured, either in body 
or soul, from her infancy; and the Lord blessed the 
chalice with the sign of the cross, as the priest blesses 
it before Consecration. 

He now intoned the words Sursum corda. Then all 
the Saints were summoned to come forward, and they 
applied their hearts in the form of golden pipes, to the 
golden altar of the Divine Heart ; and from the over- 
flowings of this chalice, which our Lord had conse- 
crated by His benediction, they received some droj>s 
for the increase of their merit, glory, and eternal beati- 
tude. 

The Son of God then chanted the Gratias agamus to 
the^glory and honor of His Eternal Father. At the 
Preface, He remained silent for an hour after the words 
Per Jesum Christum, while the heavenly hosts chanted 



TO HEAR MASS DEVOUTLY. 293 

the Dominum nostrum with ineffable jubilation, de- 
claiing that He was their Creator, Redeemer, and the 
liberal Re warder of all their good works, and that He 
alone was worthy of honor and glory, praise and exal- 
tation, power and dominion, from and over all creatures. 
At the words laudant angeli, all the angelic spirits ran 
hither and thither, exciting the heavenly inhabitants to 
sing the Divine praises. At the words Adorant Domi- 
natlones, the Choir of Dominations knelt to adore our 
Lord, declaring that to Him alone every knee should 
bow, whether in Heaven, on earth, or under the earth. 
At the Tremunt Potestates, the Powers prostrated be- 
fore Him to declare that He alone should be adored ; 
and at the Coeli cwlorumque, they praised God with all 
the angel choirs. 

Then all the heavenly hosts sang together in harmo- 
nious concert the Cum quibus et nostras ; and the Vir- 
gin Mary, the effulgent Rose of Heaven, who is blessed 
above all creatures, chanted the Sanctus, sanctus, sanc- 
tus, extolling with the highest gratitude by these three 
words the incomprehensible omnipotence, the inscru- 
table wisdom, and the ineffable goodness of the Ever 
Blessed Trinity, inciting all the celestial choirs to praise 
God for having made her most powerful after the 
Father, most wise after the Son, and most benign after 
the Holy Ghost. The Saints then continued the Domine 
Deus Sabaoth. When this was ended, Gertrude saw 
our Lord rise from His royal throne and present His 
blessed Heart to His Father, elevating it with His own 

hands, and immolating it in an ineffable manner for the 

25* 



294 



AN EXHORTATION 



whole Church. At this moment the bell rang for the 
Elevation of the Host in the Church ; so that it ap- 
peared as if our Lord did in heaven what the priests 
did on earth; but the Saint was entirely ignorant of 
what was passing in the Church, or what the time was. 
As she continued in amazement at so many marvels 
our Lord told her to recite the Pater noster. When she 
had finished He accepted it from her, and granted to 
all the Saints and Angels, for her sake, that by this 
Pater noster they should accomplish everything which 
had ever been accomplished fur the salvation of the 
Church and for the souls in purgatory. Then He sug- 
gested her to pray for the Church, which she did, for 
all in general, and for each in particular, with the great- 
est fervor ; and the Lord united her prayer to those 
which He had offered Himself when in the flesh, to be 
applied to the Universal Church. 

Then she exclaimed: "But, Lord, when shall I 
communicate?" And our Lord communicated Him- 
self to her with a love and tenderness which no human 
tongue could describe, so that she received the perfect 
fruit of His most precious Body and Blood. After this 
He sang a canticle of love for her, and declared to her, 
that had this union of Himself with her been the sole 
fruit of His labors, sorrows and Passion, He would 
have been fully satisfied.. Oh, inestimable sweetness of 
the Divine condescension, Who so delights in human 
hearts that He considers His union with them a suf- 
ficient return for all the bitterness of His Passion ! and 
yet, what should we not owe Him had He only shed 
one drop of His precious Blood for us ! 



TO HEAR M ASS DEVOUTLY. 295 

Our Lord then chanted Qaudete justi, and all the 
Saints rejoiced with Gertrude. Then our Lord said, in 
the name of the Church Militant, Befecti cibo, etc. ; He 
then saluted all the Saints lovingly, saying, Dominus 
vobiseum, and thereby increased the glory and joy of 
all the blessed. The Saints and Angels then sang, for 
the Ite Missa est, Te decet laus et honor Domine, to the 
glory and praise of the effulgent and ever peaceful 
Trinity. The Son of God extended His royal hand 
and blessed the Saint, saying : " I bless thee, O daughter 
of eternal light, with this special blessing, granting you 
this favor, that whenever you desire to do good to any 
one from particular affection, they will be as much bene- 
fited above others as Jacob was above Esau when he 
received his father's blessing." 

My dear reader, were our Lord to favor you but once 
with such a vision, how great would not be your devo- 
tion in hearing Mass! Ah! dear reader, our vision 
must be our faith; faith is the best of all visions, be- 
cause it is not subject to any illusion. In the light of 
a lively faith you will see in every Mass all these mar- 
vels of Divine Omnipotence, Wisdom and Goodness, 
which St. Gertrude saw. This faith teaches us to do 
what St. James, the Apostle, says in his Mass : " When 
the moment of Consecration is arriving, every one 
should be silent, and trembling with reverential awe; 
he should forget everything earthly, remembering that 
the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords is coming 
down upon the altar as a victim to be offered to GDa 
the Father, and as food to be given to the faithful ; He 



296 A N EXHOR TA TION 

is preceded by the Angelic choirs, in full splendor, with 
their faces veiled, singing hymns of praise with great 
joy." Of these hymns of praise St. Bridget writes thus : 
" One day, when a priest was celebrating Mass, I saw, 
at the moment of Consecration, how all the powers of 
heaven were set in motion. I heard, at the same time, 
a heavenly music, most harmonious, most sweet. Num- 
berless Angels came down, the chant of whom no human 
understanding can conceive, nor the tongue of man de- 
scribe. They surrounded and looked upon the priest, 
bowing towards him in reverential^ awe. The devils 
commenced to tremble, and took to flight in the greatest 
confusion and terror/' 1 

All this is in accordance with what other great Saints 
have seen or said on this subject. St. John Chrysostom 
says that whole choirs of Angels are surrounding the 
altar whilst Jesus Christ is as a victim upon it. St. 
Euthymius, when saying Mass, would often see many 
Angels assisting at the Sacred Mysteries in reverential 
awe. At other times he would see an immense fire and' 
light coming down from heaven and enveloping him 
and his assistant to the end of the holy sacrifice. 2 In 
the same manner the Holy Ghost would, in the form of 
a fiery flame, surround St. Anastasius whilst celebrating 
Mass. 3 St. Guduvalus, Archbishop, who would always 
prepare himself for the celebration of this most august 
sacrifice, by fasting, night watches, and many fervent 
prayers, often saw how the Angels descended from 
heaven during Mass, chanting hymns of praise with 

• Lib. 8, c. 56. 2 j^ by Cyrillus. 3 Life by St. Basil. 



TO HEAR MASS DEVOUTLY. 297 

unspeakably great reverence; but he himself would be 
standing at the altar like a majestic column of fiery 
flame whilst he was celebrating the holy sacrifice. Se- 
verus relates of St. Martin, that when he was saying 
Mass, a fiery globe would be seen above his head. Who 
shall not wonder at this behavior of the Angels during 
Mass, and at the great preparations which the celestial 
spirits make when Mass is being celebrated, in order 
that this most august mystery may be performed with 
the greatest pomp and dignity possible. But we, 
tv retched men as we are, see, for want of faith, but 
little of the supernatural that is going on during Mass. 
Were our Lord to show us what He deigned St. Bridget 
and other Saints to see, what great marvels should we 
not witness? We should see how the whole of the 
heavenly host would be occupied in making most suit- 
able preparations for renewing, in a mystical manner, 
the life, sufferings and death of Jesus Christ. We 
should see, to our greatest surprise and astonishment, 
how a heavenly sun, moon and stars would shine upon 
this mystery during its celebration, and how the Angelic 
choirs would glorify it by their music most sweet, and 
their singing most enrapturing. We would see, more- 
over, how true it is what our Lord once said to St. 
Mechtildis. 1 " At the moment of Consecration," said 
He, " I come down first in such deep humility, that 
there is no one at Mass, no matter how despicable and 
vile he may be, towards whom I do not humbly incline 
ind approach, if he desires Me to do so and prayo for 

1 Lib. 3. Revel, c. 28. 



298 AN EXHOR TA TION 

it; secondly, I come down with such great patience 
that I suffer even my greatest enemies to be present 
and grant them the full pardon of all their sins, if they 
wish to be reconciled with Me; thirdly, I come with 
such immense love that no one of those present can be 
so hardened that I do not soften his heart and enkindle 
it with My love if he wishes Me to do so ; fourthly, I 
come with such inconceivable liberality, that none of 
those present can be so poor that I would not enrich 
him abundantly ; fifthly, I come with such sweet food 
that no one ever so hungry should not be refreshed and 
fully satiated by Me. Sixthly, I come with such great 
light and splendor that no heart, how blinded soever 
it may be, will not be enlightened and purified by My 
presence. Seventhly, I come with such great sanctity 
and treasures of grace, that no one, however inert and 
indevout he may be, should not be roused from this 
state." Who should not exclaim, with St. Francis of 
Assisium, " Oh, wonderful greatness ! Oh, most hum- 
ble condescension ! that the well beloved Son of God 
should conceal Himself for man's sake, under the small 
species of bread ! Let entire man, the whole world 
and the heavens tremble at such a spectacle ! " Not 
seeing these wonders with our eyes, we are accustomed 
not to appreciate them, and to assist at Mass with levity 
and indevotion. But the Angels see them and tremble. 
The devils see them and take to flight; we see them 
not, but believe them, and though faith is the best 
sight, yet we are present almost like marble blocks, 
looking at everyone who comes in or goes out; the 



TO HE A R MASS BE VO UTL Y. 299 

least noise disturbs us and makes us forget our Lord. 
We truly deserve the reproach which Jesus Christ made 
to St. Peter, when He said, " O ye of little faith." No- 
where do these words come more true than when we 
are at Mass ! how much is this, our little faith, con- 
founded by the fervor and devotion of so many Chris- 
tian Dukes and Monarchs. 

Fornerus, formerly Bishop of Bamberg, relates 1 of the 
great Duke Simon Montfort, as follows : " This famous 
Duke was accustomed to hear Mass daily with great 
devotion, and at the elevation of the Sacred Host he 
would say with Simeon: 'Now Thou dost dismiss Thy 
servant, O Lord, according to Thy word in peace, be- 
cause my eyes have seen Thy salvation.' 3 His regular 
attendance at Mass was known to the Albigenses, his 
bitterest enemies, against whom he had been waging 
war for twenty years. The Albigenses, being driven 
to despair, determined to make a sadden attack upon 
the Duke's army in the morning whilst he was at Mass. 
They executed their design, and really surprised his 
soldiers. Officers came to him whilst he was hearing 
Mass, announcing to him the great danger in which 
the whole army w r as, and begging him to come to their 
aid. The Duke answered, ' Let me serve the Lord 
now, and men afterwards/ No sooner were these 
officers gone than others arrived making the same most 
earnest request. The Duke replied, ' I shall not leave 
this place until I have seen and adored my God and 
Saviour Jesus Christ/ Meanwhile, he recommended 

' Miser, cone. 78. ■ Luke ii. 29, 30. 



300 



AN EXHORTATION 



his whole army to our Lord, beseeching Him by the 
most august sacrifice of the Mass to assist his people. 
At the elevation of the Sacred Host, he poured out his 
heart in humble prayer to his Saviour, offering up the 
Heavenly Father the Body and Blood of His well 
beloved Son, and making, at the same time, an oblation 
of his own life in honor of the Blessed Trinity. At the 
elevation of the chalice he prayed, 'Now Thou dost 
dismiss Thy servant, O Lord, according to Thy word 
in peace, because my eyes have seen Thy salvation/ 
Then feeling inspired with great courage and confidence 
in the Lord, he said to his officers, 'Now let us go, and 
if God pleases, die for Him Who has deigned to die 
for us on the Cross.' His whole army consisted of but 
sixteen thousand men. With this little force he at- 
tacked, in the name of the Blessed Trinity, the grand 
army of the Albigenses, commanded by the Count of 
Toulouse, who was supported by the army of Peter, 
King of Aragonia, his brother-in-law. Now, of this 
grand army Simon Montfort, the christian hero, killed 
twenty thousand men on the spot, and the rest of his 
enemies he put to shameful flight. Every one said and 
.believed that Montfort had gained this glorious victory 
more by his fervent prayers at Mass than by the 
strength of his army. 

Ah ! how many and how great would be the victories 
which we should gain over the devil, the world, and 
the flesh, were we always to hear Mass with as much 
faith, fervor and devotion as this Duke did! How 
great would be our humility to bear contempt and 



TO HEAR 31 ASS DEVOUTLY. 301 

contradictions with a tranquil heart; how great our 
patience to carry the crosses and trials of this life until 
death ; how great our confidence in the Lord under the 
most trying circumstances ; how great our charity for 
our neighbor ; how great the light of our understanding 
in religious matters, and the devotion of our hearts to 
relish the same, if we profited well by the gift of God 
in the holy Mass ! What the holy Patriarch, Jacob, 
said after hi3 wrestling with the Angel of the Lord, we 
too might say, but with more truth than he did: "I 
have seen God face to face, and my soul has been 
saved." 1 For "as often as one hears Mass," said our 
Lord Jesus Christ to St. Gertrude, "and looks with 
devotion upon Me in the Sacred Host, or has at least 
the desire of doing so, so many times he increases his 
merits and glory in heaven, and so many particular 
blessings and favors and delights shall he receive. 2 
Yes, my dear reader, for your and for my sake the 
heavenly Father sends his well beloved Son upon the 
altar; for your and my salvation the Holy Ghost 
changes bread and wine into the Body and Blood of 
Jesus Christ; for your and my sake the son of God 
comes from heaven and conceals himself under the 
species of bread and wine, humbling Himself so much 
as to be whole and entire in the smallest particle of the 
Host; for your and my sake Ho renews the mystery of 
Hk 5 incarnation, is born anew in a mystical mannei ; 
for your and my sake He offers up to His heavenly 
Father all the prayers and devoiions which He per 

1 Gen. xxxii. 30. » Lib. 4, "Vtevel. c. 25. 

26 



302 AN EX 110 R TA TION 

formed during His life on earth ; for your and my sake 
He renews His Passion and Death to make us partake 
of its merits, cancelling your and my sins and neg- 
ligences, and remitting many temporal punishments 
due to the same. One Mass which you have heard 
will do you more good than many which are said for 
you after your death. As many Masses you have 
heard, so many consolations you will experience in the 
hour of your death, and so many advocates you will 
have before the tribunal of God to defend and plead 
for you. You can do nothing better for your parents, 
friends, for the poor and distressed, for your benefactors, 
for the dying, for the conversion of sinners, for the just, 
for the souls in purgatory, than to hear and offer up 
for them the holy sacrifice of the Mass, nor can you 
give greater glory and joy to the Blessed Trinity, to 
the Blessed Virgin, and all the Saints, than by assisting 
at Mass with devotion. Mass is the most powerful 
means to be preserved from temporal and spiritual 
harm, to obtain every gift from the Lord, both for this 
life and for that to come. In a word, Mass is, as St. 
Francis de Sales says, "the centre of the Christian 
religion, the heart of devotion, and the soul of piety ; 
a mystery so ineffable as to comprise within itself the 
abyss of Divine charity ; a mystery in which God com- 
municates Himself really to us, and, in a special 
manner, replenishes our souls with spiritual graces and 
favors." ' Hence I can truly say and fairly conclude 
that there is no hour of the day so precious as that 

1 Derout Life, chap. 14. 



TO HEAR MASS DEVOUTLY. 303 

which you devote to hearing Mass. It is tiuly a golden 
hour, for the merit you gain therein is more precious 
than pure gold. The other hours of the day, although 
they are necessary, and have their use in the economy 
of Nature, in comparison, can only be esteemed as 
dross. 

But you may say, " It is more necessary for us to 
labor than to hear Mass, because, without work, I can- 
not earn a subsistence for myself and family." I say 
otherwise ; it is even more necessary to hear Mass than 
to labor, because it is a most powerful means to keep 
yourself in a state of grace, and difficult for you to 
obtain the blessings of God without it. I do not say, 
neglect your work, but break off for an half-hour and 
give that short time to God, and you will find your 
business will succeed better, as it will have God's bless- 
ing upon it. If you neglect to hear Ma^s, either for 
temporal interest or from slothfulness, you occasion to 
yourself a loss, in comparison with which no worldly 
loss is to be compared; for you lose a hundred-fold 
greater gain than you can make by your work during 
the whole day. This you may judge from the remark- 
able words which Christ used with so much emphasis. 
'' What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world 
and lose his own soul." * Can you hesitate for a trifling, 
worldly profit, to refuse to listen to and apply U> your- 
self the trusty admonition of Christ Himself? 

1 Matthew xvi. 26. 



CHAPTER XVIII 




EXAMPLES RELATING TO THE HOLY SACRI- 
FICE OF THE MASS. 

T. ISIDORE was hired by a wealthy farmer 
to cultivate his farm. He would, however, 
never commence to work in the morning be- 
fore he had heard Mass. He was accused, 
by some of his fellow-laborers to his master, of staying 
too long in the church, and of being always too late at 
work. His m master, to convince himself of the truth 
of the accusation, went out early in the morning to see 
whether Isidore came in due time to the farm ; but how 
great was his astonishment when he beheld two Angels, 
dressed in white, ploughing with two yoke of oxen, and 
St. Isidore in their midst. From this time forward 
Isidore was held in great veneration by the wealthy 
farmer, and by all who heard of the fact. 

2. The following event was related to me by one of 
our Fathers, in whose native country it took place : In 
the year 1828 or 1829, a young man travelled through 
Switzerland. When he came to Zurich he fell danger- 
ously ill. Being a Catholic, he begged the hotel-keeper 

to send for a Catholic priest. " I will send for one," 

804 



THE HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS 



305 



said he. Meanwhile, he agreed with two other guests 
of his, to play the priest, with two Servers. Accord- 
ingly, he went to the young man and heard his con- 
fession ; after which he received from him some money 
as a little present, with the request that he should say 
three Holy Masses. After this criminal action, he left 
the young man, went with the other companions into 
another room, saying to them: " Come, let us go and 
say the three Masses/' meaning thereby that they would 
drink three bottles of wine. They sat down at table, 
and having emptied one bottle, said : " Behold, one 
Mass already said." Having emptied the second bottle, 
they cried out with great laughter : " Now, two Masses 
are" said." God did not long withhold His revenge. 
No sooner had they drunk the third bottle of wine than 
all three of them suddenly died — turning as black as 
coal. This dreadful event became known amongst the 
people. The civil magistrate interfered ; they locked 
up the room, leaving therein the three black corpses for 
the space of twenty-six days, in order to make a minute 
examination of the case. This is a well-known fact in 
that city, and in the neighboring provinces. 

3. St. Anthony, Archbishop of Florence, relates 
that two young men went hunting on a holy-day of 
obligation. Only one of them took care to hear Mass 
previously. Not long after they had started, a fright- 
ful thunder-storm came on, and a flash of lightning in- 
stantly killed the one who had not heard Mass. The 
other young man was panic-stricken at this, especially 
as he heard, at the same time, a voice saying : " Strike 
26* U 



306 EXAMPLES RELATING TO THE 

him too." A little after, he felt encouraged by another 
voice, which said : " I cannot strike him, because he 
heard Mass this morning." 1 

4. We read of St. Elizabeth, queen of Portugal, that 
she gave orders to her almoner never to refuse an alms 
to a poor person ; besides, she herself would often give 
alms, and employed several of her domestics to do the 
same. She chose for this charitable office one of her 
pages especially, because she had noticed in him a more 
than usual piety. He never omitted hearing Mass every 
day. Now it happened that another page, through 
envy, accused him to the king of too much familiarity 
with the queen. The king became enraged; without 
further examination he gave orders to a certain person 
who had the care of a furnace, to throw into it the first 
of his pages that would go to the place, and immedi- 
ately make known to him the result. He then sent the 
page who had been accused to the place in which the 
furnace was. On his way the page heard the bell for 
Mass, and waited to assist at the holy sacrifice. Not 
hearing immediately what he expected from the person 
employed at the furnace, the king sent the other page 
to see what had happened. The miserable accuser, be- 
ing the first who arrived, was cast into the furnace and 
burned alive. The innocent page afterwards appeared, 
and, being reproved by the king for not having promptly 
obeyed his order, said that he had stopped on his way 
to hear Mass. The king began to suspect the accusa- 

Ant. II. p. Theologiae ix. c. 10. 



HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS. 307 

tion to be false, sought for better information, and dis- 
covered the innocence of the devout page. 1 

5. Three merchants prepared to travel together from 
the city of Gubbio. One of them wished to hear Mass 
before his departure, but the others refused to wait for 
him, and set out by themselves. But when they arrived 
at the river Corfuone, which had swelled to a great 
height in consequence of the rain that fell during the 
night, the bridge gave way, and they were drowned. 
The third, who had waited to hear Mass, found the two 
companions dead on the bank of the river, and thank- 
fully acknowledged the grace which he had received on 
account of having assisted at Mass. 

6. St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, when, on 
account of his old age, he was no longer able to say 
Mass, had himself carried daily to the oratory in order 
to hear Mass. 2 

7. In the Chronicles of Spain it is related of Pas- 
chalis Vivas, a celebrated General, that whilst he was 
hearing Mass in the Church of St. Martin, he was seen 
at the same time fighting in the battle against the king 
of Corduba, and gaining a most splendid victory over 
the enemies, although he was not present in person 
when the engagement took place, his guardian angel 
assuming his form and fighting in his place. 

8. St. Basil would not finish Mass unless favored 
by a heavenly vision. Once this favor was denied him 
on account of a lascivious look of his assistant. The 
Saint then sent him away, whereupon the vision re- 
turned and he finished the holy sacrifice. 

J Chron. S Fr. p. 2, Lib. 8, e. 28. ■ Life by Eadmer. 



308 EXAMPLES RELATING TO THE 

9. Paschasius relates that when St. Plegil said Mass, 
this holy priest would see Jesus Christ in the Conse- 
crated Host, under the form of a beautiful child stretch- 
ing out his arms as if to embrace him. 

10. Once, at Easter, Pope Gregory I. celebrated 
Mass in the church of St. Maria Maggiore and said the 
words, " Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum," an Angel 
of the Lord answered, in a loud voice, " Et cum sjnritu 
tuo." For this reason, when the Pope celebrates Mass 
on that day in the church and says, " Pax Domini sit 
semper vobiscum," no answer is made. 1 

11. We read in the Life of St. Oswald, Bishop, that 
an Angel would assist him at Mass, and make all the 
necessary answers. 

12. "My children," said the Cure of Ars one day, 
"you remember the story I told you of that holy priest 
who was praying for his friend. God had made known 
to him, it appears, that this friend was in purgatory ; 
it came into his mind that he could do nothing better 
than to offer the holy sacrifice of Mass for his soul. 
When he came to the moment of Consecration, he took 
the sacred host in his hands and said: <Oh, Holy and 
Eternal Father, let us make an exchange. Thou hast 
the soul of my friend, who is in purgatory, and I have 
the Body of Thy Son, Who is in my hands; well, do 
Thou deliver my friend, and I offer Thee Thy Son, 
with all the merits of His Death and Passion/ In 
fact, at the moment of the elevation, he saw the soul of 
his friend rising to heaven, all radiant with ^lory. 

1 Life by John the Deacon. 



HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS. 309 

Well, my children, when we want to obtain anything 
from the good God, let us do the same. After the 
Consecration, let us offer Him His well-beloved Son, 
with all the merits of His Death and His Passion. He 
will not be able to refuse us anything." 

At the moment when the mother of St. Alexis 
recognized her own son in the lifeless body of the 
beggar, who had lived thirty years under the staircase 
of her palace, she exclaimed, " O, my son ! why have I 
known thee so late ? " Thus the soul, on quitting this 
life, will see Him Whom it possessed in the Holy 
Eucharist, and, at the sight of the consolations, of the 
beauty, and of the riches that it failed to recognize, it 
will also exclaim: "O, Jesus! O, my God! Why 
have I known Thee so late ! " 

13. During the reign of the Emperor Galerius, thirty 
men and seventeen women were arrested in the city of 
Aluta, in Africa, for having heard Mass contrary to the 
orders of the Emperor. While on their way to Car- 
thage they never ceased singing hymns of praise in honor 
of God. Having arrived at Carthage, where they were 
to be tried before the Emperor, an officer of the guard 
said : " Behold, O Emperor, these impious Christians, 
whom we have arrested at Aluta for having heard Mass 
contrary to the orders of your Majesty." The Emperor 
at once had one of them stripped of his clothes, placed 
on the rack, and his flesh torn to pieces. Meanwhile, 
one of the Christians, Telica by name, cried out in a 
loud voire, " Why, O tyrant, do you put but one of us 
to the rack, whilst we are all Christians, and all of ua 



i5 10 EXAMPLES RELATING TO THE 

heard Mass at the same time." At once the judge 
treated this one just as cruelly as the other, saying, 
" Who was the author of your meeting ? " " Sa- 
turninus, the priest," replied the Christians, "and we 
all together ; but you, O impious Avretch, act most un- 
justly towards us. We are neither murderers nor 
robbers, nor have we done any harm." The judge 
said, "You should have obeyed our orders, and re- 
mained away from your false worship." Telica replied, 
" I obey the orders of the true God, for which I am 
ready to die." Then, by the Emperor's orders, Telica 
was taken off the rack and thrown into prison. 

After this the brother of St. Victoria came forth 
accusing Datiorus for having taken his sister, Victoria, 
to Mass. But the Saint replied, " Not by the per 
mission of man, but of my own accord, I went to hear 
Mass. I am a Christian, and, as such, I am bound to 
obey the laws of Christ." Her brother replied, " You 
are crazy, and talk like a crazy woman." She said, 
" I am not crazy, but I am a Christian." The Emperor 
asked her, "Do you wish to return home with your 
brother?" She answered, "No, I will not; I take 
those for my brothers and sisters who are Christians 
like me, and suffer for Jesus Christ." The Emperor 
said, " Save your life and follow your brother." She 
answered, "I will not leave my brothers and sisters^ 
for I confess to you that I heard Mass with them, and 
received Holy Communion." The judge then tried 
every means to make her apostatize, for she was very 
beautiful and the daughter of one of the noblest fam- 



HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS. 311 

llies of the city. When her parents wanted to force 
her to marry, she jumped out of the window and had 
her hair cut off. Then the judge addressed the priest 
Saiurninus, saying, " Did you, contrary to our orders, 
call these Christians to a meeting?" The priest re- 
plied, " I called them in obedience to the law of God, 
to meet for His service." The Emperor then asked, 
"Why did you do this?" Saturninus replied, " Be- 
cause we are forbidden to stay away from Mass." 
" Are you, then, the author of this meeting ? " asked 
the Emperor. " I am," said the priest, " and I myself 
said the Mass." Upon this, the priest was taken and 
put to the rack, and his flesh torn by sharp iron points, 
so much so that his entrails could be seen ; finally he 
was thrown into prison. 

After this, St. Emericus was tried. " Who are you ? " 
lie was asked. " I am the author of this meeting," he 
replied, "for the Mass was celebrated in my house." 
"Why did you," said the Emperor, "permit them, 
aontrary to our orders, to enter your house ? " " Be 7 
cause they are my brothers," said Emericus, " and we 
cannot do without Mass." Then his flesh was also 
mangled, after which he was led to prison to the other 
martyrs. 

The judge then said to the other Christians: "You 
have seen how your companions have been treated ; I 
hope you will have pity on yourselves, and save your 
lives." " We are all Christians," they cried out with 
one voice, " and we will keep the law of Christ, being 
ready to shed our blood for it." Then the iniquitous 



312 EXAMPLES RELATING TO THE 

judge said to one of them named Felix, "I do not 
ask you whether you are a Christian, but whether 
you were present at this meeting, and heard Mass ? " 
"What foolish question is this," replied Felix; 
u just as if Christians could do without Mass; in- 
carnate devil, I tell you that we were very devout at 
the meeting, and prayed most fervently during the holy 
Sacrifice." At these words, the tyrant felt so much 
enraged that he knocked the holy martyr down, and 
beat him till he expired. The remainder of the 
Christians were also thrown into prison, where they 
died from starvation. 1 

14. It is related in the life of St. John a Facundo, 
O. S. A., that he was unusually long in saying his 
Mass. For this reason no one liked to serve it. His 
Prior told him that he must not be longer in saying his 
Mass than were the other priests. He tried to obey, 
but finding obedience in this point so extremely difficult, 
he begged his Prior to permit him to say his Mass in 
the same manner as formerly. After hearing his rea- 
sons, the Prior most willingly granted this permission. 
With John's leave, he told these reasons to the brothers 
of the convent. They were the following : " Believe 
me," he said, " that Father John's Mass lasts so long 
because God bestows on him the privilege of seeing the 
mysteries of the Holy Sacrifice, which are so sublime 
that no human mind can understand them. Of these 
mysteries he told me things so sublime that I was over- 
whelmed with holy awe, and almost beside myself. 

1 Baronius. 



HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS. 313 

Believe me, Jesus Christ shows Himself to this Father 
in a most wonderful manner, converses with Him most 
sweetly, and sends forth upon him from His wounds % 
heavenly light and splendor so refreshing for both body 
and soul that he might live without any other nour- 
ishment. Father John also sees the body of Jesus 
Christ in its heavenly glory and beauty shining like a 
most brilliant sun. Now, considering how great and 
how unspeakably sublime the graces and favors are 
which men derive from saying Mass, or from hearing 
it, I have firmly resolved never to omit saying or hear- 
ing Mass, and will exhort others to do the same." x 

15. Bollandus relates of St. Coleta, that one day, 
when she was hearing the Mass of her confessor, she 
suddenly exclaimed at the elevation : " My God ! O 
Jesus ! O ye Angels and Saints ! O ye men and sin- 
ners, behold the great marvels ! " After the Mass, her 
confessor asked her why she had wept so bitterly and 
uttered such pitiable cries. "Had your Reverence," 
she said, "heard and seen the things which I heard and. 
saw, perhaps you would have wept, and exclaimed more 
than I have done." " What was it that you saw ? " 
asked her confessor further. " Although that which I 
heard and saw," she replied, " is so sublime and so di- 
vine that no man can ever find words to express it in a 
becoming manner, yet I will endeavor to describe it to 
your Reverence as well as my feeble language will per- 
mit. When your Reverence was raising the Sacred 
Host, I saw our Lord Jesus Christ as if hanging on the 

1 Mensehen in Act. Sanct., Ad. xii., Diem Juui. 
27 



314 EXAMPLES RELATING TO THE 

cross, shedding His Blood, and praying to His heavet. * 
Father in most lamentable accents: ' Behold, O My 
Father, in what condition I was once hanging on the 
cross and suffering for the redemption of the world. 
Behold My wounds, My sufferings, My death: I have 
suffered all this in order that poor sinners might not be 
lost. But now Thou wilt send them to hell for their 
sins. What good, then, will result from my sufferings 
and cruel death ! Those damned souls, when in hell, 
instead of thanking Me for my Passion, will only curse 
Me for it ; but should they be saved, they would bless 
Me for all eternity. I beseech Thee, My Father, to 
spare poor sinners and to forgive them for My sake ; 
and, for the sake of My Passion, preserve them from 
being damned forever." 

16. A most remarkable miracle happened at Wal- 
duren in the year 1330. A priest named Otto, during 
the celebration of his Mass, accidentally upset the chal- 
ice after the Consecration, and the Sacred Blood was 
spilt upon the corporal. All at once there appeared 
upon the corporal the figure of Jesus Christ hanging 
on the cross, and around it twelve figures of the sacred 
head crowned with thorns and disfigured with blood. 
The priest was frightened almost to death, and endeav- 
ored to conceal the accident by hiding the corpotal in 
the altar. When this priest was lying on his death- 
bed, his agony was unusually great and horrifying. 
Thinking that his great sufferings were caused on ac- 
count of his having so concealed the corporal, he called 
for a priest, to whom he made his confession, asking 



HOL Y SA ORIFICE OF THE MASS 315 

him to look for the corporal, and giving him permis- 
sion to reveal the miraculous fact. The corporal was 
found and forwarded to Pope Urban V«, who confirmed 
the miracle as being authentic. This event is well 
known throughout Germany. 

17. A similar miracle occurred during the time of 
Pope Urban IV., in the year 1263, at Volsia, a town 
not far from Rome. A certain priest having pronounced 
the words of Consecration over the bread at Mass, had 
a temptation against faith, the devil suggesting to him 
the doubt how Jesus Christ could be present in the 
Host, when he could see nothing of Him. He con- 
sented to the temptation, but, nevertheless, continued 
saying the Mass. Now, at the elevation of the sacred 
host, behold, he and all the people who were present, 
saw blood flowing abundantly from the Host down 
upon the altar. Some cried out: "O sacred blood! 
what does this mean? O divine blood! who is the 
cause of Thy being shed ?" Others prayed : " O sacred 
blood ! come down upon our souls and purify them from 
the stains of sin." Others beat their breasts and shed 
tears of sorrow for their sins. When Mass was over, 
the people all rushed to the sacristy in order to learn 
from the priest what had happened during his Mass. 
He showed them the corporal all stained with the sa- 
cred blood, and when they beheld it, they fell upon 
their knees imploring the Divine mercy. The miracle 
became known all over the country, and many persons 
hastened to Volsia to see the miraculous corporal. 
Pope Urban IV. called the priest thither, who came, 



3i6 EXAMPLES RELATING TO THE 

confessed his sin, and showed the corporal. On be- 
holding it, the Pope, Cardinals, and all the clergy, 
knelt down, adored the blood, and kissed the corporal. 
The Pope ordered a church to be built at Volsia in 
honor of the sacred blood, and ordered the corporal to 
be carried in solemn procession on the anniversary of 
the day on which the miracle occurred. 1 

18. St. Dominic was once saying Mass in London, 
England, in the presence of the King and Queen and 
three hundred other persons. As he was making the 
memento for the living, he suddenly became enraptured, 
remaining motionless for the space of a whole hour. 
All present were greatly astonished, and did not know 
what to think or to make of it. The king ordered the 
Server to pull the priest's robe, that he might go on 
with his Mass. But on attempting to do so, the Server 
became so terribly frightened that he was unable to 
comply with the king's order. After an hour's time, 
St. Dominic was able to continue the Mass, when, be- 
hold ! at the elevation of the Sacred Host, the king and 
all who were present saw, instead of the Host in the 
hands of the priest, the holy Infant Jesus, at the sight 
of which all experienced great interior joy. At the 
same time they beheld the Mother of God in great 
brilliancy and splendor, and surrounded by twelve 
bright stars. She took the hand of her Divine Infant 
to bless with it all those who were present at the Mass. 
At this blessing many experienced an ineifable joy, and 
shed tears of tenderness. At the elevation of the chal- 

1 Platina's Life of Urban IV. 



HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS. 317 

• 

ftje every one saw a cross uprising from it, with Jesus 
Christ hanging upon it in a most pitiable condition, 
and shedding all His Blood. The Blessed Virgin was 
also seen sprinkling, as it were, the sacred blood over 
the people, upon which every one received a clear 
knowledge of his sins, and a deep sorrow for the same, 
so much so that every one who saw them could not 
help weeping with them. 

Mass being ended, St. Dominic ascended the pulpit, 
and addressed the people as follows : " Sing ye to the 
Lord a new Canticle, because he hath done wonderful 
things." 1 "You have all seen with your own eyes, 
and experienced in your own hearts, the wonderful 
things which Jesus Christ has done in the Most Blessed 
Sacrament. You have seen with your eyes, and it has 
been given to you to understand how Jesus Christ the 
Saviour of the world and the son of Mary, has been 
pleased to be born anew, and to be again crucified for 
you. In this divine and tremendous mystery of holy 
Mass, you have witnessed only things most holy, most 
sublime, most consoling, and most touching. It is not 
only one or a few of you who have seen these wonder- 
ful things, but the entire three hundred here assembled 
have witnessed them. Now, if there be but one little 
spark of divine love in your hearts, sentiments of grat- 
itude and hymns of praise in honor of the Divine good- 
ness and Majesty ought to flow incessantly from your 

lips." 2 

19. It is related of Drahomira, the mother of St. 

» p s# xcv ii. « Ex. lib. inter. P>. Alanui rediv., par. 3, ehap. 22. 

27* 



318 EXAMPLES RELATING TO THE 

• 
Wenceslaus,— a very impious Duchess of Bohemia,— 
how she one day went in her carriage to Saes, in order 
to take a solemn oath on her father's grave to extirpate 
all the Christians in her dominions. Passing a chapel 
in which Mass was being said, the driver, hearing the 
bell ringing for the elevation, alighted from his borse 
and knelt down reverently to adore our Lord Jesus 
Christ on the altar. At this the impious Duchess flew 
into a violent passion, cursing the driver and the Blessed 
Sacrament. In punishment for her horrible blasphe- 
mies, the earth opened and swallowed her and her whole 
escort. They cried for help, but in vain. In a mo- 
ment they were gone forever. The driver rejoiced in- 
deed for having alighted from his horse to adore the 
Blessed Sacrament j his faith and devotion saving him 
from destruction. 1 

20. The Albigenses, certain heretics, who arose in the 
beginning of the twelfth century, forbade any priest, 
under great penalty, to say what they called a private 
Mass. Having learned that a certain priest had said 
Mass contrary to their orders, they arrested him, say- 
ing : " We have been told that you have said a private 
Mass, notwithstanding our strict orders to the contrary. 
Is this true?" Without fear the priest replied as did 
the Apostles when before the Jewish Council : (i We 
must be more obedient to God than to men; for this 
reason I have said Mass in honor of God and the 
Blessed Virgin, notwithstanding your unjust orders." 
Enraged by this answer, they beat the pious priest and 

Hagec. ia Chronic. Bohenaic. ad. ana. 930. 



HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS. 319 

pulled out his tongue. The servant of God suffered 
this most cruel pain very patiently. He went to the 
Church, and there he knelt before the altar of the 
Blessed Virgin, praying with his heart to the Mother 
of God to restore his tongue. The Blessed Virgin 
appeared to him with his tongue in her hand, saying, 
u On account of the honor which you have rendered to 
God and to me by saying Mass, I herewith restore your 
tongue, requesting you at the same time to continue to 
say Mass. He thanked the Mother of God for this 
blessing, and, returning to the people, he showed them 
his tongue, and confounded the enemies of Mass. 1 

1 Cesarius of Heisterbach, who protests in his book that he has written 
nothing which he did not see himself, or hear from such witnesses aa 
would be willing rather to die than to tell a lie. 




HYMN 

Of Thanksgiving to Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament- 



1. Sweet Jesus, hid for love of me, 
How shall I render thanks to Thee ? 
Ah ! would that my poor love could be 
The half of that Thou'st shown for mcl 

2. What wondrous act is this of Thine, 
To make Thyself so wholly mine ? 

My food, great God, Thou deign'st to be^ 
To show how well Thou lovest me ! 

8. Lord Jesus, come, 1 beg of Thee, 

And with Thy grace pray strengthen me. 
For Thee alone my heart doth beat — 
Ah ! make of it Thy mercy-seat. 

4. E'en as the thirsty stag doth fiy 
To running brook, so, Lord, do I 
With longing heart pant after Thee; 
Then, come, sweet Jesus, come to me! 

f». Ah ! hasten, Lord, make no delay ! 
Come, wed my heart this very day, 
That thus united here below, 
I may not fear eternal woe. 



HYMN OF THANKSGIVING TO JESUS CHRIST. 321 

6. With steadfast faith I cling to Thee, 
And press Thee, Lord, most tenderly 
Unto my weak and sinful heart, 

Well pleased to claim Thee as my part. 

7. Now, Thou art mine and I am Thine ! 
Ah! mortal words can ne'er define 
My happiness thus close to be 
United, dearest Lord, with Thee. 

8. By day and night I'll sing Thy praise* 
My voice in grateful anthems raise, 

To thee, dear Shepherd of my soul, 
Nor shrink beneath Thy meek control 

9. This passing life sufficeth not 

To thank Thee for my happy lot, 
So favor'd by Thy love to be — 
Ah! Lord, 'twill take eternity. 

10. Had I a thousand lives to lay 
In sacrifice each dawning day, 

It would, most holy, gracious Lord, 
Be for Thy love a poor reward. 

11. 1 cannot love Thee as I should, 
Nor even as my poor heart would 
For pardon, then, I humbly crave. 
And beg Thee, still, my soul to save. 

12. Lord Jesus Christ, for Thee I live, 
Lord Jesus Christ, I beg Thee, give 
Me grace to die through love of Thee, 
And be Thine own eternally. 



OZBIoA-TZOHT. 

I offer Thee this book, Lord Jesus Christ, Fount of eternal ligb 
in union with that ineffable charity which moved Thee, the only 
begotten of the Father, in the plenitude of the Divinity, to take 
upon Thyself our nature and to become man, I beseech Thee 
to take it into Thy divine keeping, that it may glorify Thy 
divine bounty towards us, vile creatures that we are. And 
since Thou, the Almighty Dispenser of all good things, 
dost vouchsafe to nourish us during our exile, until, 
beholding Thy glory with unveiled countenance, we 
are transformed into Thee, grant, I beseech Thee, to 
all who read these writings with humility, that they 
may be charmed with the sweetness of Thy charity, 
and inwardly drawn to desire the same for fur- 
therance in perfection, so that, elevating their 
hearts towards Thee with burning love, they 
may be like so many golden censers, whose 
awe^t odors shall abundantly supply all my 
negligence and ingratitude. 

Dear Mother Mary, do thou also 
§>ray to thy Divine Son for all those 
*no may read this little book. 

322 




NOTICES OF THE PRESS, ETC. 



THE BLESSED EUCHARIST OUR GREATEST TREASURE, 

BY MICHAEL MULLER, 
Priest of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. 



Published by FR. PUSTET & CO., New Youk. 



We have received the following recommendation of this work from the 
Most Rev. Archbishop of Baltimore- — 

We have read with much pleasure and with great edification this valu- 
able work composed bv one of our Redemptorist Fathers in Baltimore. 
We have found the matter solid, well digested, and instructive, and the 
style simple, earnest, and full of unction. The examples are, in general, 
appropriately selected as illustrations of the text ; and many of them are 
very edifying and even touching. These are, of course, to be received, 
according to the author's timely protest in the beginning, with the wise 
reserve expressly ordered by the Church in regard to such matters, in tna 
well-known Bull of Urban VIII. ; but, with this necessary precaution, 
such legends are profitable unto edification, as the way of teaching by ex- 
ample is much more compendious, as well as much more impressive, than 
that by word or writing. It is refreshing to find in this cold utilitarian 
a<re a work issued from the press so full of Catholic life and so glowing 
with the fire of Catholic love. Believing that its extensive circulation and 
diligent perusal will be promotive of piety, and will be useful to all classes 
both within and without the Church, we earnestly recommend the work to 
the faithful people under cur charge. 

Martin John Spalding, 

Archbishop of Baltimore. 

Baltimore, Feast of St. Francis de Sales, 1868. 

FATHER MULLER'S LATE WORK — "THE BLESSED EUCHA- 
RIST "—We are pleased to find that Father Miiller's recent excellent work 
" The Bleated Eucharist cur Greatest Treasure," has already attracted the 
liveliest interest on the part of the Press and Clergy. It was but one week 
ago that this edifying and beautiful treatise was issued from the press ol 
Messrs. Pustet & Co. In the last impression of the Mirror we noticed 
t-he wor'i. and during the short time which has intervened, " Ihe Blessed 
Eucharist" has elicited the most favorable and complimentary notices. 
We herewith insert one or two of the letters which the Rev. author hai 
already received, and a communication which the Editor of the Volke-ZeituT^ 
!*&« also received in commendation of this truly devotional work :— 

1 



H NOTICES OF THE PRESS, ETC. 

Letter from Bishop Luers. 

K , Tx „. Fort Wayne, Jan. 23, 1868. 

Bev. and Dear Sir,— The "Blessed Eucharist," of which you have 
kindly sent me a copy, is truly a charming work. It should be in every 
uatnolic family, - J 

Yours truly in Christ, 

J. H. Luers, Bishop of Fort Wayne. 

Letter from Father 0' C allay han. 

■» , n _ , Georgetown College, 17th January. 

Rc-v and Dear Father, - Let me thank you for the precious volume 
you had the kindness to send me. I have not yet finished reading it, but 
what I nave read pleases me very much. Many fruits of dev tion will I 
am sure, come from the blessed seed you have sown there. To make our 
Lord known m the Sacrament of His Love, is the most efficacious means 
Burtuy :° making souls live His life. 

Be assured, my dear Father, that you have my remembrance at the holy 
altar and ir. my daily petitions for all blessings, but especially for a bless- 
ing on cne book you have given us. 

Your humble servant ?«<? *Vi e nd 

Joseph O'Uallaghan, S, J. 



Letter to the F^llor of the Volks-Zeitung from a Jesuit Father. 

All devout w-Vonippers of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament will hail with 

delignt the publication of this book. Every zealous priest who has been 

in the ministry among American Catholics and observed their lukewarmness 

in regard to attending at Mass and visiting the Blessed Sacrament, must 

SwkSi ng £ ir + t t0 \ C f a WOrk Hke the P resent > Published in the 

English language. Father Miiller's book will render the same services to 
English speaking Catholics, that Father Martin of Cochem's work, entitled 
Explanation of Holy Mass," has rendered to the German Catholics. The 
subject is treated in this book in nearly the same manner as in the « Expla- 

TZZy « ? y LlS V , We &n f- iD U the Same sim P ]e acd famili ^ language; 
it breathes the same fresh vitality and fervent piety 

«rJ h ffc RCV; ^^l 01 "' c ° nVe / Sant With the reli g iou s "condition of our country 
and the spiritual wants of the English-speaking Catholics, has fully com- 
prehended his task of making the treatise on the important dogma of the 
Eucharist both attractive and edifying to them. Let'the argumentation be 
short, concise, logical and illustrated with well authenticated facts, and the 
desirable inference w x be made spontaneously. The pious reader will re- 
joice to find amc:.g the examples related the most striking ones of our own 
Z Q tVf S rt f , that °l Ml ' S - ^attingly, the burning of the Ursuline Con 
« V«J{ ^ ha , rle8t ?^ Mass - i th at of Rev. Father Urbahek, which happened 
n 1847, that wnich occurred in Metz, 1865, and many others which hav« 
aken place in our own times, of which the press took notice at the time 
they occurred, the remembrance of which, however, has been lost by tht 
f X', h ! s work may therefore, be styled also a kind of memorandum 
to i hG J*.\T wond " r8 ?I th 7 e LQrd - But °a this subject a special work oughl 
to fc« written, gush as the Jesuits composed in the last century 



NOTICES OF THE PRESS, ETC. ill 

The work is not controversial, but its aim is the practical application 
ef the dogma of which it treats. It contains 18 chapters." 

Contents. — Chapter 1 : The Doctrine of the Real Presence. Ch. 2 : On 
the Reverence due to Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Ch. 3 : On 
the Love of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Ch. 4 : On Visiting 
Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Ch. 5 : On the Great Desire of 
Jesus Christ to enter into our Hearts in He ly Communion. Ch. 6 : On 
Preparation for Communion. Ch. 7 : On Thanksgiving after Communion. 
Ch. 8 : On the Effects of Holy Communion. Ch. 9 : The Excuses of those who 
do not Communicate Frequently. Ch. 10 : On Unworthy Communion. 
Ch. 11 : On Spiritual Communion. Ch. 12 : Considerations on the Virtues 
that Jesus Christ Teaches us in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. 
Ch. 13 : The Most Holy Festival of Corpus Christi and its Origin. Ch. 14: 
Additional Examples Relating to the Real Presence. Ch. 15 : The Most 
Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Ch. 16 : On the Ceremonies of Mass. Ch. 17: 
An Exhortation to hear Mass Devoutly. Ch. 18: Examples Relating to 
the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. 

"The type is clear and neat; the paper is of the best quality, and the 
shape of the book like that of Martin of Cochem's ' Explanation of the 
Mass.' The book in general is got up in such a manner as to reflect 
credit upon Messrs. Kelly & Piet. It would be desirable to use several of 
the chapters presented in pamphlet form like ' Rev. Father Furniss' Tracts,' 
for the use of the Missionary priest. One familiar with the present re- 
ligious movement in our country must hail this book as a work of Divine 
Providence. The reign of our holy Father, Pope Pius IX., has been 
styled ' Crux de Cruce/ i. e., Cross upon Cross, but will soon appear 
among our erring brethren, seeking after truth, the reign called ' Lumen 
de Ccelo,' i. e., Light from Heaven. God grant that this book may be 
one of th* means to bring about those happy times in our country." 

In conclusion we recommend this work as one of the best that could be 
selected for the purpose of distribution of premiums in Parochial schools, 
Academies, etc. 

" The Blessed Eucharist our Greatest Treasure." By Michael Mtil- 
ler, C. S. S. R. 
We have read this beautiful book ; we have tasted the sweetness of its 
thoughts, and we are reading it again. There is a humility about its style 
so like His humility who dwells with us in the Holy Sacrament. Deep 
thoughts in plain words — doctrinal sublimities in language so simple that 
a child, without effort, may understand. It is, indeed, a book of piety, 
and it will fill many a heart with love for the Great Mystery of the Altar. 

Banner of the South, Augusta, Ga. 



From the Freeman's Journal. 
With unwonted delight we have read a volume just issued by Messrs. 
PuBtet«fcCo.,NowYork lk entitled: " The Blessed Eucharist, cur Great- 
est Treasure." By the Very Rev. Michael Muller, C. S. S. R., Rector of 
the Redemptorist House of St. Alphonsus, Baltimore. On taking up this 
treatise, all our prepossessions were against us. We thought : " Why try 
to say more or better, than has been said on it? Is there not enough writ- 
ten v Is not the multiplication of devotional books a kind of spirituaJ 



fv NOTICES OF THE PRESS, ETC, 

dissipation ? What child of St. Alphonsus can write on the Blessed Sao 
rament better than St. Alphonsus has written ?" 

But the first page of the Preface humiliated us. On it we read : " Our 
Lord Jesus Christ, in the Adorable Sacrament, is such an abundant foun- 
tain that, the more it flows the fuller it becomes ; and the fuller it becomes 
the more it flows; which signifies that the most Holy Eucharist is so great 
and so sublime a mystery, that the more we say of it, the more remains to 
be said!" 

It is even so. St. Alphonsus, being dead, as to the body, in this world, 
still speaks. This treatise, by a son of the Order he founded, reads as if 
he were yet alive, and, having crossed the ocean, had written this treatite 
to stir up devotion in America. 

In saying this much, we do not think we exaggerate. Whoever has 
found a special attraction in the simple and direct fervor — the straight- 
forward earnestness mingled with a thorough knowledge of the world — in 
St. Alphonsus' writings, will delight in this volume of Father Muller's. 
There is the same spirit — the same lively faith. But it is written in 
America, not in Italy. There is a careful suggestion of doctrinal instruc- 
tion, and of anticipations to certain objections, that, in Italy, in the last 
century, when St. Alphonsus wrote, would have been out of place. Among 
us, it is salutary. 

But, besides this, the volume has nothing of the cold and dry system 
that makes religion, among us, so often, a thing of duty more than of love. 
It does not stand, wrangling and disputing, at the door of the Church. It 
takes the arm of the poor wanderer, leads him up to the Altar-rails, and 
bids him kneel and ask for what he needs. 

It is not for us to tell how beautiful this volume is. To appreciate it, it 
must be read as a book of devotion — into which the experience of the 
Missionary priest has taught him to incorporate minute spiritual in- 
structions. 

There is one feature in this volume, on which we wish, however, to 
remark. Father Miiller has introduced, freely, the recital of prodigies and 
miracles. He has taken special pains to point out that these do not, in 
any one instance, demand belief, as a Divine revelation. They rest on 
human faith. In an age such as this, when even the daily papers report, 
so often, exhibitions of events preternatural — events that show how pow- 
ers that cannot be human are at work — in a time when Judges of our 
highest courts, and men in the most prominent ranks of political life, arc 
in the habit of consulting " spiritual mediums," by " table-tippings," and 
other diabolical incantations, it is, in our opinion, an uncharitable hiding 
of the truth not to bring fo*-th, against these works of darkness, the full 
force of the spiritual doctrine and pcver of the Catholic Church. In his 
" Preface," Father Muller has explained this, in the following terms : — 
" I have thought it expedient for the edification of pious souls to intro- 
duce into it after the manner of the Holy Fathers, both some revelations 
made to certain saints and several miraculous facts concerning this mys- 
tery. I know there are some persons who, boasting of being free from 
prejudices, take great credit to themselves for believing no miracles but 
those recorded Lo the Holy Scriptures, esteeming all others as tales and 
fables for foolish women. But it will be well to remember here a remark 
of the learned St. Alphontus, who says, 'that the bad are as ready to de- 
ride miracles as the good are to believe them; adding that it is a w&Aknesa 



NOTICES OF THE PRESS, ETC. v 

to give credit to all things, so, on the other hand, to reject miracles which 
come to us attested by grave and pious men, either savors of infidelity 
which supposes them impossible to God, or of presumption, which refuses 
belief to such a class of authors. We give credit to a Tacitus, a Seuto- 
nius, and can we deny it without presumption to Christian authors of 
learning and protiity. There is less risk in believing and receiving what 
is related with some probability by honest persons and not rejected by the 
learned, and which serves for the edification of our neighbor, than in re- 
jecting it with a disdainful and presumptuous spirit.' (Glories of Mary.) 
Hence Pope Benedict XIV. (De Canoni. Sanct.) says: ' Though an assent 
of Catholic faith be not due to them, they deserve a human assent accord- 
ing to the rules of prudence by which they are probably and piously 
credible.' " 

That we have not unduly estimated this admirable volume, we have be- 
fore us the opinions of very high authorities. The venerable and learned 
Bishop of Milwaukee writes of it, as follows : — 

Milwaukee, Jan. 18th, 1868. 
Very Hev. and Dear Father, — I thank you cordially for the work 
" Blessed Eucharist." The work is well calculated to instruct, strengthen 
and warm both the mind and heart of the pious reader. May Heaven thus 
bless the labors devoted by our author to the truth and praises of the most 
holy mystery of the Eucharist. 

With gratitude and affection, very dear sir, yours truly devoted, 

f John M. Henni, Bp. of Milw. 

The Bishop of Fort Wayne is not less earnest in its commendation. 
Several learned Jesuit Fathers highly commend it. Various pious persons 
of both sexes, among the laity, well versed in ascetic literature, have ex- 
pressed their thanks for this new work. It is invested, in regular form, 
as we wish all books on religious matters would be, with the regular "Im- 
primatur" of the Ordinary. But Archbishop Spalding did not content 
himself with this. He wrote a most earnest commendation of the worK, 
which appears in the printed volume. 



From the Catholic World. 
This work is written in plain and unaffected style to promote the no- 
Dlest, best, and most useful of objects, the devotion to our Lord Jesus 
Christ present in the Most Holy Sacrament of the altar. Catholics are 
taught and believe this great mystery of love; but many, though they be- 
lieve, do not seem to realize sufficiently what it is they believe. They have 
not thought much upon it. They bavc not penetrated its depths. Their 
knowledge is superficial, and their devotion consequently cold. And this, 
for many reasons, is particularly the case in this country. Here we have 
immense congregations and few priests, and they loaded down with the 
building of churches, and a variety of work which has been already done 
in ether countries. The people often are either out of reach of the church, 
or struggling for the means of living, and, therefore, have grown care- 
less, and failed to receive the instruction which they require. Hence 
there is need, and great need, of all the means of instruction which can 
be brought to bear, and good books on the grand doctrines of religion are 
calculated to do an incalculable amount of good. This book of Father 



Vi NOTICES OF THE PRESS, ETC. 

Muller's is intended to supply much needed instruction on the Blessed 
Sacrament, and we hope k will receive an extensive circulation. In read- 
a D i S u' WG are reminded of the Visits to the Blessed Sanament by Saint 
Alphonsus, which have been so acceptable and useful throughout the 
whole church, and we do not doubt many souls will derive great edifica- 
tion and pleasure from its perusal. 



The Blessed Eucharist oue Greatest Treasure. By Michael Miiller 
Priest of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

Father Miiller has placed Catholics under lasting obligations by giving 
them so desirable and so edifying a work as his treatise on the Holy Eu- 
charist. He truly tells us, that, although so much has been written on the 
subject, yet that it is an exhaustless theme. « Our Lord Jesus Christ, in 
the Adorable Sacrament, is such an abundant fountain, that the more it 
flows the fuller it becomes, and the fuller it is the more it flows, which 
signifies that the most Holy Eucharist is so great and so sublime a mys- 
tery that the more we say of it the more remains to be said." The work 
is evidently intended for Catholics, yet should it fall into the hands of 
unbelievers, they will find in the first chapter arguments and authorities in 
favor of the doctrine of the Real Presence so powerfully presented as to 
prepare them to reap the advantages of what follows. Wherever the author 
examines doctrine, be it of the Blessed Eucharist, the Mass, or any 
other point, what he says of them is rather explanatory than controver- 
sial. We do not know that we could select any one chapter in preference 
to another, in pointing out the merits of the book, yet for ourselves we 
can say that perhaps we were more forcibly struck with that " On Un- 
worthy Communions." The style is simple and seductive, so that it is 
hard to put away the book when once it has been taken in hand. The 
mechanical part of the work is highly creditable to the enterprising pub- 
lishers. — Catholic Mirror, Jan. 25, 1868. 



From the New York Tablet, Feb. 1, 1868. 
The Blessed Eucharist our Greatest Treasure. By Michael Miillei 
C. SS. R., Priest of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer 

Many books on the Blessed Sacrament are already in existence; some 
of them have long been popular among?* the faithful, but this work of 
Father Mullers is not exactly like any of them. It \s less poetical than 
Faber's book on the same subject, but it is more intelligible to the general 
reader, probably on that very account. In it we find, together with all the 
motives that tend to draw our souls towards the Adorable Sacrament of 
Love, a glowing record of miracles, reflations, and wondrous graces ob- 
tained through faith in, and love of, Our dear Lord in His own Divine 
Sacrament. It is a charming book for faithful, pious Catholics — one that 
cannot fail to animate their faith still more, and increase the fervor of 
their piety. 

_ The book is published with tho approbation rf the Most Rev. Arch- 
bishop Spalding. 



NOTICES OF THE PRE Si ETC Vll 

The Blessed Eucharist our Greatest Treasure. By Michael Miil- 
ier, C. SS. R. — " In the midst of you standeth One whom you know not 
— the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to loose." John i. 26, 27, 
pp. 360, 12mo. New York: Pustet & Co. 1868. A fine accession is 
this to the ascetic department of American literature. It is just the book 
one will enjoy in quiet and slow perusal, in a silent and devout church, 
before the holy Tabernacle. Its perusal draws one's heart nearer and 
nearer to that Centre of Divine Love — the heart of Jesus in His Sacra- 
ment. Dilectus meus mihi, et ego Illi ! Oh ! for a little more devotion 
among our people towards the Blessed Sacrament ! how much we of for- 
eign Catholic lands feel the want of it ! how much we instinctively deplore 
the loneliness of our churches in the evening hours, the abserceof lovers, 
the solitude to which our Saviour is condemned (to use the word of the 
best writer on the Devotion to the Sacred Heart) in the Sacra nent of His 
Love ! A pious and devout perusal of Father Miiller's work will aid to 
kindle in the heart of our people a warm devotion to the Blessed Eucha- 
rist, truly our Greatest Treasure, the key of which is in our own posses- 
lion, as Blessed Alacoque says. — Boston Pilot. 



From the Freeman's Journal. 

FATHER MULLER'S BEAUTIFUL BOOK ON THE EUCHARIST 
In the following letter, which we clip from the Catholic Mirror, we thiiiK 
we recognize the pen of a distinguished lady, a convert to the Holy Faith, 
as well as a woman conversant with the literary and political world. 

Harrisburg, Pa., 1868. 

Messrs. Editors,— If you have room in your columns, permit me through 
them, to say a word or two about Father Miiller's book, " The Blessed 
Eucharist." But how shall I begin ? To say it is great, good, or grand, 
is not enough. The nearest I can come to expressing what I feel about 
it, is to say, next to receiving the Blessed Eucharist, is the perusal of thie 
inestimable book. I wish to say to every reader of the Mirror, buy tne 
book. No matter how great a sinner you are, the hope of speedy relief 
is pointed out to you here ; no matter how weak and discouraged you are, 
the way to strengthen is shown you ; no matter how dear the privilege is 
r,<> you of receiving the Blessed Sacrament, it will become doubly dear after 
reading this book. To the rich I would say, buy two copies and give one 
to your poor brother ; his prayers and blessings will well repay you for 
the trifling expenditure. To the ladies, I would say, spare yourself a bit 
of ribbon and buy the book. T > the gentlemen, a few less cigars or drinks, 
and buy the book. Every single page of it is worth the price of the vol- 
ume. Could dear Father Miiller have heard the prayers and seen tha 
tears of a poor old lady who is crippled and cannot go U church, when il 
was being read to her this morning, he would be rewarded a? I know h 
xishes to be. To one and all I say, buy the book. 

Cecfua. 




f 











BX 2220 -M83 1880 

SMC 

M/>ul ler, Michael, 

1825-1899. 
The Blessed Eucharist. 

our greatest treasure / 
AKB-7481 (mcsk) 


-^