11 June 2009

Le Saint-Sacrement Du Corps Et Du Sang Du Christ

Today’s traditional observance of Corpus Christi seemed like a good day to get a pre-game pep-talk from the model given us by the Church, as we get ever closer to the big game: the “Year for Priests.” Here are some wonderful words of wisdom from Saint Jean Marie Vianney.

If we consider all that God has made, heaven and earth, and that beautiful order which reigns in this vast universe – all manifests an infinite Power which has created all things, an admirable wisdom which governs all things, and a supreme goodness which provides for all with the same facility as if it were occupied with one creature alone; and all these marvels cannot but fill us with admiration and astonishment.

But if we speak of the adorable Sacrament of the Eucharist, we may say that here is the marvel of the love of God for us. Here it is that His power, His grace, and His goodness shine in a manner altogether extraordinary. Here is the Bread come down from Heaven, the Bread of angels, which is given us for the Food of our souls; here is the Bread of strengthening which comforts and sweetens our sorrows, the traveler’s Bread, the Key which opens heaven to us. And to give us this Bread, Jesus multiplies miracles, turns the world of nature upside down, and suspends all its laws.

By Baptism, it is true, we receive the title of God’s children; heaven is opened to us in consequence, and we are made participators in all the treasures of the Church. By Penance, the wounds of our soul are healed, and the friendship of God is restored to us. By Confirmation, Jesus Christ gives us the Spirit of light and power. By Extreme Unction, He clothes us with the merits of His death and Passion. By Holy Orders, He communicates to the priest all His powers. By Matrimony, He sanctifies all our actions, even those in which man seems only to follow natural inclinations. Mercies truly worthy of a God Who is in all things infinite!

But all this seems to be only an apprenticeship of His love for men; in the adorable Sacrament of the Eucharist He goes further.

If we love our Lord, we should have that gilded tabernacle, that house of the good God, always before our mind’s eye. When we see a spire from the road, that sight ought to make our hearts beat like the heart of a lover at sight of the roof under which his love dwells. We ought to be unable to take our eyes off it.

A mortal man, a creature, feeds himself, satiates himself, with his God, taking Him for his daily Bread, his Drink. O miracle of miracles! O love of loves! O joy of joys!

Every created being must be fed in order to live; that is why the good God has made trees and plants grow – they are a well-furnished table to which all the beasts come to get their own proper food.

But the soul also must be fed. Where, then is its food? When God desired to give food to our soul to sustain it in the pilgrimage of life, He looked upon creation and found nothing that was worthy of it. Then He turned again to Himself and resolved to give Himself. O my soul, how great you are, since only God can satisfy you! The Food of the soul is the Body and Blood of a God. O glorious Food! The soul can feed only on God; only God can suffice it; only God can fill it; only God can satiate its hunger. Its God is absolutely necessary to it.

My God, how can it be that Christians actually remain so long without giving this Food to their poor souls? They leave them to die of want. They are close to this glorious Sacrament, like a person dying of thirst by the side of a river, when he has only to bend his head. My God, what misery and blindness!

What confusion you would feel, if your faith were not extinguished or weakened, to see a father or mother, a brother or sister, a friend or neighbor, go to the holy table to be fed with the adorable Body of Jesus Christ and yourself abstaining from it! My God, what a misfortune! Do not say that you are not worthy of it. It is true, you are not worthy, but you have need of it. If our Lord had been thinking of our worthiness He would never have instituted His glorious Sacrament of love, for no one in the world is worthy of it – not the saints, nor the angels, nor the archangels, nor the Blessed Virgin – but He was thinking of our needs.

You have the happiness of possessing Him in your heart, where He is in Body and Soul, as He was on earth during His mortal life. Ask Him for all the graces you desire for yourself and others; the good God will be able to refuse you nothing if you offer Him His Son and the merits of His holy death and Passion. Then invite the Blessed Virgin and all the saints and angels to thank the good God with you. Do not go away directly after holy Mass, but stay a moment to ask God to strengthen you well in your good resolutions. If you keep our Lord well by recollection after Communion, you will feel for a long time that devouring fire which inspires in your heart an inclination to good and a repugnance for evil.

What is Jesus Christ doing when we carry Him in procession? He is like a good king in the midst of his subjects, like a good father surrounded by his children, like a good shepherd visiting his sheep. Let us accompany Him with a lively faith, firm trust, and atoning love. Let us imagine in this procession, the Savior going to Calvary: some were kicking Him, others loading Him with abuse and blasphemies. Only a few holy souls followed Him, weeping and mingling their tears with His precious Blood with which He was sprinkling the paving-stones.

Of how many profanations, of how many sacrileges has He been the object during this long procession of nineteen centuries, from the institution of the Eucharist to this day! Is it possible that a God Who loves us so much should be so despised and maltreated?

Let us be like one friend sorrowing over the misfortunes of another and thus showing Him true friendship. Let us grieve over the contempt cast upon Jesus Christ, and try to make amends for it by a greater and more ardent love.

The Curé d’Ars mentions in these words the need to stay a moment after Mass for thanksgiving. He lived what he preached. A typical day began for him by rising between one and two o’clock in the morning. He prayed Matins and Lauds which took him to about four o’clock, and then he would adore our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament until seven o’clock, which is when Mass began. After Mass he offered thanksgiving until noon.

May our Lord Jesus Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament be praised, adored, and loved, with grateful affection, at every moment, in all the tabernacles of the world, even to the end of time!

O Sacrament Most Holy! O Sacrament Divine!
All praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine!