Second Sunday after Pentecost. – On Holy Communion. – continued.
PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.
My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.
6. Hence, there is nothing from which we can draw so much fruit as from the Holy Communion. St. Denis teaches, that the most Holy Sacrament has greater efficacy to sanctify souls than all other spiritual means. “Eucharistia maximam vim habet perficiendæ sanctitatis.” St. Vincent Ferrer says, that a soul derives more profit from one communion than from fasting a week on bread and water. The Eucharist is, according to the holy Council of Trent, a medicine which delivers us from venial, and preserves us from mortal sins. “Antidotum quo a culpis quotidianis liberemur, et a mortalibus præservemur.” Jesus Himself has said, that they who eat Him, Who is the fountain of life, shall receive permanently the life of grace. “He that eateth Me, the same shall also live by Me.” (John vi. 58.) Innocent the Third teaches, that by the passion Jesus Christ delivers us from the sins we have committed, and by the Eucharist from the sins we may commit. According to St. Chrysostom, the Holy Communion inflames us with the fire of divine love, and makes us objects of terror to the devil. “The Eucharist is a fire which inflames us, that, like lions breathing fire, we may retire from the altar, being made terrible to the devil.” (Hom. lxi. ad Pop. Ant.) In explaining the words of the Spouse of the Canticles, “He brought me into the cellar of wine; he set in order charity in me” (ii. 4.) St. Gregory says, that the Communion is this cellar of wine, in which the soul is so inebriated with divine love, that she forgets and loses sight of all earthly things.
7. Some will say: “I do not communicate often; because I am cold in divine love.” In answer to them Gerson asks, Will you then, because you feel cold, remove from the fire? When you are tepid you should more frequently approach this Sacrament. St. Bonaventure says: “Trusting in the mercy of God, though you feel tepid, approach: let him who thinks himself unworthy reflect, that the more infirm he feels himself the more he requires a physician” (de Prof. Rel., cap. lxxviii). And, in “The Devout Life,” chapter xx., St. Francis de Sales writes: “Two sorts of persons ought to communicate often: the perfect, to preserve perfection; and the imperfect, to arrive at perfection.” It cannot be doubted, that he who wishes to communicate should prepare himself with great diligence, that he may communicate well. Let us pass to the second point.
Second Point. On the preparation we ought to make in order to derive great fruit from the Holy Communion.
8. Two things are necessary in order to draw great fruit from Communion – preparation for, and thanksgiving after Communion. As to the preparation, it is certain that the saints derived great profit from their Communions, only because they were careful to prepare themselves well for receiving the Holy Eucharist. It is easy then to understand why so many souls remain subject to the same imperfections, after all their communions. Cardinal Bona says, that the defect is not in the food, but in the want of preparation for it. “Defectus non in bibo est, sed in edentis dispositione.” For frequent communion two principal dispositions are necessary. The first is detachment from creatures, and disengagement of the heart from everything that is not God. The more the heart is occupied with earthly concerns, the less room there is in it for divine love. Hence, to give full possession of the whole heart to God, it is necessary to purify it from worldly attachments. This is the preparation which Jesus Himself recommends to St. Gertrude. “I ask nothing more of thee,” said He to her, “than that thou come to receive Me with a heart divested of thyself.” Let us, then, withdraw our affections from creatures, and our hearts shall belong entirely to the Creator.
9. The second disposition necessary to draw great fruit from communion, is a desire of receiving Jesus Christ in order to advance in His love. “He,” says St. Francis de Sales, “who gives Himself through pure love, ought to be received only through love.” Thus, the principal end of our Communions must be to advance in the love of Jesus Christ. He once said to St. Matilda: “When you communicate, desire all the love that any soul has ever had for Me, and I will accept your love in proportion to the fervour with which you wished for it.”
10. Thanksgiving after Communion is also necessary. The prayer we make after Communion is the most acceptable to God, and the most profitable to us. After Communion the soul should be employed in affections and petitions. The affections ought to consist not only in acts of thanksgiving, but also in acts of humility, of love, and of oblation of ourselves to God. Let us then humble ourselves as much as possible at the sight of a God made our food after we had offended Him. A learned author says that, for a soul after Communion, the most appropriate sentiment is one of astonishment at the thought of receiving a God. She should exclaim: “What! a God to me! a God to me!” Let us also make many acts of the love of Jesus Christ. He has come into our souls in order to be loved. Hence, He is greatly pleased with those who, after Communion, say to Him: “My Jesus, I love Thee; I desire nothing but Thee.” Let us also offer ourselves and all that we have to Jesus Christ, that He may dispose of all as He pleases: and let us frequently say: “My Jesus, Thou art all mine; Thou hast given Thyself entirely to me; I give myself entirely to Thee.
11. After Communion; we should not only make these affections, but we ought also to present to God with great confidence many petitions for His graces. The time after communion is a time in which we can gain treasures of divine graces. St. Teresa says, that at that time Jesus Christ remains in the soul as on a throne, saying to her what He said to the blind man: “What wilt thou that I should do to Thee?” (Mark x. 51.) As if He said: “But Me you have not always.” (John xii. 8.) Now that you possess Me within you, ask Me for graces: I have come down from heaven on purpose to dispense them to you; ask whatever you wish, and you shall obtain it. Oh! what great graces are lost by those who spend but little time in prayer after Communion. Let us also turn to the Eternal Father, and, bearing in mind the promise of Jesus Christ “Amen, amen, I say to you, if you ask the Father anything in My name, He will give it you” (John xvi. 23) let us say to Him: My God, for the love of this Thy Son, whom I have within my heart, give me Thy love; make me all Thine. And if we offer this prayer with confidence, the Lord will certainly hear us. He who acts thus may become a saint by a single Communion.
PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.
My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.
Of Obedience and Subjection.
III. For I have often heard, that it is more safe to hear and take counsel than to give it.
It may also happen that each one’s thought may be good; but to refuse to yield to others, when reason or a just cause requires it, is a sign of pride and wilfulness..–Thomas à Kempis–Imitation of Christ Bk I, Ch IX pt III.
June Devotion: The Blessed Sacrament and the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Virtues to practice: Obedience, Piety, Dutifulness
Prayers to the Wound of the Heart of Jesus.
Blessed be the holy Wound of Thy Heart, my most sweet Jesus! Accept, O Lord, my heart and all the powers of my soul. Detach them from earthly affections. Let me lose even the remembrance of the things of this world. Cast my soul into the adorable Wound of Thy Side, into the ocean of Thy love, into the source of true life. Unite my heart for ever to Thy tender Heart, so truly that it will be impossible for me to desire what is not in conformity with Thy will. May I in all things entirely renounce my own will, and unite myself by faith, hope and charity to Thee, my Lord, my God and my Creator. Amen.
O most sweet Jesus, through the Wound of Thy Heart, pardon, I beseech Thee, all my offences against Thee by acting without sufficient purity of intention, or by following my own perverse will. I offer Thee my heart, that Thou mayest unite it to Thy Heart. Then I shall neither seek nor see anything but Thee in all things. I shall have no other will than Thine. Amen.
Jesu! Creator of the world,
Of all mankind Redeemer blest,
True God of God, in Whom we see
Thy Father’s image clear expressed!
Thee, Saviour, love alone constrained
To make our mortal flesh Thine own,
And, as a second Adam, come
For the first Adam to atone.
That selfsame love which made the sky,
Which made the sea and stars, and earth,
Took pity on our misery,
And broke the bondage of our birth.
O Jesus! in Thy Heart divine
May that same love for ever glow!
Forever mercy to mankind
From that exhaustless fountain flow!
For this the Sacred Heart was pierced,
And both with blood and water ran –
To cleanse us from the stains of guilt,
And be the hope and strength of man.
Jesu, to Thee be glory given,
Who from Thy Heart dost grace outpour,
To Father and to Paraclete
Be endless praise for evermore. Amen.
An indulgence of 5 years. A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, If this hymn is devoutly recited every day for a month (S.P.Ap., March 12, 1936). (Raccolta)
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