This is a feast that was requested by our Lord, because He wanted a feast devoted to the Blessed Sacrament that was not covered over with the sadness of His passion as Holy Thursday is being at the start of the Sacred Triduum. Thus He made known His desire to one of His mystics and this request was eventually brought to the Pope.
It was then in 1264 that Pope Urban IV decided to finally institute this Feast and he requested that the great Saint Thomas Aquinas write the propers of the Mass and the Office of this feast. For an in depth look at this beautiful liturgy one can find in The Liturgical Year of the great Dom Gueranger a huge post for this feast which goes through the entirety of the liturgy of this Feast with wonderful meditations and commentaries, and you can read it in all here for free.
Here then are the Propers of the Mass and some of the Office for today, and to conclude a sermon on Holy Communion from that great Bishop and Doctor of the Church Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori who, as it happens, came from the same area of Italy as did Saint Thomas.
Holy Mass for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi
Introit (Ps 80:2, 17)
Cibávit eos ex ádipe fruménti, allelúia: et de petra, melle saturávit eos, allelúia, allelúia, allelúia. Exsultáte Deo, adiutóri nostro: iubiláte Deo Iacob. Glória Patri.
Deus, qui nobis sub Sacraménto mirábili passiónis tuæ memóriam reliquísti: tríbue, quaesumus, ita nos Córporis et Sánguinis tui sacra mystéria venerári; ut redemptiónis tuæ fructum in nobis iúgiter sentiámus: Qui vivis et regnas cum Deo Patre, in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.
Léctio Epistolæ beáti Pauli Apóstoli ad Corinthios
1 Cor 11:23-29
Fratres: Ego enim accépi a Dómino quod et trádidí vobis, quóniam Dóminus Iesus, in qua nocte tradebátur, accépit panem, et grátias agens fregit, et dixit: Accípite, et manducáte: hoc est corpus meum, quod pro vobis tradétur: hoc fácite in meam commemoratiónem. Simíliter ei cálicem, postquam cenávit, dicens: Hic calix novum Testaméntum est in meo sánguine. Hoc fácite, quotiescúmque bibétis, in meam commemoratiónem. Quotiescúmque enim manducábitis panem hunc et cálicem bibétis, mortem Dómini annuntiábitis, donec véniat. Itaque quicúmque manducáverit panem hunc vel bíberit cálicem Dómini indígne, reus erit córporis et sánguinis Dómini. Probet autem seípsum homo: et sic de pane illo e dat et de calice bibat. Qui enim mánducat et bibit indígne, iudícium sibi mánducat et bibit: non diiúdicans corpus Dómini. R. Deo gratias
Graduale (Ps 144:15-16; Jn 6:56-57)
Oculi ómnium in te sperant, Dómine: et tu das illis escam in témpore opportune. Aperis tu manum tuam: et imples omne animal benedictióne. Allelúia, alleluia. Caro mea vere est cibus, et sanguis meus vere est potus: qui mandúcat meam carnem et bibit meum sánguinem, in me manet et ego in eo. Alleluia.
Lauda, Sion, Salvatórem,
lauda ducem et pastórem
in hymnis et cánticis.
Quantum potes, tantum aude:
quia maior omni laude,
nec laudáre súffícis.
Laudis thema speciális,
panis vivus et vitális
Quem in sacræ mensa cenæ
turbæ fratrum duodénæ
datum non ambígitur.
Sit laus plena, sit sonóra,
sit iucúnda, sit decóra
Dies enim sollémnis agitur,
in qua mensæ prima recólitur
In hac mensa novi Regis,
novum Pascha novæ legis
Phase vetus términat.
umbram fugat véritas,
noctem lux elíminat.
Quod in coena Christus gessit,
faciéndum hoc expréssit
in sui memóriam.
Docti sacris institútis,
panem, vinum in salútis
Dogma datur Christiánis,
quod in carnem transit panis
et vinum in sánguinem.
Quod non capis, quod non vides,
animosa fírmat fides,
præter rerum órdinem.
Sub divérsis speciébus,
signis tantum, et non rebus,
latent res exímiæ.
Caro cibus, sanguis potus:
manet tamen Christus totus
sub utráque spécie.
A suménte non concísus,
non confráctus, non divísus:
Sumit unus, sumunt mille:
quantum isti, tantum ille:
nec sumptus consúmitur.
Sumunt boni, sumunt mali
sorte tamen inæquáli,
vitæ vel intéritus.
Mors est malis, vita bonis:
vide, paris sumptiónis
quam sit dispar éxitus.
Fracto demum sacraménto,
ne vacílles, sed meménto,
tantum esse sub fragménto,
quantum toto tégitur.
Nulla rei fit scissúra:
signi tantum fit fractúra:
qua nec status nec statúra
Ecce panis Angelórum,
factus cibus viatórum:
vere panis filiórum,
non mitténdus cánibus.
In figúris præsignátur,
cum Isaac immolátur:
agnus paschæ deputátur:
datur manna pátribus.
Bone pastor, panis vere,
Iesu, nostri miserére:
tu nos pasce, nos tuére:
tu nos bona fac vidére
in terra vivéntium.
Tu, qui cuncta scis et vales:
qui nos pascis hic mortáles:
tuos ibi commensáles,
coherédes et sodáles
fac sanctórum cívium.
Sequéntia sancti Evangéli secúndum Ioánnem. R. Gloria tibi Domine!
In illo témpore: Dixit Iesus turbis Iudæórum: Caro mea vere est cibus et sanguis meus vere est potus. Qui mandúcat meam carnem e bibit meum sánguinem, in me manet et ego in illo. Sicu misit me vivens Pater, et ego vivo propter Patrem: et qu mandúcat me, et ipse vivet propter me. Hic est panis, qu de coelo descéndit. Non sicu manducavérunt patres vestri manna, et mórtui sunt. Qu manducat hunc panem, vivet in ætérnum.
R. Laus tibi, Christe!
Offertory (Lev. 21:6)
Sacerdótes Dómini incénsum it panes ófferunt Deo: et deo sancti erunt Deo suo, et non pólluent nomen eius, allelúia.
Ecclésiæ tuæ, quaesumus, Dómine, unitátis et pacis propítius dona concéde: quæ sub oblátis munéribus mýstice designántur. Per Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum, Filium tuum: qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.
Communion (1 Cor 11:26-27)
Quotiescúmque manducábitis panem hunc et cálicem bibétis, mortem Dómini annuntiábitis, donec véniat: itaque quicúmque manducáverit panem vel bíberit calicem Dómini indígne, reus erit córporis et sánguinis Dómini, allelúia.
Fac nos, quæsumus, Dómine, divinitátis tuæ sempitérna fruitióne repléri: quam pretiósi Corporis et Sanguinis tui temporalis percéptio præfigúrat: Qui vivis et regnas cum Deo Patre, in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.
He fed them with the best of wheat, alleluia; and filled them with honey from the rock, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. Sing joyfully to God our strength; acclaim the God of Jacob. Glory be. He fed them…
O God, You Who in this wondrous sacrament have left us a memorial of Your passion, grant us, we beseech You, so to venerate the sacred mysteries of Your Body and Blood that we may ever experience within us the effect of Your redemption. Who livest and reignest with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen
Lesson from the first letter of St Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians
1 Cor. 23-29.
Brethren: I myself have received from the Lord – what I also delivered to you, – that the Lord Jesus, on the night in which He was betrayed, took bread, and giving thanks broke, and said, Take and eat. This is My Body which shall be given up for you; do this in remembrance of Me. In like manner also the cup, after He had supped, saying, This is the new covenant in My Blood; do this as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as you shall eat this Bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord, until He comes. Therefore whoever eats this Bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily, will be guilty of the Body and the Blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself, and so let him eat of that Bread and drink of the cup; for he who eats and drinks unworthily, without distinguishing the Body, eats and drinks judgment to himself. R. Thanks be to God.
The eyes of all look hopefully to You, O Lord; and You give them their food in due season. You open Your hand; and satisfy the desire of every living thing. Alleluia, alleluia. My Flesh is food indeed, and My Blood is drink indeed. He who eat My Flesh, and drinks My Blood, abides in Me and I in him.
O Sion, thy Redeemer praising,
Songs of joy to Him upraising,
Laud thy Pastor and thy Guide:
Swell thy notes most high and daring;
For His praise is past declaring,
And thy loftiest powers beside.
‘Tis a theme with praise that gloweth,
For the bread that life bestoweth
Goes this day before us out;
Which, His holy supper taking,
To the brethren twelve His breaking
None hath ever called in doubt.
Full, then, be our praise and sounding,
Modest and with joy abounding
Be our mind’s triumphant state;
For the festal’s prosecution,
When the first blest institution
Of this feast we celebrate.
In the new King’s new libation,
In the new law’s new oblation,
Ends the ancient Paschal rite;
Ancient forms new substance chaseth,
Typic shadows truth displaceth,
Day dispels the gloom of night.
When He did at supper seated,
Christ enjoined to be repeated,
When His love we celebrate:
Thus obeying His dictation,
Blood and wine of our salvation,
We the victim consecrate.
‘Tis for Christian faith asserted,
Bread is into flesh converted,
Into blood the holy wine:
Sight and intellect transcending,
Nature’s laws to marvel bending,
‘Tis confirmed by faith divine.
Under either kind remaining,
Form, not substance, still retaining,
Wondrous things our spirit sees:
Flesh and blood thy palate staining,
Yet still Christ entire remaining,
Under either species.
All untorn for eating given,
Undivided and unriven,
Whole He’s taken and unrent;
Be there one, or crowds surrounding,
He is equally abounding,
Nor, though eaten, ever spent.
Both to good and bad ‘tis broken,
But on each a different token
or of life, or death attends:
Life to good, to bad damnation;
Lo, of one same manducation
How dissimilar the ends.
When the priest the victim breaketh,
See thy faith in no wise shaketh,
Know that every fragment taketh
All that ‘neath the whole there lies:
This in Him no fracture maketh,
‘Tis the figure only breaketh,
Form, or state, no change there taketh
Place in what it signifies.
Bread, that angels eat in heaven,
Now becomes the pilgrim’s leaven,
Bread in truth to children given,
That must ne’er to dogs be thrown.
He, in ancient types disguised,
Was the Isaac sacrificed,
For the feast a lamb devised,
Manna to the Fathers shown.
Bread, whose shepherd-care doth tend us,
Jesu Christ, Thy mercy send us,
Do Thou feed us, Thou defend us,
Lead us where true joys attend us,
In the land where life is given:
Thou all ken and might possessing,
Mercies aye to us largessing,
Make us share Thy cup of blessing,
Heritage and love’s caressing
With the denizens of heaven.
Continuation ☩ of the Holy Gospel according to John R. Glory be to Thee, O Lord. John 6:56-59.
At that time, Jesus said to the crowds of the Jews: My Flesh is food indeed, and My Blood is drink indeed. He who eats My Flesh, and drinks My Blood, abides in Me and I in him. As the living Father has sent Me, and as I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me. This is the Bread that has come down from heaven; not as your fathers ate the manna, and died. He who eats this Bread shall live forever.
R. Praise be to Thee, O Christ.
The priests of the Lord offer incense and loaves to God, and therefore they shall be sacred to their God and shall not profane His name. Alleluia.
Graciously give Your Church, we beseech You, O Lord, the gifts of unity and peace which are betokened by the gifts we offer.
Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
As often as you shall eat this Bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord, until He comes. Therefore whoever eats this Bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily, will be guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord. Alleluia.
Grant, we beseech You, O Lord, that we may be filled with that everlasting enjoyment of Your Godhead, as foreshadowed here on earth by the partaking of Your precious Body and Blood. Who livest and reignest with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.
Selections from the Office of Solemnity of Corpus Christi
Antiphons for First/Second Vespers
Ant. 1 – Sacerdos in aeternum Christus Dominus secundum ordinem Melchisedech panem et vinum obtulit.
Ant. 2 – Miserator Dominus escam dedit timentibus se in memoriam suorum mirabilium.
Ant. 3 – Calicem salutaris accipiam, et sacrificabo hostiam laudis.
Ant. 4 – Sicut novellae olivarum, Ecclesiae filii sint in circuitu mensae Domini.
Ant. 5 – Qui pacem ponit fines Ecclesiae, frumenti adipe satiat nos Dominus.
Magnificat Antiphon – O sacrum convivium, in quo Christus sumitur; recolitur memoria passionis eius: mens impletur gratia: et futurae gloriae nobis pignus datur, alleluia.
Hymn for First/Second Vespers
Pange lingua gloriosi
Quem in mundi pretium
Fructus ventris generosi
Rex effudit Gentium.
Nobis datus, nobis natus
Ex intacta Virgine,
Et in mundo conversatus,
Sparso verbi semine,
Sui moras incolatus
Miro clausit ordine.
In supremae nocte coenae,
Recumbens cum fratribus
Observata lege plene
Cibis in legalibus,
Cibum turbae duodenae
Se dat suis manibus.
Verbum caro, panem verum
Verbo carnem efficit:
Fitque sanguis Christi merum,
Et si sensus deficit,
Ad firmandum cor sincerum
Sola fides sufficit.
Tantum ergo Sacramentum
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui:
Praestet fides supplementum
Laus et iubilatio,
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedictio:
Procedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio.
Hymn from Matins
Sacris solemniis iuncta sint gaudia,
Et ex praecordiis sonent praeconia;
Recedant vetera nova sint omnia,
Corda, voces, et opera.
Noctis recolitur coena novissima,
Qua Christus creditur agnum et azyma
Dedisse fratribus, iuxta legitima
Priscis indulta patribus.
Post agnum typicum, expletis epulis,
Corpus Dominicum datum discipulis,
Sic totum omnibus, quod totum singulis,
Eius fatemur manibus.
Dedit fragilibus corporis ferculum,
Dedit et tristibus sanguinis poculum,
Dicens: Accipite quod trado vasculum,
Omnes ex eo bibite.
Sic sacrificium istud instituit,
Cuius officium committi voluit
Solis presbyteris, quibus sic congruit,
Ut sumant, et dent ceteris.
Panis angelicus fit panis hominum:
Dat panis caelicus figuris terminum:
O res mirabilis, manducat Dominum
Pauper, servus, et humilis.
Te trina Deitas unaque poscimus,
Sic nos tu visita, sicut te colimus:
Per tuas semitas duc nos quo tendimus,
Ad lucem, quam inhabitas.
Ant. 1 – Christ the Lord, being made an High Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec, hath offered bread and wine.
Ant. 2 – He hath made His wonderful works to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and full of compassion. He hath given meat unto them that fear Him
Ant. 3 – I will take the cup of salvation, and offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving
Ant. 4 – Let the children of the Church be like olive-plants round about the table of the Lord
Ant. 5 – The Lord, That maketh peace in the borders of the Church, filleth her with the finest of the wheat
Magnificat Antiphon – Holy exceedingly is the Supper of the Lord, wherein we do feed on Christ, do show His death till He come, do get grace abundantly to our souls, and do take pledge of the glory which shall hereafter be revealed in us. Alleluia.
Sing, my tongue, the Saviour’s glory,
Of his flesh the mystery sing;
Of the blood, all price exceeding,
Shed by our immortal King,
Destined, for the world’s redemption,
From a noble womb to spring.
Of a pure and spotless Virgin
Born for us on earth below,
He, as man, with man conversing,
Stayed, the seeds of truth to sow;
Then he closed in solemn order
Wondrously his life of woe.
On the night of that last supper
Seated with his chosen band,
He, the paschal victim eating,
First fulfills the law’s command:
Then as food to all his brethren
Gives himself with his own hand.
Word made flesh, the bread of nature
By his word to flesh he turns;
Wine into his blood he changes:
What though sense no change discerns?
Only be the heart in earnest,
Faith her lesson quickly learns.
Down in adoration falling,
Lo! the sacred Host we hail;
Lo! o’er ancient forms departing,
Newer rites of grace prevail;
Faith for all defects supplying,
Where the feeble senses fail.
To the everlasting Father,
And the Son who reigns on high,
With the Holy Ghost proceeding
Forth from each eternally,
Be salvation, honour, blessing,
Might, and endless majesty.
At this our solemn feast,
Let holy joys abound,
And from the inmost breast
Let songs of praise resound;
Let ancient rites depart,
And all be new around,
In ev’ry act and voice and heart.
Remember we that eve,
When, the last supper spread,
Christ, as we all believe,
The lamb, with leavenless bread,
Among his brethren shared,
And thus the law obeyed,
Of old unto their sires declared.
The typic lamb consumed,
The legal feast complete,
The Lord unto the twelve
His body gave to eat;
The whole to all, no less
The whole to each, did mete
With his own hands, as we confess.
He gave them, weak and frail,
His flesh, their food to be;
On them, downcast and sad,
His blood bestowèd he:
And thus to them he spake,
“Receive this cup from me,
And all of you of this partake.”
So he this sacrifice
To institute did will,
And charged his priests alone
That office to fulfil:
In them he did confide:
To whom pertaineth still
To take, and to the rest divide.
Thus angels’ bread is made
The bread of man today:
The living bread from heaven
With figures doth away:
O wondrous gift indeed!
The poor and lowly may
Upon their Lord and Master feed.
O Triune Deity,
To thee we meekly pray,
So mayst thou visit us,
As we our homage pay;
And in thy footsteps bright
Conduct us on our way
To where thou dwell’st in cloudless light. Amen.
The Sermons of Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori
On Holy Communion
In the Gospel of this Day, we read that a Rich Man, prepared a Great Supper. He then ordered One-of his Servants to Invite-to it, all those whom he should Find-in the Highways, even though they were Poor, Blind, and Lame, and to-Compel those who should Refuse, to-Come-to the Supper. “Go-out, into the Highways and Hedges, and Compel them to Come-in, that my House may be Filled” – Luke 14:23. And he added, that of all those who had-been Invited and had-not Come, not One, should ever Partake-of his Supper. “But I say unto you, that None of those Men that were Invited, shall Taste of My Supper” – Luke 14:24. This ‘Supper’ is the Holy Communion: it is a Great Supper, at which all the Faithful are Invited-to-Eat, the Sacred Flesh of Jesus Christ, in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. “Take ye, and Eat: this is my Body” – Matthew 26:26. Let us then consider Today, in the First Point, the Great Love which Jesus Christ has shown us, in-Giving us Himself in this Sacrament; and, in the Second Point, ‘How’, we Ought-to Receive Him, in-order-to ‘Draw’ Great Fruit, from the Holy Communion.
First Point – On the Great Love which Jesus Christ has shown us in giving us Himself in this Sacrament
“Jesus, Knowing that His Hour was Come, that He should Pass out of this World, to the Father, having Loved His own that were in the World, He Loved them unto the End” – John 13:1. Knowing that the Hour-of His Death had arrived, Jesus Christ Wished, before His Departure-from this World, to Leave us the Greatest Proof which He could Give-of His Love, by Leaving us Himself, in the Holy Eucharist. “He Loved them to the End”. That is, according-to Saint Chrysostom, with an Extreme Love. Saint Bernardine-of-Sienna says, that the Tokens-of Love which are Given-at Death, make a more-Lasting Impression on the Mind, and are more-Highly Esteemed. “Quae in fine in signum amicitiae celebrantur, firmius memoriæ imprimuntur et cariora tenentur”. But, whilst others Leave a Ring, or a Piece-of Money, as a Mark-of their Affection, Jesus has left us Himself ‘Entirely’, in this Sacrament-of Love.
And when did Jesus Christ, Institute this Sacrament? He Instituted it, as the Apostle has Remarked, on the Night-before His Passion. “The Lord Jesus, the same Night on which He was Betrayed, took Bread, and giving Thanks, Broke and Said: Take ye and Eat: this is My Body” – 1Corinthians 11:23, 24. Thus, at the very Time that Men were Preparing-to put Him to Death, our Loving Redeemer, Resolved-to Bestow-upon us, this Gift. Jesus Christ, then, was not Content-with giving His Life for us, on a Cross: He Wished also, before His Death, to ‘Pour-out’, as the Council-of-Trent says, all the Riches-of His Love, by leaving Himself for our ‘Food’, in the Holy Communion. “He, as it were, Poured-out the Riches-of His Love towards Man”. If Faith had not Taught it, who could ever Imagine, that a God would become-Man, and afterwards become the ‘Food’ of His own Creatures? When Jesus Christ Revealed-to His Followers, this Sacrament, which He intended-to Leave us, Saint John says, that they could not bring-themselves to-Believe it, and Departed-from Him saying: “How can this Man give us His Flesh to Eat? … This Saying is Hard, and who can Hear it?” – Saint John 6:52, 60. But, what Men could not Imagine, the Great Love-of Jesus Christ has ‘Invented’ and ‘Effected’. “Take ye and Eat: this is My Body”. These Words, He Addressed-to His Apostles, on the Night-before He Suffered, and He now, after His Death, Addresses them to us.
How Highly Honored, says Saint Francis-de-Sales, would that Man ‘Feel’, to-whom the King sent-from his Table, a Portion-of what he had-on his own Plate? But how should he ‘Feel’, if that Portion were a Part-of the King’s Arm? In the Holy Communion, Jesus gives us, not a Part-of His Arm, but His entire Body, in the Sacrament-of-the-Altar. “He gave you All” says Saint Chrysostom, Reproving our Ingratitude; “He left Nothing for Himself”. And Saint Thomas teaches, that in the Eucharist, God has given us ‘All’ that He is, and ‘All’ that He has. “Deus in eucharistia totum quod est et habet, dedit nobis”. Justly then, has the same Saint called the Eucharist, “a Sacrament-of Love; a Pledge-of Love”. “Sacramentum, charitatis, pignus charitatis”. It is a Sacrament-of-Love, because it was Pure Love, that Induced Jesus Christ to Give us this Gift and Pledge-of Love: for He Wished that, should a Doubt-of His having Loved us, ever Enter-into our Minds, we should have-in this Sacrament, a Pledge-of His Love. Saint Bernard calls this Sacrament, Love-of-Loves – “Amor amorum”. By His Incarnation, the Lord has given Himself to all Men in-General; but, in this Sacrament, He has given Himself to each of us in-Particular, to make us Understand the Special Love which He Entertains-for, Each of us.
Oh! how-Ardently does Jesus Christ, Desire to-come-to our Souls, in the Holy Communion! This Vehement Desire, He expressed-at the Time-of the Institution-of this Sacrament, when He said to His Apostles: “With Desire, I have Desired-to Eat this Pasch with you” – Luke 22:15. Saint Lawrence Justinian says, that these Words proceeded-from the Enamored Heart of Jesus Christ, Who, by such Tender-expressions, Wished-to show us the Ardent Love, with which He Loved us. This is the Voice-of the most-Burning Charity. “Flagrantissimae charitatis est vox haec”. And, to Induce us to-Receive Him Frequently, in the Holy Communion, He Promises Eternal Life – that is, the Kingdom-of-Heaven – to those who Eat His Flesh. “He that Eateth this Bread, shall Live Forever” – John 6:58. On the other hand, He Threatens to Deprive us of-His Grace, and of-Paradise, if we Neglect Communion. “Except you Eat the Flesh of the Son of Man, and Drink His Blood, you shall ‘Not’ have Life in you” – John 6:53. These Promises and these Threats, all Sprung-from a Burning Desire, to-come-to us, in this Sacrament.
And why does Jesus Christ so-Vehemently Desire, that we Receive Him in the Holy Communion? It is because He takes Delight-in being United-with each-of us. By the Communion, Jesus is really United-to our Soul, and to our Body, and we are United-to Jesus. “He that Eateth My Flesh, and Drinketh My Blood, Abideth-in Me, and I in him” – John 6:57. Thus, after Communion, we are, says Saint Chrysostom, One-Body and One-Flesh with Jesus Christ. “Huic nos unimur, et facti sumus Unum Corpus ut Una Caro”. Hence Saint Lawrence Justinian exclaims: “Oh I how Wonderful is Thy Love, O Lord Jesus, Who hast Wished to Incorporate us in such a manner, with Thy Body, that we should have One Heart and One Soul, Inseparably United-with Thee”. Thus, to every Soul that Receives the Eucharist, the Lord says what He once said to His Beloved Servant, Margaret of-Ipres – “Behold, My Daughter, the Close Union made between Me and thee; Love Me then, and let us Remain Forever, United-in Love; let us Never more be Separated”. This Union between us and Jesus Christ, is, according-to Saint Chrysostom, the Effect-of the Love which Jesus Christ bears us. “Semetipsum nobis immiscuit, ut unum quid simus . . . ardenter enim amantium hoe est”. But, O Lord, such Intimate Union-with Man, is not Suited-to Thy Divine Majesty. But, Love seeks not Reason; it goes not where it ought-to go, but where it is Drawn. “Amor ratione caret, et vadit quo dicitur, non quo debeat”. Saint Bernardine-of-Sienna says, that, in giving Himself for our ‘Food’, Jesus Christ Loved us to the Last Degree; because He United Himself entirely-to us, as Food is United to those who Eat it. “Ultimus gradus amoris est, cum se dedit nobis in cibum, quia dedit se nobis ad omnimodarn unionem, sicut cibus et cibans invicem uniuntur”. The same Doctrine has been Beautifully Expressed-by Saint Francis-de-Sales. No Action-of the Savior can be more-Loving or more-Tender, than the Institution-of the Holy Eucharist, in which He, as-it-were, Annihilates Himself, and takes the Form-of Food, to Unite Himself to the Souls and Bodies of His Faithful Servants.
Hence, there is Nothing, from-which we can Draw so-much Fruit, as from the Holy Communion. Saint Denis teaches, that the Most Holy Sacrament has Greater Efficacy to- Sanctify Souls, than All other Spiritual Means. “Eucharistia maximam vim habet perficiendæ sanctitatis”. Saint Vincent Ferrer says, that a Soul Derives more Profit from-One Communion, than from- Fasting for 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 6:57. Innocent-the-Third, teaches-that by His Passion, Jesus Christ Delivers-us from the Sins we have Committed, and by the Eucharist, from the Sins we may Commit. According-to Saint 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. In explaining the Words-of the Spouse-of the Canticles (Songs), “He brought me into the Cellar-of-Wine; He set in order, Charity in me” – Songs 2:4, Saint 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.
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. Saint 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”. And, in ‘The-Devout-Life’, Saint 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
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 recommended-to Saint 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.
The Second (2nd) Disposition, Necessary-to Draw Great Fruit from Communion, is a Desire-of Receiving Jesus Christ, in-order-to Advance-in His Love. “He”, says Saint 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 Saint 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 Fervor with which you Wished-for it”.
‘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.
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. Saint 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 10:51. As if He said: “But Me you have not always”- John 12:8. 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 16:16. 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.