ON THE BLESSED EUCHARIST AS IT IS A SACRIFICE OF PRAYER AND SUPPLICATION
Consider first, that the blessed Eucharist, inasmuch as it is a sacrifice, does not only in a most perfect manner answer the designs and intentions of the burnt-offerings, thank-offerings, and sin-offerings of the law, by being offered up for the adoration and praise of the Deity, in thanksgiving for all his benefits, and for the remission of all our sins; but also with infinite advantage answers the ends of the peace-offerings of the ancients, by being offered up for obtaining all graces and blessings from God, through the blood of Jesus Christ. ‘No one can come to the Father, but by him,’ John xiv. 6. Here we approach to God both by him, and with him too, both as our priest and as our victim. ‘If you ask the Father any thing in my name,’ saith he, (John xvi. 23,) ‘he will give it you.’ O how wholesome then must this sacrifice of supplication be to all Christian people, in which we not only ask in the name of Jesus Christ, but come with his sacred blood before the throne of grace, and in which he himself in person pleads for us!
Consider 2ndly, how many and great our necessities are, both in general and in particular, and how great the miseries we are liable to; that you may set a greater value upon this never-failing source of all blessings, which the divine bounty has opened to us, in the sacrifice of the Eucharist. Alas! of ourselves we can do nothing, we can neither believe, hope, love, nor repent, nor make so much as one step towards our justification or salvation, without the help of heaven; we are encompassed on all sides with dreadful dangers, that threaten us with the worst of evils, both for time and eternity. Ah! how true it is, that we are indeed ‘wretched and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked!’ Apoc. iii.17. But in this sacrifice our Lord has provided us with an inexhaustible fund of grace, supplied without ever decaying, ‘out of the fountains of our Saviour,’ Isaia. xii. 3, in order to answer all our necessities, to heal all our infirmities, to guard us against all dangers, and to redress all our miseries. O blessed be his infinite goodness! O my soul, whatsoever thy wants are, here they are to be supplied; run here to Jesus Christ, thy priest and sacrifice and with him, and through him, to his Father, and he will give thee all good, with himself, the supreme good.
Consider 3rdly, that in this sacrifice of supplication and prayer, we are not limited, or confined in our addresses, as if we were to ask and to receive for ourselves alone, but as we have here upon the altar the victim slain for the general redemption of the whole world, and as the high priest of God and man here appears before his heavenly Father, in behalf of all mankind, we are authorized to put up our petitions with him and through him, for the general necessities of the whole church of God, and of all mankind; that the holy name of God may be sanctified by all; that his kingdom of grace may be propagated through all nations and through all hearts; that his will may be done by all, and in all things; that his church may be exalted by the sanctity of her prelates and pastors, and propagated throughout the world; that all infidels, heretics, and sinners may be converted; that all errors and abuses may be corrected; that we may be preserved from wars, plagues, famines, earthquakes, and all other evils; and that ‘being delivered from the hands of our enemies, we may serve God without fear in holiness and justice before him all our days.’ Luke i. 74, 75. all this, with all other graces and blessings, we are encouraged to ask with confidence for the whole world in this sacrifice, where Christ is both priest and victim.
Conclude to manage always to the best advantage that favourable time when thou art assisting at the sacrifice of the altar, for it is then thou art near the fountain head from whence all our good must flow.