THE PRACTICE OF THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST.
XI.-HOW MUCH JESUS CHRIST DESERVES TO BE LOVED BY US ON ACCOUNT OF THE LOVE HE HAS SHOWN US IN INSTITUTING THE MOST HOLY SACRAMENT OF THE ALTAR.
“It was Thy wish, in short,” says St. Laurence Justinian, ” 0 God, enamoured of our souls, to make by means of this Sacrament, Thine own Heart, by an inseparable union, one and the same heart with ours!” St. Bernardine of Sienna adds that” the gift of Jesus Christ to us as our food was the last step of His love, since He gives Himself to us in order to unite Himself wholly with us, in the same way as food becomes united with him who partakes of it.” Oh, how delighted is Jesus Christ to be united with our souls! He one day said to His beloved servant, Margaret of Ypres, after Communion: ” See, my daughter, the beautiful union that exists between Me and thee! Come, then, love Me; and let us remain ever united in love, and let us never separate again.”
We must, then, be persuaded that a soul can neither do, or think of doing, any thing which gives greater pleasure to Jesus Christ, than to communicate frequently with dispositions suitable to the great Guest Whom she bas to receive into her heart. I have said suitable, not indeed worthy dispositions; for if worthy were necessary who could ever communicate? Another God would alone be worthy to receive God. By suitable I mean such dispositions as become a miserable creature clothed with the unhappy flesh of Adam. Ordinarily speaking, it, is sufficient if a person communicates in a state of grace, and with a great desire of growing in the love of Christ. St. Francis de Sales said: “It is by love alone that we must receive Jesus Christ in the Communion, since it is through love alone that He gives Himself to us.” For the rest, with regard to the number of times a person should communicate, in this he should be guided by the advice of his spiritual father. Nevertheless, we should be aware that no state of life or employment, neither the married state nor business, prevents frequent Communion, when the director thinks it advisable, as Pope Innocent XI. has declared in his Decree of 1679, when he, says: “Frequent Communion must be left to the judgment of the confessors. . who, for lay persons in business or in the married state, must recommend it according as they see it will be profitable for their salvation.”
We must next understand that there is nothing from which we can derive such profit as from Holy Communion. The Eternal Father has made Jesus Christ the Possessor of all His own heavenly treasures. The Father hath given all things into his hands-(John xiii. 3). Hence, when Jesus Christ comes to a soul in the Holy Communion, He brings with Him boundless treasures of grace; and consequently after Communion we can justly say, Now all good things came to me together with it. St. Denis says that the Sacrament of the Eucharist is far more powerful for the sanctification of souls than all other spiritual means of grace; and St. Vincent Ferrer, that one Communion does more for the soul than a week’s fasting on bread and water. In the first place, as the Council of Trent teaches, Communion is that great remedy which frees us from daily faults, and preserves us against mortal sins. It is said from daily faults, because, according to St. Thomas, a man is excited by means of this Sacrament to make acts of love, by which venial sins are forgiven. And it is said that we are preserved from mortal sins, because Communion increases grace, which will preserve us hum great faults. Hence, Innocent III says that Jesus Christ delivered us from the power of sin by His Passion, but that by the Eucharist He delivers us from the power of sinning.
Frequent and daily Communion, inasmuch as it is most pleasing to Christ Our Lord and to the Catholic Church, is open to all the faithful of every class and condition; so that nobody who is in the state of grace and approaches the Sacred Table with a pure and devout intention should be prohibited therefrom.
“The right intention consists in this:-That whoever approaches the Sacred Table should do so-not from habit or vainglory. or impelled by human respect, but from a desire to please God. and to be closely united to Him, and to provide a Divine remedy for their infirmities and defects . . .
“In order that daily Communion should be promoted with greater prudence and more fruitful results, it is necessary that the advice of the confessor should previously be obtained. Let confessors beware. However, lest they should persuade anyone from daily Communion who is in the state of grace and approaches it with a right intention . . . “Extract from, the Decree of the Sacred Congregation of the Council on the Reception of Daily Communion which was graciously ratified, confirmed and ordered to be issued by His Holiness Pope Pius X. December 17. 1905.