GOING FREQUENTLY TO HOLY COMMUNION
You say again: I abstain from Communion to escape the censure of others that see my imperfections and rebuke me for communicating so frequently. To this pretext I answer: If you communicate with the advice of your director, and though a motive of advancing in divine love or of correcting your defects, be not disturbed by the complaints or censures of others. According to Blessed John of Avila, they who censure others for frequent Communion perform the office of the devil. Will you then pay attention to their remarks? Listen to the words of St. Francis de Sales: “If,” he says, “they ask you why you communicate so often, tell them that two classes of persons should communicate frequently, the perfect to preserve perfection; and the imperfect, to attain perfection; the strong, lest they become weak; and the weak, to grow strong; the sick to be cured, and the healthy, to prevent sickness. And as to yourself, tell them that, because you are imperfect, weak, and infirm, you stand in need of frequent Communion. Tell them that all who are free from worldly occupations, because they have the opportunity, and all who are engaged in them, because they have need of Communion, should communicate frequently.” In conclusion, he says: “Philothea, communicate often, and as often as possible, with the advice of your spiritual Father; and believe me that, as the hares on our mountains become white because they feed only on snow, so, by eating purity itself in this Sacrament you will become all pure.” To St. Frances of Rome, as she was going to Communion, the devil said: “How can you, who are so full of venial sins, dare receive the Immaculate Lamb?” Perceiving that the enemy wished to deprive her of Communion, she banished him by spitting in his face. The Blessed Virgin immediately appeared to her, and, after having praised her conduct, said that our defects, instead of being an obstacle, should be an incentive to Communion, since; in Communion, we find the remedy of all our miseries.
You will perhaps say: I have not time to prepare as I ought for Holy Communion. I answer: if your time is spent in useless occupations or discourses, then your excuse is frivolous. But if you be employed in performing the duties of your office, or of obedience, rest assured that the discharge of these duties, with a view to please God, will be an excellent preparation for Communion. St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi was once engaged in making bread, when the bell rang for Communion; she instantly obeyed the call, and in an ecstasy received the Holy Sacrament. Hence she was accustomed to say to her Sisters: “Offer to God all your actions as a preparation for Communion, perform them with the intention of pleasing Him, and communicate.” Whenever the want of time arises from your being employed in the performance of your duties, in the care of the sick, or in the performance of any work of charity that cannot be deferred, you should never abstain from Communion in consequence of not having sufficient time for preparation. But be careful to avoid as much as possible all unnecessary conversations and amusements, and when you foresee that in the morning you will not have time to prepare for Communion, endeavour on the preceding evening to make some preparation, by reading a book of piety, and by making the acts that ought to be made in the morning; or rise a little before the usual hour and spend whatever time may be at your disposal in preparation for the Holy Sacrament. Oh! what great and continual progress is made in divine love by those who, with a strong desire, frequent Holy Communion! Oh! how wonderfully does the Lord draw them to His love! St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi once saw a soul suffering in Purgatory for having through carelessness omitted one Communion. And we read in her Life that she several times burst into tears because a Sister in her Community abstained from Communion through negligence. Be assured that of all your devotions there is none more dear to Jesus Christ than your Communions. For all perfection consists in a perfect union with God; and Holy Communion is the action that unites the soul most closely to Jesus, and consequently you can do nothing more pleasing in His sight. Hence, the same St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi used to say: “I would rather die than omit a Communion permitted by obedience.”