Spiritual Reading for Whit Monday ~ St Alphonsus Liguori

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Spiritual Reading


Our holy Faith teaches us, and we are bound to believe that in the consecrated Host Jesus Christ is really present under the species of bread. But we must also understand that He is thus present on our altars as on a throne of love and mercy, to dispense graces and to show us the love He bears us, in wishing thus to dwell night and day hidden in our midst.

It is well known that the Holy Church instituted the Festival of Corpus Christi with a solemn Octave, and that she celebrates it with many processions, and frequent Exposition of the Most Holy Sacrament, that men may thereby be moved to gratefully acknowledge and honour this loving presence and dwelling of Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of the Altar, by their devotions, thanksgivings, and the tender affections of their souls. O God, how many insults and outrages has not this admirable Redeemer had, and has He not daily to endure in this Sacrament on the part of those very men for whose love He remains upon our altars! Of this He indeed complained to His dear servant, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, as the author of the Book of Devotion to the Heart of Jesus relates. One day, as she was in prayer before the Most Holy Sacrament, Jesus showed her His Heart on a throne of flames, crowned with thorns, and surmounted by a cross, and thus addressed her: “Behold this Heart which has loved men so much, and which has spared Itself in nothing, and has even gone so far as to consume Itself, thereby to show them Its love; but in return the greater part of men only show Me ingratitude by the irreverence, tepidity, sacrilege, and contempt, of which they make Me the object in this Sacrament of love; and that which I feel most acutely is, that hearts consecrated to Me treat Me thus.” Jesus then expressed His wish, that the first Friday after the Octave of Corpus Christ: should be dedicated as a particular festival in honour of His adorable Heart; and that on that day all souls who loved Him should endeavour by their homage, and by their affections to make amends for the insults men have offered Him in the Sacrament of the Altar. He at the same time promised abundant graces to all who should thus honour Him present in the Blessed Sacrament.

This Presence makes us understand what our Lord said of old by His Prophet, that His delights are to be with the children of men; for He knows not how to tear Himself from them, even when they abandon and despise Him. This also shows us how pleasing to the Heart of Jesus are all those souls who frequently visit Him and keep Him company in the churches in which He is present under the sacramental species. He desired St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi to visit Him in the Most Blessed Sacrament thirty-three times a day; and in this His beloved spouse faithfully obeyed Him, and in all her visits she approached as near as possible to the altar, as we read in her Life.

But let all those devout souls who often go to keep company with Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament speak -let them tell us of the gifts and inspirations they have received, of the flames of love which are there enkindled in their souls, and the Paradise they enjoy in the presence of this hidden God.

The servant of God, and great Sicilian, missionary Father Louis La Nouza, was, even in his youth and as a layman, so enamoured of Jesus Christ, that he seemed unable to tear himself from the presence of his beloved Lord. Such were the joys which he here experienced: that his director, to moderate his devotion, had to command him, in virtue of obedience, not to remain, before the tabernacle for more than an hour. The time having elapsed, he showed in obeying that in tearing himself from the bosom of Jesus Christ, he had to do himself just such violence as a child that has to detach itself from it! mother’s breast in the very moment in which it is satiating itself with the utmost avidity. St. Aloysius also was forbidden to remain in the presence of the Most Blessed Sacrament, and as he passed before the Tabernacle, finding himself drawn, so to speak, by the sweet attractions of his Lord, and almost forced to remain, there, he would with the greatest effort tear himself away, saying, in an excess of tender love: Depart from me, O Lord, depart! There it was also that St. Francis Xavier found refreshment in the midst of his many labours in India, for he employed his days in toiling for souls, and his nights he passed in the presence of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

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