THE GREAT LOVE JESUS HAS SHOWN US IN GIVING US THE BLESSED SACRAMENT
St. Paul says that God, by becoming Man, showed the world how far His goodness and kindness towards us went. But by giving Himself to us in the Blessed Sacrament He makes us know the depths of the tenderness of His love towards us. Does it not, says St. Augustine, seem madness Jesus Christ to say to us: Eat my flesh; drink my blood?
Jesus, knowing that his hour was come, that he should pass out of this world to the Father; having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them unto the end -(Jo. xiii. I). Jesus, knowing that the time of His death was near, desired to leave us the strongest pledge of His love for us, and this was the gift of the Blessed Sacrament: He loved them to the end-which St. Chrysostom explains: “He loved them with extreme love.” He, therefore, loved men, with the greatest; love He could possibly entertain towards them by giving them His whole Self. But when was it that Jesus instituted this great Sacrament? The night before His death. The Lord Jesus, says the Apostle, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread, and giving thanks, broke and said: Take ye and eat-this is my body-(1 Cor. xi. 23, 24}. While men were preparing to put Him to death, He was pleased to give them this last proof of His love. O infinite love of Jesus, Thou art worthy of being loved with an infinite love! Thou, my Lord, hast loved man so much, and how is it that man loves Thee so little? What more couldst Thou do to make him love Thee? O my Jesus, Thou art most amiable and loving; make Thyself known, make Thyself loved. When shall I ever love Thee as Thou hast loved me? Discover to me more and more the greatness of Thy bounty, that I may always burn more and more with Thy love and always seek to please Thee.
The marks of affection which are shown to us by our friends at the time of their death remain more deeply impressed on our hearts; and for this reason did Jesus choose to bestow Himself upon us in the Blessed Sacrament, a little before His death. Well, therefore, might St. Thomas call this Sacrament “the Sacrament of love and pledge of tenderest affection”; and St. Bernard, “the love of loves”-“amor amorum“-because Jesus Christ in this Sacrament unites and comprises all the other marks of His love towards us. Hence St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi, speaking of the day on which Jesus instituted this Sacrament, calls it “the day of love.”
O Beloved of my soul, oh! that I had always loved Thee! Alas! there was a time when I not only did not love Thee, but even despised Thy graces and Thy love. I am consoled with the sorrow I feel for having done so, and I hope for pardon through Thy promise to forgive those who repent. To Thee, my Saviour, do I direct all my affections; help me, through the merits of Thy Passion, to love Thee with my whole strength. O that I could die for Thee, as Thou hast died for me! Holy Mary, Mother of God, obtain for me the grace of loving henceforward God alone.