HOLY COMMUNION THE MEANS OF PERSEVERANCE IN DIVINE GRACE
St. Denis says that when Jesus Christ comes to a soul in Holy Communion, He brings with Him boundless treasures of grace; and therefore after Communion, we can truly say: Now all good things come to me together with it.
When Jesus comes to the soul in the Holy Communion He brings with Him every good, every grace, and especially the grace of holy perseverance. The principal effect of the Holy Sacrament of the Altar is to nourish the soul that receives it with the Bread of Life, by imparting great strength to advance towards perfection, and to resist those enemies who seek to effect its eternal ruin. Hence Jesus Christ calls Himself in this Sacrament heavenly Bread: I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread he shall live for ever-(Jo. vi. 51, 52). As earthly bread maintains the life of the body, so this heavenly Bread maintains the life of the soul by enabling it to persevere in the state of God’s grace. Hence the Council of Trent teaches that the Holy Communion is “a medicine which frees us from daily faults and preserves us from mortal sins.”
Oh, how miserable I am O Lord, bewailing my weakness while at the same time I stay away from Thee! How can I resist my internal enemies without Thee, Who art my Strength? Had I approached Thee more frequently in the Holy Communion, I should not have been so frequently overcome by my enemies. For the future it shall not be so: In thee, O Lord, have I hoped; let me not be confounded forever-(Ps. xxx. 2). No, I will no more rely on my own strength, but will place my whole confidence in Thee, my Jesus, Who will give me strength to fall no more into sin.
Innocent III says that Jesus delivers us by His Passion from sins committed, and by the Holy Eucharist from those which we might otherwise commit. Hence St. Bonaventure says that sinners should not stay away from Holy Communion because they have been sinners; but for this very reason should receive it more frequently, for “the more infirm a person is, the more does he stand in need of a physician.”
I am weak, O my Jesus, but Thou by the Holy Communion wilt make me strong against all temptations – I can do all things in him who strengtheneth me (Phil. iv. 13). Pardon me, O Jesus, all the injuries I have committed against Thee. for which I am sorry with my whole soul; I am resolved rather to die than wilfully offend Thee any more; and I trust in Thy Passion that Thou wilt help me to persevere in Thy grace to the end of my life. In thee, O Lord, have I hoped, let me never be confounded. And with St. Bonaventure I will say the same to Thee, O Mary, my Mother: “In thee-that is, in thy holy intercession, O Blessed Lady, have I hoped; let me never be confounded for ever!”