PREPARATION AND THANKSGIVING
The Saints derived great advantage from Holy Communion because they were most careful in preparing themselves for it. Their fire immediately burns dry wood, but not green wood, because it is not fit for burning.
Gardinal Bona asks how it happens that so many souls after so many Communions make such little advancement in the ways of God? And he answers: “The fault is not in the Food, but in the dispositions of those who receive it.” There is nothing wanting in the Holy Communion, but preparation is wanting on the part of those who receive it. The fire immediately burns dry wood, but not green wood, because it is not fit for burning. The Saints derived great advantage from Holy Communion because they were most careful in preparing themselves for it. There are two things which we should endeavour to acquire in. preparing ourselves for Holy Communion. The first is detachment from creatures, by banishing from our hearts everything that is not of God and for God. Although the soul is in the state of grace, yet if the heart be taken up by any earthly affection, the less room will there be for Divine love. One day St. Gertrude asked our Lord what preparation He required of her for the Holy Communion; and Jesus answered: “I require no other of thee but that thou come to receive Me devoid of thyself.” The second thing we should endeavour to acquire, in order to be prepared to reap great fruit from the Holy Communion, is a desire to receive Jesus Christ with a view to love Him much more for the future. Gerson says that at this banquet only those are filled who feel great hunger. Hence St. Francis of Sales writes that the principal intention of the soul in communiGating should be to advance in the love of God. “He,” says the Saint, “should be received for love, Who for love alone gives Himself to us.” And on this account our Lord once said to St. Mechtilde: “When thou art about to communicate, desire all the love that any soul ever had for Me, and I will receive thy love as though it were what thou wouldst have it to be.”
O God of love, dost Thou so much desire to dispense Thy graces to us, and are we careless in seeking for them? How great will be our distress when we come to die, to think of this neglect, so pernicious to us! Forget, O Lord, what is past; for the future, with Thy holy assistance, I will prepare myself in a better manner, by being careful to detach my affections from everything that can hinder me from receiving all those graces Thou desirest to impart to me.
Thanksgiving after Communion is also necessary. No prayers are so acceptable to God as those which we offer to Him after Communion. During this time we should employ ourselves in acts of love and petitions. The holy affections in which we then exercise ourselves have greater merIt before God than those we offer to Him at other times, because they come before Him inflamed by the presence of Jesus Christ, Who has united Himself to our souls. And as to petitions, St. Teresa says that Jesus Christ after Communion remains in the soul as on a throne of grace, and says to her: What wilt thou that I should do for thee?-(Mark x. 51). I am come down from Heaven to bestow My graces upon thee: ask of Me what thou wilt, and as much as thou wilt, and thou shalt be heard. Oh! what treasures of grace are lost by those who offer but few prayers to God after Communion.
After Holy Communion, dear Jesus, I will endeavour, as far as I am able, to obtain Thy help to advance in Thy love. Do Thou give me grace to accomplish this. O my Jesus, how careless have I hitherto been in loving Thee! The time of life, which in Thy mercy Thou dost allot me, is the time to prepare myself for death, and to make amends for the offences I have committed against Thee. I desire to spend it all in bewailing my sins and in loving Thee. I love Thee, O Jesus, my Love; I love Thee, my only Good; have pity on me and do not abandon me. And, O Blessed Virgin Mary, never cease to succour me by thy holy intercession.