HOLY COMMUNION THE GREAT GIFT OF JESUS CHRIST TO MAN
Take ye and eat: this is my body-(Matt. xxvi. 26). Let us consider how great a Gift Jesus Christ has bestowed upon us in giving us His entire Self to be our Food in Holy Communion. St. Augustine says that Jesus, though He is the Almighty God, could give us no more. “Omnipotent though He is, He could give no more.”
Consider how great a Gift Jesus Christ has bestowed upon us in giving us His entire Self to be our Food in the Holy Communion. St. Augustine says that Jesus, though He is the Almighty God, yet could give us no more: “Omnipotent though He is, He could give no more. ” And St. Bernardine of Sienna adds that no greater treasure can be in the heart of man than the Body of Christ: “What greater treasure can a soul desire or achieve than the most holy Body of Jesus Christ?” The Prophet Isaias exclaims: Make his works known among the people-(Is. xii. 4). Publish, 0 men, the loving invitations of our good God! If our Redeemer had not given us this Gift, who could ever have asked It of Him? Who could ever have dared to say to Him: Lord, if Thou wilt make us know Thy love, conceal Thyself under the species of bread, and allow us to feed on Thee? This very idea would have been reckoned folly. “Would it not have been thought madness,” says St. Augustine, “to say: Eat My Flesh, drink My Blood?” When Christ announced to His disciples this gift of the Most Holy Sacrament, which He intended to leave them, they could not bring themselves to believe, and many left Him saying, How can this man give us his fiesh to eat . . . This saying is hard, and who can hear it?-(Jo. vi. 53-61). But what men could never have imagined, the great love of Jesus Christ has thought of and accomplished.
St. Bernardine says that our Lord has left us this Sacrament as a Remembrance of the love He showed us in His Passion: This Sacrament is a memorial of His love.” And this agrees with what St. Luke records of the words of Jesus Christ Himself: Do this for a commemoration of me-(Luke xxii. 19). St. Bernardine adds that the love of Our Lord was not satisfied in sacrificing His life for us: before He died, He was constrained by this very love to give us the very greatest of all His gifts, by giving us Himself to be our Food: “In that excess of fervour, when He was ready to die for us, He was forced by exceeding love to do a greater work than He had ever yet accomplished, to give us Himself to be our Food.”
O my Jesus, what has led Thee to give Thy whole Self to be our Food? After this Gift, what hast Thou left to give us to force us to love Thee? O Lord, give us light, and make us know how excessive is the love which has made Thee reduce Thyself into Food to unite Thyself with us poor sinners. That Thou thus givest Thyself wholly to us is a reason why we should give ourselves wholly to Thee. My Redeemer, how could I have offended Thee Who hast loved me, and Who didst leave nothing undone to win my love? Thou didst become Man for me, Thou didst die for me, and didst. make Thyself my Food; tell me what remains for Thee to do. I love Thee, 0 Infinite Goodness, Infinite Love!
The Abbot Guerric says that Jesus has shown in this Sacrament the last effort of His love: “He poured forth upon His friends all the power of His love.” The Council of Trent expresses it still better in saying that in the Blessed Eucharist Jesus, “as it were poured forth the riches of His love towards man.”
What a proof of love it would be considered, says St. Francis of Sales, if a prince, being at table, should send a poor man a portion of his own, dish; and how much more if he should send him his whole dinner! But what would be thought if he should send him a portion of his own flesh? Jesus, in the Holy Communion, gives us not only part of His table, not only part of His Body, but His whole Body: Take ye and eat: this is my body.
And with His Body He gives us also His Soul and His Divinity. “In short,” says St. John Chrysostom, “He has given Himself wholly, and for Himself He has reserved nothing.” And the angelical Doctor says: “God has given us in the Holy Eucharist all that He is, and all that He has.” Behold this great God, Whom the whole world cannot contain, exclaims St. Bonaventure in admiration, makes Himself our Prisoner in the Holy Sacrament: “He Whom the whole world cannot contain is our Captive!” And if our Lord gives us His whole Self in the Blessed Eucharist, how can we fear that He will ever deny us any grace we ask of Him? How hath he not also, with him, given us all things (Rom. viii. 32).
Lord, come often into my soul, inflame me wholly with Thy holy love, and make me forget all else, to think of and love none but Thee. Most holy Mary, pray for me, and by thy intercession make me worthy frequently to receive Thy Son in His ever blessed Sacrament.