VISITING JESUS IN THE BLESSED SACRAMENT
St. John Regis was accustomed frequently to visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Sometimes, however, finding the church closed, he satisfied his longings by remaining on his knees outside the door, exposed to the rain and cold, that, at least at a distance, he might pay his homage to his Comforter concealed under the sacramental veils. St. Francis of Assisi used to converse concerning all his labours and undertakings with Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament. But tender, perhaps, beyond all others was the devotion of St. Wenceslaus, Duke of Bohemia, towards the Most Holy Sacrament. This holy king was so enamoured of the presence of Jesus that he not only gathered the wheat and grapes, and made the hosts and wine with his own hands, and then gave them to be used in the Holy Sacrifice, but he used, even during the winter, to go at night to visit the church in which the Blessed Sacrament was kept. These Visits enkindled in his soul such flames of divine love that the ardour imparted itself even to his body, and took from the snow on which he walked its wonted cold. It is related that the servant who accompanied him, and had to walk on the snow, suffered much from the cold. The holy king, on perceiving this, was moved to compassion, and commanded him to follow him, and to step only in his footmarks. He did so, and never afterwards felt the cold.
In the Visits, you will read other examples of the tender affection with which souls inflamed with the love of God longed to remain in the presence of the Most Blessed Sacrament. You will find that all the Saints were enamoured of this most sweet devotion, and, indeed, it is not possible to find on earth a more precious gem, or a treasure more worthy of all our love, than Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament. Certainly, amongst all devotions, that of receiving the Sacraments alone excepted, adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament holds first place. It is the most pleasing to God and the most useful to ourselves. Do not then, O devout soul, refuse to begin this devotion; leave the conversation of men, and remain each day, from this time forward, for half, or at least a quarter of an hour, in some church in the presence of Jesus Christ under the sacramental species. Taste and see how sweet is the Lord. Make a trial, and by experience you will learn the great benefit you will derive from this devotion.
Be assured that the time thus spent with devotion before this most Divine Sacrament will be the most profitable to you in life, and the source of your greatest consolation in death and for eternity. And you should know that in a quarter of an hour’s prayer in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, you may gain more than in all the other spiritual exercises of the day. It is true that in every place God hears the petitions of those who pray to Him, having promised to do so. Ask and you shall receive-(Jo. xvi. 24}. Yet The Disciple tells us that Jesus dispenses His graces in greatest abundance to those who visit Him in the Most Blessed Sacrament. Blessed Henry Suso also used to say that Jesus Christ hears the prayers of the faithful more graciously in the Sacrament of the Altar than elsewhere. And where, indeed, did holy souls make their most beautiful resolutions, but prostrate before the Most Holy Sacrament? Who knows but that you also may one day, in the presence of the Tabernacle, make the resolution to give yourself entirely to God? In this little book I feel myself bound, at least out of gratitude to my Jesus in the Holy Sacrament, to declare, that through means of this devotion of visiting Him, which I practised, though with so much tepidity and in so imperfect a manner, I abandoned the world, in which, unfortunately, I lived until I was six-and-twenty years of age. Fortunate indeed will you be if you can detach yourself from it at an earlier period and give yourself without reserve to that Lord Who has given Himself without reserve to you. I repeat, blessed indeed you will be, not only in eternity, but even in this life. Oh, how sweet a joy it is to remain with faith and tender devotion before an altar, and converse familiarly with Jesus Christ, Who is there with the express purpose of listening to and graciously hearing those who come to visit Him; to ask His pardon for the displeasure we have caused Him; to put before Him our wants, as a friend to a friend in whom he places all his confidence; to ask Him for His graces, for His love, for His Kingdom. But, above all, oh, what a paradise it is there to remain making acts of love towards that Lord who is in the Tabernacle burning with love for us and praying to His Eternal Father for our welfare. In truth it is love that keeps Him there thus hidden and unknown, even though He is despised by ungrateful souls. But why say more? Taste and see.