THE FOURTH BOOK:
ADMONITIONS HELPFUL TOWARD UNITING ONE'S SELF
WITH THE HEART OF JESUS IN BLISS
CHAPTER I. THE MOST BLESSED SACRAMENT OF THE EUCHARIST IS
AN INVENTION OF THE LOVE OF THE MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS
1. The voice of Jesus.-----I was dead, My Child, and behold I am living for ever more.
I had come forth from the Father, and had come into the world: at last I was leaving the world to return to the Father.
However, the love of My Heart did not allow nor suffer that I should leave them orphans, whom I cherished more than My Own life.
The love of My father called and invited Me, that, coming, I might be glorified with Him, with the glory which I had with Him before the world was created.
The love of men also invited and urged Me on, that, staying among them, I might comfort them amidst all the troubles of life.
And behold! My Heart invented a means of satisfying both My love for My Father, and My Love for men.
A mystery, My Child, that going up into Heaven I may be seated at the right of the Father, and abide with you even to the consummation of the world.
A mystery, which, unless I Myself had drawn it forth from My Heart, no mortal could ever have imagined: a mystery which transcends all created nature: a mystery, in fine, which exceeds all finite power.
There is need, therefore, of stupendous miracles, to be wrought by Divine omnipotence alone. But love triumphs: love, which in My Divine Heart found the design, there also found the power of executing the same.
All things are possible, all things are easy, if I will them in My Heart, Whose Will is power and execution.
2. As men were not able to bear the sight of My glorified Majesty, and the world could not subsist in the effulgence of such a brightness; regard was to be had to their weakness, lest, alarmed at the splendor of My greatness, they might be kept away.
Wherefore, I must needs conceal My dazzling glory, and display naught that might fill them with dread.
Moreover, My Child, since thou hast here no permanent city, but lookest for one to come, it is expedient for thee, that I do abide with thee under another form; lest, forgetting that thou art a pilgrim on earth, thou be willing to make here thy abode, and cling to the things of the present; but that, mindful of thy place of exile, thou mayst aspire to thy country, where thou shalt be able, with face unveiled, to gaze upon My glory.
Lastly, since this life is short, and after it there shall be no longer any time to gain merits, it is good and most useful that I hide My countenance, that thus thou mayst have a greater opportunity of reducing to practice faith, as well as all other virtues.
3. If for so many reasons it is advantageous that I dwell henceforth in another form among men upon earth: from among all possible forms that one should be chosen, which is best suited to My Heart, and most profitable to men.
Now, My Child, since I came down to men, that they might have spiritual life, and since I stay in their midst that they may have it more abundantly; and as the spiritual life bears in every way a resemblance to the material life, which is sustained and strengthened by natural food; they need a supernatural food, whereby the life of the spirit may be preserved, may grow in solidity, and flourish ever more and more.
It is better, therefore, that I remain under the appearance of food, since I am not only the Bread of life, but Life itself. For how much more abundantly will the faithful soul have life, if she be nourished with Life itself?
Besides, Child, My Heart is love: but love is the gift of one's self, and does not rest until it has given and united itself to the object beloved.
Now, as in the life of nature. naught is more intimately united than food and the one that takes it; so also in the spiritual life, by the gift of My love, the greatest and most intimate union occurs between the soul and Myself.
This is that Divine and beatific union, whereby 1 can render every soul blissful: the work of a boundless love.
Finally, I am pleased to stay among men under the form of a banquet, which is a token of the greatest friendship, in order that, even upon earth, the faithful may rejoice in My supernal fellowship, which the Blessed in Heaven enjoy; and that they may recall with delight that never-ending bliss, wherein I dispose to you a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at My table, and where, girding Myself and going about, I will minister to you.
This will be the union everlasting, and thrillingly blissful,-----the Passover of never-ending joy,-----the wine of eternal love, which I will drink with you ever new in the kingdom of My Father.
4. In order that men might gradually be prepared for mysteries so great, I willed that, in many ways, all this should be foreshadowed in the Old Law.
A figure thereof was the fruit of the tree of life planted in Paradise, by the food of which men, in a state of innocence, were to be nourished, and to bloom with life, that they might preserve themselves from death, and thus secure immortality.
A figure thereof was the bread and wine offered by Melchisedech, the priest and king: priest of the Most High, king of Salem, king of peace.
A figure thereof was the Paschal Lamb, the Lamb without blemish, which was both offered and eaten: which was to be consumed neither raw nor cooked, but prepared with fire: and they that eat the same were to have their loins girded, shoes on their feet, staves in their hands, as if in readiness to go on a journey.
A figure thereof was the Manna in the desert, which fell every day from Heaven, possessed the pleasantness of every kind of savor, was called the bread of Angels, of which neither he that gathered more than the usual measure had more, nor he that collected less than another possessed less.
A figure thereof was the Ark of the Covenant, wherein the Majesty of God was honored between the Cherubim; and whence He was wont, day and night, to impart to His people propitiation, aid, and comfort.
Lastly, a figure thereof was the bread baked under the ashes, whereby the Prophet was freed from his faintness and depression of spirit; and, endowed with new vigor, walked, on the strength of that food, even to the mountain of God.
5. It was not unknown to Me, my Child, how much this institution would cost Me: how great and how many a sacrifice this My Sacramental life would require.
I know to what humiliations I subject Myself, to how many insults I expose Myself. But all these My Heart deems less than the love, whereby It is borne towards My Father and towards men.
My love is overcome by no obstacles: it triumphs easily over all. Nay more, these very difficulties themselves, it looks upon and displays, as so many proofs of its greatness and generosity.
Behold, then, eminently the great Sacrament of affectionateness, which, conceived by My love before all ages, was realized by My supreme power in time, appeared wonderful to the Angels, was preached to the nations: which has consoled the world, and which by its sweetness has inebriated the hearts of mortals.
6. The Voice of the Disciple.-----O the height of the wisdom and love of Thy Heart, Jesus, Son of the living God! How marvelous, how stupendous are Its works! How lovely, O Lord, how sweet!
Behold, how Thou didst love us, most loving Jesus! Thou didst annihilate Thyself for love of us, taking upon Thee the form of food, becoming like unto nourishment, and being found under the appearance of bread, but the Bread of life everlasting!
O what power of love did enkindle Thy Heart, when about to pass from this world to the Father, Thou didst institute this most wonderful, this most delightful means of abiding with us, and of abiding in such a manner!
O prodigy of love! O Divine institution! wherein Thou Thyself, O most benign Jesus, art at once the banquet and the guest, the offering and the offerer: the joy of Angels, and of men!
7. Thanks to Thee, Lord Jesus, eternal thanks to Thee, for the unutterable goodness of Thy Heart, whereby Thou didst bestow upon us this incomparable blessing.
Would that I were able to return Thee suitable thanks for so great a gift! Come, ye Angels and Saints of God; come ye, all peoples and tribes; give ye thanks with me, to the Lord: let us praise, and exceedingly magnify Him, for this the love of His Heart.
Let us sing a new canticle to the Lord; for that, abiding with us after a new manner, He pours forth upon us from Him; Heart, blessings ever new.
Let us joyfully sing to God, our Saviour: let us fall down before Him, let us weep for joy and gratitude in His Presence.
8. O Jesus, infinite love! Who through love didst come into this world, and remainest here through love; nay more, through love art become wholly mine: to Thee, in return, I give and deliver my heart, all my affections,. my whole self: grant, I beseech Thee, that, by love, I may be Thine for ever more, that whatsoever I am and possess, may be at the disposal of Thy love and glory.
Take away from me all obstacles to Thy love; extinguish in me every ill-ordered affection, that naught may affect, naught may move me, except what concerns Thyself, or Thy interests. Thou, O delight of my heart, Thou, O bliss of my soul! do Thou live and reign in me: be Thou henceforth the first and, last object of my thoughts and affections: let me be ever occupied with Thee, or for Thee, Who art all to me.
CHAPTER II. OF THE MARVELOUS INSTITUTION OF THE MOST BLESSED
SACRAMENT OF THE EUCHARIST
1. The voice of Jesus.-----I am the living Bread, that came down from Heaven. He that comes to Me shall not hunger, for the Bread which I shall give him is My Flesh for the life of the world.
When I had said these things, My Child, the Jews disputed among themselves, saying: How can this man give us His Flesh to eat?
And, in reply to them, I declared positively: Verily, verily, I say to you, unless ye eat the Flesh of the Son of man, and drink His Blood, ye shall not have life in you.
For My Flesh is meat indeed, and My Blood is drink indeed.
2. Before the festival day of the Passover, knowing that My hour had come, that I should pass out of this world to the Father, having loved My Own who were in the world, I loved them unto the end.
It being now evening, I sat down to the last Supper, and the twelve Disciples with Me: to them, as they were seated around, I said: With desire, I have desired to eat this Passover with you.
And whilst they were at Supper, I took bread, and blessed, and broke, and gave it to My Disciples, saying: Take ye and eat; this is My Body.
And taking the chalice, I gave thanks, and gave to them, saying: Drink ye all of this; this is My Blood.
Do this for a commemoration of Me.
3. The voice of the Disciple.-----These, then, are Thy words, Lord God, truth eternal, whereby Thou didst solemnly promise beforehand, that Thou wouldst give Thyself to us as the Bread of Life: these are the deeds whereby Thou didst afterwards truly fulfill what Thou hadst promised.
Thy Church, taught by these words and deeds, even before they had been recorded, enjoyed this, Thy Divine gift; and was doing this, as Thou hadst enjoined, for a commemoration of Thee.
By these words, Thou didst overthrow and thwart the foreseen difficulties of infidels, and the objections of heretics, and the temptations of demons.
For, by them, Thou taughtest, that whatsoever Thou, the infallible truth, utterest, must be believed, even if we do not understand how these things can be.
And through the holy Church, Thy true Spouse, we know the things Thou didst utter; but in what manner the mysteries which Thou didst proclaim by words, are inwardly constituted, or realized, that we do not comprehend, since our limited reason cannot reach those things which transcend all the bounds of reason.
If we do not understand the things which are below ourselves, how shall we understand those which are above us?
That a seed sown in the ground, after it has decayed, grows up into a new stalk, and produces much fruit, we believe, because we perceive it outwardly; but how these things happen intrinsically, although they belong to the natural order, we are unable to penetrate.
Should he not deservedly be regarded as unsound in mind, who, whilst, by means of the senses, he perceives that there are mysteries of nature, would not be willing to admit them, because he does not comprehend how they do exist?
Now, even by means of the senses, we perceive that there are mysteries of religion revealed by Thee; because faith comes by hearing: and. moreover, by reason itself, we see that those mysteries are true; because it is evident to reason, that it is impossible that Thou, the essential truth, shouldst utter what is false.
The submission, therefore, of all them that faithfully believe in Thee, is reasonable. But they that refuse to believe Thee, thinking themselves wise, have become fools, and altogether unreasonable.
And it proceeds from a secret pride, instigated by the cunning of the devil, that they are unwilling to subject to Thee, its Author, the noblest gift, their reason; and to honor Thee, by the submission of the same.
But all they that at any time have been humble children of the Church,-----how greatly soever they were distinguished for their genius,-----have brought their intellect under subjection, to obey Thee by faith.
By this Thou showest that Thou art the Lord of all, good towards all, no respecter of persons: and that from all, from the learned, as well as from the unlearned, Thou desirest the obedience of a subdued intellect and a submissive will.
4. Lord God, my Creator and Redeemer, I prostrate myself before Thee, and submit my reason wholly to Thee: ay, my whole intellect and will, my body, and all my senses, in obedience to faith, for Thy glory.
But it is also my glory and advantage that I may return to Thee, their beginning and end, all the gifts of soul and body which I have received from Thee; and that, by means of whatsoever I have received, in the order of nature, I may freely co-operate with Thy grace for the supernatural order, and, consequently, for my own everlasting honor, my never-ending bliss.
Reason and faith are both Thy gifts, Lord; the former a natural, the latter a supernatural gift: both ever assist each other, are never contrary : both given for truth, each one in its own order.
If I believe, because my natural reason moves me thereto, my faith is a natural one,-----neither supernatural nor saving. If I believe, because a supernatural motive impels me, my faith is supernatural and salutary.
Blessed are they who have not seen and have believed. And, certainly, how can the senses perceive what does not fall under the senses? Or, how can reason comprehend what does not lie within the grasp of reason? Or, how can the cold utterance of man explain that which the exceeding love of Thy Heart has effected?
5. In the spirit, therefore, of Thy Church, I do firmly believe that Thou, O Lord Jesus Christ, true God and man, art truly and substantially contained in the most Blessed Sacrament, under the appearance of things visible, bread and wine.
I do firmly believe that Thou art wholly and entirely present under each species, and under every part of each species, if they be separated.
I do firmly believe that Thou, there present in Thy glorified state, art the same, Whom, at Thy entrance into the world, the Angels adored, Whom Mary and Joseph, the Shepherds and the Magi, worshipped under the form of a Child, Who, meek and humble of Heart, didst go about doing good; Who, having died for us, didst rise again; Who, having gone up to Heaven, art seated in glory at the right of God the Father.
I do not, as the Jews, ask for signs, nor search into the manner; I do not desire, like the unbelievers, to understand reasons intrinsically concealed, I do not require, like heretics, that my individual judgment be gratified: for me the testimony of Thy infallible Spouse, the holy Church, which is the ground of the truth, is sufficient.
I reject whatsoever is opposed to her doctrine: this is my security, my faith.
6. O Lord God of infinite Majesty, Thou the Saint of the Saints! Who art so marvelously and so lovingly hidden in this mystery. Thee I adore, Thee I worship devotedly.
Humbly prostrate, with body and soul, in Thy presence, I profess before Heaven and earth that Thou art my God and my Saviour; to Thee do I pay the supreme worship, due to Thy Majesty.
I offer to Thee also the adorations, honors, and homage which the Angels, and the Saints, and Thy whole Church pay to Thee.
O that all men would acknowledge Thee, would adore Thee, would show Thee homage and reverence!
But, since so many fail in their duty, I, O Lord, uniting myself with Thy Saints and Angels, and all faithful souls, do adore and venerate Thee, in their stead: and I desire, in this manner, to make amends for the negligence of all unfaithful souls.
7. O Jesus! whatsoever I may be able to do for Thee, is as nothing in comparison of what I owe to Thee.
In this most delightful Sacrament, by the pure love of Thy Heart, Thou hast given me whatever Thou possessest, Thy Body and Soul, Thy Humanity and Divinity, with all their treasures. I owe, therefore, to Thee, as much as Thou art worth, Thou Who art infinite.
I give to Thee, in return, my body and soul, whatsoever I have, whatsoever I am: but behold! after I have given all this, my debt remains infinite.
It is good for me, Lord Jesus, that I am thus indebted to Thee, that I may be moved and impelled to love without bounds the infinite goodness of Thy Heart.
Mindful of Thy pure and boundless love, O Jesus, I love Thee, in return, with my whole heart, and I long to be able to satisfy Thee by an unlimited love.
8. Help me, O most loving Jesus, that I may love Thee with that affection, that tenderness, that reverence, which love alone can inspire.
Grant that, henceforth, I may live by pure love for Thee, Who by infinite love livest for me in the most holy Tabernacle.
By Thy most Sacred Heart, thus made a captive, thus detained by love, I beg and implore Thee, so bind my heart to Thine, that it may be a captive of Thy love, and be never dissevered nor separated therefrom.
CHAPTER III. WITH HOW LIVELY A FAITH THE CHURCH HAS, ALWAYS AND
EVERYWHERE, MANIFESTED HER DEVOTION TO THE MOST BLESSED SACRAMENT
1. The voice of Jesus.-----My Child. the Church exults at this most excellent favor of My Heart, and venerates this supreme miracle of My love with every demonstration of devotedness.
Enraptured at the excess of the goodness of My Heart, she melts with love for Me, she rejoices securely in the possession of My most delightful Presence, and continues to rejoice, whilst generations pass by, whilst the face of the earth is changed, and ages speed away.
Behold! in every age of the past, from the East and the West, from the North and the South, the children of the Church have arisen and have called their Mother blessed, on account of so great a love of My Heart, which abides with her all days even to the consummation of the world.
In this presence, uninterrupted, and full of mutual love, I celebrate the great Supper, the Divine festival of My spiritual nuptials, with My immaculate Spouse, the holy Church.
To these the faithful are invited and called, be they poor, and weak, and blind, and lame, that the house may be filled with guests, and that their joy may be full.
2. The Voice of the Disciple.-----Hear ye this, O mortals, and come ye clothed with the nuptial garment. Here taste ye, and see how sweet is the Lord.
To this sacred banquet, at which the Angels minister, all the truly faithful do, always and everywhere, come adorned with this festive garment, that, being pleasing to the Lord, they may, whilst they are nourished and refreshed, rejoice with Him.
But they that are without this garment, being defiled, do rightly " abstain," because they deservedly fear, "lest they eat and drink judgment to themselves;" or "because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the Body of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, Which suffered for our sins, and Which the Father raised to life." (1 Cor. 11, St. Ignat. Mart., Cent. I.)
But we "have been taught that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, Who became incarnate." (St. Justin, Mart., Cent. II.)
How great a gift is, therefore, bestowed not only upon our soul, "but also upon our body, which is nourished with the Body and Blood of the Lord!" (St. Iren., Cent. II.)
Hence, how great a reverence is required! " Ye know, ye who are accustomed to assist at the Divine mysteries, how, when ye receive the Body of the Lord, ye watch with all care and reverence, that nothing, be it ever so little, fall down, that naught of the consecrated gift slip off: for ye believe yourselves guilty, if, through carelessness, anything do fall. So great is the precaution ye use, and deservedly so." (Origen, Cent. III.)
No sooner had the Church emerged from the persecution of three hundred years, than, rejoicing and crowned with laurels, she, in her first general Council,-----her sons having been assembled from every part of the world,-----regulated the manner in
which the Divine Sacrament should be dispensed throughout the world, in order that so sacred a mystery might everywhere be handled with holy awe.
She does not bring forward new things, but, faithful guardian of her deposit, she recalls and inculcates the ancient practices.
"Neither the Rule," says this watchful Mother, "nor custom has handed it down, that they, who have not the power of offering the Sacrifice, should present the Body of Christ to them that offer the same. "Let them receive according to their rank the Holy Communion from the Bishop or the priest, after the clergy." (1st Nic. Counc., Cent. IV.)
Behold the most Holy Communion! behold the Sacrament of the Lord! "For under the appearance of bread, He gives us His Body, under the appearance of wine He gives us His Blood, that, when you have received the same, you taste the Body and Blood of Christ, having become partakers of His Body and Blood: for thus we become Christiferi, that is, bearing Christ in our bodies: thus, according to the blessed Peter, we are made partakers of the Divine nature." (S. Cyril of Jerus., Cent. IV.)
" Bread, indeed, it is before the sacramental words: but when the Consecration has been pronounced thereon, of bread it becomes the Body of Christ. By which words then, and by whose language is the Consecration made? By the words of Christ the Lord. Therefore, the Word of Christ affects this Sacrament. Which Word of Christ? The one, whereby all things were made. The Lord commanded, and the heavens were made: the Lord commanded, and the earth was made: the Lord commanded, and every creature was produced. You see, then, how effective is the Word of Christ. If, then, there is so great a power in the word of the Lord Jesus, that things, which were not, began to exist, how much the more effective is it to change into another that which did already exist? He spoke, and it was done." (S. Ambros., Cent. IV.)
"O Sacrament of godliness! O sign of unity! O bond of charity! He that desires to live has where he may live, whereby he may live. Let him become incorporate that he may receive life. Let him not be a decayed member, which deserves to be cut off; let him not be a misshapen one, of which he is ashamed. Let him be fair, fit, sound: let him cleave to the body: let him live of God for God." (S. August., Cent. V.)
" As many of us, therefore, as become partakers of this Body, let us reflect that we taste Him, Who is seated above, Who is adored by the Angels. That which the Angels dare not freely gaze upon, by reason of the dazzling splendor, by that we are here nourished, to that we are united, with that we became one body. In order, therefore, that we may not only become this by charity, let us also in very deed be blended with that body: for this is effected by the food which He has granted to us. Let us, then, go away from that table, like lions breathing fire, having become an object of dread to the devil." (S. Chrysost., Cent. V.)
"How goodly is that Bread which nourishes the Angels by its outward appearance, that they may be sated therewith in the land of bliss; and us by faith, that we may not faint on the way. That man might eat the Bread of Angels, the Creator of Angels became man, nourishing both, and remaining whole and entire." (St. Fulgent., Cent. VI.)
4. "They, however, that live wickedly, and do not cease to communicate, thinking, that, by such a Communion, they are cleansed, let them learn that they make no progress toward a cleansing, but toward condemnation. For the body of Christ is the food of Saints." (St. Isid. of Seville, Cent. VII.)
Prepare ye, therefore, your heart. "For the Eucharist is a Communion, whereby we have fellowship with Christ, and receive His Humanity and Divinity, and unite ourselves between us." (St. John Damasc., Cent. VIII.)
"Let them hear, then, who wish to weaken this word of the Body, as if it were not the true Body of Christ which is now celebrated in the Sacrament by the Church, nor His real Blood. They seem desirous to approve or invent something new, as if it were merely a certain virtue of Christ's Body or Blood, so that the Lord is made to speak falsely, when Truth itself says: This is My Body. He did not then say, when He broke and gave the bread, This is, or in this mystery is, a certain virtue or figure of My Body, but He said plainly: This is My Body: and, therefore, it is what He said, not that which anyone may imagine. No one has as yet openly gainsaid that, which the whole world believes and confesses." (St. Paschas., Ab., Cent. IX.)
5. "In churches, the Eucharist is always accessible: which custom the ancient churches have preserved." (Luitprand., Cent. X.)
Wherefore, "Christ cannot be accused of forgetfulness: Christ does not enjoin things contrary to His commands. He is the Bread that came down from Heaven, which is daily brought to the table of the Church, as a heavenly food, which is broken for the forgiveness of sins, which feeds and nourishes unto life everlasting them that eat the same." (St. Peter Damian., Cent. XI.)
"Neither need we pretend that to this our age is denied, either that apparition, which was vouchsafed to the Fathers of the ancient Covenant; or that presence of His Body, which was exhibited to the Apostles. Since, to them that consider faithfully, neither the one nor the other can be wanting. Surely, it cannot in the least be doubted that, in the Sacrament, we have even now present with us the true substance of His Body. We have revelations, but in spirit and in power, so that it is proved that naught is wanting in any kind of grace." (St. Bern., Cent. XII.)
6. "The delightfulness of this Sacrament none can adequately express, whereby spiritual sweetness is tasted in its very source: and the remembrance of that most excellent charity which He manifested in His Passion is recalled to mind. Wherefore, that the immensity of this love might be the more intimately imprinted in the hearts of the faithful, at the last Supper, when, after He had celebrated the Passover with His Disciples, He was about to pass from this world to the Father, He instituted this Sacrament, as an everlasting memorial of His Passion, the fulfillment of the ancient figures, the greatest of the miracles wrought by Him, and the exceeding comfort of those that were saddened by His absence." (St. Thom. Aq., Cent. XIII.)
"A spiritual and interior person finds in the partaking of the Body of Christ Jesus twelve excellent fruits: Fortitude, to forsake easily things earthly and perishable: Progress, in the things relating to salvation: Elevation of the soul above whatever is outside of God: Strength to practice good: Enlightenment of the understanding more perfectly to know God, and all things which are seen in the mirror of eternity: Fervor of love for God: Fulfillment of those things which beget happiness: a Treasure of wealth: a constant Cheer. fulness of spirit: a certain secure Firmness; perfect Peace: Union of the soul with God." (Thauler, Cent. XIV.)
"O precious, magnificent, saving banquet, replete with every delight! By this, sins are cleansed away, virtues increased, the mind is enriched with the abundance of all graces." (St. Antonin., Cent. XV.)
7. Wherefore, delivering her doctrine concerning this august and Divine Sacrament-----which the Catholic Church, instructed by Jesus Christ our Lord Himself, and by His Apostles, and taught by the Holy Spirit, Who always inspires her with every truth,-----has ever retained and will preserve to the end of the world,-----she teaches, and openly and simply professes that, in the bountiful Sacrament of the Eucharist, after the Consecration of the bread and wine, our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and man, is truly, really, and substantially contained under the appearance of those visible elements.
She warns, exhorts, prays, and entreats, through the tender mercy of our God, that all and each one of those that bear the name of Christian, do meet and agree, in this sign of unity, this bond of charity, this symbol of concord,-----mindful of so great a Majesty, and so eminent a love of Jesus Christ our Lord, Who, as the price of our salvation, laid down His beloved life, and gave us His Flesh to eat:-----that they do believe and revere these sacred mysteries of His Body and Blood, with constancy and firmness of faith, with devotedness, and piety and worship of spirit, so that they may be enabled frequently to receive this supersubstantial bread. and that this may truly be to them everlasting life and health of the soul.
That, being invigorated by the strength thereof, they may be enabled, from the journey of this weary pilgrimage, to come to the heavenly country, there to eat unveiled the same Bread of Angels, that now they eat hidden beneath the sacramental veils. (Council of Trent, Sess. 13, Cent. XVI.)
8. O Lord God! how did the faithful, through all ages, burn to honor Thee in this Sacrament of Thy love! with what piety did they strive here to exhibit for Thee the utmost reverence! How they did exert themselves to show due gratefulness to Thy Heart, and to compensate by love for the love of Thy Heart!
And, therefore, too, should we be blamed, we, the heirs of the faith once delivered to the Saints, we, the children of the Saints, were we to grow lukewarm in this devotion of devotions, in this chief point of our Religion; whilst so long a succession of ages calls forth our lively faith, when so great a multitude of the faithful of all times and places throughout the world stimulate us by their example; and since so great a goodness of Thy Heart excites our hearts.
Enliven our faith, most loving Jesus, and, when enlivened, increase it unceasingly. Strengthen our hope and confidence. Enkindle and inflame our love.
Grant, O Lord, that we may ever be enabled to worship in the spirit of faith, to venerate devotedly this most sacred and most sweet Mystery, and to partake worthily thereof.
CHAPTER IV. THAT THE MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS, IN THE SACRAMENT
OF HIS LOVE, IS PERFECTLY BLISSFUL
1. The voice of Jesus.-----That for which My Heart longed, that which It sought through every excess of love, this It now enjoys contented in the holy Sacrament of the Eucharist.
Behold! now not only the justice of My heavenly Father, but also the love of My Heart is satisfied. Herein rejoices and exults My Heart, that nothing is now wanting to Its wished-for bliss.
Rejoice with Me, My Child; because here is the joy, the delight, the blessedness of My Heart.
Here is the new heaven, wrought and adorned by skill Divine, where My Heart is well pleased and blissful all days.
Yet behold! Child, My Heart does not here enjoy those things wherein the world by its vain struggles seeks for happiness. It possesses not the display of earthly wealth, nor the pleasures of the senses, nor those objects which flatter the passions. All these I willingly do without: nay, frequently even I am wont to be surrounded with what the world shuns and abhors. Yet My Heart is completely contented and blissful.
2. Why should not My Heart be happy here, since in this Paradise of supernatural. delights It overflows with a torrent of Divine joys and supreme sweetness?
I am perfectly happy in Heart by possessing those things which as the Son I have by inheritance from the Father, and which, as the Saviour of the world, I have acquired at the price of My life.
But thou, My Child, wherein dost thou seek thy felicity? is it also in the Divine union, in supernal communing, in the sweet consolation of the Divine good pleasure?
Dost thou not sometimes lose the joy or even the peace of thy heart, because thou hast not that which gratifies nature? Art thou also, according to the Divine Will, gladly deprived thereof?
Look thou attentively, Child, and be persuaded that thy heart, like Mine, cannot be made happy by the love and enjoyment of things sensible, of objects created, but of those which are supernatural and Divine.
3. Here, moreover, is My Heart blissful, by reason of the happiness which the faithful draw from this fountain of blessings, whereof they partake with Me.
As a good father experiences happiness when he finds himself among his beloved children; so do I in the midst of My people.
Here the faithful, as children most dear to My Heart, are trained and formed by Me; they banquet, they entertain themselves with Me: they drink in the generosity and fortitude of My Heart: they are incited to emulate My virtues: yea, they learn to glorify and delight in the same things with Me.
For this is My Heart glad indeed, as It deems Itself happy whensoever It has made others happy.
Rejoice with Me, My Child, seeing that thy happiness is not only an object of care, but also of joy to My Heart.
4. O if thou knewest, how great a bliss My Heart does, over and above, enjoy here, on account of the tenderness, the devotedness of the love of so many souls, that, in every state and condition of life, are wholly consecrated to Me, and live, with every affection of their heart, for Me alone!
Here, My Child, here is Benjamin with Me in ecstasy of mind. Here are pure souls enraptured with heavenly delights, wherewith the Angels themselves are inebriated.
Here those generous souls, although weak by nature, form great and noble designs for Me, and, by affection and deed, make compensation for the sacrifices of My love, consecrate themselves wholly to My interests.
And should not I be delighted with a love so great,. so tender, so chaste? Should I not pour forth My whole Heart upon them? shall I suffer Myself to be overcome by tenderness and generosity of love?
My delight is to be with the children of men: the height of My delight to enjoy the love of pure souls, and, in return, to make them taste the sweets of My love.
5. Here, therefore, is My Heart in various ways, and perfectly replenished with bliss; yet if there be any who are ungrateful or degenerate, and who are insensible to My love, or act unjustly towards My Heart, they only can make themselves wretched, but cannot render Me unhappy.
For, since I am risen to a life of glory, I die no more; neither am I affected by sorrow. My joy, My beatitude, is perfect and complete: none shall take it away from My Heart, none shall lessen the same.
As My Heart is personally united to the Divinity, It is blissful with the beatitude of the very Divinity.
And therefore, in order that My Heart may be perfectly blissful, It needs no external means; for, whether these be present or absent, It will ever be most blessed.
No less blissful in the hut with the dying poor, than in the palace of the nobleman or king; as blissful in the Tabernacle of the altar, as upon the throne in Heaven.
For the reason of My beatitude is within; whence it is ever the very same in every place, at all times, under all circumstances.
This is the inner recess, where I have placed My abode, where I dwell in light inaccessible, where I enjoy a full and unchangeable beatitude.
6. The Angels that throng around Me are filled with wonder, and prostrate they worship, and exulting they exclaim: Let us be glad, and give glory to our God!
And much more are they rejoiced at My bliss than at their own; for, rapt in Me, and forgetful of themselves, in their exceeding love for Me, they exult with Me amid joys unutterable.
In like manner, do many faithful souls,-----although still in the body they experience the miseries of this mortal life,-----rejoice exceedingly, because I am what I am: and they derive the highest happiness from this, that they know that I am supremely blessed.
And thou also, My Child, if thou lovest Me truly, wilt surely rejoice for that I am blissful, not only in the enjoyment of the highest glory at the right of God the Father, but also in this Sacrament of the love of My Heart.
7. The voice of the Disciple.-----Thou art My witness, most sweet Jesus, and knowest that, through love for Thee, I rejoice at Thy perfect beatitude in the most delightful Sacrament of Thy Heart.
Yea, Lord, my heart and my whole soul rejoice in Thee, because Thy Heart is blessed, and is confirmed in blissfulness forever and ever.
O how truly must the highest joy overwhelm me, because, Thy Passion being now over, Thy glory and bliss are full, and placed beyond every change!
It is true that, since I still have to endure the hardships of my banishment, the time has not yet come to rejoice at my own glory and bliss everlasting: but, meanwhile, it is enough for me that Thou my God, my Saviour and Father, rejoicest to the utmost fullness, in glory and beatitude supreme.
This is for me a reason to rejoice, and to rejoice with my whole heart, even while I abide and weep in my captivity, and call to mind my everlasting inheritance in Heaven; which, as God, Thou hast prepared for me, which, when lost, as Saviour, Thou hast repurchased for me, which, as Father, Thou bequeathest to me.
And because it is meet and just that I do love Thee more than myself, and whatsoever is my own; so, in like manner, it is right and wholesome that I do rejoice more at Thy beatitude than at my own happiness, either present or future.
And in reality, Lord Jesus, I do rejoice more in. tensely on account of Thy glory and blessedness than on account of any honor or exaltation of my own,----- on account of any joy or consolation whatever.
But I also rejoice, with all my heart, at the very joy wherewith Thy Heart is replenished by the happiness, the devotedness, the love of so many souls, throughout the earth, consecrated to Thee.
8. Grant, O most kind Jesus, that I, too, may be of the number of those who in return love Thee, their pure and generous Lover, with so great a purity and generosity.
I ask not for the singular and marvelous favors granted to them so frequently and so abundantly: Thee, O my Jesus, Thyself do I ask, as a reward of my labors and sorrows, if I have endured any for Thy sake, and as my sole happiness in all things.
Not the riches or the pleasures of this world, not the things which flatter nature, not even merely sensible consolations, can render me happy. My bliss is, O most sweet Jesus, to repose on Thy Heart, to enjoy Thee.
Hard, indeed, is all rest which does not recline on Thy Heart: Vain are all things which are not referred to Thee: meaningless, whatsoever is not in harmony with the sentiments of Thy Heart: tasteless, whatsoever is not seasoned with the unction of Thy love.
Grant me only, that, by Divine union, I may possess Thee, love Thee as purely, as generously as I am able; and I willingly abandon all the rest to others: by this gift alone I shall be most blissful with Thee.