THE FOURTH BOOK:
ADMONITIONS HELPFUL TOWARD UNITING ONE'S SELF
WITH THE HEART OF JESUS IN BLISS
CHAPTER XXI. THE MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS IN THE BOUNTIFUL SACRAMENT OF THE EUCHARIST, GIVES US A REMEDY, WHEREBY WE ARE FREED FROM VENIAL SIN AND PRESERVED FROM MORTAL SIN
1. The voice of Jesus.-----My Child, this is the Bread which comes down from Heaven; so that if anyone eat of it, he may not die.
The first substantial and enduring fruit, that the soul gathers from My Heart, in holy Communion, is that she is freed from defects, is strengthened in good, and preserved from spiritual death.
That this, so consoling an effect of Communion, might be made known, this life-giving Sacrament was instituted under the appearance of food. For nourishment keeps the body from weakness, increases its strength, continues its life.
What natural food does in the body, that, but in a much more perfect and marvelous manner, this supernatural nourishment, this Bread of Angels, effects in the soul.
If the fruit of the tree of life, placed in Paradise, could save the human body from death, and preserve it in an everlasting youthfulness; how much more will this food, which comes down from Heaven, be able to guard the soul against death and keep her in permanent vigor?
Yea, My Child, the fruit of the Sacrament, this heavenly nourishment does, sometimes, for the soul what neither the fruit of the tree of life, nor any terrestrial food can effect for the body. For should it happen that some one, after a sincere proving of himself, after a sincere examination of his conscience, should invincibly, and, therefore, inculpably, be ignorant of a mortal sin, and so in good faith eat of this living Bread, he would obtain, at the same time, the life of sanctifying grace and the remission of his hidden sin.
2. This Divine Sacrament supplies, not only great strength to turn away from evil, but even hinders or lessens the very causes of evil.
Does not water extinguish fire? But the Divine Eucharist extinguishes, much more effectually, the heat of the passions. For it contains every virtue, and, therefore, it checks every passion.
What wonder, My Child, if this heavenly mystery renders all vices and unlawful pleasures unpleasant and distasteful, since it gives to men to drink the wine whose fruit are virgins, and offers to them the delights of Angels?
Am not I the Bread of the life of bliss, the fountain of everlasting sweetness? He that comes to Me shall no longer hunger or thirst after the forbidden and dangerous aliments of the world: for, him I satiate with the good things of God, which, by their deliciousness, have the power of causing all that is prohibited, all that is of earth, to appear bitter and distasteful.
3. When I am Sacramentally present, the enemies of salvation flee far away from the soul, which through Holy Communion, has been terrible to them.
If, at any time, they venture to assail her, they approach her full of dread, and make their attack from afar.
And these assaults themselves,---since the passions of the soul have become more subdued and tranquilized,---affect her less, and expose her less to danger.
For, when she perceives herself tempted to sin, if she thinks that she has received God in her heart, or that she is about to receive God therein, will not this mere thought suffice to repel the temptation? Will it not be an inducement to exert her strength, that she may preserve her heart unsullied, and that she may remain faithful? How many souls have there been in this world, that,---although at first they were the slaves of baneful passions, yet, by the pious and frequent Use of this saving Sacrament,----were not only, in a short time, happily delivered from them, but overcame, with ease, the attacks of demons, and continued ever faithful.
And, indeed, if during My mortal life, when I dwelled with men, a virtue went forth from Me, and healed all infirmities; how much more now, in My Sacramental life, does the virtue issuing from My Heart, heal and strengthen the souls united to Me by Communion?
4. Moreover My Child, when I come to the soul, through the Holy Sacrament, I bring with Me all the sentiments of My Heart, and, according to the disposition of her heart, I share these with her: the love of humility, the love of charity, the love of holy poverty, the love of purity, the love of obedience, in fine, of all virtues which remove
the sources of vice, that they themselves may occupy their place. This love, which is the soul of all virtues, and which My Heart communicates through the Sacrament, is strong as death. This, unless thou hinder it, will render thee invincible.
Call to mind the primitive Church: how great a fortitude of love My Heart was wont to impart through holy Communion, so that the faithful,----even they that were weakest by nature, children and tender maidens,---were victorious over all the enemies of salvation, and stronger than death itself.
Whatever allurement the pride of life possessed, whatever the lust of the eyes could effect, whatever effort the concupiscence of the flesh could make, was not able, in the least, to captivate hearts, that,---fortified with this food of the strong, replenished with the sweetness of My love,---longed for naught save to persevere in love for Me, and
feared nothing except to be deprived of My love.
What could separate these from My love? not tribulation, not distress, not persecution, not death in any shape.
5. That which this Sacrament of the love of My Heart did formerly work so visibly, the same it does even now.
For, whence, except from My Heart in this Divine mystery, among so many of the faithful, so great an abhorrence of whatsoever the world and self-love pursue? whence, among so many youths and maidens, so great a love of innocence, that they spurn and trample under foot all things contrary thereto, how charming soever they may appear to nature; that they seek, and embrace with joy, every safeguard of their beloved virtue although disagreeable to nature? Whence, in many, that generousness of heart, even to loving the cross for My sake, even to making sacrifices with gladness for love of Me? Whence, in fine, in very many, of every condition in life, so great a fortitude, that, although they own themselves weak, they withstand, unconquered, every opposition of the world, all the assaults of Hell, yea, overcome them triumphantly?
Behold here marvelous things, My Child; behold, how this Divine Bread, which the love of My Heart bestows, gives life and preserves it from death and even from decay.
6. The voice of the Disciple.---O living and life-giving Sacrament! whence I have the Bread of Life, whereby I may live and be strong in spirit. I beseech Thee, O Lord, give me always this Bread: but. so that I may not grow sick nor die.
For how many examples have we heard, and how many have our fathers related to us, of them that have eaten this Bread of life, and died!
Nay, we have seen and known, and trembled with fear, that even of them that frequently or even daily banqueted with Thee, and ought therefore to have lived like Angels, some have shamefully gone away, and filled themselves with the husks of swine, and wallowed in the mire, despising grace, despising Heaven, despising the dread of Hell itself!
The voice of Jesus.---Behold, My Child, men who, when they were in honor, did not understand, but have become like to senseless beasts!
But judge thou rightly: if thou perceivest that even they, who here banqueted in purple, have sought their delight in filthiness, ascribe it solely to their senseless, evil will.
For, this saving Sacrament, although of itself it preserves from death, does not however deprive man, if he be unwilling to live, of the power of causing death to himself.
By weakening the passions and the foe, it strengthens and assists, in a wonderful manner, the freedom of the will, but it places no necessity upon the same.
Wherefore, a person often and duly strengthened by this Divine nourishment, will live and not die, although he may do so, if he misuses, for the purpose of causing death, what is given for the purpose of life.
When, therefore, thou hearest the examples of them that have fallen, reflect on thyself, and say: He that stands, let him take heed lest he fall.
And be thou so much the more on thy guard, lest by voluntary defects and lukewarmness, thou hinder holy Communion from producing its saving and Divine effects.
7. The voice of the Disciple.---O Jesus! O life! through which I live, without which I die: bid me ever live by this life: bid me ever enjoy vigorousness of spirit.
O my beatitude, O Lord! Whom I possess through holy Communion, I ask no sensible consolations, but that love, by which I may be so strong, that I do never grow weak; by which I may be so replenished, that whatsoever the world offers me, may cause me disgust, never any relish.
Grant me, I beseech Thee, to watch more cautiously over all the senses of my body, to guard more attentively every faculty of my soul, so that no fault do hinder the fruit of Communion.
Drive, and keep far from me, all occasions of sin; protect me powerfully, and preserve me unharmed amidst the dangers to which, for the sake of Thy service, I must be exposed.
But, more than all, keep me from all sin, and grant that I may never be separated from Thee, who art my only true and blissful life.
8. How good it is to be with Thee, O Jesus, sweetness of my heart, sole felicity of my soul! O! do not suffer me to depart from 'Thee, nor do Thou Thyself, I implore Thee, withdraw from me. Stay with me, I entreat Thee, lest darkness seize me, lest dangers encompass me, lest, destitute of courage and strength, I perish: for Thou art my true light, Thou my place of refuge, Thou my strength and salvation.
By the love of Thy Heart, I beg and implore Thee, abide with me, O most kind and sweet Jesus: without Thee, nothing is well, nothing is pleasing. Without Thee, O how miserable am! but O how blissful with Thee!
Stay, therefore, with me, and rather deprive me of the possession of all else, of the love of all creatures, than permit that I should be deprived of the possession and the love of Thee.
CHAPTER XXII. BY HOLY COMMUNION THE MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS UNITES US WITH HIMSELF, AND MAKES US LIVE THROUGH AND FOR HIM
1. The voice of Jesus.-----My Child, he that eateth Me, the same shall live by Me.
Why should he not also live for Me, since he is so united with Me that he is incorporated with Me, and animated by Me?
For behold! if ever, it is assuredly in Communion thou art become a member of My Body, of My Flesh, of My Blood. Wilt thou, then, taking a member of Christ the Lord thy God, make it a member of the world or of iniquity? God forbid.
But, rendered living and holy by My very Body and Blood, thou wilt show thyself living of Me, holy, pleasing to Me in all things.
As the body does, in some manner, put on the qualities of the food wherewith it is wont to be nourished; so that he who, being properly disposed, nourishes himself with strong and solid aliments, becomes himself strong and robust: thus, My Child, thou shalt find by experience, if thou feedest often and properly on Me, the principle of all purity and sanctity, that thou also shalt become pure and holy.
Thy soul cleaving to Me, will now no longer crawl with her mind among earthly and perishable things, will no longer with her heart find delight among the low and vain pleasures of the world, but will seek the things which are above and enduring; she will relish that which is supernal and good.
Principles foreign to Me shall animate thee no more: merely natural sentiments shall no longer exercise an influence over thy life; but because I live, thou shalt also live.
This true, supernatural, holy life, which thou wilt live as effected by Me, which thou wilt live hidden in Me, thou wilt also live for Me.
2. If, in this thy life, thou dost any good works, if thou practicest any virtues, if thou performest any exercises of piety; all these will be for Me.
If anyone ask thee, why thou thinkest, why thou speakest, why thou actest, why thou sufferest in this manner, thou wilt be able to answer: It is all for the sake of Him who loved me, and gave Himself to me.
Marvelous intercourse of My Heart, secret and Divine communing with a pure and faithful heart, in this Sacrament of love! The world understands not these things.
And who can comprehend it, save the innocent in body and the clean of heart? The same shall know, he shall experience, he, in fine, being admitted to higher and more interior things, shall live for Me in a still more marvelous manner.
3. For, being continually nourished of Me, and completely united with Me, he will at last not live save of Me: he will not breathe save by My breath, he will not love except by My love.
Yea, as the living Father has sent Me, and I live through the Father: so he that eats My Flesh, the same shall in like manner live through Me.
Attend, My Child, and understand all the sublimity of this. As I receive of the Father, and unceasingly have in the Father, divine being, life, and perfection: so he that is rightly disposed, receives of Me, through holy Communion, and possesses uninterruptedly in Me a holy being, a holy life, a holy perfection.
I am holy because My Father is holy: and he that is here incorporated with Me, partakes of My sanctity.
4. My Child, does not fire communicate its heat and color to the iron or wood which is put into it? But in the Sacrament there is a far more wonderful and more perfect communication between Me and the soul which is rightly prepared.
She communicates herself wholly to Me, and, if disposed, she receives in return the communication not only of My Humanity, but also of My Divinity; which, when My Humanity ceases to exist and act in her, continues to operate in her, like a super-substantial food, which not merely preserves, but even increases and perfects her spiritual, her holy life.
Yea, it causes My Spirit to flow perpetually into that blissful soul, and the love of My Heart to urge her on gently and strongly; incited by which she allows herself to be guided by My Spirit: nay more, whithersoever she is guided by My Spirit, she cheerfully concurs with the same, living always and everywhere in Me.
In this wise, therefore, does a well-disposed soul, through holy Communion, live through Me and for Me. Being often refreshed sacramentally, she becomes, at last, so assimilated to Me, that she manifests My life in herself.
Take courage, Child, be zealous of these things, and strive diligently to attain to what is so consoling, so advantageous, and so glorious to Me and to thee forever.
5. The voice of the Disciple.---O Lord Jesus Thou knowest how I long, how I yearn for these things.
By Thy most Sacred Heart, I entreat Thee, O Thou the beginning and end of my life, do Thou frequently, in this Sacrament, nourish with Thyself me, whom by Thy grace Thou hast begotten, that I may live for Thee.
Behold, O Lord, it is by Thy gift that I live. but for what do I live, if I live not for Thee?
O Jesus, fountain of life, never-failing bliss free me from every inordinate disposition, that I may be wholly replenished with Thee, that I may wholly live for Thee.
So often as, through holy Communion, Thou comest to me, if Thou findest in me aught that is worldly, aught that is foreign to Thy Spirit, aught that is opposed to the good pleasure of Thy Heart; do Thou root it out, I beseech Thee, that it may yield its place to Thee, to the Spirit and love of Thy Heart.
Free me altogether from every obstacle: with the divine fire of Thy Heart, do Thou consume whatsoever hinders me from being sacredly and perfectly united with Thee, so that, being no longer mine but Thine, I may altogether live for Thee.
6. Renew, sanctify my body and soul, that, being consecrated to Thee, and animated by Thee, they may be solely occupied with Thee, and for Thee.
Grant, I entreat Thee, that I may undertake and perform every employment for Thee; and that, during the same, so far as is allowed, I may often entertain myself with Thee.
Grant, that, when I am free from my occupations, I may forthwith, with mind and heart, turn myself to Thee, as the weight, when the obstacle is removed, hastens to its centre.
Be Thou alone, henceforth, the beginning and the end of all I do or suffer, whether inwardly or outwardly.
Ah, Lord Jesus! although nourished by Thee and for Thee, how long, how often, have I labored and endured not for Thee, but for the enemies of Thy honor and glory,---for self-love, for a vain pride!
Forgive me, I implore Thee, this perverseness, this injustice, this great ingratitude.
Give me efficacious grace, that, as is most just and worthy, living of Thee, I may likewise live for Thee.
7. O Jesus, most loving and most amiable Bridegroom of my soul! enlighten me, enkindle me, that I may more perfectly know, more fervently love Thee, my only blissful life.
I acknowledge and confess, O Lord, that I am not worthy that Thou shouldst raise me to the sublimity of Thy life, which Thou art wont to communicate, in the Sacrament, to Thy Saints: but Thou, Lord, art most worthy to be served, for the glory and joy of Thy Heart, in a holy manner---even by me.
This grace, therefore, do Thou grant to me, that, through a frequent and devout Communion, I may attain to this, that I may live, as Thou also livest.
Yea, live Thou, O Jesus, infinite sweetness, my everlasting happiness! live Thou, reign Thou, triumph Thou in me, unto Thy honor, unto everything that can be pleasing to Thy Heart.
May everything I possess, may all I am, be immolated, be sacrificed to Thee by purest love: Thou alone, most sweet Jesus, art my life: Thou alone art everything to me.
CHAPTER XXIII. THE MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS, THROUGH HOLY COMMUNION, PERFECTS HIS UNION WITH US, AND TRANSFORMS US INTO HIMSELF
1. The voice of Jesus.-----My Child, he that eats My Flesh, and drinks My Blood, abides in Me, and I in him.
Behold here a perfect union, whereby I, a Divine Person, am found with Body and Soul in thee; and thou, a human person, art found with body and soul in Me.
This union is, therefore, true and substantial. For no one is in Me, unless I be in him.
If some one pours melted wax into other melted wax, the one must necessarily commingle with the other: in like manner, when thou receivest My Body and Blood, thou art so united with Me, that thou art in Me, and I am truly and intimately in thee.
Is not this, My Child, a mystery of love? Verily, it is even an excess of love; for the force and power of love over My Heart are such that thereby it is given to man, not only to be completely made one with My Body, but also with My Soul and My very Divinity, and that he sweetly enjoy the same.
How the Angels wonder at this! how they stand astonished! how blissful they pronounce thee.
2. In this holy intercourse, My Heart pours forth that delicious and precious grace, whereby this consummate union becomes enduring, so that I abide in thee and thou in Me.
For, even after the Sacramental species are consumed, I, as God, abide personally in thee, not only as living in a living temple, adorned with habitual grace, but also as the perpetual principle of super. natural sanctity, elevating thy life by the continual influence of sanctifying grace, and by the frequent infusion of actual grace! and thus thou, in return, abidest, in a peculiar manner, in Me.
Hence it is, My Child, that thou art enabled to live a life truly holy, a life, in some manner, Divine: since thou possessest ever, both in thy body and soul, My Divinity, whence thou mayst draw life.
And this abiding union between Me and thee will be perfect, whensoever there shall exist between Me and thee a true similarity, a true uniformity: for things dissimilar and different are difficulty and imperfectly united with each other.
Blessed perfection of abiding union! Blessed thou, My Child, if, through frequent and devout Communion, if, through manifold grace thence received, if, through a generous fidelity, if, through constant fervor of love, thou disposest thyself to this perfect union!
3. For what springs from a perfect union, if not oneness? Therefore, we shall now be no longer two, but, in some manner, one.
This marvelous, delightful, beatific oneness is above all distinguished---and excels all others, which are blended together from created objects---by this, that it arises, not from the combining or putting together of us both, but from the transformation of the one into the other.
Thou wilt not, however, change Me into thee, like natural food: but thou shalt be changed into Me.
Then, My Child, the affections of thy heart shall no longer be thine, thy desires shall be thine no more, thy joy thine no more.
And, whatever natural inclinations thou shalt possess, and whatever other affections according to man, these, for this transformed life, shall be as if they were not; since thou shalt not live by them.
But in this new life, thou shalt live My life: the affections and inclinations of My Heart shall now be thy affections and inclinations: the love, the desires, the joy of My Heart, shall now be thy love thy desires, thy joy.
The aversion of My Heart to evil, to the world, to everything vain, will pervade and replenish thy heart.
The boundless zeal, wherewith My Heart is burning, for the honor and glory of God, for the salvation and perfection of souls, will inflame thy heart.
Whatsoever is bitter, thou shalt find sweet; what is distasteful, thou shalt deem delicious; what is difficult, thou shalt account easy in Him in whom thou livest and art able to do all things.
Thou shalt think of everything as I think; thou shalt will as I will; thou shalt live as I live: yea, thou shalt live, thyself no more, but I in thee.
4. Behold, My Child, the height to which the faithful soul is raised through holy Communion! Who, except one that has experienced it, can understand all the holy, all the delightful, all the marvelous things of a soul thus transformed into Me!
Many are called to this supernatural transformation, but few are chosen: not that I am unwilling to choose them that are called, but because they do not dispose themselves, by means of the grace imparted to them.
For, how many there are, who, even though they frequent the holy Sacrament, do yet continue, in almost everything, to follow nature!
How many, also, there are, who strive indeed to keep themselves in a state of grace, but who, satisfied with this, so serve nature that they perform their actions from natural aversion or inclination!
How many, in fine, who, although they make profession of a pious or even a religious life, and have spent several years therein, have not yet learnt to pass beyond nature!
What wonder, then, if these remain always im- perfect, always miserable, ever unprepared for that Divine and perfect union!
5. But they who, being disposed, have reached this state of transformation, how great a happiness do they possess! how holy a liberty do they enjoy! with what purity do they taste My sweetness!
Hence, they despise all things that perish, they I forget themselves; made perfect and blissful, they abide in Me.
The greatest bliss, My Child, the greatest height, the greatest perfection, to which a person can be raised in this mortal life, is this, that he abide transformed and consummated in Me.
Marvelous, yea, unspeakable state, wherein Mine are and remain thine, and thine Mine, and wherein oneness and fellowship between Me and thee are perpetually strengthened!
Come, then, My Child, do not lose the hope of so great a perfection, but, after having heard the blissfulness of such a state, be more courageous, more generous, more faithful: thus, at the proper time, r will lift thee up unto Myself.
6. The voice of the Disciple.---O Jesus, my love, most pure Bridegroom, most holy God! with how great a sweetness dost Thou deal with me, who comest so often and so kindly to me in this most delicious Sacrament, in order to unite me, miserable creature, with Thyself, with Thy most sacred Humanity, with Thy adorable Divinity!
By the love of Thy Heart, whereby Thou deemest me worthy of such a favor, I beg and beseech Thee, consume Thou whatsoever there is in me contrary to the perfection of this union; and enkindle within me a great fervor; that, generous and faithful to every motion of grace, I may transcend all merely natural things, and practice pure virtues.
Thou knowest, O Lord, how great a desire, through Thy goodness, possesses me of disposing myself ever more and more to this perfect and permanent union with Thee.
Behold! I offer, I deliver up to Thee, whatsoever I am: I give Thee my heart, that it may be united with Thine: I give Thee my spirit, that it may be absorbed by Thine: I give Thee my whole self, that, by the efficacious grace of Thy Sacrament, I may be made of one likeness and form with Thee.
Receive me, O Jesus! accept me: unite me wholly with Thee: absorb me altogether: transform me into Thyself.
7. O how great and wonderful is the power of Thy love, whereby Thou changest the soul into Thyself! how great the condescension of Thy goodness! how great, likewise, the dignity and excellence of the soul transformed into Thee!
O Lord my God! Lo, shall it ever be given me thus to enjoy Thee? O let it be so, I beseech Thee! all the honor and glory of so blissful, of so disinterested a favor shall belong to Thy Heart, the fountain of all blessings.
Let me cease to be what I am, that I may begin to be what Thou art, Lord Jesus: live Thou alone in me with Thy love, with Thy Spirit, with all Thy Heart's inclinations and dispositions, with Thy good pleasure for time and for eternity.
CHAPTER XXIV. THROUGH HOLY COMMUNION THE MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS
BESTOWS ON US THE GIFT OF PERSEVERANCE
1. The voice of Jesus.-----My Child, he that eats this Bread shall live forever.
And why should he not lead an immortal life? for, he has within him an enduring, an ever-living principle, whereby he may continue upon earth the life of grace, until he arrive at the life of glory in Heaven.
Thou wilt understand the price of this saving fruit of the holy Communion, and burn with love for the same, if thou attendest to the magnitude of the gift, whereby perseverance in the life of grace is secured.
Perseverance, My Child, is the consummation of virtue, the guardian of merit, the last and permanent triumph, the secure reward of labors and sufferings, the crown of everlasting glory.
Without perseverance, all other things, whatsoever they be, are devoid of their everlasting fruit and reward: perseverance alone crowns all.
And therefore were all the Saints so particularly anxious about this great gift, that, since they could not condignly merit the same, they might, at least, put no hindrance to it, and might, through the means given, carefully prepare themselves therefor.
Do thou, in like manner, diligently dispose thyself, My Child, by the removal of every obstacle and, as they did, so wilt thou also, through Holy Communion, obtain this most excellent gift of perseverance.
2. This have I determined in My Heart, Child, that the greatest Sacrament, the holy Eucharist, should impart the greatest grace-perseverance.
And, indeed, since in the Sacrament I give Myself to thee, whereby the Majesty of the Divinity may seem to be debased; why should I not give perseverance, whereby the glory of the Divinity is exalted?
Wherefore, although of thyself thou art weak and hast many miseries, here thou wilt receive for thyself such strength from My Heart that thou wilt be enabled to reach the goal in safety.
For, if the Prophet, in the strength of the food, which was only a figure of the Sacrament, reached the mountain of God, how much more shalt thou be enabled, by the strength of the truly life-giving, of the truly Divine food, to reach the heights of the everlasting hills?
Lift up thy eyes, and see how many, of themselves not less weak, not less feeble than thyself, have safely reached there even now. Take courage, and proceed thou cheerfully.
3. My Child, yield to no immoderate fear: united with Me, thou canst efficaciously and easily guard against falling.
Whence arises the beginning of ruin if not from lukewarmness? For, when the soul languishes with lukewarmness, things spiritual must needs become unsa vory and unpleasant, and nature desire and seek its own.
Then man, by the propensity of his nature, begins to neglect watchfulness over the powers of his soul and the senses of his body; yea, in order to entertain his failing heart, he gives a freer scope to them, and occasionally exposes them to the allurements of sin; at first, not without some dread, but, by degrees, in a bolder manner.
And hence, by three steps, he falls into destruction. At the first, he acts carelessly, until he finds himself in the proximate danger of sin: at the second, he does not strive to pray earnestly, and implore the Divine grace that he may escape the danger, that he may not be overcome by sin; at the third, alone and defenseless, in the midst of enemies, from within and from without, conspiring against him, he plays, and he amuses himself, as it were, with the charming monster, when, behold! he is overpowered, and rolls headlong into the abyss.
4. By what other means, My Child, canst thou more securely and more easily avert such evils, than by the saving Sacrament, which unites thee with Me, binds thee with the chain of love, and makes thee a partaker of My own strength?
What is there So well suited to drive lukewarmness away from thy soul, as frequent and devout Communion; through which the fervor of Divine love enters, and takes wholly possession of thee?
Yea, if, during the time intervening between Communion, any beginning of lukewarmness make its appearance, a new and devout receiving of the Sacrament removes it, and restores the first fervor. For heat and cold, fervor and tepidity, cannot dwell together in the heart.
Nay more, My Child, a holy Communion reca& the whole man to jnterior things, and brings together all the powers of his soul and the senses of his body, to celebrate with Me, in peace and gladness, the sacred banquet.
But the propensity of corrupt nature does not lead to this; for it is itself also curbed in the Divine mystery, which soothes the passions of the soul and tranquilizes the ill-regulated motions of the body.
Here, heavenly delights, whilst they satiate, awaken a longing for them: and worldly pleasures, if any were tasted before, produce such a loathing that the desire of them appears base and unworthy.
Wherefore, being frequently renewed in spirit through Communion, and self-collected in Me, taught by the experience of thy own heart, thou wilt understand how much thou art obliged, and of how great an importance it is to thee, to be faithful.
On this account, during the intervals of thy Com. munions, thou wilt endeavor to be on thy guard, and not expose thyself, of thy own accord, to danger. And, if at any time thou findest thyself in a necessary or unforeseen danger; by reason of thy wonted intimacy with Me, which thou hast learnt in Communion, and cherished all along, thou wilt forthwith have recourse to Me, and strive, by prayer and supplication, by distrust in thyself and reliance upon Me, to flee, as soon as possible, from the danger, and to unite thyself more closely with Me.
By so doing, My Child, thou shalt walk upon the asp and the basilisk, and thou shalt trample under foot the lion and the dragon, and avoid every monster of sin, and, at last, reach thy end safe and unharmed.
5. Wherefore, unless thou art often nourished with My Body and Blood, in the Sacrament; and unless thou dost sufficiently co-operate with the grace of the Sacrament, thou shalt not persevere in the supernatural life.
This co-operation is, however, made sweet and easy through Communion, by reason of the peculiar grace given for this end in the Sacrament, and on account of the special love infused from My Heart, whereby ever) thing is alleviated and sweetened.
Behold, then, how thou n:ayst secure for thyself, through a frequent, devout, and holy Communion, the gift of gifts, final perseverance.
Come then, My Child; it is a matter of supreme importance to thee: be brave and magnanimous, as is befitting a Disciple of My Heart. Faithfully employ the n:eans: keep thyself constantly united with Me: thus thou shalt attain to those boundless and precious blessings, which now accompany holy perseverance, and will follow it throughout eternity.
6. The voice of the Disciple.---How limitless, how precious, Lord Jesus, are those blessings! They are so great, that, for them, Thy Saints gave up willingly everything, and that, when tasting them, they frequently shed tears in the excess of their blissfulness.
How, then, could I be willing to exchange things so full of bliss for the miseries of sin? how could I abandon charity, love of Thee, for the love of the enemy of my happiness?
For, I shall not lose these things which are the effect and fruit of charity, unless I first abandon, unless I first expel charity itself from my heart For, of itself, charity never falls away.
Thou didst love me first, a most kind Jesus. Thou camest first: but behold! Thou wilt not be the first to withdraw: Thou wilt not forsake me first, unless I myself first forsake Thee. So kind is the goodness of Thy Heart!
O Jesus! suffer me not to leave Thee. Without Thee, what is there for me but darkness, and grief, and anguish, and bitterness, and misery, and never-ending death. Ah! allow not evils so great to befall me. Grant, O Lord, grant, I beseech Thee, that, united with Thee, I may rather die any death of the body whatsoever, than lose Thee, the life of my soul, the fountain of all blessings.
By Thy Heart, by the Heart of Thy Virgin-Mother, by whatever is pleasing to Thee in Heaven and on earth, I beg and entreat Thee, grant me perseverance; bestow grace, add courage, that I may efficaciously employ the means Thou hast given.
7. I am, indeed, weak arid infirm, O Lord; but Thou art all-powerful and good. Assist me, therefore, and strengthen me. Be Thou unto me a Saviour-God, and Thy Heart a house of refuge to save me.
OJesus, good Shepherd! for Thy Name's sake, do Thou lead me, and nourish me with Thyself, do Thou refresh me with the living waters gushing out of Thy Heart, that I may cheerfully continue to follow Thee.
O Jesus, heavenly Physician! have pity on me, heal my frequent infirmities, repair my shortcomings, restore my vigor, that I may not grow faint on the way.
O Jesus, my Teacher! teach me to do Thy Will; I guide my way even unto the end.
O Jesus, my Beloved! entertain Thou me, comfort me in my afflictions, help me in my difficulties, incite me, urge me on to proceed and to persevere.
O Jesus, Divine Bridegroom of my soul! hold me closer to Thee: draw me after Thee: behold! being willingly drawn, I will run by Thy strength: I will run unwearied to the secure and everlasting possession of Thee.
CHAPTER XXV. THROUGH HOLY COMMUNION THE MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS
GIVES US A PLEDGE OF FUTURE GLORY
1. The voice of Jesus.-----He that eats My Flesh, and drinks My Blood, has everlasting life: and I will raise him up on the last day.
Behold, My Child, a great mystery, but a great mystery of love, a great mystery of consolation.
For, here in the most holy Sacrament, thou receivest both the medicine of immortality, and the symbol of resurrection.
Hence, not only the soul, vivified and sanctified through Me, attains to the life forever blissful, but even the body, corruptible and obscure, united and incorporated with My life-giving and glorious Body obtains never-ending glory and Immortality.
Wherefore, not merely on account of sanctifying grace, but also for a new reason, for the sake of the holy Communion, will I make thy soul forever joyous and blissful, reform thy body, render it like unto My Body, and adorn it, in a peculiar manner, with glorious properties.
Lo, My Child, the most delightful and most marvelous fruit of Communion---which completes and crowns all the others.
2. My Child, when the goodness of My Heart wishes to display all Its n1agnifict'nce, behold! all Its other qualities and virtues are at hand, and concur and vie to ennoble and perfect the object.
Now, in the holy Sacrament of the Eucharist, the love of My Heart has decreed, so to manifest the grandeur of Its munificence, that Its most glorious fruits should endure for all eternity.
Do not then marvel, if this mystery overflows with prodigies so great and numberless, if it possesses so rich an abundance of blessings; if the whole is sublime, holy, delightful, replenished with consolation.
A very great miracle. indeed, is here promised to thee, that thou shalt live not merely in soul, but also in body, through all eternity; but this is less than that which has already been done for thee. For it is, assuredly, less that a person should live in eternity, than that God should die in time; it is less, that man should be raised up unto a glorious life in Heaven, than that God should be lowered unto a hidden life in the Sacrament.
And why should not the member rise again, when the Head is risen? And why should not he live forever, who possesses in himself everlasting life?
Wherefore, when I, thy Life, shall appear, then thou also shalt appear with Me in glory.
3. Behold, My Child, in the Sacrament thou hast the pledge of this ever-enduring glory, a pledge not of an ordinary kind, but one which is equivalent to the promise.
See, therefore, how great an assurance of thy future blissfulness, My heavenly Father, on His part, has given to thee, when He gave, in so Wonderful a manner, His only-begotten Son as a hostage!
And what must wholly complete thy joy and consolation, is that, in this pledge itself, thou hast wherewith, on thy part, thou mayst not render uncertain that most delightful assurance.
What then remains, My Child, except to be thankful and faithful, to rejoice in the goodness of My Heart, to delight in the blessings poured out upon thee, and, as often as thou receivest Me, to call to mind, with gladness, that everlasting beatitude of which thou possessest the pledge, which thou enjoyest by anticipation?
When that which is promised shall come, the use of the Sacrament shall cease; and thou shalt not now have an anticipated partaking of bliss, but thou shalt possess the plenitude itself of bliss---thou shalt enter into it, and be penetrated by the same.
Then, faith shall yield to sight, hope to complete fruition: and abiding charity shall burst forth into never-ending joys. In that beatitude of thine, thou shalt breathe naught save love, thou shalt speak naught save love, thou shalt do naught but love: for thou shalt be in the pure realm of love.
4. The Sacrament of love leads to the realm of love: the more love has been nourished here, and the more perfectly it has been kindled in thy heart in time; the more will it there enrapture thee, and the more gloriously will it shine in thee during all eternity.
Wherefore, My Child, live thou resigned by love, until the shadows of mortality decline, and the day of immortality dawn: advance thou peacefully by pure love.
Whatsoever thou beholdest around thee, whether things prosperous or adverse, view them with the same eye of pure love, being, amidst them all, solely intent upon Me, in whom thou possessest life, and resurrection, and beatitude.
If thou feelest this mortal life heavy with miseries, know that thou wilt all the more relish thy future bliss, the more thou hast experienced the miseries of the present life; and that thou wilt repose the more sweetly upon My Breast in Heaven, the more hardships thou hast endured, for love of Me, upon earth.
Meanwhile, Child, be cheerful and valiant: repair thy strength and courage by the life-giving Sacrament; for love of Me, remain conformed to My good pleasure, in life and in death.
5. The voice of the Disciple.---O excess of goodness! O Jesus! who can comprehend, in this life, what a Heart Thou hast!
Behold! Thou givest Thyself to me in the Sacrament, to procure for me in abundance all things desirable in time, and, together with this, Thou givest Thyself to me as the pledge of the everlasting bliss, which, by a gratuitous liberality, Thou bast promised to me.
Thanks to Thee, most kind Jesus, endless thanks to Thee, for so great a charity of Thy Heart.
With all my heart do I rejoice at so great, so precious a gift, so gently and so lovingly bestowed, whereby Thou givest me the sweetest confidence of my everlasting salvation.
I beg, O Lord, my God, I humbly beg of Thee, that Thou wouldst grant me efficacious grace, that my election to the glory of Heaven, so certainly and so divinely pledged on Thy part, may not be made void; but that, on my part, through my faithfulness, good works, and true merits, it may, in like manmer, become certain.
6. O most sweet Jesus! with how much fervor and cheerfulness ought I to serve Thee: with how great a courage to walk the roughest roads; with how great love to cling to Thee; that I may reach those unspeakable joys whereof I have here a foretaste, and whereof I possess here so sweet a pledge?
Ah, Jesus, my Beloved, purest Bridegroom of my soul! if it is so delightful to enjoy Thee in myexile, what shall it be in my own true country? if Thy consolations are so sweet in the Sacrament, what shall they be in Thy kingdom? if, whilst Thou art here veiled, Thy embraces so enrapture the heart, what shall they do when I behold Thee face to face, when I recline upon Thy Heart, when I am satiated and inebriated from the torrent of Thy delights?
O my God! when I think on this, whatsoever I find upon earth becomes burdensome and wearisome to me.
Life itself loses all pleasure, since naught therein can wholly satisfy, or completely satiate me.
Nay, even Thy consolations themselves and Thy very sweetness affiict me with a marvelous and unutterable pain; because they cause me to know Thee more distinctly, and to thirst with more eagerness after Thee, the fountain of all consolations, and of every delight.
After Thee, O my Jesus! after Thee do I thirst: Thee do I wish to behold unvailed: upon Thee in Thy glory I desire to gaze: Thee, with all the ardor of my soul, do I long to enjoy by everlasting love.
Come then, O my love, come Thou: bum me: wholly consume me: dissolve me, that I may be with Thee, O Thou my sole desire, my only good!
CHAPTER XXVI. RECAPITULATION: THE MOST SACRED HEART
OF JESUS IS OUR ALL
1. The voice of Jesus.-----My Child, My Heart, which thou possessest in the most Blessed Sacrament ae the pledge of future glory, and which in Heaven will be thy beatitude, is meanwhile, so long as thou sojoumest on earth, all things to thee.
For It is wholly, with all It possesses, delivered up to thee, for thy use and enjoyment.
Now this Heart, as It consists of a human nature, is indeed human, and can, therefore, feel for thee in a human manner; but, as It is hypostatically united with the divine Nature, It is, at the same time, Divine,---is the Heart of a Divine Person, and, consequently, possesses that which is Divine and
Behold, then, the fountain of all blessings, always accessible, always gushing, whence thou canst ever draw, but which thou canst never drain.
Here, My Child, here shalt thou find whatsoever is necessary, whatsoever is useful to thee.
If at any time thou growest cool in spirit, here thou shalt be kindled again, here thou shalt be renewed interiorly, here thou shalt recover inward
If thou hast offended, here thou shalt find mercy, here thou shalt obtain forgiveness, here thou shalt regain peace.
If thou art languishing through weakness, here thou shalt be restored, here thou shalt be strength. ened, here thou shalt be invigorated with a Divine power.
If thou needest counsel, or courage, or assistance, here thou shalt obtain it in abundance.
If thou desirest some Divine grace, some useful favor, some genuine comfort, here thou shalt find the same.
Whatsoever, finally, is conducive to thy real happiness, thou shalt here secure, at any time and in any place, in health and in sickness, in life and in death.
2. Moreover, My Child, in the Sacrament, My Heart is, likewise, a pattern of every virtue and of all sanctity.
Contemplate with the eyes of faith, love, and imitate the virtues of My Heart all reduced to unity, and yet remaining separate. One and the same love combines, ennobles, and displays them all.
See here the gentleness of the love of My Heart, Its humble charity. Behold here truly the Heart of a hidden God, who emptied Himself: but to what an extent did He empty Himself! the more deeply thou shalt meditate hereon, the deeper thou shalt find the abyss of that humility, and the better thou shalt perceive the magnitude of that kindness, whereby My Heart, ever gentle, ever meek toward all, undergoes and endures so much for love of thee.
Look at Its piety. Consider how It devotes Itself to the service of God Its Father: how It consecrates Itself to His interests: how It is ever busy with the things that belong to His good pleasure.
Look at Its poverty. Look into the innermost of this Heart, what are Its sentiments in regard to the possessions of this world. See how It uses them. See how It is destitute of what is suitable. Behold here the model of holy poverty.
See Its purity. Yea, My Child, behold and observe, how It possesses a Body, made in some manner spiritual, like the ray of the sun, pure always and everywhere: behold and observe in what manner It employs Its senses: behold and observe how holy are all Its affections. Lo, the mirror of purity.
See Its obedience. Behold and be astonished, My Child. Lo! at the voice of a simple creature, at the word of the priest, I am ready, with My Heart prepared for everything: and even if the priest speak for the sake of sordid gain, yea, even if he be wicked, as soon as he has uttered the words of holy Consecration, I am present, with My Heart disposed to all things. In what place soever I may be put, there I rest, with My Heart resIgned. In what manner soever I am treated, although I am not insensible, I yet am and remain full of bliss. This, My Child, is the pattern of perfect obedience.
See Its prudence. Examine devoutly, how great a prudence It teaches thee, in the sacred Tabernacle, by Its example, in devoting and applying the means to the end: how great a prudence in the choice of companions, since It dwells ever among Angels; how great a prudence in manifesting affections, whether of liking or dislike.
See Its justice. Contemplate, how It reters Its Sacramental life, and Its every occupation to God, to whom all is due. Examine and observe, with how great a fidelity It directs all things, great and small, to the divine glory.
See Its fortitude. Mark Its virtue, in enduring, with an even and unconquered mind, every hardship, as well from the faithful, from sinners, from the lukewarm, and from all the ungrateful, as from the places wherein It is left, or neglected, or even treated with indignity: in persevering in the undertakings of Divine love, in spite of every opposition and contrariety: in making use of things adverse themselves to manifest a purer love for God and for man.
See Its moderation or discretion. It distinguishes between the person who sins and the sin of the person. Knowing that man is the work of God, but sin the work of man, It desires and seeks, with unwearied patience, to destroy the sin and to save the man. It distinguishes between nature and grace, between the appearance of things and the
realitv. It distinguishes between good and good, and approves of that as better, which the Divine Will actually requires or prefers.
See Its zeal. It burns here with the desire of saving souls, seizes every opportunity, and labors in a marvelous manner. For this object, It pours forth prayers, night and day: for this, It shows an example of forbearance, of mercy, of every virtue: for this, It speaks to souls in many and various ways: for this, at one time It inspires and
moves; at another, It presses and urges. Thus It teaches a zeal possible for all, easy for them that love.
See Its generosity. Behold what It gives, and with how great a cheerfulness: lo! It gives not only gladly what It has, but even what It is; not only Its graces, but also Its merits; and---more than all---Its very Self. See what It sacrifices, and with what nobleness of love. See what consola- tion It feels, when, for the Divine glory, It comforts the heart of man.
See Its perseverance. Here, in holiness, It spends year after year, nay, age after age. Compare with this the time of thy perseverance, during the short space of a lifetime. It perseveres, not like thyself---now growing lukewarm then again fervent,---but ever with the same fervor. It perseveres with gladness, because It perseveres out of love.
Behold, My Child, the crown of sanctity, the e.rown of the twelve constellations,---which embrace all the stars of virtue,---wherewith My Heart is adorned, and in each of which love is twinkling and glittering.
For it is the love of My Heart that is humble, that is meek, that is pious, that is poor, that is pure, that is obedient, that is prudent, that is just, that is long-suffering, that is discreet, that by its zeal promotes faith, hope, charity; that is generous and ennobles all things, that is ever persevering.
3. Lastly, My Child, My Heart is the Way, the Guide, and the Gate of Heaven.
The most safe Way, by following which thou canst not err: the shortest Way, because the straightest: the most pleasant and most eas.y Way, because the Way of love: the Way, in fine, wherein all My Saints have walked, and whosoever walks therein will become a Saint.
The Guide, who will protect thee on every occasion, and ward off all danger from thee: who will assist thee with manifold grace, and reinvigorate thee with the very Bread of Angels: who will entertain and sanctify thee with the display of mysteries, through which he will lead thee, and by which he will keep thy mind and heart occupied in a pleasant and holy manner,---advancing from mystery to mystery, from virtue to virtue, from one degree of holiness to another,---until thou reachest the kingdom of Heaven.
The Gate, beside which there is none other, through which thou canst be admitted into Heaven: the Gate, through which alone entrance is given: the Gate, through which, if anyone do enter, he shall be saved and blissful forever.
Beware, therefore, My Child, lest thou hearken to them that say, that there is a higher and better road for more perfect souls; a way, not of My Heart, but of the mere Godhead, a way, which,---setting aside or overlooking My Humanity,---can lead thee in a sublime manner to thy end, through the Divinity alone.
Whosoever says this to thee, be he a man or an Angel, believe him not, trust him not.
For, through My Humanity, I came to men: and, through this same Humanity, must men come to Me.
Whosoever tries another road will go astray: he shall wander about amid dryness of mind and dryness of heart: frequently, destitute of inward occupation and entertainment, he shall become exhausted; yea, he shall be in danger, at last, of falling away altogether.
But thou, My Child, be thou mindful of My Heart, wherein thou shalt find all things. Here do thou frequently resort to Me: here be often in My presence: here pray, give thanks, praise, hearken to My words, meditate on My Heart: gaze upon Me abiding with thee, offering thee all things.
Come then, My Child, yet a little while, and thou shalt repose secure upon My Heart forever.
Meanwhile, occupy thyself with Me, and I will occupy Myself with thee.
Hold thyself in readiness: for coming I will come, and take thee up with Me into My everlasting kingdom.
4. The voice of the Disciple.---Yea, most loving and most lovely Jesus, until Thou comest, I will ever be mindful of Thv Heart; in It will I live, in It will I busy myself with Thee, in It will I hold myself in readiness.
How could I ever forget that Heart, to which I owe everything, and in which I find all things?
Behold, a infinite sweetness! henceforth, Thy Heart shall be my rest, my true bliss.
Here will I repose the more safely, and securely and pleasantly, a Lord my God, the wiser, the more powerful, the more delightful Thou art.
If the world lays snares, if the devil tempts, my heart shall not be troubled; for its abode is in peace, since it dwells in the aid of the Most High, in Thy very Heart Itself.
a my soul: how intimately shalt thou be united with thy God in the Heart of Jesus! how perfectly present to Him! There shalt thou be ever with Him: thou shalt live blissful in Him, gazing upon Him not in figure, but infused into thee; loving Him not as appearing to thee, but working in thee; possessing Him not as holding Him, but as possessed by Him.
In this Paradise of most pure delights, thou shalt overflow with uninterrupted bliss, ceaselessly enjoying the good things of the Heart of Jesus, the Lord thy God.
O Heart of my Jesus! Heart of my God! true heaven, everlasting repose of all the Elect! be it but granted to roe, that I may always dwell in Thee, enjoy Thee; naught on earth shall be wanting to my bliss.
For Thou art the safeguard and security of them that dwell in Thee: Thou art the reward and glory of them that persevere in Thee: Thou art the joy and delight of them that enjoy Thee.
In Thee is the light of the mind, the fortitude of the heart, the salvation of the soul, the perfection of sanctity, the completion of beatitude.
O Heart of my Beloved: in which there are infinitely more and better things than the mind can understand, or the heart can grasp; why should I seek for aught that is good outside of Thee? Behold! in Thee are all blessings.
5. Wherefore, most kind Jesus, in Thy Heart is for me the life of bliss: and O may death not find me except in Thy Heart! Oh! that there I may, at last, give up my soul!
Yea, may Thy love grant, that, henceforth, I may live, in Thy Heart, a life as it were dead, such as thou livest in the Sacrament!
What death can be more blissful than this? what rest is there comparable to this? Behold! this is my repose in that death, whereby I desire to be disengaged from everything, and, by pure love, to live in Thee and for Thee alone.
O Jesus, my life and my every good: being thus perfectly dead, may I live for Thee so purely, that, when comes the end of mortal life, nothing remains for me, except calmly upon Thy Heart to breathe my last!
Let my last sigh be the sigh of Thy own expir. ing Heart: the sigh of pure love resigned: let me die by love, as also Thou didst die! let me die a holocaust of pure love, consumed in Thy Heart!
Will not this death, O Lord my God, be a blissful repose, a sweet slumber, whereby I fall asleep upon Thy Heart in the land of my banishment, to awake upon Thy Heart in the kingdom of glory, to rest secure and rejoice for evermore? Thus, O thus, my Jesus and my God! thus I wish: thus let it be, I implore Thee, O Thou my sole desire, my Good supreme!
6. O Heart of Jesus! Thou canst not be named, without enkindling: nor thought of, without consoling: nor seen represented, without cheering: what, then, shall it be to gaze upon Thee unveiled, to embrace Thee in truth, to be satiated with Thy everlasting joys?
O beatitude incomprehensible, most blissful life, life without end, without change; life free from all discomfort, replenished with all blessings! how I delight in the remembrance of Thee! how I burn with longing for thee!
Appear Thou, O do appear, O Jesus, consummate blissfulness! bid me enter into Thy joys, O Lord! let me join in fellowship with the choirs of all the Angels and Saints, and begin, with them, the ever-enduring canticle of the love of Thy Heart!
O beatitude above every beatitude: forever and evermore, may I gaze upon Thee, may I love Thee, may I enjoy Thee, for the honor and joy of Thy Heart, O Jesus, O my God and my all!