Abbot Guéranger

IN Passiontide, the Christian went to Holy Communion impressed with these words of the Apostle:

'As often as ye shall eat this Bread, and drink the Chalice, ye shall show the death of the Lord.' [1 Cor. xi 26] He united himself with the Divine Victim immolated for the sins of the world, and he died with his Savior. During Paschal Time, the Heavenly Food produces its effects in another manner; it fortifies the life of the soul, and gives to the body the germ of immortality. It is true that in each season of the liturgical year this twofold effect is produced in those who worthily receive Communion, namely, immolation and resurrection; but as, during the days consecrated to the Passion, the application of the mystery of immolation and sacrifice is more direct and more in accordance with the sentiments of the communicant, so also, during Paschal Time, the Divine contact of the Body of our risen Jesus makes us feel, in a way that Easter alone can do, that to the holy Eucharist we owe the future resurrection of our bodies.

Our Savior Himself teaches us this, where He says: 'Your fathers did eat manna in the desert, and are dead. This is the Bread which cometh down from Heaven, that if any man eat of it, he may not die . . . He that eateth My Flesh, and drinketh My Blood, hath everlasting life, and I will raise him up in the last day.' [St. John vi 49, 5O, 55]

We shall all resume these bodies of ours on the Last Day, either for glory or punishment eternal; but he that worthily unites himself by holy Communion with the glorious and risen Body of the Man-God contracts an alliance and intimacy with him which forbid this Divine Guest to leave in corruption these members made his own by the sublime Mystery.

We must, therefore, approach the holy Table during Eastertide with an ardent ambition for our resurrection, knowing as we do that we then receive into our bodies an element which is to preserve them even when turned into dust; and which, moreover, confers on them a right to the qualities or glorified bodies, whose beauty and happiness will be like those of our Jesus, after he had risen from the grave.

Now, if our Redeemer does all this for our bodies by means of holy Communion-----giving them, by it, the pledge of immortality-----what must he not do for our souls, in order to strengthen and increase within them that new life, that Resurrection-----life, which is the fruit of Easter, the object of all our past efforts, the reward of all the victories we have gained over ourselves during the campaign of Lent? Nay, unless this new life be fostered by frequent Communion, it is in danger of growing weak, perhaps even of becoming extinct within us. The Apostle tells us that 'Christ, having risen from the dead, dieth now no more;' [Rom. vi 9] we, then, must die no more, for we are risen with him. To this end, we must hunger after the Bread of Heaven, of which our Jesus says: 'If any man eat of this Bread, he shall live for ever.' [St. John vi. 52]

We offer to our readers the following Preparation for Holy Communion during Easter. There are souls that feel the want of some such assistance as this; and, for the same reason, We will add a form of Thanksgiving for after Communion.