First Published in 1868.
TAN Books and Publishers
Imprimatur, 1867

Considerations on the Virtues that Jesus Christ Teaches Us in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar
Altered from Crasset


JESUS in the Most Holy Sacrament of the altar is a Master who teaches us every virtue. On earth He led a life of poverty. On the altar, too, we behold Him stripped of everything. It is the same to Him whether He be in a city or in a village; and He dwells as cheerfully in a ciborium of copper as in one of gold or of silver. In Heaven He has a royal retinue, but on earth, who keeps Him company? "I am a man," He says, "Who sees His poverty." We too see the poverty of Jesus, but oh how slow are we to imitate it! Our affections are fixed on fine dwellings, good food, good clothing, good attendance! We dislike feeling the want of anything or suffering the slightest inconvenience, just as though the Son of God had said: "Blessed are the rich, but not the poor; blessed are those that laugh, but not those that weep."


A humble soul debases herself before God and acknowledges her absolute dependence upon Him. Mean and despicable in her own eyes, she accepts humiliations and contempt with cheerfulness. She is obedient to everyone and regards herself as the lowest, the vilest of creatures. She carefully conceals the graces with which God enriches her; she always seeks the last place and flies the praises of men, content to be praised by God alone. In the Most Holy Sacrament, Jesus offers Himself to honor His heavenly Father. Concealing His divinity and humanity under the appearances of bread and wine, He assumes a condition far more humiliating than that to which He reduced Himself in the crib, on the Cross or in the grave. Nay, He exposes Himself to the contempt, to the insults of idolaters, heretics and bad Catholics. And what is worse, He even submits to the horrible outrage of sacrilegious Communion. "In truth, Thou art a hidden God, my God and my Lord!" Thou art a humble God, and I am a proud creature! Thou fleest honors, and I seek them! Thou seekest humiliations, and I fly them!


The body of the Son of God under the sacramental veils is indeed incapable of suffering, yet the love for sufferings which ever consumed the heart of Jesus is in nowise diminished. It was to leave us an eternal memorial of His Passion that Our Lord instituted this Divine Sacrament. He commemorates His sufferings, and He is desirous that we too should preserve the recollection of them. But though His Sacred Body is now incapable of suffering, His Divine Person is still sensible to every insult that is offered to Him! Oh, who can enumerate the outrages  heaped upon Jesus in this Sacrament of His love? Consider the affronts He daily receives from atheists, heretics, superstitious persons and particularly from bad Catholics. Think of the crimes, the sins of irreverence that are committed in His churches, in His own Divine Presence! Think of all the bad and sacrilegious Communions that are made! O Jesus! What admirable lessons of patience dost Thou not daily give us in this Divine Sacrament! But alas, I profit so little by them! I am so passionate, so impatient! I am unwilling to suffer anything from God or man. I cannot bear anything from my superiors, equals or inferiors. I am a burden to myself, and yet I wish that everyone should bear with me. How unreasonable!


It was in obedience to His heavenly Father that the Son of God became man; it was in obedience that His Blessed Mother conceived Him. He was born while obeying an earthly emperor. He lived under obedience to His parents and died out of obedience to His heavenly Father and to His unjust judges. Although He now reigns in Heaven, yet He is ever ready to obey man. He obeys all His priests, the bad as well as the good. He obeys at all hours, by day and by night. He obeys instantly. No sooner are the words of Consecration pronounced by the priest than Jesus is instantly present. He obeys in all places wherever the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered, whether it be on land or at sea, in a village or in a city, in a stately church or in a humble chapel. He submits to every sort of treatment. He suffers Himself to be preserved, to be consumed, to be given to all kinds of persons. He obeys without resistance, without complaint, without showing the least unwillingness. Christian soul, dost thou obey in this manner? Dost thou obey all thy superiors without exception? Dost thou obey blindly? Dost thou obey at all times, in all things, always showing that thou art a humble servant of the Lord, ready to follow the commands of thy superiors?


The whole life of Jesus was one of continual mortification. He is now forever happy in Heaven; nevertheless, He has found a means to teach us by His Own example, even to the end of the world, how to mortify our senses, our will and our judgment. He mortifies His judgment by suffering Himself to be disposed of according to the good pleasure of His priests, to be carried whithersoever they will, to be used for good or bad purposes, just as if He were entirely blind and helpless. He mortifies His will in bearing the numberless indignities that are offered to His Holiness, to His Majesty and to His other Divine Perfections. He mortifies His senses by remaining present in the Sacred Host as if He were dead. He mortifies His tongue by keeping continually a profound silence. He mortifies His whole body, uniting Himself to mere lifeless appearances and remaining day and night in the tabernacle as in a prison of love. O my soul! addicted as thou art to sensual pleasures, what union can there be between thee and the mortified and crucified body of Jesus Christ? The Holy Sacrament continually reminds thee of His Passion and thou holdest suffering in horror! His life under the sacramental veils is entirely spiritual, and thine is entirely sensual!


Jesus teaches us also in this Sacrament how we ought to love God. If we love God truly, we will perform His will in all things, we will keep His commandments, we will suffer much for Him and sacrifice ourselves to His honor. This is what Jesus teaches us on our altars. He sacrifices Himself daily-----nay, hourly-----for the honor of His Father and for the good of men. He has thus found out a means to renew His death in a mystical manner, at all times and in all places. All men should offer themselves to God in order to acknowledge their dependence upon Him, to thank Him for His numberless benefits, to ask new blessings from Him and to atone for their sins. Jesus Christ, as the head of the human race, has taken upon Himself this obligation and daily offers Himself to pay homage to God for all men, to give thanks to God for all the graces they have received from Him, to make satisfaction to His Justice so often offended by their grievous crimes and to obtain for them all the graces necessary for soul and body.

O wretch that I am! God takes upon Himself my sins, He lays down His life to deliver me from death, He bears for love of me a thousand insults, and I in return despise and offend Him, I only provoke His anger more and more. I am unwilling to suffer the least thing for Him, and thus I render His passion and death fruitless to me. What ingratitude! What hardness of heart! What cruelty and injustice!


One of the objects of the Incarnation was to reunite men in the bonds of charity which had been severed by sin. Jesus Christ made this charity an express commandment. He calls it His only commandment. He declares that it is the true mark of His religion. To preserve this charity, He has left us His Body and His Blood under the appearances of bread and wine, in order that, partaking of one Bread, we may also be one body and one soul. And the more to ensure the practice of charity among men, He has made our natural desire for happiness the motive for loving one another. He has commanded us to partake of His Body and Blood under pain of eternal damnation, and the indispensable condition to our receiving this heavenly food is charity.

But, not content with all this, He continually gives us in the Blessed Sacrament most persuasive lessons of charity. While other shepherds clothe themselves with the wool of their flocks and feed on their flesh, Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, strips Himself in order to clothe us; He even gives us His Flesh and Blood for our food; and when a devout soul, transported at a favor so Divine, asks how she may repay so great a benefit, He replies: "Do good to your fellowmen, and I will hold you discharged of all your debts to Me. Whatsoever you do to them I will count it as done to Me." "Does it seem hard to you," He says, "to love your neighbor? Consider, then, how I have loved you. Does it seem hard to you to give and to forgive? Then think whether you are ever required to give anything as precious as the food which I give to you. Think whether you have ever to suffer as many affronts as I have suffered for your sake in this Sacrament of love! Is the disciple greater than his master, or the servant above his lord? Go, then, and do to others what I have done to you."
O Jesus, Thou hast conquered! We give our hearts to Thee that Thou mayest make them humble and gentle. O Thou, the Well-Beloved of the Father, who comest on earth and dwelleth in our tabernacles in order to impart to men Thy Divine Spirit of Charity, take from us all selfishness and hardness of heart and teach us how to love one another.