Most Blessed Sacrament
FR. STEPHANO MANELLI
Imprimatur: 1973, Naples, Italy
Holy Communion: Jesus is Mine
In Holy Communion Jesus gives Himself to me and becomes mine, all mine, in His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.
Thus, one day, St. Gemma Galgani said candidly to Jesus, "I am Your master." With Communion, Jesus enters my heart and remains corporally present in me as long as the species (the appearance) of bread lasts; that is, for about 15 minutes. During this time, the Holy Fathers teach that the Angels surround me to continue to adore Jesus and love Him without interruption. "When Jesus is corporally present within us, the Angels surround us as a guard of love," wrote St. Bernard.
Perhaps we think too little about the sublimity of every Holy Communion, and yet, St. Pius X said that "If the Angels could envy, they would envy us for Holy Communion." And St. Madeleine Sophie Barat defined Holy Communion as "Paradise on earth."
All the Saints have understood by experience the Divine marvel of the meeting and the union with Jesus in the Eucharist. They have understood that a devout Holy Communion means to be possessed by Him and to possess Him. "He who eats My flesh and drinks My Blood abides in Me and I in him" (John 6:57). One time St. Gemma Galgani wrote, "It is now night, tomorrow morning is approaching and then Jesus will possess me and I will possess Jesus." It is not possible to have a union of love more profound and more total: He in me and I in Him; the one in the other. What more could we want?
"You envy," said St. John Chrysostom, "the opportunity of the woman who touched the vestments of Jesus, of the sinful woman who washed His feet with her tears, of the women of Galilee who had the happiness of following Him in His pilgrimages, of the Apostles and disciples who conversed with Him familiarly, of the people of the time who listened to the words of grace and salvation which came forth from His lips. You call happy those who saw Him ... But, come to the altar and you will see Him, you will touch Him, you will give to Him holy kisses, you will wash Him with your tears, you will carry Him within you like Mary Most Holy."
For this reason the Saints have desired and longed for Holy Communion with ardent love; for example, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Paschal Baylon, St. Veronica, St. Gerard, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, St. Dominic Savio, St. Gemma Galgani ... it is pointless to continue because one would really need to list all the Saints.
For example, it happened one night to St. Catherine of Genoa, that she dreamed that the following day she would not be able to receive Holy Communion. The sorrow that she experienced was so great that she cried unceasingly, and when she woke up the next morning she found that her face was all wet from the tears she shed in her dream.
St. Theresa of the Child Jesus has written a little Eucharistic Poem, "Desires near the Tabernacle," in which, among other beautiful things, she said, "I would like to be the chalice, there where I would adore the Divine Blood. I can however in the Holy Sacrifice, gather It in me every morning. My soul is therefore more dear to Jesus, it is more precious than vessels of gold." And what was not the happiness of the angelic Saint when, during an epidemic, daily Communion was conceded to her?
St. Gemma Galgani, one time was put to the test by a confessor who forbade her to receive Holy Communion. "O Father, Father," she wrote to her spiritual director, "today I went to Confession and the confessor has said that I must stop receiving Jesus. O my Father, my pen does not want to write more, my hand shakes strongly, I cry." Dear Saint! Truly a seraphim all on fire with love for the Eucharistic Jesus.
Similarly, St. Gerard Majella, for a false and slanderous report from which he did not wish to defend himself, was punished by being deprived of Holy Communion. The suffering of the Saint was such that one day he refused to go to serve Holy Mass for a priest who was visiting, "because," he said, "on seeing Jesus in the Host in the hands of the priest, I would not be able to resist taking by force the Host from his hands." What longing consumed this wonderful Saint! And what a rebuke for us who, perhaps, are able to receive Holy Communion daily with ease and we do not do it. It is a sign that we lack the essential: love. And perhaps we are so in love with earthly pleasures that we can no longer appreciate the heavenly delights of union with Jesus in the Host. "Child, how can you feel the fragrance of Paradise which diffuses Itself from the Tabernacle?" asked St. Philip of a young man in love with the pleasures of the flesh, of dances and amusements. The joys of the Eucharist and the satisfaction of the senses are "opposed to each other" (Gal. 5:17) and the "sensual man perceives not these things which are of the Spirit of God" (1 Cor. 2:14). This is wisdom which comes from God.
St. Philip Neri loved the Eucharist so much that, even when he was gravely ill, he received Holy Communion every day, and if Jesus was not brought to him very early in the morning he became very upset and he could not find rest in any way. "I have such a desire to receive Jesus," he exclaimed, "that I cannot give myself peace while I wait." The same thing took place in our own time to Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, since only obedience could make him wait until 4 or 5 a.m. to celebrate Mass. Truly, the love of God is a "Devouring Fire" (Deut. 4:24).
When Jesus is mine, the whole Church exalts, the Church in Heaven, in Purgatory and the Church on earth. Who can express the joy of the Angels and Saints at every Holy Communion devoutly received? A new current of love arrives in Paradise and it makes the blessed spirits vibrate every time that a creature unites himself to Jesus to possess Him and be possessed by Him. A Holy Communion is of much greater value than an ecstasy, a rapture or a vision. Holy Communion transports the whole of Paradise into my poor heart!
For the Souls in Purgatory then, Holy Communion is the dearest personal gift which they can receive from us. Who can say how much Holy Communions are helpful in their liberation? One day St. Mary Magdalene of Pazzi's dead father appeared to her and he said that one hundred and seven Holy Communions were necessary for him to be able to leave Purgatory. In fact, at the last of the one hundred and seven Holy Communions offered for him, the Saint saw her father ascend into Heaven.
St. Bonaventure made himself an apostle of this truth and he spoke of it in vibrant tones, "O Christian souls, do you wish to prove your true love towards your dead? Do you wish to send them the most precious help and golden key to Heaven? Receive Holy Communion often for the repose of their souls."
Finally, let us reflect that in Holy Communion we unite ourselves not only to Jesus but also to all the members of the Mystical Body of Christ, especially to the souls most dear to Jesus and most dear to our heart. It is in Holy Communion that we realize fully the words of Jesus, "I in them ... that they may be perfect in unity" (John 17:23). The Eucharist renders us one, even among ourselves, His members, "all one in Jesus" as St. Paul says (Gal. 3:28). Holy Communion is truly all love of God and neighbor. It is the true "feast of love," as St. Gemma Galgani said. And in this "feast of love" the soul in love can exult singing with St. John of the Cross, "Mine are the heavens and mine is the earth, mine are men, the Just are mine and sinners are mine. The Angels are mine, and also the Mother of God, all things are mine. God Himself is mine and for me because Christ is mine and all for me."
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