THE HEAVEN OF THE EUCHARIST
Ecce . . . ego creo coelos
novos . . . gaudebilis et exultabitis usque in sempiternum in his
quae ego creo.
Behold! I create new heavens . . .you shall be glad and rejoice forever
in these things which I create. (Isaias lxv. 17, 18.)
WHEN Jesus Christ went up to Heaven on the day of His Ascension, He
went to take possession of His throne of glory and prepare a place for
us. Redeemed humanity entered into Heaven with Jesus Christ. We know
that Heaven is no longer closed to us, and we live in expectation of
the day when its gates will open before us. This hope sustains and
encourages us. Strictly speaking, it could suffice as the motive of a
good Christian life; we would put up with all the sorrows of life
rather than lose it.
However, in order to keep the hope of Heaven in us and make it more
efficacious, in order to have us wait patiently for the Heaven of glory
and lead us there, our Lord has created the beautiful Heaven of the
Eucharist. For the Eucharist is a beautiful Heaven; it is Heaven begun.
Is it not Jesus glorified coming from Heaven to earth, and bringing
Heaven with Him? Is not Heaven wherever our Lord is? His state there,
although hidden from our senses, is one of glory, triumph, and
blessedness. He has done away with the miseries of this life; when we
go to Communion, we receive Heaven, since we receive Jesus Who is the
whole joy and glory of Paradise.
What an honor it is for a subject to receive his king! We receive the
King of Heaven; let us appreciate the honor done to us. Jesus comes
into us lest we forget our true fatherland or, if we are mindful of it,
lest we die of longing for it and of homesickness.
He comes and remains bodily in our hearts as long as the Sacrament
lasts; when the Species are destroyed, He returns to Heaven but remains
in us by His grace and His presence of love. Why does He not stay
longer with us? Because the natural state of the Sacred Species is the
condition of His bodily presence.
When Jesus comes into us, He brings with Him all the fruits and flowers
of Paradise. What are they? I do not know; we do not see them, but we
smell their fragrance. He brings us His glorified merits and the sword
that vanquished Satan; His weapons that we may use them, and His merits
that we may add our own to them by making them fructify. The Eucharist
is the ladder not of Jacob but of Jesus, Who continually ascends to
Heaven and descends therefrom for our sake. He is unceasingly coming
BUT let us see what are in a special way the good things of Heaven that
Jesus brings to us when we receive Him.
First of all, glory. It is true that the glory of the Saints and of the
blessed is a flower that blooms only in the sunshine of Paradise and in
the presence of God. This dazzling glory cannot be ours on this earth;
people would offer us adoration. But we receive the hidden seed of it
which contains it in its entirety as the seed contains the ear of
wheat. The Eucharist deposits in us the leaven of resurrection, the
source of a special and brighter glory, which after having been
sown in our corruptible flesh will shine in our risen and immortal
Secondly, happiness. On entering Heaven our soul shall acquire
possession of the very happiness of God without any fear of losing it
or of seeing it diminish. But in Communion, do you not receive some
particles of that true happiness? We are not given the whole of it for
fear we may no longer think of Heaven; but with what peace and sweet
joy is not the soul flooded after Communion? The more disengaged a soul
is from all earthly affections, the more she enjoys this happiness.
Some souls are so happy after Communion that their body itself feels
the effects of it.
Lastly, the blessed participate in the power of God. Now, the one who
communicates with a great desire for union with Jesus experiences
henceforth only supreme contempt for all that is unworthy of his
divinized affections. He rises above everything earthly; that is real
power. Through Communion his soul ascends to God. Prayer is defined an
ascension of the soul to God. But what is prayer compared to Communion?
What a difference between the ascension of our thoughts and desires in
prayer and the sacramental ascension wherein Jesus raises us Himself to
the very bosom of God!
When the eagle wants to accustom its young to fly at great altitudes,
it offers them their food while flying high above them and, rising
higher and higher as they draw nearer, makes them gradually reach the
very top of the sky.
Thus Jesus, the Divine Eagle, comes toward us, bringing us the food we
need. Then He rises above us and invites us to follow Him. He fills us
with sweetness so as to make us long for the happiness of Heaven; He
familiarizes us with the thought of Heaven.
Do you not notice that when you possess Jesus in your heart you long
for Paradise and despise everything else? You would want to die on the
spot so as to be the sooner united to God forever. He who communicates
but rarely cannot experience a very strong longing for God; he fears
death. At bottom, this fear is not evil; but if you could be sure of
going straight to Heaven, you would not want to remain a quarter of an
hour longer on earth. In a quarter of an hour in Heaven you would show
more love for God and would glorify Him more than during the longest
life on earth.
Communion prepares us then for Heaven. What a great grace it is to die
after having received Holy Viaticum! I know that perfect contrition
purifies us and entitles us to Heaven; but how much better must it be
to depart this life in the company of Jesus, and to be judged by His
love while still united, as it were, to His Sacrament of love!
Let us frequently pray for the grace of receiving Holy Viaticum before
dying; it will be the pledge of our eternal happiness. Saint John
Chrysostom assures us in his book on the Priesthood that on leaving
their bodies the souls of those who die after having received Communion
are met by Angels; out of regard for this Divine Sacrament the Angels,
like satellites, surround and accompany these souls to the very throne
HOLY EUCHARIST DIRECTORY-----------------------BLESSED SACRAMENT VISITS