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 towards us.

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 body.

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 of God.