A Sacrament of Love

Jesus Christ is not satisfied with the visits and reverence which we pay to Him. He wishes especially that we should receive Him in Holy Communion; this is indeed His chief object in remaining among us under the Sacramental species. Now, if you ask why it is that Jesus Christ wishes us to receive Him, I answer, it is because He so ardently desires to be united to us. Yes, strange as it may seem, Our Lord’s Heart yearns to be united to ours. He burns with the desire of being loved by us. Holy Scripture represents Him as standing at the door of our hearts, knocking until we open to Him. This great desire of Jesus Christ, to enter into our hearts in Holy Communion, will be the subject of our present consideration; but I must begin by acknowledging my entire inability to describe it as it really is. That indeed would simply be impossible. No tongue can express the longing of our Saviour to unite Himself to us.

            One day, as St. Gertrude was meditating on the greatness of the love which made the Lord and King of Heaven find His delight in the society of the children of men, our Saviour illustrated what seemed to her so incomprehensible by the following comparison: The son of a king is surely much higher and greater than the children who run about the streets; he has in his father’s palace everything that can delight and gratify him; yet, if you give him the choice either to go out and play with the children in the street or to stay at home amid the splendors of his father’s court, he will certainly prefer the former. “Thus, I too,” said Our Lord, “find my pleasure in being with you; and having instituted the Blessed Sacrament for this end, anyone who prevents a soul from receiving Me, deprives Me of a great pleasure.” He also said to St. Matilda: “Look at the bees and see with what eagerness they seek the honey-flowers, yet know that My desire to come to you in Holy Communion is far greater.”

            Suffice it to say that He has been loaded with almost every species of outrage which malice could suggest or impiety perpetrate. Infidels, Jews, heretics and sometimes even nominal Catholics have united together to insult Him. All the sorrows which Our Lord had to endure during His life on earth are repeated again and again in this Holy Mystery. Now why does Jesus Christ endure such affronts? Surely none of us would be willing to remain with those who continually maltreat and persecute us; a life in the desert, in the midst of extreme poverty and desolation, would be preferable to such a lot. Why, then, is our Saviour so patient amid so many outrages? Is He not free to act as He pleases? Is He forced to remain with us in the Blessed Sacrament? Yes, He is forced. He does indeed sometimes vindicate His honor and visit irreverence with exemplary punishment, but there is one point to which His anger never goes: He will never take back the gift of His love. Men may do what they will, but the desire of Jesus Christ to be united with us will always force Him to remain in the Blessed Sacrament.

            This is the secret of Our Lord’s endurance. He endures all things for the sake of the elect. All the outrages which the wicked have heaped upon Him are compensated for by one devout Communion, and He is willing to remain in our churches, abandoned, alone for hours and hours, that He may be able to unite Himself with the first soul that comes hungering for the Bread of Life.

            Oh, how true are the words which Jesus Christ spoke to His disciples at the Last Supper! “With desire I have desired to eat this Pasch with you.” God desires that we should receive Him. He commands us to receive Him; He threatens us with Hell if we refuse; He punishes us in Purgatory if we are careless in receiving Him. He promises to forgive all our ingratitude, to remit the temporal punishment due to our sins, nay, to give us Heaven itself if only we receive Him. He promises a special reward to those of His priests who encourage others to receive Him; and as if all this were not enough, He employs His Angels and Saints, yea, His own Omnipotence, to convey the Blessed Sacrament to those who are prevented from receiving Him. Shall we not respond to this desire of Our Lord? Jesus, our King, the Creator of Heaven and earth, longs after us, and shall not we, His creatures and subjects, long after Him? Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, desires to feed His sheep, and shall not the sheep know His voice and follow Him?

This article is taken from a chapter in The Blessed Eucharist by Fr. Michael Mueller, which is available from TAN Books.



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