“I repeat then once more: love your Lord and God in the Blessed Sacrament a little more, and I am sure you will be found oftener before the altar.”
-Fr. Michael Müller
Asking King Herod, “Where is the newborn King of the Jews?” inquired the three Magi of the king of Jerusalem. “Where is He?” they repeat in their great desire to find Him. “We have seen His star in the East, and we have come to adore Him. Ah, tell us where He is; we desire so much to see Him; we have made so long a journey in order to become acquainted with Him!”
What a joy must it not have been for these three holy kings to learn that the Savior of the world was born in Bethlehem; with what speed must they not have gone thither to find out their true King, who had caused the wonderful star to appear which led them to His abode.
Beloved Christians, you have heard and read this incident among the many wonderful events in the life of our God and Savior. On hearing or reading the account, you have perhaps even earnestly desired to have lived at the time of the Apostles in order that you might have had the happiness of seeing your Lord and Savior.
But you ought to know that you are happier now than if you had lived at the time of the Apostles, for you might have been obliged to travel very far and make many inquiries to find out the place of His abode. But now there is no need of traveling far or of making many inquiries to find Him. He is, as we know by faith, in our churches, not far from our homes.
The Magi could find Him in one place only; we can find Him in every part of the world, wherever the Blessed Sacrament is kept. Are we then not happier than those who lived at the time of our Savior Himself? Yes, we are happier than they; no faithful soul can doubt it. But can we say also that we know how to avail ourselves of this happiness?
Alas! How many are there perhaps who must confess that up to this day they have never visited Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, resembling Jutta, the niece of the Empress, St. Cunegunda, of whom it is related that she stayed at home, without any plausible reason, while the Blessed Sacrament was exposed in the church.
St. Cunegunda, inflamed with holy indignation at this indifference, gave her niece a severe slap in the face. The Lord, in punishment of Jutta’s indifference toward Him, allowed the print of Cunegunda’s fingers to remain indelibly stamped on her face. This was a lifelong monitor for her.
Such a monitor, however, is not given to everyone to remind him of his duty towards Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament; I will therefore set forth some reasons which ought to induce every faithful soul to show for the future more fervor, gratitude and love for her Divine Savior by often visiting Him in this mystery of love, and by asking of Him graces, not only for herself, but especially for all those who are cold and indifferent towards the excessive love and patience of their God hidden under the sacramental species.
If there be one consideration which, more than all others, ought to induce you often to visit Jesus Christ in the church, it is the thought of the excessive love which He bears to us in this adorable mystery of His love. “It is my delight to be with the children of men,” says our Divine Savior in Holy Writ.
Oh, what great condescension it would be for a king to invite a poor man to come to his palace and to keep company with him! But Jesus Christ, the King of Heaven and earth, says: “Come all ye that labor and are burdened, and I will refresh you” (Matt. 11:28).
Ought we not to look upon it as a great grace and favor to be invited into His presence? Surely, we ought to find our delight in His company since He is delighted to be in ours. We ought to go to Him frequently and say to Him:
“My Jesus, why dost Thou love me so much? What good dost Thou see in me that Thou art so enamored of me? Has Thou already forgotten the sins by which I have offended Thee so grievously? Oh, how can I love anything else than Thee, my Jesus and All? No one has ever done so much to make me happy as thou has done, O amiable, O most amiable Jesus! Never let me love anything but Thee.”
If you had a friend who always wished you well and who had promised to help you in all your wants and who would even take great pleasure in the opportunity of bestowing a benefit upon you, you would undoubtedly be acting ungratefully if you did not have recourse to him in your necessities. But where, I ask, can you find a better, a more faithful, or a more liberal friend than Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament – one who more sincerely wishes you well, one who consults more your advantage and happiness, one who grants your petitions with greater readiness and pleasure? Ought you not, then, to feel drawn to go after your King and best Friend in order to show your gratitude to Him?
What would you say if a rich man should come and take up his abode in the neighborhood of a poor beggar for no other purpose than to make it more easy for the poor man to receive from him relief in all his necessities? What would you say of such a lord? “Oh!” you would exclaim, “how good, how exceedingly good he is! He deserves to be honored, esteemed, praised and loved by all men. How happy is the poor man who has such a lord for his friend!”
But while in fact none of the rich of this world has ever gone so far in love to the poor, Jesus Christ, the King of Heaven and earth, has gone so far in His love for us poor sinners; He takes up His abode in our churches for the convenience of each one of us. Oh, how happy we are! Would to God that each of us availed himself of this happiness by frequently visiting Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Thus at least the Saints have ever shown their gratitude.
St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, as we read in her life, visited Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament thirty times a day. The Countess of Feria, a fervent disciple of the venerable Father Avila and afterwards a nun of the Order of Poor Clares, was called the Spouse of the Blessed Sacrament, from her fervent and lengthened visits to it.
Being once asked what she did during the many hours which she spent before its Sacred Presence, she replied:
“I could remain there for all eternity! Is there not there the very essence of God, which is the food of the blessed? Good God! They ask what we do before Thee? What is there that we do not do? We love, we praise, we give thanks, we entreat. What does a beggar do in the presence of a rich man? What does the sick man do when he sees his physician? Or one who is thirsty at a running spring? Or a starving man at a plentiful table?”
St. Elizabeth of Hungary was accustomed, even in her childhood, often to visit Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. If she found the church closed, she would affectionately kiss the lock of the door and the walls of the church for love of Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist.
St. Alphonsus, being unable on account of his advanced age to walk to the church, had himself carried thither in a chair in order to pay his accustomed visit to his beloved Savior.
Father Louis la Nusa, a great missionary of Sicily, was, even when a young student in the world, so much attached to Jesus Christ that it seemed as if he could hardly tear himself from the presence of his beloved Lord on account of the great delight he found there, and being commanded by his director not to remain before the Blessed Sacrament longer than an hour at a time, when that period has elapsed, it was as great a violence to him to separate from the bosom of Jesus as for an infant to tear itself from its mother’s breast.
The writer of his life says that when he was forced to leave the church, he would stand looking at the altar and turning again and again as if he could not take leave of his Lord, whose presence was so sweet and so consoling.
Father Salesio, of the Society of Jesus, felt consolation in even speaking of the Blessed Sacrament. He never could visit it often enough. When summoned to the gate, when returning to his room, or passing from one part of the house to another, he made use of all these opportunities to repeat his visits to his beloved Lord, so that it was remarked that scarcely an hour of the day elapsed without his visiting Him. Thus at length he merited the grace of martyrdom at the hands of heretics while defending the Real Presence in the Most Holy Sacrament.
Oh, how do these examples of the Saints confound us, who have so little love for Jesus Christ and are so negligent in visiting Him! But someone may say, “I have too much to do; I am busy; I cannot find time.” Dear Christian, do not say, “I have too much to do,” but say, “I have too much love and affection for the goods of this world and too little love for Jesus Christ.”
You find time to eat and to drink; you find time to rest and to sleep; you find time to talk and to laugh; time to amuse yourself; time for all your temporal affairs; time even to sin, and how is it that you find time for all these things? It is because you like them.
If you appear but seldom before Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, it is an evident sign that you love Him but little. Love Him a little more, and you will find time to visit Him. Do not say, “I am busy.” The Saints, too, were very busy, perhaps more so than you are, and yet they found time enough to visit their Lord. Do you imagine that you have more to think of than St. Wenceslaus, King of Poland, or St. Louis, King of France? And yet because they tenderly loved Jesus Christ their King, they found time every day to pay a visit to Him.