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The Heart Of Jesus In The Blessed Sacrament

As Catholics, we believe that Our Lord is fully present in the Eucharist. But how few of us take the time to spend time with Him in the Sacrament of His Love? Taken from Visits to the Blessed Sacrament, Saint Alphonsus Liguori discusses how much Jesus Christ longs for our visit and the example of saints who devoted their lives to adoring the Blessed Sacrament.


Visit To The Most Blessed Sacrament

OUR holy Faith teaches us, and we are bound to believe, that in the consecrated Host Jesus Christ is really present under the species of bread. But we must also understand that He is thus present on our altars as on a throne of love and mercy, to dispense graces and there to how us the love which He bears us by being pleased to dwell night and day hidden in the midst of us.

It is well known that the Holy Church instituted the festival of Corpus Christi with a solemn octave, and that she celebrates it with the many usual processions and such frequent expositions of this Most Holy Sacrament, that men may thereby be moved gratefully to acknowledge and honor this loving presence and dwelling of Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of the Altar by their devotions, thanksgivings and the tender affections of their souls. O God, how many insults and outrages has not this amiable Redeemer had, and does He not have daily, to endure in this Sacrament on the part of those very men for whose love He remains upon their altars on earth! Of this He indeed complained to His dear servant Sister Margaret Alacoque [St. Margaret Mary], as the author of the Book of Devotion to the Heart of Jesus relates:

The Heart Of Jesus

One day, as she was in prayer before the Most Holy Sacrament, Jesus showed her His Heart on a throne of flames, crowned with thorns and surmounted by a cross, and thus He addressed her: “Behold that Heart which has loved men so much, and which has spared itself nothing, and has even gone so far as to consume itself, thereby to show them its love; but in return the greater part of men show Me only ingratitude, and this by irreverence, tepidity, sacrileges and contempt which they offer Me in this Sacrament of love; and that which I feel the most acutely is that they are hearts consecrated to Me.” Jesus then expressed His wish that the first Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi should be dedicated as a particular festival in honor of His adorable Heart, and that on that day all souls who loved Him should endeavor, by their homage and by the affections of their souls, to make amends for the insults which men have offered Him in this Sacrament of the Altar; and at the same time He promised abundant graces to all who should thus honor Him.

We can thus understand what Our Lord said of old by His prophet: that His delight is to be with the children of men (Prov. 8:31) since He is unable to tear Himself from them even when they abandon and despise Him. This also shows us how agreeable to the Heart of Jesus are all those souls who frequently visit Him and remain in His company in the churches in which He is under the sacramental species. He desired St. Mary Magdalene of Pazzi to visit Him in the Most Blessed Sacrament times a day; this beloved spouse of His faithfully obeyed Him and, in all her visits to the altar, approached it as near as she possibly could, as we read in her Life.

Saints And The Blessed Sacrament

But let all those devout souls who often go to spend their time with the Most Blessed Sacrament speak: let them tell us the gifts, the inspirations which they have received, the flames of love which are there enkindled in their souls, the paradise which they enjoy in the presence of this hidden God.

The servant of God and great Sicilian missionary, Father Louis La Nusa, was, even in his youth and as a layman, so enamored of Jesus Christ that he seemed unable to tear himself from the presence of his beloved Lord. Such were the joys which he there experienced that his director commanded him, in virtue of obedience, not to remain there for more than an hour. The time having elapsed, he showed in obeying (says the author of his Life) that in tearing himself from the bosom of Jesus Christ he had to do himself just such violence as a child that has to detach itself from its mother’s breast in the very moment in which it is satiating itself with the utmost avidity; and when he had to do this, we are told that he remained standing with his eyes fixed on the altar, making repeated inclinations, as if he knew not how to leave his Lord, whose presence was so sweet and gracious to him.

“Depart From Me, O Lord!”

To St. Aloysius it was also forbidden to remain in the presence of the Most Blessed Sacrament; and as he used to pass before it, finding himself drawn, so to speak, by the sweet attractions of his Lord and almost forced to remain there, he would tear himself away with the greatest effort, saying with an excess of tender love: “Depart from me, O Lord, depart!” There it was also that St. Francis Xavier found refreshment in the midst of his many labors in India, for he employed his days toiling for souls and his nights in the presence of the Most Blessed Sacrament. St. John Francis Regis did the same thing: and sometimes finding the church closed, he endeavored to satisfy his longings by remaining on his knees outside the door, exposed to the rain or cold, that at least at a distance he might attend upon his Comforter concealed under the sacramental species.

This article is taken from a chapter in Visits to the Blessed Sacrament by Saint Alphonsus Liguori which is available from TAN Books

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