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CHAPTER XIV. Of Holy Communion, and how to join in it.

1. SO far I have said nothing concerning the Sun of all spiritual exercises, even the most holy, sacred and Sovereign Sacrifice and Sacrament of the Eucharist,—the very centre point of our Christian religion, the heart of all devotion, the soul of piety;—that Ineffable Mystery which embraces the whole depth of Divine Love, by which God, giving Himself really to us, conveys all His Graces and favours to men with royal magnificence.

2. Prayer made in union with this Divine Sacrifice has untold power; through which, indeed, the soul overflows with heavenly grace, and leaning on her Beloved, becomes so filled with spiritual sweetness and perfume, that we may ask in the words of the Canticles: “Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant? ” 4040    Cant. iii. 6.

3. Strive then to your utmost to be present every day at this holy Celebration, in order that with the priest you may offer the Sacrifice of 99 your Redeemer on behalf of yourself and the whole Church to God the Father. Saint Chrysostom says that the Angels crowd around it in adoration, and if we are found together with them, united in one intention, we cannot but be most favourably influenced by such society. Moreover, all the heavenly choirs of the Church triumphant, as well as those of the Church militant, are joined to our Dear Lord in this divine act, so that with Him, in Him, and by Him, they may win the favour of God the Father, and obtain His Mercy for us. How great the blessing to my soul to contribute its share towards the attainment of so gracious a gift!

4. If any imperative hindrance prevents your presence at this sovereign sacrifice of Christ’s most true Presence, at least be sure to take part in it spiritually. If you cannot go to Church, choose some morning hour in which to unite your intention to that of the whole Christian world, and make the same interior acts of devotion wherever you are that you would make if you were really present at the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist in Church.

5. In order to join in this rightly, whether actually or mentally, you must give heed to several things: (1) In the beginning, and before the priest goes up to the Altar, make your preparation with his—placing yourself in God’s Presence, confessing your unworthiness, and asking forgiveness. (2) Until the Gospel, dwell simply and generally upon the Coming and the Life of our Lord in this world. (3) From the Gospel to the end of the Creed, dwell upon our Dear Lord’s teaching, and renew your resolution to live and die in the faith of the Holy Catholic Church. (4) From thence, fix your heart on the mysteries of the Word, and unite yourself to the Death and Passion of our Redeemer, now actually and essentially set forth in this holy Sacrifice, which, together with the priest and all the congregation, you offer to God the Father, to His Glory and your own salvation. (5) Up to the moment of communicating, offer all the longings and desires of your heart, above all desiring most earnestly to be united for ever to our Saviour by His Eternal Love. (6) From the time of Communion to the end, thank His Gracious Majesty for His Incarnation, His Life, Death, Passion, and the Love which He sets forth in this holy Sacrifice, intreating through it His favour for yourself, your relations and friends, and the whole Church; and humbling yourself sincerely, devoutly receive the blessing which our Dear Lord gives you through the channel of His minister. 101 If, however, you wish to follow your daily course of meditation on special mysteries during the Sacrifice, it is not necessary that you should interrupt yourself by making these several acts but it will suffice that at the beginning you dispose your intention to worship and to offer the holy Sacrifice in your meditation and prayer; since every meditation includes all the abovenamed acts either explicitly or implicitly.


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