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"you" by which words he would signify to us his great wish and anxiety to unite himself with us in the Holy Sacrament of love. “With desire have I "desired:" "This," says St. Laurence Justinian, "is the voice of most ardent charity." Now the same love which then burnt in the heart of Jesus, burns there still; and he gives the same invitation to all which he gave to his disciples to receive him : Take ye and eat: this is my body. St. Matt. xxv. And to allure us to receive him with affection and love, he promises heaven to us: If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever. St. John vi. 52. And if we refuse to receive him, he threatens us with death: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. St. John vi. 54. These invitations, promises and threats, all arise from the desire of Jesus Christ to be united with us in the Holy Communion through his love for us. Jesus, because he loves us, desires that we should love him; and because he desires he would have us desire him: "God thirsts to "be thirsted after," says St. Gregory. Happy the soul that approaches the Holy Communion with a great desire of being united to Jesus Christ.

us,

Affections and Prayers.

My adorable Jesus, thou canst give no greater proof of love, to teach us how much thou lovest us. Thou hast given thy life for us; thou hast bequeathed thyself to us in the Holy Sacrament, that we may nourish ourselves with thy sacred flesh, and thou art most desirous that we should receive thee. How can we be sensible of all these efforts of thy love, and not burn with the love of thee? Begone, all earthly affections from my heart; it is you that hinder me from burning with love for Jesus, as he burns with love for me. And what other pledges

of thy love can I expect, O my Redeemer, than those which thou hast already given me? Thou hast sacrificed thy whole life for the love of me; thou hast embraced for my sake the most bitter and ignominious death; thou hast reduced thyself for me almost to annihilation, by becoming my food in the Holy Eucharist, in order to give me thy whole self. Ah Lord, grant that I may never more live ungrateful for such great goodness. I thank thee for having allowed me time to bewail my past offences against thee, and to love thee during the remainder of my days. I am sorry, O my sovereign good, for having hitherto so much despised thy love. I love thee, O infinite goodness. I love thee, O infinite treasure. I love thee, O infinite love, who art worthy to be loved with an infinite love. Help me, O Jesus, to discard from my heart all affections which tend not to thee, that from this day forward, I may neither desire, nor seek, nor love any other but thee. My beloved Lord, grant that I may ever find thee, grant that I may ever love thee. Take thou possession of my whole will; in order that I may never desire any thing but what is pleasing to thee. My God; my God, whom shall I love, if I love not thee, who art all goodness! O Mary, my Mother, take me under your protection, and obtain for me the purest love for Jesus.

Meditation Seventh.

On the Holy Communion as the means of obtaining perseverance in divine grace.

WHEN Jesus comes to the soul in the Holy Communion, he brings with him every good, every

rance.

grace, and especially the grace of holy perseveThe principal effect of the Holy Sacrament of the altar, is to nourish the soul that receives it with the bread of life, by imparting great strength to advance towards perfection, and to resist those enemies who seek to effect its eternal ruin. Hence Jesus Christ calls himself in this Sacrament heavenly bread: I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread he shall live for ever. St. John vi. 51, 52. As earthly bread maintains the life of the body, so this heavenly bread maintains the life of the soul by enabling it to persevere in the state of God's grace. Hence the Council of Trent teaches (Sess. 13, cap. 2.) that the Holy Communion is "a medicine which frees us from venial sins and preserves us from mortal "ones." Innocent III. writes, that Jesus Christ delivers us by his passion from sins committed, and by the Holy Eucharist from those which we might otherwise commit. Hence St. Bonaventure says, that sinners should not stay away from the Holy Communion, because they have been sinners; but for this very reason should receive it more frequently; for the more infirm a person is, the more does he stand in need of a physician.

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Affections and Prayers.

How miserable am I, O Lord, in bewailing my weakness in falling so often while I stay away from thee! How can I resist my internal enemies without thee, who art my strength? Had I approached to thee more frequently in the Holy Communion, I should not have been so frequently overcome by my enemies. For the future it shall not be so: "In thee, O Lord, will I hope, let me not be con"founded for ever." No, I will no more rely on my own purposes, but will place my whole confidence

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in thee, my Jesus, who wilt give me strength to fall no more into sin. I am weak, but thou by the Holy Communion wilt make me strong against all temptations: "I can do all things in him who strengtheneth me." Pardon me, Ŏ Jesus, all the injuries I have committed against thee, for which I am sorry with my whole soul; I am resolved rather to die than wilfully offend thee any more; and I trust in thy passion that thou wilt give me thy help to persevere in thy grace to the end of my life. "In thee, O Lord, have I hoped, let me never "be confounded." And, with St. Bonaventure, I will say the same to you, O Mary, my Mother: "In you, that is, in your holy intercession, O "Blessed Lady, have I hoped, let me never be "confounded."

Meditation Eighth.

On preparation before and thanksgiving after receiving the Holy Communion.

CARDINAL Bona asks: "How does it happen "that so many souls after so many Communions "make so little advancement in the way of God?" And he answers: "The fault is not in the food but "in those who receive it." There is nothing wanting in the Holy Communion, but preparation is wanting in those who receive it. The fire immediately burns dry wood, but not wood that is green, because being green it is not in a state for burning. The saints derived great advantage from the Holy Communion, because they were most careful in preparing themselves for it. There are two things which we should endeavour to acquire in preparing ourselves for Communion. The first is detach

ment from creatures, by banishing from our hearts everything that is not of God and for God. When our hearts are taken up with worldly affections, the more there is of earth in them, the less room will there be for divine love. One day St. Gertrude asked our Lord what preparation he required of her for the Holy Communion; and Jesus answered: "I require no other of thee, but that thou come "to receive me devoid of thyself." The second thing we should endeavour to acquire, in order to be prepared to reap great fruit from the Holy Communion, is a desire to receive Jesus Christ with a view to love him much more for the future. Gerson says that at this table those only are filled who feel great hunger. Hence St. Francis of Sales writes, that the principal intention of the soul in communicating should be to advance in the love of God. "He," says the Saint, "should be received "for love, who for love alone gives himself to us." And on this account our Lord once said to St. Matilda: When thou art about to communicate, "desire all the love that any soul has ever had "towards me, and I will receive thy love as though "it were what thou wouldst have it to be."

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Thanksgiving after Communion is also necessary. No prayers are so acceptable to God as those which we offer to him after Communion. During this time we should employ ourselves in affections and prayers. The holy affections in which we then exercise ourselves, have greater merit before God, than those which we offer to him at other times, because they come before him inflamed with the presence of Jesus Christ, who has united himself with our souls. And as to prayers, St. Teresa says that Jesus Christ after Communion remains in the soul as on the throne of grace, and says to her: "What wilt thou, that I should do for thee?" I am come down from heaven to bestow my graces upon

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