Book Talk Tuesday, Introduction to the Devout Life, Part 2, Chapter 14

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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? ” [40]

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 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. 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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[40] Cant. iii. 6.
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