Book Talk Tuesday, Introduction to the Devout Life, Part 2, Chapter 21

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CHAPTER XXI. How to Communicate.

BEGIN your preparation over-night, by sundry aspirations and loving
ejaculations. Go to bed somewhat earlier than usual, so that you may
get up earlier the next morning; and if you should wake during the
night, fill your heart and lips at once with sacred words wherewith to
make your soul ready to receive the Bridegroom, Who watches while you
sleep, and Who intends to give you countless gifts and graces, if you
on your part are prepared to accept them. In the morning rise with
joyful expectation of the Blessing you hope for, and (having made your
Confession) go with the fullest trust, but at the same time with the
fullest humility, to receive that Heavenly Food which will sustain your
immortal life. And after having said the sacred words, “Lord, I am not
worthy,” do not make any further movement whatever, either in prayer or
otherwise, but gently opening your mouth, in the fulness of faith,
hope, and love, receive Him in Whom, by Whom, and through Whom, you
believe, hope, and love. O my child, bethink you that just as the bee,
having gathered heaven’s dew and earth’s sweetest juices from amid the
flowers, carries it to her hive; so the Priest, having taken the
Saviour, God’s Own Son, Who came down from Heaven, the Son of Mary, Who
sprang up as earth’s choicest flower, from the Altar, feeds you with
that Bread of Sweetness and of all delight. When you have received it
kindle your heart to adore the King of our Salvation, tell Him of all
your own personal matters, and realise that He is within you, seeking
your best happiness. In short, give Him the very best reception you
possibly can, and act so that in all you do it may be evident that God
is with you. When you cannot have the blessing of actual Communion, at
least communicate in heart and mind, uniting yourself by ardent desire
to the Life-giving Body of the Saviour.

Your main intention in Communion should be to grow, strengthen, and
abound in the Love of God; for Love’s Sake receive that which Love
Alone gives you. Of a truth there is no more loving or tender aspect in
which to gaze upon the Saviour than this act, in which He, so to say,
annihilates Himself, and gives Himself to us as food, in order to fill
our souls, and to unite Himself more closely to the heart and flesh of
His faithful ones.

If men of the world ask why you communicate so often, tell them that it
is that you may learn to love God; that you may be cleansed from
imperfections, set free from trouble, comforted in affliction,
strengthened in weakness. Tell them that there are two manner of men
who need frequent Communion–those who are perfect, since being ready
they were much to blame did they not come to the Source and Fountain of
all perfection; and the imperfect, that they may learn how to become
perfect; the strong, lest they become weak, and the weak, that they may
become strong; the sick that they may be healed, and the sound lest
they sicken. Tell them that you, imperfect, weak and ailing, need
frequently to communicate with your Perfection, your Strength, your
Physician. Tell them that those who are but little engaged in worldly
affairs should communicate often, because they have leisure; and those
who are heavily pressed with business, because they stand so much in
need of help; and he who is hard worked needs frequent and substantial
food. Tell them that you receive the Blessed Sacrament that you may
learn to receive it better; one rarely does that well which one seldom
does. Therefore, my child, communicate frequently,–as often as you
can, subject to the advice of your spiritual Father. Our mountain hares
turn white in winter, because they live in, and feed upon, the snow,
and by dint of adoring and feeding upon Beauty, Goodness, and Purity
itself in this most Divine Sacrament you too will become lovely, holy,
pure.
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