Je l'avise et Il m'avise!
Love longs for the presence of the beloved, and for union with him. Divine love satisfies this longing in a divine manner.
And therefore Jesus deigned "to close His earthly pilgrimage with this most wonderful dispensation" (Sui moras incolatus, Miro clausit ordine) through the institution of the Blessed Sacrament He would remain in our midst till the end of time. Indeed it is a sacramental presence veiled and hidden: but both in Holy Communion and in the tabernacle, He is really and truly with us. We can go and prostrate ourselves before Him, we can greet Him; His quiet presence supports and feeds our prayer.
But what Jesus intended through the institution of the Holy Eucharist touches our inmost being even more closely. The Council of Trent says, "Not only did the Lord intend to give to His Bride, the Church, a visible sacrifice, as is demanded by our human nature; He also gave her His sacred Body to be the spiritual food of our souls, that we might become partakers of His very life." "He that eateth me, the same also shall live by me." "He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood abideth in me and I in him" (John 6: 57,58). Is it possible to devise a more intimate way of being united? It is like mutual compenetration, brought about by the partaking of materiel food: but here materiel signs point to the most sublime spiritual reality: the wisdom of God, and His infinite power in the service of His boundless love.
When Jesus trod the roads of Galilee, power went out from His mortal Body, which healed all those that merely touched the hem of His garment: and we, whenever we eat His flesh we are privileged to have the most intimate contact with His glorified Body. O Lord, heal all our ailments!
In His discourse at Capharnaum Jesus laid stress on the intimate union of the soul with Him through the eating of His Flesh and the drinking of His Blood. From this St. Paul concludes to the oneness of all those that believe in Christ, "The chalice of benediction, which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? And the bread which we break, is it not the partaking of the body of the Lord? For we, being many, are one bread, one body all that partake of one bread" (1 Cor. 10:16,17).
Sitting at the same table, and partaking of the same food, betokens and fosters harmony and friendship. The Fathers of the Church, especially St. Augustine, regard the Eucharist as the Sacrament of unity, symbolising the unity of the Church, and moulding it into the one mystical Body of Christ. "O Mystery of piety, O sign of unity, O bond of love!"
This makes us grasp how appropriately the Bride of Christ, our Holy Mother the Church, prepares her children for Holy Communion by exhorting them to fraternal charity, and by the kiss of peace. "That they may be one, as we also are one; I in them, and thou in me; that they may be perfect in one" (John 17: 22,23).
“You envy,” said St. John Chrysostom, “the opportunity of the woman who touched the vestments of Jesus, of the sinful woman who washed His feet with her tears, of the women of Galilee who had the happiness of following Him in His pilgrimages, of the Apostles and disciples who conversed with Him familiarly, of the people of the time who listened to the words of grace and salvation which came forth from His lips. You call happy those who saw Him … But, come to the altar and you will see Him, you will touch Him, you will give to Him holy kisses, you will wash Him with your tears, you will carry Him within you like Mary Most Holy.”
Thus Jesus is truly with us. “Jesus is there!” The holy Cure of Ars could not finish repeating these three words without shedding tears. And St. Peter Julian Eymard exclaimed with joyful fervour, “There Jesus is! Therefore all of us should go visit Him!”
Mary and the Holy Eucharist
"True Body, Born of Mary Ever Virgin"
Jesus said: "I am the living bread which came down from heaven" (John 6:51). In the virginal womb of Mary the "Bread of Angels" (Panis Angelorum) assumed the form in which it would become "the food of mortal man". Even before she had become the Mother of God, the angel had greeted her "full of grace". This fullness received a further increase when. as the first living tabernacle of God among men, she carried within herself the very fountain of all graces. "He that is mighty hath done great things to her:" for she is the true Mother of the true Body, that is born of her. On the feast of Corpus Christi the Church most appropriately concludes all her hymns with the same words as on the feasts of Our Lady:
O Jesus, born of Virgin bright, Immortal glory be to Thee, Praises to the Father infinite, And Holy Ghost eternally.
Mary Offers Christ on Calvary
Mary's womb was the first altar on which the Son of God, made man, offered Himself to the Father. "Wherefore, when He (Christ, the High Priest) cometh into the world, he saith Sacrifice and oblation thou wouldst not: but a body thou hast fitted to me. Holocausts for sin did not please thee; then said I, Behold, I come. In the head of the book it is written of me that I should do thy will, O God" (Heb. 10: 5-7).
When the appointed hour had come, the sacrifice of Calvary was consummated: Mary stood by the cross, and at that supreme moment she joined her Fiat to the "consummatum est", of her Son. It is true that nothing was lacking to the sacrifice of Jesus, but the Lord willed that His Holy Mother, who was to be the Mother of all the living, should participate in His oblation in a unique and universal, even though subordinate, manner.
No one could participate in the Eucharistic Sacrifice as did Mary: therefore we say in the Canon of the Mass, "In communion with, and honouring the memory of, especially the glorious ever Virgin Mary, Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ ..." Mary's role in the work of our redemption is a subordinate one nevertheless by God's will a necessary, and therefore a universal one. When giving us His Son, God gave us all things: in a certain sense we may say that, by giving us her Son, Mary gave us all things.
The moment Mary had given her assent to the angel's message, the Word of God was made flesh; with her assent the Lamb was nailed to the cross; in a unique and most sublime manner, she has offered her Son to the Father for the redemption of mankind.
Of a pure and spotless Virgin
Born for us on earth below,
He, as man with man conversing,
Stayed, the seeds of truth to sow;
Then He closed in solemn order
Wondrously His life of woe. Sui moras incolatus, Miro clausit ordine
Pange Lingua by St. Thomas Aquinas
Mary in the Infant Church
Our Lady was "not present" when Jesus instituted the Blessed Sacrament, and ordained the Apostles to be His priests and "dispensers of the Divine Mysteries". Holy Writ explicitly mentions her presence when the Paraclete came down on the Apostles: indeed she, the new Eve and Mother of all the living, could not be absent at the moment when the Church was born, which is her Son's Mystical Body. When the brethren at Jerusalem gathered to celebrate the Eucharist, "breaking bread in commemoration of Him," the Mother of the Lord was surely with them. Though she was full of grace, and had been favoured by God in such a wonderful manner, still she remained the humble "handmaid of the Lord", and took her place among the faithful. For her, as for all the other believers, the Apostles "broke the Bread". To her also Holy Communion became the food of her soul to comfort and strengthen her till the end of her pilgrimage, and also the intimate experience of the "Communion of Saints".
Hail, true Body, born of Mary, ever Virgin,
Truly suffering, immolated on the cross for man.
Blood and water forth there flowed
From the wounded side.
In the moment of our death
Be Thou a foretaste of heaven.
O sweet Jesus! O good Jesus!
O Jesus, Son of Mary!
The Eucharist as Centre of Our Life
Whenever we visit the Blessed Sacrament, we go and draw at the fountain of all graces, we cooperate with grace, and we make it bear fruit. "For every devout soul may approach without fear, every day and hour, to a spiritual communion with Christ ... As often as he devoutly dwells on the mystery of Christ's Incarnation and Passion, he communicates mystically, and is invisibly strengthened and inflamed to love" (4 Imitation of Christ, 10:6).
Prayer: Grant, O Lord, that we, who have been fed with the Bread of Angels, may imitate the purity of angels in our conduct, and like him, whom we honour today never cease to give thanks to Thee. Through our Lord (Postcommunion of Mass of St. Aloysius).
The Eucharist Cleanses Our Soul (A Preservation Against Sin)
Every increase of grace implies further safeguard against sin. When the body receives appropriate food, it is immune against illness and protected against contagion. Often the Church prays, "Mundet et muniat nos, quaesumus, Domine, divini Sacramenti munus oblatum: May the offering of this Divine Sacrifice purify and protect us, we pray Thee, O Lord."
Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O good Jesus, hear me.
Within Thy wounds hide me.
Permit me not to be separated from Thee.
From the wicked foe, defend me.
At the hour of my death, call me
And bid me come to Thee.
That with Thy saints I may praise Thee,
Forever and ever. Amen.
O Salutaris hostia, Quae caeli pandis ostium,Bella premunt hostilia,Na robur, fer auxilium.Uni trinoque Domino,Sit sempiterna gloria:Qui vitam sine termino,Nobis donet in patria.Amen.
O Saving Victim! opening wideThe gate of Heaven to man below!Our foes press on from every side;Thine aid supply, Thy strength bestow.To thy great Name be endless praise,Immortal Godhead! One in three!O grant us endless length of daysIn our true native land with Thee!Amen.
The above hymn is sung during Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament when the priest opens the tabernacle and incenses the Blessed Sacrament.
We adore Thee, Eucharistic God and we Bless Thee, Redeemer of the world. We love Thee, Jesus, in the sublime beauty of Thy agonizing Heart. Thou alone art great! Thou alone art Holy, O God, in the humiliation of the divine Host! Thou alone are the most High, hidden in the unbloody sacrifice of this altar!
Glory be to Thee, Lord God, King of Heaven, but willing to live in the Gethsemane of a humble Tabernacle. Glor be to Thee, Eucharistic Jesus, in the celestial heights, the abode of Angels. Praise to Thee on earth, the abode of men!
O Lord, in the name of all Thy brothers and sisters, and especially in the name of all those who suffer with love and faith, kneeling before Thee, we adore the tears, the solitude, the anguish, the weariness, all the bitterness, all the agony of Thy Sacred Heart. We believe, Jesus, that Thou art the Christ, the God-Man of redeeming sorrows.
Jesus, Mary, I love Thee; Save Souls!
Jesu mitis et humilis corde, Fac cor nostrum secundum Cor tuum. (ter)