Sacraments

10 Exhortations on the Blessed Sacrament from The Imitation of Christ

Today, in the Roman rite of the Catholic Church, we celebrate one of the great solemnities – the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. On this day, we commemorate the great sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, the sacrament that Jesus Christ gave to us on the night before he died during his Last Supper with the Apostles. It is the Sacrament of all sacraments.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church #1324 states,

“The Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life.’ ‘The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are orientated toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.’”

If there was ever a time in recent history when we all needed the Holy Eucharist, it would be today. Many of us have returned to Mass and can receive Holy Communion, but as we know, there are still fellow Catholics in this country and around the world unable to receive Our Lord in the Eucharist.

It is my hope today that these exhortations from The Imitation of Christ will serve as a reminder of how important the Holy Eucharist to us as Catholics. The Blessed Sacrament is our source and summit, it is our spiritual food, and it is in the Mass where we meet Jesus and His grace is given to us.

Receiving Christ Reverently:

“In the Sacrament of the altar, You are wholly present, God and Man; and here also, in all its abundance, is the fruit of eternal salvation, as often as You are received worthily and devoutly. To this Sacrament we are drawn not by curiosity, levity, or sensuality, but only by firm faith, devout hope, and pure charity.”

“If this most holy Sacrament were celebrated in one place only, and consecrated by only one priest in all the world, think how great would be the longing of people’s hearts, and how they would flock to that place and visit that one priest of God in order to see the divine mysteries celebrated!”

God’s Goodness is Great:

“Behold, where love has its source and what lowliness shines upon us! How great ought to be our praise and thanksgiving to You for such a gift! Your plan in instituting this Sacrament was truly for the health and welfare of our souls – truly a joyous feast in which You give Yourself to be our food. How marvelous is Your work, dear Lord, and how mighty Your power! Your truth is infallible! You spoke, and all things came into being as You commanded.”

Frequent Communion:

 “People’s senses are prone to evil from their youth, and unless they are strengthened by the divine medicine, they soon fall into greater sins. Therefore, Holy Communion draws people away from evil and strengthens them in goodness. If I am now often careless and lukewarm when I celebrate Mass or receive Communion, what would I be like if I did not take this remedy, nor sought the help it gives me?”

Not Refraining from Holy Communion:

“Often a person is overanxious to have a feeling of devotion, or has some concern about going to confession, which creates an obstacle. Follow the advice of the wise and dismiss all anxiety or scruple, for this hinders the grace of God and destroys devotion of mind. Do not give up going to Holy Communion for every little disturbance; but go promptly to confession, and freely forgive others any offenses against you. If you are the offender, humbly ask pardon, and God will freely forgive you.”

“When people are prevented legitimately from receiving Holy Communion, if they still keep their good and pious intention to do so, they will not be deprived of the blessings it brings them. Every devout person may make a spiritual Communion with our Lord – every day and every hour –without any prohibition, and will profit greatly from this.”

Communion Preparation:

“Nevertheless, you must realize that you cannot make adequate preparation for Me through your own merits, even if you prepared yourself for an entire year and with your mind on nothing else. It is through My generosity and grace that you are allowed to approach My table; just as if a beggar were invited to a rich man’s dinner and could only return him thanks for the kindness shown to him. Do the best you can and as well as you can; not from habit or necessity, but with reverential fear and affection, receive the Body of your beloved Lord God…”

“You need Me; I have no need of you. It is not you who come to make Me holy, but I come to sanctify you and make you better than you were before. You come in order to be sanctified and united to Me, that you may receive new grace and, incited anew, amend your life. Do not neglect this grace, but carefully prepare your heart and then bring into it your Beloved.”

Eager Desire for Communion:

“O good Jesus, so kind and gracious, be merciful to me, Your poorest servant; grant that at least sometimes I may feel a spark of Your love stirring my heart when I receive You in Holy Communion, for the strengthening of my faith, the increase of my hope; and that charity, once enkindled by tasting the heavenly manna, will never fail.”

Submitting to Faith:  

“Many people are seriously tempted concerning faith in the Blessed Sacrament through no fault of their own; but rather this is to be blamed on the devil. Do not worry about it, not argue with your thoughts, and do not answer doubts suggested by this friend. Instead, put your faith in the words of God, believe His Saints and Prophets, and the wicked enemy will soon leave you alone. If often profits the servant of God to endure these things. For the devil does not tempt unbelievers and sinners who are already his; rather he tempts and harasses the faithful and devout.”

Please share these exhortations with your family and friends on your social media sites. As Catholics, we must never be ashamed to be Catholic. Tell the world how much we love Jesus Christ and how much we love, adore, and defend the Holy Eucharist. Sign-up for Eucharistic Adoration if your parish has it. If your parish does not have it, encourage your Pastor to begin Eucharistic Adoration.

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