Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Saints on Holy Communion

All the saints have understood by experience the divine marvel of our meeting and our union with Jesus in the Eucharist. They have understood that a devout Holy Communion means being possessed by Him and possessing Him. "He who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood abides in Me and I in him" (John 6:57). On one occasion St. Gemma Galgani wrote, "It is now night. Tomorrow morning is approaching, and then Jesus will possess me and I will possess Jesus." It is not possible to have a union of love which is deeper and more total: He in me and I in Him; the one in the other. What more could we want?

"You envy," said St. John Chrysostom, "the privilege 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 consider fortunate those who saw Him. . . . However, come to the altar and you will see Him, you will feel Him [when received in Communion], you will give Him holy kisses, you will wash Him with your tears, you will carry Him within you like Mary Most Holy."

For this reason the saints desired and longed for Holy Communion with ardent love; for example, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Paschal Baylon, St. Veronica, St. Gerard, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, St. Dominic Savio, St. Gemma Galgani. . . . It is pointless to continue, for one would need to list all the saints.

For example, one night St. Catherine of Genoa dreamed that the following day she would not be able to receive Holy Communion. The sorrow that she experienced was so great that she cried unceasingly, and when she woke up the next morning, she found that her face was all wet from the tears she shed in her dream.

St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus wrote a little eucharistic poem, "Desires near the Tabernacle," in which, among other beautiful things, she said, "I would like to be the chalice and adore the Divine Blood therein. I can, however, in the Holy Sacrifice, gather Him in me every morning. My soul is therefore dearer to Jesus, it is more precious than vessels of gold." And how great was the happiness of that angelic Saint when, during an epidemic, daily Communion was given to her!

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