Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Twenty-Second Day of June

First Means of Honoring the Heart of Jesus: Frequent Communion.

Consider that the object of devotion to the Sacred Heart is to inflame all hearts with love. Now the memorial of all the miracles of love accomplished by our Savior is the holy Eucharist, that divine food which He has prepared for those who fear Him; and the greatest proof of gratitude and affection that we can give, is to receive Him who gives Himself to us. Sister Agnes of Jesus, of the order of St. Dominic, was so convinced that the Man God, in instituting the Blessed Eucharist, had willed to enkindle divine love more and more in our hearts, that at the moment of Communion she exclaimed in a transport of joy: "Let us approach to the God of love." One day she received the Sacred Host under the form of a fire, which so inflamed her heart with love, that she seemed during the remainder of the day unmindful of all things else. St. Teresa, when dying, regretted she could not die of love, and her desire for Holy Communion was so great, that she would willingly have exposed her life to danger, if by so doing, she could have partaken of the Bread of angels. It is said in Scripture: "Can a man hide fire in his bosom and his garments not burn?" (Prov. vi. 27); in like manner it is impossible that our hearts should not burn with love, if we often receive Jesus in the Sacred Host. Pious souls, truly devoted to the Sacred Heart, eagerly desire to participate frequently in this divine banquet, and they rejoice when the days of Communion come round. With them, as with the heavenly spirits who are continually nourished with God with out ever being satiated, the more they communicate, the more they desire to communicate. Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque used to say: "without the Blessed Sacrament I could not live."

Christians, are you animated with a great desire to communicate, or do you not feel a sort of indifference, nay, even repugnance to approach the Bread of Angels? Oh! if you did but realize the pain you cause the Heart of Jesus. Communicate in future, as often as you can. Your good Master invites you. "Take ye and eat, this is my Body" (Matt. xxxi. 26). "With desire I have desired to eat this Pasch with you" (Luke xxii. 25). Communicate then often; the faithful of the early Church used to receive every day; how great was their fervor and faith. Communicate often in order to make reparation for the indifference, the coldness, the insults, the treachery of which Jesus complains when speaking of the Holy Eucharist. Yes, communicate often, and may you be able to say with Saint Margaret Mary: "I have so great a desire for Holy Communion, that in order to obtain it, I would willingly walk bare-footed along a path of flames." In return you will merit to hear the consoling words which Jesus addressed to his humble servant: "My daughter, I have chosen thy soul to be for me a place of repose on earth, and thy heart shall be a throne of joy for my divine love."


In an ecclesiastical seminary of the diocese of Rouen, one of the students was distinguished for his piety and intelligence, and was generally the first in his class. The day after he had made his first Communion, he went, as was the custom, to his director, to show him the paper on which he had written his resolutions. These consisted of one only, couched in these words : "I am resolved to continue to wear the white neck-tie of my first Communion, as long as I do not commit a grievous sin." The priest was surprised and said to him: "I cannot take upon myself the responsibility of allowing you to keep so strange a resolution; you must go to your mother and first ask her permission." This he did and explaining the whole matter, he pleaded his cause so well, that he was permitted to follow his pious wishes. George, for such was his name, was not satisfied with keeping only this memorial of his first Communion in order to preserve himself in the grace of God, he made a rule to receive Holy Communion every Sunday and on the principal feasts of the year. In 1870 he finished his studies and took his degree as Bachelor in Arts. He had then completed his eighteenth year. When the war broke outbetween France and Germany he obtained his father’s permission to join the Pontifical Zouaves under General Charette. He had been a model of every Christian virtue at college, and he was one also as a soldier continuing every Sunday his weekly Communion. In the month of January, when near the town of Le Mans, the Zouaves were ordered to retake an entrenchment from the Prussians. George distinguished himself by his bravery, and though his side was victorious, he fell mortally wounded. Immediately he asked for the chaplain and said to him: "Father, three days ago I went to confession and Communion and I have nothing on my conscience; be so good then as to bring me the holy Viaticum. I will also ask you to do a little commission for me; go to my knapsack, you will know it by its number; there you will find a white neck tie, a white ribbon, and a rosary; they are the memorials of my first Communion; be so good as to bring them to me." When the priest returned, George said; "Put the white tie round my neck." This the priest did, and having received the holy Viaticum, George added, "When I am dead, take off this necktie and send it to my mother; write to her and tell her from me, that this necktie of my first Communion has never been stained, except with the blood I have shed for our unhappy country." Oh! how beautiful was such a death! Was it not the result of his frequent Communions?


O my God! how much does my indifference terrify me, and my lukewarmness afflict me. Alas! how often have I not forgotten to eat the Bread of life; how many communions have I not missed through my own fault. Divine Jesus, grant me a great hunger and thirst for thy sacred Body and Blood; I will in future communicate as often as I am allowed, and every day if I am able. Amen.


In addition to Sunday and Holy Day Masses, go to Mass at least one additional time each week.

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