Wednesday, 14 September 2016



IV. Apply then, O Christian soul, this teaching to childhood. Jesus Christ during His earthly life loved it especially. He continues to love it in the Holy Eucharist. He shows His tabernacle, and He says, " Suffer the little children to come to Me." He says it to all Christian mothers; He says it to all His priests. He says to mothers: "Your heart, which I created, cannot be more maternal than Mine. Your watchfulness cannot protect your sons as can the shadow of My altar. Your caresses, however loving they may be, are not of as much value to them as one Communion. " Suffer the little children to come to Me." He says to Priests: " The soul of the child is a fertile soil, where everything Divine takes root and blossoms easily. If at a future time you would gather much, cultivate first these young flowers. And if you would one day see the Eucharistic Table surrounded by a whole nation of fervent Christians, collect first around My tabernacle these little angels.'' " Suffer the little children to come to Me." He says to the child itself: " I have given thee a pure heart, in order that thou mayest love Me better. I have given thee a guileless soul, in order the better to converse with thee. I have given thee a lisping tongue, and I have made it eloquent, because thy praises please Me. I will now touch thy lips with the milk and the honey of the Eucharist, in order that thou mayest taste how sweet I am. I ask thee to come to Me. O fly not from Me !"

There is for every child one day more holy, more delightful, more blessed of God than all others : a day when he in very truth responds to this call of the Saviour, " Suffer the little children to come to Me." It is the day when, for the first time, he approaches the sacrament of the altar.

The child has come to the age when all that is good and noble in his nature begins to develop itself in him; when all that is corrupt and bad still hesitates to invade him ; when he is already man in mind and heart ; while he still resembles the angels in innocence and piety. Already his young intelligence accepts the truth with joy, as his eye opens to the light of day, and the first longings of his heart draw him towards wiiat is good; he loves God, and he loves his mother. But especially the grace of the Lord, which has rested upon him since the day of his baptism, and which already worked within him while he still slept in the obscurity of his cradle; this grace gives to his nature a quiet celestial beauty, this grace it is which prepares and opens the sacred refuge to which the Saviour will come.

He comes—with what transport, with what generous effusion ! The golden vessels of our altars are too cold, too poor, too narrow, to contain the sacrament of love; the Saviour stays in them only in order to come to us. But, alas! our own souls, disfigured by sin, worn by contact with the world, grown old in the practice of evil, are they worth more than the gold of our ciboriums ? Jesus Christ prefers the child, beautiful and living tabernacle, whose ornament is purity, and who opens to receive Him with a love unequalled. Who may tell the discourses between the child and the God of the Eucharist ! O Christian soul, you have often communicated —is it not true that this first colloquy between Jesus Christ and you had more delight than all the others? What did the Saviour say to you, and what did you answer Him ? This is your secret and the secret of the King! But remember that your last words were a promise. The first communion of the child is only so sweet and so important because it makes promise for his future.