Thursday, 22 September 2016



I have wished to speak with you of these pious exercises, because they specially belong to the Holy Eucharist. But never forget that the Eucharist offers immense resources to prayer, and in every circumstance form a habit of Eucharistic prayer.

Every time that you pray, first place yourself in spirit at the feet of the tabernacle. The Christian, wherever he dwells, may always say with S. Paul: " The Lord is nigh."

He makes for himself an oratory which he brings near in thought to the Eucharistic Sanctuary. There he represents to himself Jesus Christ bending down to listen to us; he represents to himself Mary watching from Heaven her son Whom she never leaves; he represents to himself the Angels and Saints raising the veils of the God of the altar, to contemplate His Divine Beauty. Then he addresses the Eucharist as if It were visible to him!—Ah! how good is it to pray thus ! Wherever you are, Christian soul, even if far from the holy place, think of the tabernacle! The remembrance of it alone will suffice to vivify all your aspirations, and to redouble the fervour of your prayer.

God teaches every soul to pray in the manner most likely in him to bring forth fruit, and I am far from wishing to alter that one which you have chosen. I will, however, show you what mine is, and tell you how I love to pray in the presence of the Eucharist.

I begin by adoration, and with my eyes fixed on the holy altar. I there contemplate the Incarnate Word under the two figures which He Himself has chosen. I represent Him to myself in the tabernacle as my Guest and as my Prisoner. There He dwells with me, near me. There He imprisons Himself for me. Divine Guest, I receive Him into my house as formerly the two sisters of Lazarus received Him at Bethany. Both of them adored Him together, one in serving Him, the other in praying at His feet; and I endeavour to adore Him myself with the zeal of Martha and with the prayer of Mary. Then I consider that in making Himself my Guest, He has willed to he my Captive. Ah ! if He wills never to leave me, is it not that I may always adore Him ? Prisoner whom love enchains, I shut myself up with Thee, and I make my heart a captive to Thy law. Adoration brings me to love. And I ask myself when did God love me most, if it was not at the end of His earthly life when He instituted the Divine Eucharist. 

There in truth, in His Sacrament He unites Himself closely to me ; there in His sacrifice He offers Himself up generously for me. Love in union : Love in sacrifice ! What is there to compare with this double love ? And I would that it were mine ! I will try then to love Thee, Lord, as Thou hast loved me, in uniting myself to Thee, and in sacrificing myself. I shall unite myself to Thee, if I endeavour to conform my life to Thine, and I shall offer myself in sacrifice with Thee and for Thee, if, rejoicing, like S. Paul, in the ills I have to suffer, I fill up in my own body what is wanting of Thy Holy Passion.

The immense love which God shows me excites my gratitude; but already I understand that the most ineffable of the gifts of His grace was the Eucharist. It surpasses all the gifts of God. It sums them up and applies them to me. Ah! what should I be without the Eucharist ? Without It my soul would be empty, my heart cold, my life sorrowful. All the joys of a Christian soul, all the ardour of piety, all the holy hopes of life, it is to It that I owe them.
But how can I thank the Lord for all the good that comes to me from the Eucharist ? I consider with delight that It is in Itself a divine act of thanksgiving. I offer to God this spotless Host,—this Host Which He prefers to the sacrifices of Abel, of Abraham, and of Melchisedech. And so great in His eyes is the value of this mysterious exchange, that I thus pay Him the whole debt of my gratitude.

I do not forget, however, that in return for the good which He bestows upon me, the Lord demands that I should consecrate myself entirely to Him. Ah! how very sweet it is to me to offer myself to the Holy Eucharist !

It is the supreme offering which alone is pleasing in the sight of God. The Lord has done away with the sacrifices of the ancient law, and He will no longer accept any but the pure Host, Which is offered and sacrificed in every place.

I unite myself, then, with this Divine Host, and I offer myself to It in order to offer myself with It. I hide myself under Its Veils in order to hide my worthlessness. I annihilate myself in It, in order that It may remain the sole Victim that God beholds and that He accepts. I have addressed to the God of the Eucharist my best hymns of praise: adoration, love, thanksgiving, self-devotion, have been the objects of my prayers. But when I pray, is not my ultimate aim to obtain all the grace that is needful for me ? Ah! in order that Heaven may open to my requests, I love to knock first at the door of the tabernacle ! S. Augustine says truly that we are God's beggars. Here are the words of one of these beggars: " I stand at the door and knock." * He who begs is humble, and he dares not cross the threshold; but the knowledge of his poverty hardens him, and he knocks with confidence. Before what door should we be more humble than before that of the tabernacle? and at what door should we knock with more confidence and fervour than at that of which the Lord has said, "Knock and it shall be opened to you" ?* Happy is the soul that knows how to get the treasure of the tabernacle opened to him ! 

It is to the Eucharist that I apply these words of the Wise Man : "All good things come together with her;" and these other words of S. Paul: " Having delivered Him up for us all, how hath He not also with Him given us all things ?  If I succeed in coming to the Eucharist, I am able to obtain all the riches of Heaven.