TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH OF MONSEIGNEUR DE LA BOUILLERIE, Archbishop of Perga, Coadjutor of Bordeaux.
The Eucharist, O Christian soul, will sanctify all your labours; but how much dearer to It are those which you undertake for It. Amongst the labours which will usefully employ your time, I would especially recommend those which will have for their object the care of the sacred linen and ornaments of our churches. Thus you will imitate the Immaculate Mary, who fashioned with her own virgin hands the garments of her Divine Son. Thus you will most perfectly unite the Eucharist and labour.
The Saviour, in the sacred species, has willed to make Himself poorer still than He was during His earthly life. At Bethlehem Mary wrapped Him in linen; in the Praetorium men threw over His shoulders a purple robe. Here there is neither linen nor purple. Jesus Christ is absolutely destitute.
His poverty and His riches depend upon your pleasure. If generous and charitable hands take delight in adorning Him, He is rich, He has ornaments of gold, tabernacles of marble, and He dwells in precious vessels. But if these hands are negligent — alas ! even if they are poor, He has nothing. His destitution is absolute, and it is then that in certain churches we witness a spectacle which distresses us extremely.
If you love the Eucharist, love to work for It, and when it is a question of adorning our churches, listen only to the voice of your heart. Be deaf to that of the world, which will say to you in the words of Judas : Matthew xxvi. 8. " To what purpose is this waste ?" Ah ! I forbid you not to pour abundant alms into the bosom of the poor, but keep the perfumes of Mary Magdalene to anoint the feet of the Saviour.