Monday, 31 October 2016




"I will allure her and lead her into the wilderness, and I will speak to her heart."— Osee ii. 14.

"The wilderness shall rejoice and flourish like the lily."— Isaias xxxv. 1.

Fear not to enter into solitude, O Christian soul, for it is there that the Lord calls you in order to speak to your heart.

Solitude is as the band, and the habitual dwelling-place, of the Christian life; the world for it is only the exception. But what, then, is this solitude to which I invite you ? Ah! if a more sublime vocation has for ever separated you from the world; if you have listened to the voice which whispered into your ear, " Forget thy people and thy father's house: and the king shall greatly desire thy beauty." (Psalm xliv. 11.) If, in fact, you have chosen the solitary life of the cloister, I congratulate you heartily. This solitude will be for you a tranquil haven. Many storms will rage around you without ever touching you; it will be for you a refuge and a shelter. Many perils will surround you without ever reaching you. It will in fact be like a fertile field, where your sterile and withered soul will not fail to blossom again. All the same, O Christian soul, this absolute retreat is not that which I have now in view: and even if your life should pass in the world; even if your station, your position, your surroundings, or your labours exact of you many duties, I would still tell you to love solitude, and to practise it with care.

Two kinds of solitude are necessary to the Christian soul.

The first, which is none other than the Retreat, properly so called, will consist for you in your retirement for a few days in the year; then to occupy yourself only with the business of your salvation; to search into your conscience more deeply; to listen more attentively to, it may be, the Word of God, or the advice of a wise director; to form, finally, the holy resolutions which both your past and your future will suggest to you.

But the second, which I would call the solitude of. the heart, should be prolonged throughout your whole life. It is of it that S. Gregory said: " Of what use is the solitude of the body if that of the heart is wanting? This latter consists, O Christian soul, in isolating, at least, our heart from the vain rumours, the vain appearances, the vain agitations which multiply themselves around us. This makes of our heart a sanctuary closed against all idols, and where we may every hour worship God, love Him, and serve Him. This also, need I add it, will alter nothing of your ordinary life; it will easily accord with the duties of your station, with your duty to your family, and even with certain duties to the world.

It is this, O Christian soul, which I have now chiefly in view. If you love not this solitude, I shall in vain seek to instruct you and make you better. Solitude, once more, is necessary to the Christian soul. " It is not, it is true, the essence of perfection," says, on this subject, S. Thomas Aquinas, "but it is the necessary instrument of it." 

Saturday, 29 October 2016



O Christian soul, meditate on these thoughts. I have placed to-day before you these two expressions, which the love of the Saviour has united — the Eucharist and poverty. The Eucharist is God Himself. Poverty is the humblest condition of the human being. But love has performed this beautiful miracle, that a God should become Poor in the Eucharist in order that, in Its turn, the Eucharist might deify poverty.

O what a precious gift from the Lord is the Christian life ! It does not prevent poverty, but it makes us love the Eucharist, and at the foot of the tabernacle, the poorer we are, the better we understand that the Eucharist is worth more than all the treasures of earth.

Friday, 28 October 2016



Oh! how easy would it be for me now to finish the task which I have undertaken in showing you, 0 Christian soul, that if ever, since the time of His earthly life, the Saviour has willed to beatify the poor, it is especially in the Eucharist that He opens to them an inexhaustible source of happiness.

From the altar, as from the summit of the mountain, He addresses to them the Divine words: " Blessed are the poor, for theirs is The Eucharist and Charity. the kingdom of heaven!" But then, immediately descending to them, and coming to dwell in their hearts, He adds: " The kingdom of heaven is within you."

It is a beautiful characteristic of the providence of the Saviour that He multiplies His gifts according to the measure of our need. The Eucharist, it is true, gives Itself entirely to all; but the rich, who already possess the consolations of earth, will receive from It fewer divine pleasures. The poor have often, alas! no other friend, no other consolation, no other support, no other hope than the God of the tabernacle. It is to him that this God, become Poor, reserves His most abundant riches. The reason why the Eucharist does not always establish Its kingdom in our heart is that this heart already belongs to a thousand worldly hopes, to a multitude of covetous and carnal interests. The heart of the poor is empty, and Luke xvii. 21. the kingdom of God finds place there.

"The kingdom of God is within you." This kingdom, says the Apostle S. Paul, is not meat and drink, but justice, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.* The kingdom of God, truly, could not consist in the carnal delights which habitually embellish the life of the rich, in the feasts and intoxication of the world. But it is truly, 0 great Apostle! in the Eucharistic Food, in the Cup on the altar, which inebriates; and this Food and this Cup, which are the best festival of the poor, communicate to them abundantly justice, peace, and joy.

"The kingdom of God is within you." "This kingdom," says the Gospel, "is like to a grain of mustard seed, which becomes a great tree." The poor man is this grain of mustard seed, which the world despises, and which it tramples under its feet. But the Eucharistic sap makes of the mustard seed a great tree, where the birds of heaven rest, because the poor man becomes great before God, and the angels love to converse with his simple and humble soul. The kingdom of God resembles again the leaven which, being mixed with three measures of meal, leavens the whole lump, and makes delicious bread of it! * And, similarly, the heart of the poor, when the Eucharistic leaven raises and strengthens it, is changed into a new heart, which is the delight of the Lord.

Finally, this same kingdom resembles a merchant seeking pearls. The most precious is the Eucharist, and when the poor man has found it, he possesses an incomparable treasure.

Thursday, 27 October 2016



I said to you, O Christian soul, that Jesus Christ had not restricted Himself to a sterile love for the poor, but that He cared for them and watched over all their needs with infinite solicitude.

Ah! it is especially in the sacrament of the altar that this solicitude appears.
It is remarkable that in the beautiful prayer which comes to us from the Saviour Himself, and which we should repeat every day, whereas S. Luke writes simply, " Give us this day our daily bread," the Evangelist S. Matthew adds: ''Give us this day our supersubstantial bread."

Wherefore this different version ? It is most certainly the same prayer, and dictated by the same Divine Mouth. Is it the same bread, however, which is spoken of?

The holy Doctors who comment upon the Gospel tell us unanimously that the Lord exhorts us here to ask of our Heavenly Father our nourishment of every day.

But also they recognise in the words of S. Matthew a formal expression which refers to the holy Eucharist. O beautiful and — if I may so express myself—divine confusion of language, in which the Eucharistic Bread and our common daily bread become, together, the object of the prayer which we should address to God! But especially consider, I pray you, how encouraging to the poor is this thought which I propose for your meditation. One would say that the Eucharist Itself willed to be their merciful Providence, and to supply all their needs. When nourishing our souls, It is the Eucharist ; when nourishing our bodies, It is Providence ! The Eucharist and Providence —it is always the same God, the God Whom we invoke, and Who every day answers our prayer.

So I willingly apply to the poor who remain faithful to the Eucharist these consoling words of the Psalmist: "I have been young, and now am old, and I have not seen the just forsaken, nor his seed begging bread."

This just man is the poor who sits faithfully down at the Eucharistic Table. This just man begs not his bread. He first asks for the celestial Bread, the Bread which is super-substantial, and the Heavenly Father, hearing his prayer, knows that He owes him also his daily bread. I add that the Eucharist procures unceasingly for the poor wonderful resources, because It is the divine torch whence is kindled in all souls the beautiful fire of charity.

I will not repeat here, O Christian soul, the instruction which I have already taken care to give you elsewhere.But remember, I pray you, the close relations which God has been pleased to establish between charity and the Eucharist, and you will acknowledge, with me, that the great and innumerable works instituted in the Church to subvert all misfortunes have nearly always owed their origin, their virtue, and their success to Eucharistic influence.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016



But if the Eucharist has made Itself poor for love of the poor, and in order to be loved by them, It also retains the power, which was that of the Saviour while living amongst men —the power of creating poor men.

At the voice of Jesus Christ Matthew left for ever the Publican's desk and Zacheus gave to the poor the half of his goods ! At a single word from the apostles, in the Name of their Divine Master, the first faithful gave up their goods with joy. At the call of the Eucharist what sacrifices have been made, more generous and more numerous still! How many voluntary poor, contemplating the Eucharist, have despised the riches of the world! Seeing the Host so Poor, they, of their free will, have repeated the words of Urias to David: " The ark of God dwells in tents: how shall I then enjoy the pleasures of life ? " But this thought especially, this thought that the destitution of the Eucharist is a witness from the Saviour of His predilection for the poor, this thought has enchanted many souls, and has made them love poverty. They also have wished to merit the love of this Divine Friend, and, far from imitating the conduct of that foolish young man of the Gospel, who preferred the perishing riches of earth to the kingdom of heaven,t in order to acquire the celestial treasure hidden in the tabernacle, they have hastened to sell all, and renounce everything they possess.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016



In the sacrament of the altar He wills to be Poor. Wherefore ? Because He loves the poor, and because, being like to them, He can find easier access into their hearts. Jesus Christ only passes under the roofs of our churches and over the stones of our altars; His most loved dwelling, and that where He would always live, is the heart of man. But —I hasten to add it—it is especially the heart of the poor. There He meets more habitually with the virtues which He prefers, humility, modesty, simplicity, candour. There He does better, and in greater profusion, the work which He came to do. He heals more bleeding wounds; He consoles more sorrows; He excites a more lively faith; He inspires a more burning love. There, in fact, He acts more easily, and more quickly.

Is not this, O Christian soul! a fact that experience demonstrates—sad for the rich, sweet and consoling for the poor? Every time that the Priest from the Christian pulpit makes an appeal to souls, and when he calls to the marriage feast those who have been invited by the Father of the family, does one not see most of the rich pass coldly on, and many poor run together ? As in the days of His earthly life, only with grace more intimate, more penetrating, and more profound, the Saviour still says to them: " Follow me," and after the example of the apostles, they give themselves entirely to Him.

Monday, 24 October 2016



I wished, O Christian soul,—to show you first what Jesus Christ was during His earthly life with respect to poverty and to the poor, for what He then was, He will continue to be in the divine Eucharist, but with that super-abundance, that perfection, that charm, which only belongs to the sacrament of love.

And, firstly, in the Eucharist Jesus Christ has made Himself poor. His Human nature even hides Itself there. He. deprives Himself of the appearance of Man, of His strength, of His beauty, of the visible Majesty and the Divine Aureole which shone around His Face. He has now only the common appearance of a little bread and a little wine. Is it not especially in this state that the Prophet foresaw Him when he said: " There is no beauty in Him, nor comeliness And His look was as it were hidden and despised, whereupon we esteemed Him not." (Isaias liii. 2.) Invisible, and denuded of everything, He places Himself in our hands Poorer than the beggar, who stretches forth his hand at the threshold of our house, more dependent than the slave who is the plaything of the caprices of his master. Ah! no doubt if an ardent piety like that of the Magi has deposited at the feet of the Host so Poor gold, incense, and myrrh, we enrich Its poverty. We shall place It in golden vessels; we shall lavish about It silk and precious treasures; we shall carve marble and stone to form palaces for It. But the Divine Host does not choose for Itself such or such a dwelling. There It dwells amongst the rich; here, with the poor; and with them, near them, It shares their extreme poverty. The simple Church where they give It shelter is a stable of Bethlehem. The humble cabin where the missionary deposits It is as the tent that the traveller pitches in the barren sands of the desert; neither gold, nor marble, nor precious stuffs.

Hardly a roof to cover It; a bare stone to serve It for an altar. What poverty! what neglect! But I will explain why this absolute destitution pleases It. It is for love of us that Jesus Christ made Himself Poor. Even more than during His earthly life, He wills to be so in the Eucharist.

Friday, 21 October 2016



Finally, the Saviour does not only concern Himself to ameliorate the life of the poor man, He wills also to assure his happiness. He beatifies him from the commencement of His ministry. I open the holy Gospel: " Blessed are the poor," (Matthew v. 3.) says the Saviour. These are His first words. They are the preface to His teaching. One would say that He hastens to speak these divine words because they are suited to the capacity of the greatest number of those who would become His disciples. They are suited to the capacity of the small, the ignorant, the humble—all those whom the world despises, and whom He came Himself to solace and relieve."Blessed are the poor." Wherefore ? Because "the kingdom of heaven is theirs." Their future is happiness without end. But is it not proper that this royal dignity with which they will one day be clothed should already project upon their present life a first reflection of felicity and glory ? Thus the Church, faithful interpreter of the feelings of her Divine Spouse, has always surrounded the poor with a holy respect and tender affection. If she relieves their temporal misery, she strives especially to raise their mind and their heart towards the good things which are destined for them, and which already enrich their souls. Happy are the poor who can taste and understand the teaching of Jesus Christ! They, while still poor, are very rich, and their opulent poverty, to use the expression of a Father, assures them, at the same time, dignity and happiness.

Thursday, 20 October 2016



Thirdly: because Jesus Christ loves the poor, He takes care of them, and concerns Himself about their interests with admirable solicitude. " To thee is the poor man left," said the Kingly Prophet.

Ah ! this sacred deposit, could it be confided to a heart more loving? What has Jesus Christ done for the poor ? Two most merciful things.

Firstly: He has been able to inspire him again with the confidence which he had lost in a Providence always good, always active, always watching to come to his help. The Gospel is quite full of the sweet lessons by which one learns to trust in God. Jesus Christ compares the poor to the bird, and says to him: " Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing ? and not one of them shall fall on the ground without your Father. Are you  not better than many sparrows?" He compares the poor to the lily of the fields. " Solomon" He says, " in all his glory was not arrayed as one of these. If the grass of the field, which is today, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, God doth so clothe, how then shall He abandon you ? " Jesus Christ does not forget, all the same, to exhort the poor to have recourse, by prayer, to that Providence Who is God Himself! The bird does not pray, the lily does not pray; but the poor man must prays. And how then will he not have trust ? The God to whom he speaks is his Father. " Our Father Who art in heaven, give us this day our daily bread!" O poor man who prays, how should you not be certain.of being better clothed than the lily, better fed than the birds ?

But at the same time that the Saviour reminds the poor that he should trust in Providence, He warns the rich that this same Providence counts upon them to be the instruments of His benefits to the poor. A few words from His Divine Mouth suffice to move the heart of the rich, and without infringing on the right which they have to their goods, without imposing on them any tax, He knows how to amass for the poor an immense and inexhaustible treasure—that of charity.

Christian charity and voluntary poverty— two beautiful things created by the Saviour— co-operate, so to speak, and are fulfilled in the interest of the poor. When Jesus Christ said to His disciples, " Sell all that thou hast," He adds immediately, "and give to the poor.'' And when He exhorts the rich to give large alms, He preaches to them in a certain way the precept of voluntary poverty.

Thus, thanks to trust in God, and to the charity of the rich, the poor man finds in Jesus Christ resources for his support which the world would never have given him.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016




CHRISTIAN souls who read these pages, are you rich, or are you poor? If you are rich, I have been showing you how the Eucharist teaches you charity. If you are poor, still come to the Eucharist, and see how It is the friend and best consoler of the poor.

I consider first Jesus Christ in His earthly life. This loving God Who made Himself everything to all, and Who, in His goodness, sheds over all men the infinite treasures of His grace, showed, however, a veritable predilection for the poor. Himself willed to be poor. "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay His Head. , Divine words, which I love to meditate upon, for they seem to me a touching expression of the poverty of Jesus Christ.

How, then! Does not the stable of Bethlehem resemble the holes where foxes find shelter? Did not the high cross raised on Calvary resemble the nest where birds have their dwelling ? But hardly is He laid in the humble manger of Bethlehem, than, pursued by the fury of Herod, He must fly even to the borders of Egypt in the arms of His Mother. And as to the cross of Calvary, far from being a nest where He may repose* He only leans His thorn-crowned Head there in order to die. Between Bethlehem, where He was born, and Jerusalem, where He died, the holy Gospel relates to us His hidden life at Nazareth, His apostolic life in Judaea. But it is of His life at Nazareth that David, long before, had said in His name: "I am poor, and in labours from my youth."

His apostolic life is precisely that during which He has nowhere to lay His Head! Without shelter, without resources, living on alms, obliged to have recourse to a miracle in order to pay the tribute to Caesar, despoiled on the cross of the miserable vesture which covers Him, Jesus Christ is truly the Divine Poor Man Who, according to the expression of S. Paul, being rich, deprived Himself of everything in order to enrich our poverty.

In the second place, Jesus Christ, poor Himself, chose among the poor His companions and His friends.

Follow Him when He begins His ministry in the world, and when He is going to
assemble His first disciples. " Does he call," says S. Augustine, "orators, senators, emperors? Patience," continues the great Bishop, "their turn will come later. But first He takes the fishermen of the Lake of Galilee; first the poor, first the ignorant and the imbecile. Later, with these fishers of men, He will bring into His nets orators, senators, and emperors."
But not only does He choose the poor to preach His Word, He makes those who would give themselves to Him descend to the humble rank of the poor. "Everyone of you that doth not renounce all that he hath," He says, "cannot be My disciple."
These divine words have created in the world a new kind of poverty — voluntary poverty. Grace, stronger than nature, has delighted in overthrowing the fragile advantages of condition and of birth. In order to make more friends for Jesus, it has multiplied the poor. And who can say how many millions of souls have bought, at the price of their fortune, the divine intimacy of the Saviour!

Tuesday, 18 October 2016



Thus, O Christian soul, three difficulties, I told you, relative to the labour of charity. But I promised that they should be made easy at the foot of the Eucharist.

And, in fact, it is difficult to determine to do charity; but the Eucharist gives us the aptitude and the taste. It is difficult, in the second place, to do charity well; but the holy Eucharist, in giving a supernatural character to the charitable action, ennobles and perfects it. It is difficult, finally, to persevere in the exercise of charity; but the Eucharist will suffice to give us perseverance.

One word only on these three thoughts. The Eucharist inspires charity. I enter into the Last Supper; I assist at the institution of the sacrament of the altar; I first hear these creative words: "This is My Body; this is My Blood." And then I listen again, and a new language strikes my ears and penetrates to my heart. A new language! It is the Saviour Himself Who teaches it me: "A new commandment I give unto you,"-He says to us, "that you love one another, as I have loved you." 

Remark well this sequence, O Christian soul! First, the words creative of the Body of Jesus Christ; immediately after, the words creative of charity: "Love one another as I have loved you." Jesus Christ has so loved me as even to give Himself for me, as even to feed me with His Flesh, as even to die in order to assure heaven for me. It is thus that we should love the poor. We should give him our prayers, our cares, our fatigues, and in exchange for the adorable Bread which we receive at the altar we should not refuse him the daily bread of which he stands in need. Do you wish, then, to be charitable ? Meditate attentively on these two words which I have cited to you: the first: "This is My Body; this is My Blood." Love the Body and the Blood of Jesus Christ- Dispose yourself to receive Them often. Oh, then you will easily understand and fulfil the second word! As Jesus Christ has loved you, you will love the poor. You will be charitable, and your charity will be well done. I told you that your fault was that you were too natural and too human. The Eucharist is the source of that which is supernatural. It is the centre of the Christian life. And, in fact, to live a supernatural life, and to be a Christian, is nothing else than to identify oneself with Jesus Christ. Now what closer identification is there than that which is brought about by the Communion? Listen to the Apostle S. Paul: "And I live,'not now I, but Christ liveth in me."  

If Jesus Christ lives in me, He loves in me, He acts in me, He exercises charity in me. In fact, listen to what the Apostle adds: "The charity of Christ presses us;" no longer our charity, but the charity of Jesus Christ. O Christian soul, I may be doubtful about your own charity, but this celestial charity which is lighted at the divine torch; this charity which only touches the earth in order to kindle everywhere its beautiful fire; this charity which is no longer yours, which is the charity even of Jesus Christ, that is what I desire for you—the truly Christian charity.

And not only will this charity be perfect, it will be persevering. I know not if there be in the world a perseverance equal to that of the Eucharist. The most brilliant lights are extinguished, the firmest courage becomes weak, the purest virtues tarnish, the tenderest affections are broken. Look at the Eucharist since the Last Supper down to our days for eighteen centuries: always the same light, always the same ardour, always the same holiness, always the same love, and always the same life. Our charity, I said to you, is only a movement of the heart and a passing sacrifice. Here the Heart never fails, and the Victim sacrifices Himself every day. If you feel your courage become weak, come, draw from the tabernacle a strength all divine. If the ardour of your love becomes extinguished, come and light it again at this divine torch. Finally, if your labours frighten you; if indolence delays your steps; if you hesitate, for example, to visit a poor man, come first to the foot of the altar. From the altar to the house of the poor the road will appear shorter. The Eucharist, I repeat, will assure your perseverance.

What reason have I had, then, for associating these two words, and proposing them together for your meditation—the Eucharist and charity ? Love them both; put them both into practice. Charity will be your merit, the Eucharist will be your happiness, Heaven will be your reward.

Monday, 17 October 2016



These details are precious, and I see in them the care which our charitable works exact. The inn, is it not the house which is going to receive this poor, sick, or old man, or this orphan? In order that the house may receive them, you first give twopence, and you add directly: "Everything that is spent afterwards shall be faithfully repaid." But then, in order to pay this debt, how much walking to and fro, how many letters to write, how many collections to have made! Often, alas! what a bad reception to meet with ! This is what frightens and causes one to draw back. The first difficulty, then, is to determine to do the charity.

Second difficulty: to do it well. What does this mean ? I have taken care to cite you an example from the holy Gospel. I have invited you to copy this beautiful model of the Good Samaritan. What! is not that to do charity well ? Yes, doubtless, O Christian soul, if you are animated by the spirit of the Samaritan, that is, of Jesus Christ Himself, Who, under the veil of this parable, lets us perceive His own goodness, His own mercy. Charity well done is only Christian charity, and this in its turn is only supernatural charity. Do not let us deceive ourselves in this; the subtle and dangerous poison of enervating naturalism penetrates and invades us on every side. It even attacks the best things. People give in charity, but they do it nearly always in too human, too natural, a manner. They do it because our heart inclines us to it, because our position requires it; often, even, because it gratifies our little vanity. Charity well done is of a higher order. It has its source in God Himself. It resembles the eternal wisdom which touches at the same time the two extremities—God and the poor, which rises first to God in order to descend afterwards to the poor man. Yes, God first—to please Him, to glorify Him, to serve Him. Then the poor man, to raise his soul at the same time that we relieve his body, and in this truly deformed creature, whom vice too often disfigures more than do his rags, to make the image of God to shine. This is the work of true charity. As long as you do charity only with your alms, only with your zeal, only with your labours, you run a great risk of its being subject to a thousand imperfections. First do charity with God; it is then that it will be truly good.

Finally, the third difficulty: to persevere in the exercise of a charity which is well done. What is most desirable for that which is good, and what suits it best, is that it should last. The supreme happiness of heaven is the eternity of this happiness, and in the same way the real merit of virtue, and of all human work, is perseverance. Charity is towards the poor a mother, and it exercises in their behalf the august ministry of most tender maternity. But this ministry, you know it well, does not confine itself to a few days: it lasts as long as do the needs of the child. Now the families which charity adopts renew themselves incessantly.
We shall always have the poor with us. O charitable soul, you must then consent to be always their mother. And yet remark, I pray you, that if the exercise of charity demands long perseverance, its several acts are in themselves of an essentially transitory character. Each act of charity demands, in truth, two things—an impetus of the heart, and a sacrifice that one accepts. Alas ! the heart expands and it contracts; we accept the first sacrifice, and the second frightens us. To maintain always this expansion of the heart, and to sacrifice oneself every day, this is to persevere in the exercise of charity. O holy perseverance! O chief good, but also most arduous one, and for this cause the firmest support of our immortal hopes! He who perseveres in the Christian life will be saved. He who perseveres in the exercise of charity, it is to him, the Gospel tells us, that the Saviour addresses these words : "Come, ye blessed of My Father, possess ye the kingdom." 

Saturday, 15 October 2016



The first difficulty, O Christian soul, is to determine to perform the charity. Alas! if Providence has cradled us a little in Its favours, we soon fall asleep in this cradle. It offers us at our desire a roof to shelter us, clothes to cover us, and much more than our bread of every day. Too easily we isolate ourselves in this comfort, and we draw around us an horizon which we hardly pass. The time is short, you say. A few moments for prayer, then my days are taken up between my duties in my family and in the world. I do not refuse an alms when I can give it, but do not ask more of me. Precisely, 0 Christian soul; I do ask more of you. I ask you to give yourself to the labour of charity. In what, then, consists this labour ? You must exercise yourself, firstly, to look at the misery of the poor; not to turn your eyes away from all the misfortunes which surround you, and only consider your comfort in order to have greater pity for the poor creatures who are less favoured than we are. But this is only the preparation for the work: you must go further.

Permit me to cite an example to you which I borrow from the holy Gospel, and that Jesus Christ Himself proposes to us—the example of the Good Samaritan. He approaches the wounded man, he binds his wounds, he pours in oil and wine. The wine signifies strength, the oil is the type of gentleness. 0 Christian soul, if you would become a worthy instrument of charity, be, at the same time, gentle and strong. Pour freely the wine and the oil! Ah! the oil of sweet charity alone, which you will spread over the wounds of the poor, will be for him a strengthening wine which will revive all his courage. And this is not all. The Samaritan places the wounded man on his horse; he leads him to an inn, and carefully recommends him to the host. He gives firstly for him twopence, and he adds: "Whatsoever thou shalt spend over and above, I will repay thee." (Luke x. 35.)

Friday, 14 October 2016



"Having loved his own, He loved them unto the end."— John xiii. 1.

CHARITY is certainly the first of Christian virtues. And hence can one be surprised that the Eucharist, which preserves and increases in us the virtues of Christianity, should be also, and before all, the fertile source of charity.

But charity applies to many different objects. Inasmuch as it signifies the love which we owe to God and our neighbour, it is the first command which is imposed upon us ; and already, when speaking to you of the relations which God has placed between the Eucharist and the heart, I told you how our heart easily becomes charitable under the influence of the Eucharist. But in a less general sense, charity means that virtue which leads us to take pity on the poor, to succour him with intelligence and zeal. It is of this charity that I would now speak to you.

How should the Eucharist be a stranger to it? The Saviour only concealed Himself under the Eucharistic species through pity for us; and it is thus that He invites us to show ourselves merciful with respect to the poor. But not only does the Eucharist exhort us to show mercy, It renders it sweeter and easier.

I will remind you here of one of our former conversations on the Eucharist and Labour. I said to you that if labour is for us a burden and a weariness, the Eucharist consoles and refreshes us. The exercise of charity is a labour, 0 Christian soul, admirable but difficult labour which demands extreme ardour ! Fear not, however. The Eucharist promises us Its help, and the difficulties will vanish for you at the foot of the tabernacle.

And firstly, is it indeed true that charity is a labour ? Yes, doubtless, and I could almost dare to say that it should be for you the labour of every day, and one of the most habitual occupations of your life. Do not complain of this, O Christian soul, for if you are commanded to give yourself to this labour, it is that Providence has been more prodigal to you of Its gifts. And, besides, I could not recommend to you a more sweet and useful employment of your time. Charity is a labour. I acknowledge that all charity does not merit this beautiful name. Thus, for example, to take a piece of money from one's purse, to give to the poor man who passes, is not a labour. This can be done while walking, and without much trouble. This costs us little, and brings little also back in return. But to occupy oneself actively for the poor with zeal and perseverance, and —to express my thought more definitely—to - devote oneself to one of those works which the industrious charity of the Church ceases not to invent every day in favour of those who are unhappy, this charity is a labour. Work and labour are the same thing. The labourer does his work when he ploughs his furrow, the artisan does his work when he planes a plank or cuts stones, the artist does his work when he paints on his canvas or when he sculptures his marble. Well, then, charity has equally its works, more great, more noble, more holy. To raise the poor from his misery, to shelter and nourish him when he is an orphan; to sit by his bedside when he is ill; to sustain and support him in old age; to procure for him in this world a better existence; to secure for him in heaven infinite happiness; these are the works, but this is also the labour, of charity. This labour, is it difficult ? Ah! I acknowledge that it is accompanied by consolation and joy ; and yet, I fear not to affirm it, yes, this labour is difficult, and I would now first show you the difficulties of it.

Thursday, 13 October 2016



O Christian soul, imitate the Queen of Heaven! May the Lord be always with you ! It is in the Eucharist that He will be present with you. Receive Him, and all the virtues will follow Him, and He will shed upon you His most perfect gifts. I advise you often to meditate on these sweet words of the kingly prophet, " How lovely are thy tabernacles, 0 Lord of Hosts." (Psalm lxxxiii. 2.)

In them the whole of this conversation is comprised. The Lord of the virtues is also the God of the tabernacles. Love the tabernacles, and the Lord Who inhabits them will dispense to you the treasure which He always keeps there in reserve—the treasure of the Christian virtues.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016




Amongst created beings, which is the soul which presents itself to us as the model of holiness ? That one which has received the most grace, and is the most closely united to the adorable Person of the Saviour.

Mary is full of grace, says the angel, and in one word he explains her holiness : " The Lord is with her."

In truth, from all eternity, the Lord covers Mary with His shadow, and from the moment when she is conceived, He preserves her from all taint. In the mystery of the Incarnation, the Word took Flesh in her, and He dwells first in her chaste womb for nine months. At Bethlehem, at Nazareth, on the roads of Judaea, she is ever near her Son. On the Mount of Calvary she stands beside the cross. Finally, after the Ascension, she retires with the Apostle John, in order to live only by the Eucharist. " The Lord is always with her!" Yes, doubtless, and it is for this cause that all the virtues abound in the heart of Mary.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016




But the Holy Eucharist does not restrict Itself to preserving in us the Christian virtues. It increases them, It strengthens them, It impresses upon them the seal of perfection. When we receive the Eucharist, it is no longer we who live, it is Jesus Christ Who lives in us. But, with His life, He at the same time communicates to us His virtues! Ah! how much more confidence have I in the virtues of Jesus Christ than in mine! These partake of the infirmity of my nature; they are feeble like my will, timid like my mind, fragile like my heart, human and carnal as myself. But, 0 Jesus, Thy virtues are only one with Thine adorable Person. I receive with the sacred Host Thy purity, Thy humility, Thy charity, Thy gentleness. I become, according to the expression of S. Peter, "partaker of Thine own nature!" (2 Peter i. 4.) Enter into me, Lord Jesus, and may Thy virtues, as well as Thy life, be in future my own.
However, I acknowledge it, the life of Jesus Christ does not destroy our life, and His virtues, alas ! do not at first entirely correct our faults. Every day, to the divine purity of the Saviour, is superadded our concupiscence; to His humility, our pride; to His gentleness, our impatience. Never mind ; against the frequency of our faults we are permitted to fight by frequent communion. Every fresh communion, in its turn, adds to the corruption of our soul the pure gold of Jesus Christ! Soon it is the gold which predominates, and the impure breath of sin dares no longer tarnish it.

But how! does not a very sad experience come in here to contradict my words ?
I have communicated for a long time, you will tell me: alas! I am at present neither better nor more virtuous.

How many answers could I not give to this so common objection, which so often saddens and discourages souls !

And, firstly, I should not fear to answer some : you communicate, and you think that, nevertheless, you have made no progress. This very humble judgment which you pass on yourself is, to me, the surest witness of your spiritual advancement. I assure you that you are mistaken. You owe much to the Eucharist; do not be ungrateful to It. I praise you for your humility, but I entreat you to communicate always as you have done hitherto.
Then, to other souls I should hold a different language: you communicate, and you remain the same. But why ? Is it the communion that you must blame ? Is it not rather yourself ? The God of the tabernacle, does He cease for you alone to be the source and model of the most sublime virtues ? And the Eucharist which you receive, is It no longer that which the saints receive ?

You wish to communicate no more; but I, on my part, advise you to communicate better. Alas! original sin has only left us strength in one instance—the strength to resist grace. We employ it against the Eucharist! Take away the impediment, and your rapid progress will prove, even to yourself, that It is as powerful in you as in the saints.
Finally, to all Christian souls who complain of seeking in vain, by frequenting the sacrament of the altar, the perfection to which they aspire, I would recall these two fixed principles. On one side it is unquestionable that in keeping away from the Holy Table, far from advancing on the path of virtue, they will necessarily recede every day. Their vigilance will be less active, the grace of God less abundant, their evil inclinations more at ease. On the other side, it is faith itself which teaches that a communion well made produces always in us a marvellous effect. The more, then, that we partake of the Divine Eucharist, the more are we assured that It will continue in us the divine work which It operates there. And on this point do not fear, I pray you, the abuse of grace. Men resist it much oftener than they abuse it. The servant who received but one talent hides it and makes it sterile. He whom his master more richly endowed, and who has in his hands five talents, knows at once how to gain other five. The more abundant is the grace of God, the more easily may we be faithful to it. How many hide the precious talent of one Easter communion! How many know how to profit by frequent communion in order to practise admirable virtues!

Monday, 10 October 2016




Thus the Christian virtues are necessary to the soul which will approach the Eucharist, and the faithful practice of them will be the best preparation for It. One prepares oneself to communicate well by acts of love, of praise, of adoration, and of desire.

O Christian soul, do you not think that repeated acts of such and such a virtue would be dearer still to the God of the Eucharist ?

Tomorrow I hope to communicate, to-day I will be more humble, I will accept more willingly my sufferings and my sorrows, I will not permit my lips to speak one single word which will be a wound to love.

These are the acts which I counsel you to make before communion! Acts of sincere love, for he only truly loves his God who obeys His commands. Excellent hymns of praise, for we cannot better praise the Lord than by our works. Unerring witnesses of our ardent longings, for all our longings to behave better prove to the Eucharist that we sigh for It.
Here is then, O Christian soul, a first and close connection between the Christian virtues and the Eucharist: the Eucharist demands of us the practice of all the virtues. But I add that these, in their turn, have great need of the Eucharist. It alone indeed can preserve and increase them in us.


Firstly, the Eucharist preserves in us the Christian virtues.

I will use a figure in order to enable you the better to understand my thought. I suppose the habitation of a Prince, a palace which he who dwells in has filled profusely with all splendid luxuries. His presence, his cares, the obedience which every one renders to him, all the homage paid to him suffice to keep his dwelling in all the freshness of its first splendour. But the Prince departs, and abandons the place where he held his court, and the palace which he has left empty is soon nothing else than a desert. Alas ! the absence of the master will, little by little, and year by year, produce immense ravages. Firstly the gilding tarnishes, then the beautiful furniture loses its gloss, then the beams tremble, then the roof falls in, the walls give way, and the palace is nothing more than ruin. O Christian soul, the heart of man without the Eucharist a deserted palace and a forsaken house. The day when for the first time the Eucharist came to you, what was not your zeal to receive this Celestial Guest! With the help of grace you had constructed for Him within yourself a house supported by seven columns, which were none other than your Christian virtues. As long as your faithfulness to the God of the tabernacle lasted, the columns remained firm and the house retained all its lustre. But one day your guilty passions banished from your heart the Divine Eucharist, and you quickly perceived that your virtues departed with It. It can alone preserve them in us. In truth even an acquired Christian virtue is not exclusively our work.

 The best disposition cannot make a soul chaste or humble; the help of grace is needed. Now the Eucharist is in us the most excellent grace, and never does It visit us without strengthening our will towards what is good. When Jesus Christ visits us in Holy Communion, what He chiefly desires to find in us is virtue. His Divine Eye scrutinises our soul. He searches there for chastity, humility, gentleness, charity, patience. If He discovers these virtues in us, He rests and takes delight there. If one of them appears weak, He gives His divine support to it. It is the eye of the Master which within the house causes the smallest stains to disappear, and Who by His presence can keep in every place symmetry and order.

Saturday, 8 October 2016



When God would create man He took care to prepare beforehand a lovely garden for his residence. Numerous trees of beautiful appearance, and covered with fruit pleasant to the taste, shaded this happy land, and a river divided into four streams spread fertility there. This beautiful garden was as the throne where God would cause the king of the creation to sit.

In the same way when Jesus Christ willed that the heart of the faithful should become His own throne, He was pleased to embellish it. All the Christian virtues are exquisite plants which bloom on the soil of our soul; and which, watered by the stream of grace, produce celestial fruit. This is the dwelling which pleases Jesus Christ. Neither gold nor diamond can form a substitute, in His eyes, for the holy ornaments of virtue.

O how the Eucharist loves the pure soul! It is to it that It reveals Itself through the shadows of the mysteries. O how the Eucharist loves the simple soul! It converses more familiarly with it! O how the Eucharist loves the gentle and humble soul! This resembles It more than all. O how the Eucharist loves the charitable soul! because It is Itself all love! There is not a virtue that the Eucharist does not seek in us, in order to repose Itself there with greater delight! It says to the faithful soul these words of the holy Canticles: "Stay me up with flowers; compass me about with fruits." (Canticles ii. 5.) By the flowers of your virtues and by the fruits of your works.

"Stay me, sustain me!"

I said, O Christian soul, that virtue was not only an ornament, but a force. The soul must be very strong if it would properly receive Jesus Christ. Understand this thought well, I pray you.

The God of the tabernacle is the jealous God of whom our sacred writings speak.
If He has chosen our heart for His throne, it is on condition that He shall reign alone there. He suffers no rival. Now His most cruel enemy, that which works at all times to usurp His rights, is sin. Not only, then, have the Christian virtues for their object the adorning of the dwelling-place of the King of heaven, they must also defend it against the assaults of sin; they must close the gate before the enemy; they must be as a hedge to guard the Eucharistic Vine. But is it not that, O Christian soul, which the solid virtues work in us? Chastity watches over our senses; humility preserves our mind; charity, gentleness, patience, form a guard around our heart. This is an impenetrable hedge: this is an invincible rampart!
O faithful soul, who receivest Jesus Christ, strengthen His throne with your flowers; maintain His rights with your fruit. 

Friday, 7 October 2016



What are the virtues relatively to the soul? They are its ornament and its strength.
Its ornament—and, in fact, virtue is that wonderful inclination in us which disposes our will habitually to desire what is good! Man alone, because he is free and is possessed of reason, has the sole privilege of being virtuous.

The inanimate objects which surround us on every side obey fixed laws, and for them obedience is not a virtue. One does not say that a planet is virtuous because it does not leave its orbit. One does not say that a stone is virtuous because, when hurled from the mountain summit, it rolls down to the valley. One does not say that a plant is virtuous because it produces in due time its leaves, its blossoms, and its fruit. But one says of man that he is virtuous, because virtue perfects the will and its acts, and it is in this sense that virtue is the most beautiful ornament of the human soul.

When Jesus Christ came to earth He found the soul poor and naked: sin had spoiled and polluted it. But in adorning it with all the Christian virtues He has made reparation for all the ills of sin. 0 how beautiful has the Christian soul become! If it is chaste, purity-is a lily which blooms in it and embellishes it. If it is humble, humility, which appears to lower it, raises it, and ennobles it before God. If it is gentle and good, its gentleness and its goodness are a perfume which exhales from it and which one breathes with pleasure. If it is charitable, its charity is a divine gold which throws its radiance upon it! And thus every fresh virtue adds to its adornment. Each one also adds to its strength. Left to itself, the soul is weak. In it and around it how many enemies make war upon it! Its desires and passions draw it down to shameful degradation. The body which is joined to it crushes it as a heavy burden. Every event of life may be a peril for it; every creature a snare. What has it to oppose to so many assaults ? Virtue ! It is its strength. There is not an evil inclination which the Christian virtues will not combat. Not a duty which they will not make easy. Not a sorrow which they will not console. Not a difficulty which they will not ward off. Not a burden which they will not lighten. A heathen may have said, '' Virtue is only a word," but this is not the language of the Christian. Virtue for a Christian soul is a divine force.

But why has God willed to dispense so freely to the soul this ornament and this power which the virtues communicate to it ?

He Himself explains it, firstly, by these words which He says to us: "Be holy, because I am holy."Holiness is nothing else than the assemblage of Christian virtues ; but God alone, Who is the Holy of Holies, can alone communicate holiness to us; and it is for this reason, in the first place, that by His grace is shed over us with such profusion the good seed of all the virtues.

A second reason is the burning love which God has for all men, and His desire to see all happy.

Now this is one of the most beautiful signs of the dignity of the Christian, that the practice of virtue becomes necessary to his happiness. If the world attaches what it calls pleasure to all the shamefulness of vice, the soul elevated by Jesus Christ is only happy through the holy joys which it draws from virtue. 0 world, thou knowest not how sweet it is to be pure, to be humble, to be patient, and to be charitable! But the Christian understands these intimate delights of the soul; he feels that the more virtuous he is, the more will he taste of the only true felicity. And yet, 0 Christian soul, shall I tell you that these two motives do not suffice me? and when I consider with what tender care Jesus Christ has been pleased to adorn and fortify the heart of man, I imagine that in His thought He willed to prepare for Himself a tabernacle and a sanctuary.

The Christian heart has only received its adornment and its strength in order to contain the Eucharist.

Thursday, 6 October 2016




"How lovely are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts."— Ps. lxxxiii. 2.

WHAT is there more beautiful in the world than the . Christian virtues ?

If we happen to meet a soul which has the happiness of practising them, we experience an indescribable feeling of contentment. As an apparition from heaven, it shows us the Christian religion in its purest truth, with its most exquisite charms.
We acknowledge that Jesus Christ alone could so enrich the human soul; and in each of these virtues of which He is the Master and the Model, we adore His infinite goodness.
But did the word and example of the Saviour suffice to raise the soul to this height, where the most elevated Christian virtues are familiar and sweet to it ? Ah ! if we ask it how this wonder has been worked, it will not fail to answer: "I loved the Eucharist, and all good things came to me together with it."

Between the Eucharist and the Christian virtues there is, then, a secret link ?
Yes, certainly; and in this conversation I would show you, O Christian soul, what it is.
I will try to tell you first what the virtues are relatively to the soul and relatively to the Eucharist. I will show you afterwards what in its turn the Eucharist is with respect to the Christian virtues.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016



The experience of centuries comes to confirm this wonderful effect of the sacrament of the altar.

When Jesus Christ founded religion, He evidently had in view to transform the heart of man, to purify his life, and, by the exact observance of the law, to cause him to attain the highest moral perfection of which a human creature is capable. Now this object, which philosophy in every age has vainly proposed to itself, the Christian religion has faithfully accomplished. Thanks to it, the humble peasant child, taught by its pastor, knows the divine law of which the Philosophers of Greece were ignorant; and the perfect keeping of this law multiplies the practice of the most sublime virtues.

The Christian world, notwithstanding many undeniable shortcomings, has raised itself to a moral level which Paganism never suspected.

Certainly a multitude of divine causes have concurred to produce this result; but at the head of all these causes I like to place the Eucharist.

Yes, it is It which, from the institution of the Last Supper, always present and always living, has never ceased to maintain in the world the integrity of the Christian life. Everywhere It has made duty to be held in honour. Everywhere It has inspired prayer and facilitated devotion; and still in our day, exposed in all our churches, adored by the angels of earth as well as by the Angels of heaven, received with love by millions of pious souls, it is It which keeps amongst us the purity of Christian manners, which resists the invasion of the most brutal passions, and assures to the law of the Gospel an immortal future.

You also, O Christian soul, you will reckon upon the Eucharist in order to remain faithful to your duties. The commandments are a burden, but the Eucharist lightens it. If you know how to have recourse to It, the keeping of the divine law will be the honour and the delight of your life.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016



But if the Holy Eucharist is, with respect to each of us, the most certain way of keeping the commandments, can we be surprised that the Lord has added to the number of His precepts the obligation of receiving It worthily ?
Hardly has the child attained the age when his mind, becoming more developed, can understand the divine instruction, when his heart, more enlarged, begins to expand towards God, than the Eucharist is presented to him, and the day when he communicates for the first time becomes to him the commencement of a Christian life, more personal and more serious. He renews then the vows which he made in baptism, and he promises then with his own mouth to observe faithfully from thenceforth all the holy precepts of the Gospel. However, this first impetus given to his young soul would quickly subside if fresh communions did not soon come to revive his courage. He must every year, at the least, at the Paschal Festival, again sit down at the Divine Banquet. This annual communion, you know, is the command laid upon all. But does it suffice, 0 Christian soul? and when, just now, I was speaking to you of the wonderful effect of the Holy Eucharist on the keeping of the commandments, was I contemplating an annual communion ?

Take counsel here with yourself. I said that in order rightly to obey the divine commands, the Eucharist was necessary to you. See if one single communion every year can suffice for this great object; see if it can suffice for all the duties "which you have to fulfil; for all the temptations which assail you; for all the trials which Providence sends you; for every virtue which you must acquire; for every fault which you must correct.

There is no proportion evidently between the means and the end. Experience also is here plainly in accordance with my teaching. Apart from very rare cases, and which form only exceptions, I very much doubt "if an annual communion ever sanctified any one; whereas I see frequent communions produce in numerous souls wonderful effects, making their piety more real, their love more burning, their conscience more tender, their life, in fact, more perfect and more holy.

Henceforth, 0 Christian soul, you will take care to communicate frequently. But what rule shall I give you on this point ? According to the counsel of a wise director, I advise you to consult especially the duties which are imposed upon you, the perils which surround you, the inclinations which draw you; the precepts, obedience to which frightens you. Believe me, it will be neither by weeks nor by days that you will regulate your communions, buf by yourself.

The Church calls a soul which communicates a soul which practises.

This expression is very just. The practice of the Eucharist guarantees all the rest. If you would practise your duties, practise the communion.

Monday, 3 October 2016



I have told you, O Christian soul, how the Eucharist helps us faithfully to obey the law, but I would now enter more into details, and show you how the same Eucharistic action applies itself to each of the commandments, in order to make their fulfilment easier to us.
You know that these commands belong to three distinct orders. They appertain to God, to our neighbour, and to ourselves. Taken together, one may say that they embrace the whole extent of morality. They form the most perfect code by which man has ever been governed. Well, then, let us first see how the Eucharist helps us to render to God the adoration, the love, and the worship which we owe to Him. Let us consider by turns in It the sacrament and the sacrifice.

The sacrament unites us to God by the firm bands of love.
It is this love which the Divine Saviour foresaw at the Last Supper, when He addressed this prayer to His Father: " That they may be one, as we also are one. I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one." (John xvii. 23.) Christian love has no other object than that of uniting us to our Divine Head: and this close union which we form with Him in the sacrament of love, is it not the first hope of the perfect consummation ?

If the sacrament unites us to God, the Eucharistic sacrifice is the highest expression of the worship which is due to Him. Adoration, love, thanksgiving, almsgiving, expiation, prayer, all these acts of the Christian only acquire perfection inasmuch as they are united to those of the Eucharistic Victim. And, in fact, as I have said elsewhere, in speaking of prayer (The Eucharist and Prayer) in the holy sacrifice it is the Saviour Himself Who adores, Who loves, Who gives thanks, Who offers Himself in sacrifice, Who expiates, and Who prays with us.
By His own virtue He makes holy our human feelings. He corrects our imperfections, He conveys especially to our adoration and to our love a merit and a power which only belong to Him; and hence it is very true to say that it is only in Him, with Him, and by Him, that it is given to us to accomplish the first commandment of the law : " Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind."

God commands us to honour His Holy Name, and nowhere is this adorable Name more glorified than at the altar.
He orders us to observe faithfully all the days which are consecrated to Him. But does not the Church add that our first duty, in order to sanctify these days, is to assist at holy Mass? And all that surrounds the Eucharistic sacrifice, is it not the best embellishment of our Sundays and our festivals ?
O Christian soul, remain faithful to the Divine Eucharist, and you will be so with respect to all the duty which you owe to God. You will also be so to that which you owe to your neighbour.
Everything in the Eucharist teaches us charity. The holy doctors say truly that these grains of wheat which are crushed together, those grapes which are pressed and mingled together, to form in our holy mysteries but one bread and one cup, are the symbol of the close union which should exist amongst the faithful.

The Celestial Bread which the Lord dispenses, and which He multiplies on the altar to supply the needs of our soul, teaches us that we should multiply the bread of almsgiving, in order to succour the miseries of the poor.

How keep at the foot of the tabernacle the least feeling of hatred or of vengeance, when Jesus Christ forbids us all to approach the altar before being reconciled with our brother ? (Matthew v. 24.)

And the Eucharistic Table, where sit down at the same board both rich and poor, servant and master, learned and ignorant, is it not the most touching emblem of the holy equality of souls before God ?

The Eucharist teaches me to love all men, for Jesus Christ has loved them, even to give Himself to them.

The Eucharist teaches me to respect every human creature, for there is none who is not one day called to be the tabernacle of the Most High. But is it necessary to add that if the Eucharist teaches us the regard due to our neighbour, it is still more the respect due to ourselves with which It endeavours to inspire us.
Between the Eucharist and purity of heart there are very many loving ties. It is the perfume which purifies our soul. It is the salt which preserves our senses from all external pollution. It is the refreshing stream which extinguishes the fire of our guilty passions.

You see, O Christian soul, I have examined all the commandments, and there is not one which escapes the action of the Eucharist. It is indeed at Its school that is learned the science of the divine law, and especially it is there that one learns to put it into practice.

Saturday, 1 October 2016



v. The desire for the Eucharist leads us to keep the commandments.

Precisely because we neglect to observe the divine law, we sin, and we cannot be freed from the state of sin but by the entire confession of our faults. But have you remarked, 0 Christian soul, the mysterious links which bind the sacrament of Penance with that of the Eucharist ? The confession of our faults is painful to us, and sometimes we fail through weakness. Now what is generally the feeling which triumphs in us over this weakness, which drives us to the feet of the Priest, which dictates to us a humble confession, which decides us at last to recover the grace of God? Is it not the hope of the Eucharist ? Is it not the desire to approach It ? Suppress the Holy Table, our sacred tribunals would be much less frequented. If our penitent heart washes itself from its guilt, it is in order to adorn more worthily the abode of the Most High ; and thus, even before It unites Itself to us, the Eucharist induces us no longer to violate the law of God. But, as soon as we have received It, how powerful It becomes in maintaining us in the practice of the Christian life!

It is not sufficient that sincere confession and energetic resolutions have replaced us in the right path. We must continue to walk in it; to run, according to the expression of David, in the way of the commandments, and go on from virtue to virtue, + unto the end set before us.

The Christian life thus understood is the noble and incessant labour of the soul; but a labour of which Jesus Christ expressly says that " without him we can do nothing.Here all human strength fails, and all human help is weak. It is necessary that a God should act in us, and, to do that, He must live in us. Listen to the words of the apostle: " And I live, now not I, but Christ liveth in me." And see what he adds : "I can do all things in Him who strengthened me." The action of a God; the life of a God; the strength of a God—these three things are necessary for the work which religion demands of us. Well, then, it is Holy Communion which imparts all three to us. By His adorable Presence, Jesus Christ lives in us, but He does not remain inactive. He sustains all our steps ; He aids all our efforts ! 0 Christian soul, without the Eucharist you will do nothing, for you will live alone; but with It you will be able to do all, because It will suffice to make you strong.

But the Eucharist is not only strength: the charm it possesses and the joy it inspires make us love these divine commands.

This, O Christian soul, is the great and sweet secret which will lighten all the burdens of the law. At the thought of each of the commandments which you have to obey, always add the thought of the Eucharist. Do not try, without It, to fulfil such a duty, to submit to such demands, to consent to such a sacrifice ; but, with It, do not hesitate. The Eucharist will spread Its perfume over all the labours which are imposed upon you, however severe they may appear to you; the sweetness of the Eucharist will always predominate over them. From loving the Eucharist you will love what It commands you: from loving the Bread of angels you will live the life of the angels. The Eucharist, be assured of it, was the method of the, saints. Their nature resembled ours, and the evangelical law was imposed on them as on us, but they loved the Eucharist; and they preferred the happiness of a fervent communion to all the vain joys of the world. Ah! it was then truly that they ran in the way of the commandments, so enlarged was their heart! The Eucharist enlarges our heart, for It seeks to enlarge it even to infinity.