TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH OF MONSEIGNEUR DE LA BOUILLERIE, Archbishop of Perga, Coadjutor of Bordeaux.
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.