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