Wednesday, 30 November 2016



"What I have said of our bodily infirmities will also apply equally well to our mental sufferings; they are often the most cruel; sorrow oppresses us; bitter deceptions fatigue and discourage us; tears have become our meat day and night. O Christian soul! if you are sorrowful, have recourse to the Eucharist.

The God who visits the sick upon their beds of suffering will equally come and repose Himself upon your sick heart! Ah! how fervent will sorrow make you. The more unhappy you feel, the more you will lovingly importune Him Who comes to console you. In the same way that the God of the tabernacle has secrets to ease the pain of our bodies, so He will also know how to calm all your troubles, and to soften all your grief.

If we suffer, we communicate better; and if our communions are good, how they help us to suffer well!

To suffer well is not only to endure suffering, it is to love and desire it. Now the Christian easily draws from the holy habit of communion the love and the desire of suffering. In Jesus Christ, our Divine Model, the Passion and the Eucharist had but one source —love. "Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end."
What end, I ask you ?

Both that of the Passion and that of the Eucharist together.
"Greater love than this no man hath," says Jesus Christ, " that a man lay down his life for his friends." That is the end of the Passion.

But this life which the Saviour gives up on the cross for the salvation of the world He communicates entire to us at the altar. This is the end of the Eucharist.
The Eucharist and the Passion differ on a multitude of other points; they commingle in this one point—love. Now love calls forth love, and it is the model of love.
In order to prove to Jesus Christ our devotion and our tenderness, does it suffice that, partaking with holy ardour of the Eucharistic Feast, we give ourselves to Him in the holy communion? No, the Saviour not only loved us in the Upper Chamber, He loved us also on Calvary, and we cannot respond to this second evidence of love but by loving to suffer with Him. It is here that the words of S. Paul are recalled to our minds: " I fill up," says he, those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ in my flesh."

O pious and consoling thought! our sufferings are so one with those of Jesus Christ that they become, as it were, the complement of them. As in the communion, it is no longer we who live, but Jesus Christ Who lives in us; so, when we take part in the Passion of the Saviour, it is no longer we * Col. i. 24. who suffer, but Jesus Christ Who suffers in us. We have, it is true, a horror of our own sufferings, but we love those of Jesus Christ; and from loving these, in which ours participate, we finish by loving our own.

Now this Christian love of suffering even leads us to desire it. Jesus Christ not only loved the Eucharist and the Passion. Listen, what vehement desire urges Him from one to the other: "I have a baptism wherewith I am to be baptized/' He tells us, " and how am I straitened until it be accomplished ?" And elsewhere: " With desire I have desired to eat this pasch with you before I suffer."

It is, in fact, as I said above, in the thought of the Redeemer that the Eucharist and the Passion are one and the same sacrifice for the salvation of the world. Well, then, the disciple of Jesus Christ would imitate his Master. The more he longs for the Eucharist the more he endeavours to be a victim with It and like It. It is nothing that he expiates for himself; he would still suffer for the salvation of his brethren; and in proportion as he identifies himself more with the God of the altar, the more he experiences an earnest desire of sacrifice and immolation.

Such has been the feeling of all the saints; such will be yours, O Christian soul! The love and the desire of suffering are the most beautiful characteristics of sanctity. This is only explained by the Eucharist.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016



How many times, O Christian soul, has it not occurred to us to sigh over our indifference and our coldness when we approach the sacrament of the altar. Dissipated and distracted by our business and our pleasures, we have often perhaps hardly prepared our heart to receive its Divine Guest. And after having communicated, no true feeling of love, no earnest resolution, no burst of gratitude.

O you whom suffering distresses! I congratulate you truly. Your communions will now become very agreeable to God, and it will be easy to you to make them.

You are on the point of communicating: seek not to make long preparations, and do not fatigue your mind by useless efforts : you suffer : that is enough.

I said to you a moment ago that, precisely because you are ill, Jesus Christ is in great haste to come to you. The ills which you suffer form a powerful attraction which draws Him.
Formerly, perhaps, you tell me, you took care to prepare yourself by prayer and good works. Alas! often a self-satisfied feeling robbed them of all their value.

Suffering is never an act of our own will, it is as the direct expression of the Divine Will for us. Bear the burden which God has imposed upon you, suffer with resignation, and you will be able to say without fear to the God of the Eucharist: " My heart is ready, O God ; my heart is ready."

The Saviour comes to you. Do not say, My tabernacle is poor, without perfume and without ornament: I have neither virtues nor merits.

For you it is only a question of one single virtue, one single merit, but which, according to the expression of S. James, are the best evidence of your faith, and the highest stage of Christian perfection: to be resigned and patient. The dwelling which you offer to the Lord suits Him; He unites Himself willingly to you, because you unite your sufferings to His; He loves to repose Himself upon you, because being yourself weary of suffering, you can only repose yourself in Him.

After that you have communicated, your thanksgiving will be short-never will it have been more perfect; your sufferings will make up its value; you will simply address to. Jesus Christ these three words of His gospel: " Lord, he whom Thou lovest is sick;" '' Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst heal me;" " Lord, may Thy Will be done, not mine. ,,

Ah ! if on leaving the Divine banquet, you have, like the Saviour, to enter the garden of Olives and to begin your agony, take courage, O Christian soul! Better than the angel who appeared to Jesus in His agony, it will be the Lord Himself, the God of the Eucharist, who will raise you up and sustain you

Saturday, 26 November 2016



In the first place, O Christian soul, consider how Jesus Christ united the Eucharist and suffering.

The priest, at the holy altar, repeats every morning these words :—

"The day before He suffered, Jesus took bread." (Canon of the Mass.) And in fact Jesus only leaves the chamber of the Last Supper but to go to the garden of Olives, where He will be betrayed and given up to His executioners. The date of the Eucharist and that of the Passion are the same. But what end does Jesus propose to Himself when giving to His disciples His Body to eat and His Blood to drink ? Above all He would leave them a living memorial of His sufferings. " This Body," he says, " is That which will be given for you. This Blood will be shed for the remission of your sins."

The Passion and the Eucharist, which have the same date and the same end, are not separated in the future.

No doubt the glorious Body of Jesus Christ suffers no more, but His Passion remains so inherent in the Eucharist, that the latter is only a sacrament but inasmuch as It is a sacrifice. The Host, before being presented to us as the food of our soul, has been offered as Victim on the altar of immolation. The priest never pronounces the words which consecrate without reminding that these words were said by the Saviour" Himself on the eve of His Passion. The altar is at the same time the Upper Chamber and Calvary: the Upper Chamber of the Eucharist and the Passion are only one memory for us.

Well, then, now I return to you, O Christian soul! God has imposed suffering upon you; a cruel sickness wears your limbs; your bed of suffering is a Calvary* Oh! profit by these precious moments, unite your own passion with the Divine Eucharist.

Hitherto, perhaps, and as long as Providence preserved your health, you loved to come often and kneel at the foot of the holy table. Now you can no longer do it—and yet, allow me to say it to you, it is now that God has placed you in the best condition to unite you to the Eucharist.

You suffer ! Ah ! remember the holy words which I have quoted to you. " Before He suffered, Jesus took bread." He only took it in order to bless it, and to distribute it to you. Receive the Bread, all you who suffer.

The God of the Eucharist so loves your sufferings that to go towards them He leaves His tabernacle, He traverses streets and public places, He walks through the country, He climbs the summit of the mountains, or He descends into the valley. There where lives he who suffers, the Eucharist finds itself as it were in Its native country. Your bed of pain is a Calvary, you say: it is for this reason that it will the better be an Upper Chamber—the Eucharist is born of suffering. It belongs firstly to those who suffer.

Friday, 25 November 2016



Religion explains suffering to us. In the Christian language pain and sin so correspond that these terms are inseparable. God had created man exempt from suffering and death: "It is by sin," says S. Paul, "that death entered into the world." (Romans v. 12.) And as a foretaste of death — suffering. Man has sinned; can one then wonder that he suffers ?

Man has sinned! How should not his guilty heart, become cursed ground, bring forth briars and thorns? How, when his body has rebelled against God, should it not feel the severe yoke of His justice ! And how should our poor nature, so profoundly injured and fallen, not feel the rebound of its fall ?

But religion does not content itself with explaining suffering to us! It teaches us to suffer well, and for that what does it do ? It shows us the Eucharist.

The Saviour willed to establish between the Eucharist and suffering the closest ties. Let us know how, in suffering, to have recourse to the Eucharist. The Eucharist and suffering can mutually aid each other in us.

When we suffer, we communicate better, and if our communions are good, they will teach us to suffer well. Finally, united together, the Eucharist and suffering are for us sure means of sanctification and salvation. Let us meditate, I pray you, on these thoughts.

Thursday, 24 November 2016



"The day before He suffered, Jesus took bread.'— Canon of the Mass.

YOU suffer, O Christian soul! Suppose for a moment that the religion of Jesus Christ has not flashed its torch before your eyes. Here is before you a cruel enigma, of which the solution will always escape you — suffering. Man suffers! Why does he suffer? Why, this creature of a day, is he the plaything of pain ? " Why doth evil put forth its power against a leaf that is carried away with the wind, and why pursueth it a dry straw? Man born of a woman, living for a short time, is filled with many miseries.

Who cometh forth like a flower, and is destroyed, and fleeth as a shadow; who is soon consumed as rottenness, and as a garment that is moth-eaten." (Job xiii. and xiv.) In this admirable description, the holy man Job does not exaggerate the bitter conditions of human existence. But why does God impose them upon man?

The infidel has no reply, or, rather, he answers by despair and blasphemy. Religion alone does not keep silence. It neither despairs nor blasphemes. It first explains suffering to us. It then teaches us how to suffer well.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016



Perhaps, O Christian soul, in listening to this discourse, you have said more than once to yourself: " But if it is thus, it were better at once to renounce the world, and live only with the Eucharist." Yes, you are right, and I can only applaud so Christian a resolution.

However, I do not forget that Jesus Christ, preaching to His disciples the most austere virtues of the Gospel, finished His discourse with these words: "All men take not this word." (Matthew xix. 11.).

All, alas! do not understand that the Eucharist is worth more than the world. All do not so easily determine to sacrifice vain pleasures to the purer delights of the soul. Many, in fact—I repeat it—must know how to live in the world.

It is for them that I write these pages. May my words inspire them with sentiments which will be their safeguard.

Firstly, an invincible horror of the offences of the world, which the God of the tabernacle has so often condemned and cursed.

Secondly, an extreme vigilance, in order that the world which they frequent may never have power enough to turn them from the road which leads to the holy Table.

Thirdly, an ardent desire to break one day the bands which retain them in the midst of the world, in order to consecrate themselves entirely to the divine Eucharist.

I desire, O Christian soul, that these three sentiments may be yours. The world will have for you fewer perils, and the Divine help which you have obtained for yourself will save you. " A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand: but it shall not come nigh thee." (Psalm xc. 7.) The cherubim of the tabernacle will keep you under the shadow of their wings.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016




Happy is the soul which thus triumphs! It is this happiness which I covet for you, O Christian soul. Can I desire that your whole life should he divided between these two extremes—between the Eucharist and the world! Oh, certainly not! I have wished, it is true, to furnish you against the seductions of the world with the sacred armour which the soul that communicates puts on at the altar. But especially I am persuaded that in thus remaining faithful to the divine Eucharist you will draw from It enough strength to break off finally all your connection with the world.

With respect to this, constant experience comes to confirm my previsions. Who may tell the numberless victories gained by the Eucharist over the most worldly souls ? The God of the tabernacle was very patient with them; but He did not remain inactive. He sought to draw them by the bands of His love, and to arouse them from their negligence by the most, tender reproaches. If I am your Master, He said to them, where is the honour which you render Me when you only think of gaining vain glory from all the gifts which you have received from Me ? If I am your Father, where is the love which you show me when you give your heart to such frivolous amusements ?

Little by little they better understood these words of a Master and a Father. They entered seriously into themselves. They saw that the living Fountain was better for them than the broken cisterns, and, thirsting only for the water of the spring, they long for thee alone, O my God! (Psalm xli. 8.) And now, far from the noise of the world, they love to dwell in solitude near the tabernacle. How they repose there! How happy they are there! They remember past dangers. " If the Lord had not helped us," they cry, "we had nearly fallen down to hell."  But every time that our footsteps slipped, the sacrament of mercy supported our failing strength. They taste their present joys, incomparably the sweetest. Before the torch which burns on the altar the pale lights of the world are soon extinguished; and, joyous at having chosen the house of the Lord for their habitation in future, they say, with David: " How lovely are thy tabernacles, thou Lord of hosts! Better is one day with thee than thousands in the tabernacles of sinners."

Monday, 21 November 2016



And, in fact, O Christian soul, here is a sure sign by which it will be easy for you to see if the Eucharist exercises a happy influence on your relations with the world.
From time to time return upon yourself. Interrogate your own feelings, whether from the point of view of the world, or from that of the Eucharist. Is it the Eucharist, or is it the world which every day loses or gains most ground on your affections?

If you find that the world draws you away; if, like the unbelieving Jews, you think that the Eucharistic manna possesses no longer the same celestial flavour which It had formerly; if you prefer to It the coarse food of Egypt, take care: the world is worth nothing to you. Apply to yourself the words of the wise man: " Strive not against the stream of the river." (Ecclesiasticus iv. 32.) Retire rather to the calm and holy shore of our Eucharistic sanctuaries, and by deeper recollection, by more fervent prayer, endeavour to restore to your soul the energy which the softness of the enervating world caused it to lose.
But if, on the contrary, the spectacle of the vanities of the world which surround you only succeed in making you love still more the delights of the Eucharist; if, every time that you are invited to a worldly assembly, you say, with David : " Woe is me that my sojourning is prolonged! How long shall my exile last ? " (Psalm cxix. 5.) If worldly conversation tires you, and if, returned to the foot of the Eucharist, you experience the truth of these beautiful words of our Sacred Books: " Her conversation hath no bitterness, nor her company any tediousness," (Wisdom viii. 16.) oh, then, I shall be less uneasy.

The world will in vain endeavour to retain you; you will love it less from day to day; and soon, I feel convinced, the Eucharist will obtain in you the triumph which It longs for.

By It and with It you will soon have overcome the world.

Saturday, 19 November 2016



Thus, firstly, the Eucharist inspires the Christian soul with a holy horror which nothing can overcome with respect to the evil world. But, at the same time, it forearms it against the dangers of the relations which it is obliged to keep up with it.

You have read in that admirable book, " The Introduction to the Devout Life," the wise counsels which S. Francis de Sales gives to the persons whose condition obliges them to frequent balls and other dangerous reunions. He would that these persons should think often on death, on hell, on the agonies of all those who suffer; then on the very different life of the souls which pass night and day in praising God; then on Jesus and Mary, on the angels and saints, " who have seen them at the ball, and to whom they have caused great pity."

These counsels are excellent, and I advise you to follow them. But you, O Christian soul, you have a special devotion to which are attached both your most constant thoughts and your most holy affections. You are devoted to the Eucharist. Do not allow It to remain a stranger even to the worldly life which has been imposed upon you! The Eucharist, when you find yourself in the world, will be to you more than was the angel wafting the pure air around the three Hebrews in the furnace of Babylon.

When you prepare to take part in a worldly feast consult the Eucharist. It will regulate your external behaviour, and will tell you the wise reserve which Christian modesty imposes on you.

If the brilliancy of this fete so dazzles your eyes that it makes a dangerous impression on you, remember the Eucharist, with Its festival so much sweeter, when, amidst incense and light and flowers, It appears to you upon the altar, shown forth to your gaze, to your love, to your adoration. If your ears hear words that flatter your vanity, and which carry on in drawing-rooms the conversation of the serpent and of Eve, do not listen to all these discourses, and, borrowing the thought of David, say from the bottom of your heart: " The wicked have told me fables, but not as thy law, O God of the tabernacle! " (Psalm cxviii. 85.) And if the joys and pleasures of the world endeavour to persuade you that you will find in them true happiness, remember that you have been happier when you were shedding tears at the foot of the tabernacle.

But especially if the shadow of sin endeavours to darken your soul, oh, remember, remember quickly, that you. are on the eve, perhaps, or on the morrow of a communion. Is it thus that you prepare yourself ? Is it thus that you thank God for the mercies which He has bestowed upon you?

What shall I add, O Christian soul! The thought of the Eucharist, if it reigns in you, will take possession of your whole being. It will transform it, and will leave an inimitable impression, as it were, of Itself upon it. I would that, when seeing you in the world, every one should say at once, " There is a soul that communicates!"

The poet has had reason to write,—
"Even when the bird walks, One feels that it has wings."
The Christian, in the midst of the world, is as the bird which condemns itself to walk, and which only takes again the wings of the dove in order to fly to the tabernacle. I desire that the Christian soul, even when it stays its flight, and sets foot on the earth, I desire that it may impress upon every one that it has the nature of the bird, and that God made it to fly.
At the same time, O Christian soul, in imparting to you the feelings on this point which I consider the best, I hasten, nevertheless, to recognise that the shades here are of infinite delicacy. One soul I should counsel to practise without fear the doctrine which I have just been teaching. With another I should be more guarded. But this I say to all, that if, notwithstanding their rather worldly life, I rather incline to advise them not to renounce the Eucharist, it is, firstly, because the world, without this divine support, would be inevitably more dangerous for them. It is, further, because I have the hope that, little by little, the Eucharist will lead them, of their own accord, to separate themselves entirely from the world.

Friday, 18 November 2016



From the beginning of this conversation I have taken care to warn you, O Christian soul, that no connection can exist between the holy Eucharist and the world which has been the object of the maledictions of the Saviour. What relations can there be between the chaste delights of the altar and the guilty voluptuousness of the world ? It is with reference to this that S. Paul pronounced these plain words: " You cannot drink the chalice of the Lord and the chalice of devils." (1 Corinthians x. 21.) The chalice of Jesus Christ is the Wine which brings forth virgins: the chalice of devils poisons and destroys souls. This guilty world you must fly; but I am persuaded beforehand that the holy love of the Eucharist will suffice to cause you to avoid it.

The holy love of the Eucharist! Ah ! it is then a very precious grace bestowed on us by the Lord ! It suffices to guard us from a number of shameful faults into which our corrupt nature would draw us. Happy is the soul which, at the holy Table, has "tasted and seen how sweet the Lord is." (Psalm xxxiii. 9. 16) It has unlearnt by this very means the unholy science which the world reveals to us; it has, if I may so express myself, lost the sense of worldly things. But in place of this, it has gained an exquisite, a divine sense, which is only satisfied at the altar. It is in vain henceforth that the world will burn before it the vapid incense of its vanities : it loves better to run to the perfumes of the tabernacle. In vain it amasses before its eyes all that enchants, all that seduces: it is never deceived by those deceptions. Ah ! it says, how vile is the world when I gaze upon the altar!

Thursday, 17 November 2016




"The Lord is not in the whirlwind."—3 Kings xix. 11.

If I have been able, 0 Christian soul, to show you easily the relations which exist between the Eucharist and the various practices which religion proposes to you, have I not, on the contrary, to show you now that an impassable abyss separates the Eucharist and the world ? It is Jesus Christ Himself Who pronounces these words: "Woe to the world." (Matthew xviii. 7. ) And He adds: " The whole world is seated in wickedness." (1 John v. 19.)


Hidden from our eyes at this time, far from the crowd, and far from noise, under the Eucharistic species, will the Saviour approve that on which He bestowed His curse during His earthly life ? And the worldly soul, which has chosen to dwell on, and to delight in, evil, can it at the same time become the tabernacle of the Holy of Holies ?

Far be it from me this thought, 0 Christian soul. And yet if Providence has caused you to be born in the midst of the world; if you have duties to fulfil there, and have to keep up your relations with it, I would tell you, without hesitation, that neither these duties nor this connection should separate you from the holy Eucharist.
At the same time, on this delicate point there are some distinctions to make, and I would first point them out clearly.

O Christian soul, there is world and world. Jesus Christ cursed the world because of its offences. Væ mundo a scandalis (Matthew xviii. 7.) He cursed it because the spirit of evil resides and has dominion in it. Totus mundus in maligno positus est. (John v. 19.)
Hence the more the world avoids offences, the more it departs from the works of the devil, and the less will it merit the curses of the Saviour. God did not create man to live alone; social life is his natural life, and all the efforts of religion have tended to this one end—that the world should become Christian. Alas! this work, I know, is still incomplete, and it is seldom that worldly reunions are not perilous to the soul. One cannot, however, deny that a little experience suffices to discern the world which Jesus Christ condemns from that which one can frequent without ceasing to be Christian.

A second distinction refers to the different relations which one may have with the world. There are those which family ties, charity, and zeal recommend to us. These, far from being condemned by religion, form part of our duties, and we must take care not to omit them. There are others which are imposed upon us by the obligations caused by our social position. If they present no danger, they also are no obstacle to our Christian habits. If they are of such a nature as may cause harm to us, such as large reunions, dances, and other worldly diversions, they must be carefully regulated by the inspirations of Christian prudence and the advice of a wise director.

Finally, a third distinction arises from the personal condition of each one. The youth and the old man, the young girl and the married woman, do not encounter the world under the same conditions. Here, again, an enlightened guide can alone enter into practical details, and settle for each soul the line of conduct it should follow.

These distinctions made, I come, 0 Christian soul, to the object of this conversation, and I ask if, living in the world, you can, or even ought to, interrupt the holy habit of communion ?
My answer—you understand it at once— will depend especially both on the world you frequent, and on the kind of relations which you will have with it. Either, in the first place, it will be a world corrupt and perverse, where your presence will be a scandal, and where your Christian life will be exposed to deadly attacks. It is certain, in this case, that you cannot unite the holy practice of communion with a kind of life which the Eucharist reproves and which religion condemns. But on this point I presume that your love for the sacrament of the altar will always guard you against a world that Jesus Christ has cursed, and which you cannot frequent without losing yourself.

Or, in the second place, I suppose that life in the world will reduce itself for you to those social relations from which you cannot withdraw yourself, and which your position imposes on you. And then two motives will induce me to advise you not to give up the Eucharist. On one side the divine nourishment will he to you a necessary antidote to the poisons which you will breathe in the world; on the other side, you will thence draw the strength which alone will enable you one day to triumph over the vain attractions of the age and over its dangerous seductions.

The development of these thoughts will express my feelings on the salutary action that the holy Eucharist can exert with respect to the world.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016



Thus, when the family is Christian, the Eucharist can maintain unity in it; It can also restore it if some of its members have been unhappy enough to disturb it. But what! is this all, O Christian soul, and will the family owe nothing more to the Divine Eucharist? Hitherto I have only had in view those happy days in which cruel losses have not come to distress indissoluble affections, when around the common board no vacant place is found, when the patriarchal tent gives shelter to the entire tribe, when the family is still complete.

Alas ! how quickly these days pass away!

"Bitter death separates," says Holy Scripture—  It is especially bitter when it separates hearts which God Himself has united. One family is one life. Our life is torn with that of our neighbours, and we cry with S. Bernard, "Either why have we loved, or why have we lost ?"

We call. Death hears us not. We stretch forth our arms, and we embrace nothing. We weep, and our tears never console us.
O Christian soul, for the most bitter of all sorrows nothing less is needed than a God Who consoles ! The Eucharist consoles; and this is the third office which It performs in the bosom of the family.

The Eucharist consoles! It was, you know, the testament of the Saviour, and Jesus Christ only instituted It but to comfort those who were going to be made sorrowful by His death. Well, then, in like manner, when death afflicts us, It continues to be to us the testament, containing supreme consolation. It is certain that It especially suits our days of grief and mourning. It is then that It showers down upon us in more abundance Its holy riches. But not only does It console us, It also endeavours to take the place of those who are no longer with us. After they have departed It remains. Oh, how much better we feel then that the Lord, because He is All in all, can also take the place of all in all.

"When the unhappy Anna, wife of Elcana, lamented to him that she continued barren, he answered her : " Am I not better to thee than ten children ?"

It appears to me, O Christian soul, that in our most cruel griefs the Eucharist speaks to us similar words: Am I not worth more to thee than those who are no longer ? Do they love more tenderly? Had they more grace, more beauty, more holiness, more power? "A mother can forget the child she brought into the world," but I have never forgotten thee.

The most sacred feelings often sleep in the heart of man, " I sleep, but my heart watcheth."t Am I not worth more to thee than those who are no longer?

At the same time, while trying to replace them with us, the Eucharist is far from wishing to rob us of their memory.

The God of the Eucharist is not only in the tabernacle where we pray and where we weep, He is also in heaven, where are gone before the souls which are dear to us. He is, also, by His love and by His grace, in those dark regions of expiation where, perhaps, these souls are still detained. From this, between them and us a sweet correspondence is established, of which the Eucharist is the link. In the same way that the Church is one, although dwelling at the same time in three worlds, militant on earth, suffering in purgatory, and triumphant in heaven; so the family remains one, although those who compose it are no longer under the same roof; and as the unity of the Church has the Eucharist for foundation, so it is still It which recomposes and reconstructs the family in the three worlds in which it is dispersed. O you who, with eyes full of tears, seek a father, a mother, a husband, a wife, a brother, a sister, a child, in the place where they are no longer, turn to the tabernacle. There the Lord is near you, and He is at the same time near them. It is in the Eucharistic union that your souls will embrace each other.

And now, O Christian soul, what shall I say in conclusion ? Assuredly your family is dear to you, and you owe to it much happiness. Not being able better to express to it your feelings of gratitude, you pray much for it. Never ask that it may be more prosperous or richer. Ask not." that the sons, as new plants, should surround the house ; that the daughters should be adorned as the temples, that the storehouses should be full, and the sheep fruitful!" David warns you that those who possess these good things are wrongly called happy." But rather ask for the happiness of your, family, that the God of the Eucharist may always be with it; with it to maintain unity, with it to restore it if it be troubled, with it to console it in the cruel hours, when death separates it. Happy, very happy, is the family which has for Lord and for God the God of the tabernacle, and the Lord who dwells on the altar. 

Monday, 14 November 2016



Happy, then, is the family where all the members communicate. Truly it is the people of which the Kingly Prophet celebrates the happiness: " Happy is that people whose God is the Lord." But it is very rare now to find an entire family in which all who compose it are equally Christian, in which all love and receive the Eucharist with unanimous piety.
The father has long since grown old, apart from Christian habits, and the son, already carried away by the vain turmoil of the world, has very soon forgotten the principles of his childhood.

However, God has known how to keep for Himself in this less Christian household tabernacles which He visits and where He loves to rest. The mother is Christian; she communicates. Her pious daughters follow her example; and, notwithstanding the obstacles of every kind which arise often in the midst of them, they continue to nourish themselves on the Corn of the elect and to quench their thirst with the Wine which brings forth virgins.

This family which I have been describing, will it remain united? Will the mutual affection suffer no diminution, and will nothing come to disturb the domestic felicity ? With respect to this, as I have said above, my security is far from being complete.

Perhaps, in favour to the souls which have remained faithful to Him, God may will that peace and happiness should be maintained at the domestic hearth. Perhaps—and this happens more often—the diversity of habits and principles will bring about, by degrees, amongst those who dwell under the same roof, differences which are to be regretted. How can one always be of one accord if one does not agree upon the chief point ? How love one another perfectly, if God is not the bond of love ? How live together of the same life, if one eat not together of the Bread which Alone gives true life ?

Besides, those who keep away from the sacrament of the altar deprive themselves by that act both of that elevation of feeling which raises above nature family affections, and of the surest guarantee against the tendencies which ceaselessly menace to trouble its interior life.

Can one then be astonished that coldness and disaffection come sometimes to trouble the relationship which is no longer cemented by the Divine Presence ?

However, 0 Christian soul, I am far from despairing. The Eucharist has kept Its place in the family; It continues present and living in the souls which are faithful to It. As It unites closely all the members of the same family when they have the happiness of being Christians, so It will have the power of bringing back those who have wandered from It. It will be able to influence hearts, to overcome prejudices, to supply deficiencies, and to re-establish, in fact, the relations which seemed on the point of being interrupted. This is the second benefit which family life will owe to the Eucharist.

O pious souls, who keep alight in the family, with so tender a care, the holy flame of Eucharistic love, be confident and courageous.

The work which you have undertaken will be long and difficult, but how beautiful and how meritorious is it! You will that those who are united to you by the ties of blood, those whom Providence has made especially dear to you, should make only one heart and one soul at the foot of the tabernacle, and that, loving God, they may love you and each other better. Now, to attain this noble end, I know no more powerful means than that which your piety has made choice of: communicate well and communicate often.

The Eucharist is the Victim which offered Itself on Calvary for the salvation of the world. Offering Itself again on the altar of your heart, It will salve those whom you love.
The Eucharist is this same Jesus Christ who, at the request of Mary and of Martha, made Lazarus come out of the grave. At your prayer could He not restore to life a brother, a father, a spouse, a son, whom you have lost since they strayed away from God ?

But you have communicated already, and those whose conversion you had in view remain the same. Do not lose courage, and, above all, persevere. When the two sisters, Mary and Martha, sent to the Saviour to tell Him that their brother was dying, Jesus did not at once go to Bethany, but He remained two days in the place where He was—two long days of waiting, which represent your past communions. Do not lose courage, but persist with the Eucharist.

Your perseverance will obtain what your prayers have not yet merited. A day will come when there will flow from the tabernacle upon your whole family the grace of resurrection and of life.

But forget not to add to your persevering communions the sweet practice of the virtues which are dear to the Eucharist. Those whom you would touch and convert will be much more sensible of the attraction of your virtues than of all the pious customs which have for object their salvation. When the Eucharist reveals Itself in a soul by goodness, by sweetness, by an inexhaustible patience, It appears to raise the veil and to be mysterious no longer. The least Christian hearts feel Its charm. Often the example of an Eucharistic life has sufficed to inspire the love and the desire of the Eucharist.

Ah! if it is given you to co-operate with your surroundings, and to witness some of these returns to the God of the tabernacle, you will then understand more easily the influence of the Eucharist on the union and happiness of families; you will see that to return to the Lord is to return to all one's duties; it is to restore oneself to the affection and tenderness, of those belonging to one ; it is to bring back joy and calm to the domestic hearth.

Friday, 11 November 2016



Now, is it necessary to add that this perfection of relationship tends to maintain in the family an admirable union ?

In creating at the first the family, and in restoring it by His Divine Son, God willed that it should be for us the centre of the most intimate relations and of the most perfect affections.

The indissolubility of Christian marriage imitates the first union of man and woman, and this latter, in the thought of God, was the principle of the universal fraternity of man.
But while God unites, sin divides and separates. From the creation of the world it has sown the most violent hatred between brothers, and soon, not even respecting the first of all bonds, it has broken the conjugal tie. How, then, has it accomplished this work of division ? In giving us up to our guilty passions it has closed our heart to the most holy affections. It is one of the signs which S. Paul attributes to the irreligious : " They are without affection."

Nature, I know, notwithstanding the disorder caused by original sin, has not lost in us all its power, and there especially where the Christian influence has not entirely disappeared, it can maintain intact family ties. Who, however, will deny that these ties are more fragile if they, are left to the mercy of our natural feelings ? Family affection is of too high an order for nature to suffice for it. It is, besides, too much an affair of every day, too much given up to the events of life, too dependent on our imperfections and our deficiencies, for it not to require a higher power in order to establish it.

Well, then, O Christian soul, the holy Eucharist is precisely this power.

When God is present in us He sanctifies all our feelings. When the members of the same family kneel together at the holy Table they more easily forgive each other their faults, and consider only how to venerate and love the Divine Guest Whom they have received together. The Eucharist thus supplies what love is most wanting in each one. It covers our faults, and allows only divine graces to be seen in us. In raising our affections above nature, It has been able to make them immortal.

Thursday, 10 November 2016



In the first place, the Eucharist perfects the bands of the family, and unites it more closely.
"Jesus Christ,  S.Paul tells us, "is all in all;" omnia in omnibus and it is especially in the Eucharist that, although living of His own life, He assimilates Himself more perfectly to us. Meditating on these words of the Apostle, I seek to know what Jesus Christ is in the family. Is He. Spouse ? is He Father? is He Mother? is He Brother is He Child? And I answer, with S. Paul, Jesus Christ is at the same time all that, in every member of the family: omnia in omnibus.

O consoling thought, which it would take too long to develop here, but which, if only glanced at, furnishes abundant applications.

In the heart of the spouse, Jesus Christ becomes Spouse; in the heart of the father, He is Father; in the heart of the mother, He is Mother; in the heart of the brother, He is Brother; in the heart of the child, He is a Child; and thus, when He is received by the whole family, He loves in it, He acts in it; He manifests the sentiments and the virtues which suit each of its members.

Consider, O Christian soul, what perfection is by this means given to all the relationship of the family. The husband and wife will be faithful if, united to Jesus Christ, they cherish each other, as the Saviour has cherished His Church. The father and mother will accomplish all their duties, if : they draw from Jesus Christ the lesson and the example of the most august paternity and the most tender maternity; the brothers will love each other if they are only one in Jesus Christ, Who Himself so loved men that He would only be amongst them as the Firstborn amongst many brethren; all the children will be docile, if, living of the life of the Child-God, they are submissive to their parents, as Jesus was to Mary and to Joseph.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016



All the same if our Divine Saviour has established the sacrament of marriage in order to form the Christian family, He willed that, once constituted, it should have recourse to the habitual means of sanctification which are offered to us.

Now amongst the sacraments which sanctify our souls there is one which surpasses all the others and admirably unites in Itself the holiness, the dignity, the happiness of the Christian life. It is the Divine Eucharist. Without It, none is Christian; no family can be Christian without It.

Here is the interior of a family: a father, a mother, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters ! all dwell under the same roof, they sit at the same table, they warm themselves at the same hearth.

This family, is it united? is it peaceful and happy? is it Christian?

When I come into the interior of a house, I care not to know if the family inhabits a palace or a hut; the most sumptuous apartments have often witnessed many tears, and often the most hearty joy is found under the humblest thatch. I inquire not if those who live together have the same characters, the same tastes: sometimes natures very different can, however, sympathise with each other, while natures which are similar grate upon each other in common life. I do not examine if the father keeps his legitimate authority; it might only be tyrannical: if the mother is tender and devoted, this tenderness might be blind, and this devotion without prudence : if the sons and daughters are submissive and respectful; this submission and respect might be limited to externals.

But when I enter a family, I ask if there they love, if there they receive, the Eucharist.
There where this divine sacrament is as a stranger which is ignored I am no longer in security. A reverse of fortune, a change of temper, the least conflict of interests suffice to divide what appeared united, to trouble what appeared calm, to change into bitterness this apparent felicity.

There, on the contrary, where the Eucharist is held in honour by the family, I say! " Peace be to this house and to all who dwell in it."

The Lord is in the midst of them, and He brings happiness with Him. What, then, is the powerful influence exercised by the Eucharist on the interior of the family ? This, 0 Christian soul, is what I would try to tell you to-day.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016




"how often would I have gathered together thy children, as the hen doth gather her chickens under her wings, and thou wouldest not?— Matt, xxiii. 37.

ONE of the most admirable institutions of Jesus Christ is, most certainly, the Christian family.

Sin, in soiling our nature, had deteriorated the ties which it forms between men.

The family existed no longer. In order to regenerate it, it was necessary to regenerate the world.

Jesus Christ did both. He purified the world in the waters of baptism, and, raising marriage to the dignity of a sacrament, He created the Christian family.

Marriage is the sacred source of the family. It ennobles and strengthens the feelings which unite husband and wife; but its action does not stay here. The grace which the husband and wife receive is communicated to the father and mother. Then from the parents it descends to the son. Who may say the loving relations, the holy affections, the noble duties which are born of this blessed union!

The family is as a little world which is complete in itself. Past, present, future; interests, joys, sorrows ; all is in common, and all contributes to the common happiness. Happy is he who has lived in the midst of a Christian family! Happy he who has tasted its power and its charm!

Monday, 7 November 2016



Regulate thus your life, then, O Christian soul. Once more, I do not demand of you that absolute retreat which might not suit either the duties of your position or the designs of Providence respecting you. But I ask you first to love that solitude which is none other than the habitual recollection of the heart. Then in the depth of this intimate sanctuary, which you will have formed in yourself, place the holy Eucharist.

You will take care to receive It often in holy communion; but you will especially strive to retain carefully in yourself the perfume of the Divine Presence. Thus the Eucharist will be your most constant and your sweetest companion in retreat. Believe it firmly, O Christian soul; you will suffice one for the other; and with what delight you will then love to say to It: "My beloved to me and I to Him." 

Holy and happy life ! Rejoicing in a deep peace, you will say with King David: "This is my rest for ever and ever."

And knowing that the Eucharist alone can fill this solitude of the heart, you will repeat with the same prophet: "There where the God of Sion dwells will I dwell. It is the place which I have chosen for myself."

Sunday, 6 November 2016



But how, amidst the duties and occupations of the external life, can one procure this retreat where to live alone with the Eucharist ? I have told you, O Christian soul, it is especially the solitude of the heart which you must carefully practise, and the holy Eucharist possesses admirable secrets for Itself creating this solitude in us. Yes, when It has succeeded in taking full and entire possession of our heart, it causes all vain sounds to cease there; It appeases all troubles from without; It brings there recollection and calm; then It speaks to that heart to which It has given peace; It inspires it with repentance for its sins; It dictates the holiest resolutions to it. O sweet and charming retreat which thus continues every day, and which never wearies! It separates us from the world better than do deserts and convents, and often it instructs our soul better than preachers and books.

Solitude with the Eucharist! I ask myself, O Christian soul, if there is a surer path to lead you to heaven.

The Lord, in His Gospel, takes care to warn us that the road which leads to life is narrow, while that which leads to destruction is broad. O very broad in fact; for it has to contain all this innumerable multitude of men who press and push, who agitate and lose themselves therein. Where, then, is the narrow road? There where the crowd is not, there where very few consent to walk, there where one is in solitude.

But this road, adds the Saviour, leads to life; and how should it lead us there if we were not accompanied by Him who is at the same time the Way and the Life! Jesus Christ presents Himself to us under the Eucharistic species, and it is thus that He wills to be our Guide in the narrow path.

Follow Him, O Christian soul, and you will be sure not to wander from the road. There, in fact, firstly, fewer perils will surround you. It was by the broad road of the world that the pilgrim of the Gospel was going down to Jericho when he was spoiled and wounded by the thieves; and if the Divine Samaritan had not left His solitude in order to run to him and dress his wounds with oil and wine, what would have become of the unhappy traveller? For you, O Christian soul, the solitary road is very safe, the treasure which you will carry is one which thieves will not steal, and if you ask of the Divine Samaritan wine and oil, He will never refuse you them.

The Eucharist will always be near you to bestow upon you every hour Its strength and Its unction. Fewer perils and more grace. He who has chosen, in order to attain to Heaven, solitude and the company of the Eucharist, will never faint upon the road. It is to him that the words of the holy Canticles apply :  I sat down under His shadow, Whom I desired, and His fruit was sweet to my palate."

The Eucharist promises him all that lightens a long journey, repose and nourishment. O wonder of the sacrament of love!

In the solitary shadow of the Eucharistic tree one advances and yet one reposes. One advances, for the Eucharist can inspire the heart with those admirable bursts of love which take it nearer heaven. One reposes, for the Eucharist keeps far from us all that wearies and all that troubles. The grace of spiritual progress and the grace of peace, such are the first gifts which the Eucharist has in reserve for the soul which unites itself to It in solitude. But at the same time It serves it for nourishment. It was in the wilderness that the Saviour willed to multiply the loaves, in order that the crowd which followed Him might not perish of exhaustion. But what is Jesus Christ multiplying the loaves in the wilderness, if not the Eucharist nourishing the soul in solitude ? One would say that It multiplies Itself more for him who receives It with the more complete recollection, and the bread which It presents to him becomes for him a delicious fruit.

O Christian soul, remain faithful both to solitude and to the Eucharist. The one will give you its shade, the other Its fruit. With fruit and shade, you will never faint on the road which leads to the heavenly country.

Friday, 4 November 2016



Solitude and the Eucharist!

I would wish, O Christian soul, to make you love them both : but remember that you will only love the one but in proportion as the other becomes dear to you.

If you would love the Eucharist, first love solitude. The distractions and dissipations of the world add, as it were, a second veil to the darkness, already so thick, which surrounds the sacrament of the altar. On one side they diminish in us that lively faith and that burning love which assist us to pierce the shadow of the mystery. Then, again, especially they keep us from approaching the Eucharistic Table, and hinder us from tasting its delights. Now, you know, O Christian soul, that it is to the Eucharist that these words of the Psalmist apply: "Taste, and you shall see."

The more detached your heart is from the world, the more you will love, the more you will taste, the more you will see the holy Eucharist.

But, I hasten to add it, the converse is equally true; the more you love the Eucharist the dearer will solitude be to you.

In the same way that a purer air will carry to us more readily the rays of light and the perfume of flowers, so you will perceive that the atmosphere of solitude allows your soul to lose none of the holy emanations of the sacrament of the altar. Very soon you will prefer to all the feasts of the world, the holy feast which is celebrated between the Lord and you in the retirement of the communion. Without renouncing certainly the relations which the world imposes upon you, you will understand, however, that none are worth to you the holy friendship of Jesus Christ; and, little by little, retiring from all which is not He and He alone, you will exclaim with the Kingly Prophet: " What have I in heaven? and besides Thee what do I desire upon earth ? Thou art the God of my heart, and the God that is my portion for ever."

Thursday, 3 November 2016



Thus solitude is agreeable to the Eucharist. But how shall I describe to you the charm which the Eucharist, in Its turn, gives to solitude ?

It knows, at the same time, how to people and how to embellish it. When the Eucharist is absent, does not the desert form itself around you ? If It is present, can you wish for better company ? I should pity you, O Christian soul, if, in the absence of the Eucharist, you did not feel always alone.

What matters it that the world surrounds you, and that nature appeals to your senses ?
Neither nature nor the world are of equal value to you as the Divine Friend of the tabernacle. Like the Spouse of the Canticles,  you seek Him and you find Him not; you ask Him of the world, and the world says to you, "I know Him not;" you ask Him of nature, and it answers you, " Seek higher than my narrow limits." Neither the crowd which surround you, nor all created objects can draw you from your isolation; but the moment that your heart has approached the Eucharist how your solitude is instantly peopled, and how the God of love fills it!

You then experience the truth of this sweet maxim: " To live with the Lord is always without tediousness, to converse with Him always without bitterness." He listens to you and speaks to you, and in this divine colloquy you cry, like the Jews when moved by the words of the Saviour during His earthly life, " Never did man speak like this man."

In order to animate our solitude see under how many types the God of the tabernacle presents Himself successively to us. " He is," says the Kingly Prophet,! "the sparrow alone on the housetop," teaching us, in this figure, that if He deigns to descend to us and dwell in our houses it is in order to attract us more to Him, and to raise us to the height where He continually dwells. " He is," adds the same Prophet, the " pelican of the wilderness touching figure, which reminds us that in the sacrament of love Jesus Christ seeks solitude in our hearts, in order to give Himself to us as Food and Drink.

What shall I say more to you, O Christian soul ? Recall the names which are dearest to you; those of a father, a mother, a brother, or spouse. These names suit the Eucharist.
Think of all those whom you love, and who love you. You will find them again at the foot of the tabernacle, where one band of love easily unites all souls.

So the Eucharist animates your solitude, but at the same time It can embellish it. Is it not the Eucharistic sanctuary that the Prophet had in view when he said: " The wilderness shall rejoice and flourish like the lily"? Jesus is the Lily of the valley where pious souls hide, in order to breathe His perfume at ease. The wilderness where blooms the Divine Lily fills us with a holy joy; it is adorned in our eyes with all the divine charms which enchant the Christian heart.

Many pleasures, many ornaments, and much pomp do not always suffice to embellish the world. The Eucharist is sufficient to embellish solitude.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016



But, O Christian soul, does not this one word, solitude , trouble and alarm you ? Does not solitude appear to you in too sombre colours ?

Does not your whole nature, which God has made to be in harmony with all that surrounds it, feel forsaken and distressed at the sole thought of isolation ? Your feeling would be just, O Christian soul, if I were speaking to you of a solitude without God, for it is true that this can only cause the soul deep melancholy. It is a void which nothing can fill up; it is a desert where nothing will bloom; it is a want for which nothing can console; but such is not the solitude of which I would now converse with you. That to which I invite you is one I have taken care not to leave empty. I raise in the centre a tabernacle, and I there show you the God of love. Solitude with the Eucharist! Oh, how sweet this is I How I wish I could cause you to love it!

How well they suit one another, and how good it is to name them together. Solitude is agreeable to the Eucharist, and the Eucharist charms solitude.

Solitude is agreeable to the Eucharist. The God Whom we adore under the Eucharistic species calls Himself "the hidden God." (Isaias xlv. 15.) He elected to be born in the solitude of Bethlehem, to grow up and live, during the space of thirty years, in the solitude of Nazareth.

He prefaces the labours of His Apostolic life by the forty days in the desert; He flies from the crowds which press around Him, and He retires alone to pray. But especially when, Conqueror of death, He decides to dwell ever with us, see how He retreats into the shade, and wills, from that time, only to inhabit the obscure cell of a tabernacle.

What shall I call the Eucharistic life? A long retreat, during which Jesus Christ retires, and which He never leaves. Before Him and near Him men are busy, and only think of externals; they give themselves up to pleasure; they are absorbed in their business ; they go, they come; they assemble themselves together; they fill the world with their clamours and their disputes. The Eucharist is always in retreat. It does not cry; It does not dispute; It delights neither in commotion nor in trouble. It prays, It watches; most certainly It is not idle. It exercises over each of us Its divine and all-powerful influence, but without ever leaving solitude and silence. The Eucharist loves retreat, not only that of the tabernacle, but also that which our heart prepares for It. It comes willingly to our heart, but on the double condition of remaining hidden there, and of dwelling there alone. Firstly, to be hidden there. If your heart is open to all the vain dissipations of the age, in vain shall we attempt to keep there the God of the Eucharist. Will you be His well-beloved spouse ? Be the " garden enclosed," and not the hard road where the passers-by tread under foot the divine seed. Be the " sealed fountain," and not the open cistern which allows the waters of grace to escape. O Christian soul, be the wilderness, if you would ask of heaven to make the manna of the Eucharist to rain down upon you. The Eucharist wills to hide Itself in you, and, moreover, It wills to be alone there. However great, however wide may be your heart, the jealous God will embrace it all, or, at least, He wills to reign alone over all our thoughts and affections. The Eucharist will be alone in us, because It addresses Itself only to ourselves. When God instructs the whole universe, He employs the great voice of His Church—this voice which resounds loudly, which breaks the cedar trees and reduces the idols to powder. The language of the Eucharist makes less noise. It speaks low, and speaks quite alone to the heart, and, enchanted by these divine accents, which are only confided to ourselves, we may say with the Prophet: " My secret to myself, my secret to myself."