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."