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.