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