TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH OF MONSEIGNEUR DE LA BOUILLERIE, Archbishop of Perga, Coadjutor of Bordeaux.
Solitude and the Eucharist!
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."