Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Three Excesses of the Holy Eucharist Part III - The Heart



Dear Daughters of St. Philip Neri,

We come now to consider the last of the three great excesses of the Holy Eucharist -  The Heart. Trevino writes: "He comes to our hearts and gives Himself to us in the reality of His being, in the substance of His mysteries, in the plentitude of His graces.  He comes to give us life and to be in our souls the seed of resurrection, a pledge of glory, and the germ of immortality."  And this, dear Daughters, he does in the most startling and marvelous fashion - - as if exclusively yours alone.  It is truly Holy Communion: He comes as Divine Lover - lovingly enfolding in His arms and caressing each soul.  Every morning He comes to you in the Host which you receive and, in a certain manner, dies in your heart!  "For, as soon as the Sacred Species are destroyed, the sacramental presence - the eucharistic being, we might say - expires in a certain manner in your soul.  For this reason, when His eucharistic life comes to an end in your heart, the divine Lover may well exclaim as on the cross: 'It is consummated!'"

The only possible and proper response to this reality must be a total gift of self, a life of sacrifice and unlimited abnegation. How could this unique Communion not form the center of our lives, illumining our younger years with the light of its hope, and our declining years with the aureola of its remembrance?

After abiding presence and constant immolation, the last excess of the Holy Eucharist is the total gift of self.  Beyond the tabernacle and the altar, the last stage of the Mystery is in our heart, where His eucharistic life finds its consummation.  Not satisfied with having made Himself our Companion in exile and the permanent Victim of our sins, He comes to our hearts and gives Himself to us in the reality of His being, in the substance of His mysteries, in the plentitude of His graces.  He comes to give us life and to be in our souls the seed of resurrection, a pledge of glory, and the germ of immortality.

It is the exclusive property of the divine Being to give without ever being exhausted or diminished, to pour to into a soul the plentitude of Its graces, without having to deny other souls even the slightest grace.  Such is the mystery of Christ.  He is the universal gift: He was born and died for all, and He shall be the reward of all the just.  But in the very manner in which He is the gift of all, He is in truth the particular gift of each.

Christ's mystery is as totally mine as if there were no other men of earth.  Hence every soul, however lowly, may in truth make hers the words of St. Paul: "He loved me and gave Himself up for me, and for me He delivered Himself unto death.

Our minds cannot grasp well a reality so startling; we feel lost and forgotten in the multitude of human beings.  To prevent this Jesus invented a marvel of love in which He condensed all His Mysteries, from the moment of His Incarnation till His last breath on the cross.  It is an admirable summary of all His wonderful works, which contains the whole immensity of His love, the wellspring of all graces, the memorial of His life, the living remembrance of His sufferings, the pledge of our resurrection, and the divine germ of life everlasting.  It is a sacrament beneath the outward signs of which the immortal Christ is lastingly present, He "who is the same, yesterday and today, yes, and forever," the same Christ who called unto Himself all who suffer and are burdened.  But in it He is so particularized that I can call Him my Christ, my Jesus.  O yes, every lover of Christ will understand what I am saying, because he knows well love's irresistible ambition to be allowed to say in truth and without exaggeration: "My Jesus . . . mine entirely . . . exclusively mine."  The name given by the first Christians to that sacrament, marvel of love and summary of all His works, was "the Holy Mysteries."  Remembering that in this sacrament Christ lovingly enfolds in His arms and caresses each soul, and unites all souls in His immense heart, we give it the more significant name of "Holy Communion."

Dear eucharistic soul, do  you still find it difficult to believe that Jesus died for love of you, as if you alone of all men on earth had needed redemption, when every morning He comes to you in the Host which you receive and, in a certain manner, dies in your heart?  For, as soon as the Sacred Species are destroyed, the sacramental presence - the eucharistic being, we might say - expires in a certain manner in your soul.  For this reason, when His eucharistic life comes to an end in your heart, the divine Lover may well exclaim as on the cross: "It is consummated!"  I have "loved to the end!"

Here again, as on Calvary, it may be said of Him that by His death He gives us life: "Dying, He destroyed our death."  Could Jesus love us more, in a more particular and total way?

Ending its existence in the human heart, the Eucharist is love's last word on earth.  After that, only the magnificent epiphanies of paradise remain.

Do you understand by now, eucharistic soul, why your response to this last excess of Christ's love must be a total gift of self, a life of sacrifice and unlimited abnegation?  What can you refuse Him who every morning gives you all He is, and comes to expire in your very heart?

Suppose for a moment that Jesus loved us less; that He avoided those excesses of generosity; that, instead of many Communions, we could receive only one in the whole course of our lives; that, instead of thousands of tabernacles, He permitted only one, and instead of millions of Masses only one to be celebrated every year, by only one priest and in only one place.  If such were the case, we might reasonably assume that, instead of cold indifference, a glowing enthusiasm would reign among Christians, and from all parts of the world they would flock to that "Holy of Holies," where not Christ's sepulcher, but Christ Himself, could be venerated.  How eager we would be to assist at that only Mass, in order to witness the re-enactment of the drama of Calvary.  How careful would be our preparation for that unique Communion; how devout our dispositions, when approaching that unique Sacred Table, to receive within ourselves the One of infinite sanctity and greatness; how fervent our thankfulness after receiving Him.  Would not the unique Communion form the center of our lives, illumining our younger years with the light of its hope, and our declining years with the aureola of its remembrance?

But, would we not have to conclude that, if Jesus had loved less, He would be loved more? Would it be possible?  Can we admit that the superabundance of His graces and the excesses of His love have only served to chill our fervor and make us look with indifference upon His measureless gifts?  No the contrary must be true.

Oh, may all Christians, finally won over by such excessive love, fall down upon their knees, exclaiming with the beloved disciple: "We, too, have come to know, and have believed, the love that God has in our behalf."

O beloved tabernacle, where Jesus permanently lives!  O holy altar, on which He constantly immolates Himself for me!  O my daily Host, exclusively mine, under the veils of which Jesus lives for me and gives Himself to me, with all the magnificence of His mysteries, the depths of His sufferings, and the immensity of His love!

The tabernacle . . . the altar . . . my heart!

My Companion . . . my Victim . . . my Life!

His lasting presence . . . His constant immolation . . . His total gift of self!

O my dearest Christ, be Thou blessed a thousand times for all the follies of Thy Holy Eucharist and all the excesses of Thy divine Love!



Jose Guadalupe Trevino
The Holy Eucharist