by St Alphonsus Liguori
THE HOLY COMMUNION OBTAINS FOR US PERSEVERANCE IN DIVINE GRACE.
When Jesus comes to the soul in the Holy Communion, He brings to it every grace, and specially the grace of holy perseverance. This is the principal effect of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, to nourish the soul that receives. It with this food of life, and to give it great strength to advance unto perfection, and to resist those enemies who desire our death. Hence Jesus calls Himself in this Sacrament Heavenly Bread: "I am the living Bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this Bread, he shall live for ever" (St. John vi. 51, 52). Even as earthly bread sustains the life of the body, so this heavenly bread sustains the life of the soul, by making it persevere in the grace of God. Therefore the Council of Trent teaches, that Holy Communion is that remedy which delivers us from daily faults and preserves us from mortal sins. Innocent III. writes, that Jesus Christ by His Passion delivers us from sins committed, and by the Holy Eucharist from sins which we might commit. Therefore St. Bonaventure says, that sinners must not keep away from Communion because they have been sinners; on the contrary, for this very reason they ought to receive it more frequently; because 'the more infirm a person feels himself, the more he is in want of a physician.'
AFFECTIONS AND PRAYERS.
Miserable sinner that I am, O Lord, wherefore do I lament my weakness when I consider my many falls from grace? How was it possible that I should have resisted the assaults of the devil while I stayed away from Thee, who art my strength? If I had oftener approached the Holy Communion, I should not have been so often overcome by my enemies. But in future it shall not be so: "In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped; I shall not be confounded for ever." No, I will no longer rely on my own resolution. Thou alone art my hope, O my Jesus; Thou wilt give me strength, that I may no more fall into sin. I am weak; but Thou, by the Holy Communion, wilt make me strong against every temptation: "I can do all things in Him who strengthened me." Forgive me, O my Jesus, all the offences I have committed against Thee, of which I repent with my whole heart. I resolve rather to die than ever to offend Thee again; and I trust, in Thy Passion, that Thou wilt give me Thy help to persevere in Thy grace to the end of my life: "In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped; I shall not be confounded for ever." And with St. Bonaventure I will say the same to thee, O Mary, my Mother: 'In thee, O Lady, have I hoped; I shall not be confounded for ever.'