by St Alphonsus Liguori
ON THE GREAT GIFT WHICH JESUS HAS MADE US BY GIVING HIMSELF TO US IN THE BLESSED SACRAMENT.
The love of Jesus Christ was not satisfied with sacrificing for us His Divine Life in the midst of a sea of ignominies and torments, in order to prove to us the affection that He bore us; but besides all this, in order to oblige us to love Him more, on the night before His death He would leave us His whole Self as our food in the Holy Eucharist. God is omnipotent; but after He has given Himself to a soul in this Sacrament of love, He has nothing more to give her. The Council of Trent says, that Jesus, in giving Himself to us in the Holy Communion, pours forth, as it were, all the riches of His infinite love in this gift: 'He has, as it were, poured forth the treasures of His love towards man.' How would that vassal esteem himself honoured, writes St. Francis of Sales, were his prince, whilst he was at table, to send him a portion of his own dish; and what would it be if this portion were a piece torn out from his own arm? Jesus in the Holy Communion gives us for our food, not only a portion of His own meal and of His most Sacred Flesh, but all His Body: "Take and eat, this is My Body." And together with His Body He gives us also His Soul and His Divinity; so that, as St. Chrysostom says, our Lord, in giving Himself to us in the Blessed Sacrament, gives us all that He has, and nothing more remains for Him to give us: He gave all to thee, and left nothing for Himself.' O wonderful prodigy of Divine love, that God, who is the Lord of all, makes Himself entirely ours!
AFFECTIONS AND PRAYERS.
O my dear Jesus, what more canst Thou do to make us love Thee? Oh, make us understand what an excess of love Thou hast shown us in reducing Thyself to food, in order to unite Thyself thus to us poor sinners! Thou, therefore, my dear Redeemer, hast had so much affection for me, that Thou hast not refused to give Thyself again and again entirely for me in the Holy Communion. And yet I have had the courage to drive Thee so many times away from my soul! But Thou canst not despise a humble and contrite heart. Thou didst become man for my sake, Thou didst die for me, Thou didst even go so far as to become my food; and what more can there remain for Thee to do to gain my love? Oh, that I could die with grief every time that I remember to have thus despised Thy grace! I repent, O my Love, with my whole heart, for having offended Thee. I love Thee, O Infinite Goodness! I love Thee, O Infinite Love! I desire nothing but to love Thee, and I fear nothing but to live without Thy love. My beloved Jesus, do not refuse to come for the future into my soul. Come, because I would rather die a thousand times than drive Thee away again, and I will do all I can to please Thee. Come and inflame my whole soul with Thy love. Grant that I may forget every thing, to think only of Thee, and to aspire to Thee alone, my Sovereign and my only Good. O Mary, my Mother, pray for me; and by thy prayers make me grateful for all the love of Jesus towards me.