Chapter 106

That Holy Communion is not to be Lightly Foregone

CHRIST. Come regularly to the Fountain of grace and divine mercy, the Fountain of goodness and all purity, that you may be healed of your passions and vices and be rendered more vigilant and strong to resist all the temptations and deceits of the devil. For your old Enemy knows well the abundant fruit and powerful remedy contained in Holy Communion and tries by every means in his power to discourage and prevent the faithful and devout from receiving it.

Satan's most violent assaults often come upon people whenever they make their preparation for Holy Communion. As it is written in job, that wicked spirit comes among the children of God (Job 1:7) to trouble them with his accustomed malice, or to make them fearful and uncertain. In this way he seeks to lessen their love for God, or to destroy their faith, that they may perhaps entirely abandon Communion, or come to it with little devotion. But pay no regard to his snares and cunning illusions, however vile and horrible, and hurl back these fantasies on his own head. Treat the Evil One with the contempt and mockery that he deserves, and never abandon Holy Communion on account of his insults and disturbances.

People are often hindered by an undue concern about devout feelings and by anxieties about confession. In such cases, follow the advice of a wise director and lay aside all scruple, for it is an obstacle to the grace of God, and destroys all devotion of the mind. Do not postpone receiving Communion for every little worry and doubt, but go at once to confession and willingly forgive all who have done you ill and if you have done ill to anyone, humbly ask pardon, and God will gladly forgive you. (Matt.5:23;6:12)

Of what use is it to delay confession, or to put of Holy Communion? Cleanse yourself at once; spit out the poison quickly and take the remedy without hesitation; swift action will aid you better than delay. If for some reason you put it off today, tomorrow some greater evil may befall you; in this way you may be kept from Communion a long while and become more unfit than ever. Therefore shake off your present sloth and dullness as quickly as possible, for it is no advantage to remain a long time in disquiet and distress, nor to absent yourself from the sacred mysteries on account of your everyday difficulties. On the contrary, it is very hurtful to delay Communion over a long period, for this often results in sloth and spiritual dryness.

Some half-hearted and careless people, alas, readily seize on any excuse to postpone their confession, and desire on that account to defer their sacred Communion, unwilling that they should be obliged to keep a stricter watch on their lives. How small the love and feeble the devotion of those who so lightly put off holy Communion! Happy the man, and dear to God, who so keeps his heart and life pure, that he would be eager and well prepared to communicate daily if it were possible, and if he might do it without appearing remarkable. He who sometimes abstains out of humility, or is legitimately prevented, is to be commended for his reverence. But if sloth has crept upon him, he must rouse himself with all his energy, and God will strengthen his desire for the sake of his good intent, which He regards with especial favour.

Whenever anyone is unavoidably prevented, then so long as he preserves a good will and holy desire for Communion, he will not lose the benefits of the Sacrament. For anyone who sincerely desires it may on any day and at any hour make unhindered a Spiritual Communion with Christ to the health of his soul. None the less, on certain Feasts and at certain Seasons he ought to receive the Body of his Redeemer sacramentally with love and reverence, and seek the honour and praise of God before his own consolation. For as often as anyone receives mystic communion and spiritual refreshment, he recalls with devotion the mystery of the Incarnation and Passion of Christ, and is roused anew to love of Him. But he who prepares himself only at the approach of a Festival, or when custom prescribes it, will often be entirely unprepared.

Blessed is the man who, whenever he celebrates the Eucharist or receives Communion, offers himself to Our Lord as a living sacrifice. And when celebrating, be neither too slow nor too hurried, but observe the common usage of those with whom you are living. Be careful not to cause irritation or weariness to others, but observe the customs appointed by the Fathers, and consider the benefit of others before your personal devotion or preference.

Chapter 105Table of ContentsChapter 107