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Quinquagesima Sunday

The love of Jesus in leaving himself to us in the blessed sacrament

From book "Evening Meditations for all days of the year from texts of Saint Alphonsus of Liguori"... I. Well did St. Francis de Sales say, in speaking...

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Evening Meditations

Saint Alphonsus

I. Well did St. Francis de Sales say, in speaking of Holy Communion: "In no action does our Saviour show Himself more loving or more tender than in this one, in which, as it were, He annihilates Himself and reduces Himself into food in order to penetrate our souls, and unite Himself to the hearts of His faithful ones." So that, says St. John Chrysostom, "to that Lord on whom the Angels even dare not fix their eyes, to Him we unite ourselves, and with Him we are made one body, one flesh." But what shepherd, adds the Saint, feeds the sheep with his own blood? Even mothers give their children to nurses to feed; but Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament feeds us with His own Blood, and unites us to Himself. There are many mothers who give their children to others to nurse; but this He has not done, but feeds us with His own Blood. In short, says the Saint, because He loved us so ardently, He chose to make Himself one with us by becoming our food. "He mingled Himself with us, that we might be one; this they do whose love is ardent."

O infinite Love, worthy of infinite love, when shall I love Thee, my Jesus, as Thou hast loved me. O Divine Food, Sacrament of love, when wilt Thou draw me entirely to Thyself? Thou hast nothing left to do in order to make Thyself loved by me. I am constantly intending to begin to love Thee, I constantly promise Thee to do so; but I never begin. I will from this day begin to love Thee in earnest. Oh, do Thou enable me to do so. Enlighten me, inflame me, detach me from earth, and permit me not any longer to resist so many enticements of Thy love. I love Thee with my whole heart, and I will therefore leave everything in order to please Thee, my Life, my Love, my All. I will constantly unite myself to Thee in this Holy Sacrament, in order to detach myself from everything, and to love Thee only, my God. I hope, through Thy gracious assistance, to be enabled to do so.

II. St. Laurence Justinian says: "We have seen the All-wise made foolish by excess of love." We have seen a God Who is Wisdom itself become a fool through the love He has borne to man. And is it not so? Does it not seem, exclaims St. Augustine, a folly of love that a God should give Himself as food to His creatures? "Does it not seem madness to say: Eat my flesh; drink my blood?" And what more could a creature have said to his Creator? " Shall I make bold to say, that the Creator of all things was beside Himself through the excess of His loving goodness?" Thus St. Denis speaks, and says, that God through the greatness of His love has almost gone out of Himself; for, being God, He has gone so far as to become Man, and even to make Himself the Food of men. But, O Lord, such an excess was not becoming Thy Majesty. No, but love, answers St. John Chrysostom for Jesus, does not go about looking for reasons when it desires to do good and to make itself known to the object beloved; it goes, not where it is becoming, but where it is carried by its desire. "Love is unreasoning, and goes as it is led, and not as it ought."

O my Jesus, how ought I not to be covered with shame when I consider that, having Thee before me, Who art the Infinite Good and lovely above every good, and so full of love for my soul, I have yet turned back to love vile and contemptible things, and for their sake have forsaken Thee. O my God, I beseech Thee, discover to me every day more and more the greatness of Thy goodness, in order that I may every day be more and more enamoured of Thee, and may labour more and more to please Thee. Ah, my Lord, what object more beautiful, more good, more holy, more amiable can I love beside Thee? I love Thee, Infinite Goodness, I love Thee more than myself, and I desire to live only that I may love Thee, Who dost deserve all my love.

[In many churches it is customary to have the Forty Hours Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, beginning on Sunday morning (Quinquagesima) and closing on Tuesday morning. Suitable Meditations and Readings are arranged here for the three days. ED.]

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