St. Teresa says that all are not allowed to speak to their king; the most that can be hoped for is to communicate with him through a third person. And even if anyone at length succeeds in speaking with a king, how many difficulties has he had to overcome before he could do so! To converse with Thee, O King of Glory, no third person is needed. Thou art always ready in the Sacrament of the Altar to grant audience to all. In this Sacrament Thou grantest audience to all, night and day — whenever we please.
I. Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament gives audience to all. St. Teresa says, that in this world all cannot speak with their sovereign; the poor can hardly hope to do so, or even to make their wants known through some third person: but with this King of Heaven no third person is necessary, — all, both high and low, may speak to Him, for He remains face to face with us in this Sacrament. It is for this reason that Jesus is called the Flower of the field and the lily of the valleys. (Cant. ii. 1). Garden-flowers are shut in and carefully preserved; but the flowers of the fields are open to all. Cardinal Hugo comments on these words, saying, "because I show Myself to be found by all."
Any one may, then, speak to Jesus in this Sacrament at any hour of the day. St. Peter Chrysologus, describing the birth of our Redeemer in the stable of Bethlehem, says, that kings are not always giving audience; it often happens that a person goes to speak to the prince, and the guards send him away, saying that it is not the hour for admission, and he must come again. But our Lord was pleased to be born in an open cave, without a door, and without guards, that He might receive all, at all hours. There is no attendant to say, "It is not the hour." And it is the same with Jesus in His Most Holy Sacrament: the churches are always open, and everyone may go and speak to the King of Heaven whenever he pleases; and Jesus wills that we should there address Him with the utmost confidence. It is for this that He has concealed Himself beneath the form of bread. If He were to appear on our Altars on a throne of light, as He will appear at the Last Judgment, which of us would have courage to approach Him? But because Our Lord wishes us to speak to Him, says St. Teresa, and to seek graces of Him with confidence and without fear, He has hidden His majesty under the species of bread: He wishes that we should treat with Him "as one friend with another," as Thomas a Kempis expresses it.
To converse with Thee, O King of Glory, no third person is needed: Thou art always ready in the Sacrament of the Altar to give audience to all. Whoever desires Thee always finds Thee there and converses with Thee face to face. Since, then, my Jesus, Thou art enclosed in this Tabernacle to receive the supplications of miserable creatures who come to seek an audience of Thee, listen this day to the petition addressed to Thee by the most ungrateful sinner on earth. I come repentant to Thy feet. Change me from a great rebel such as I have hitherto been to Thee, into a great lover of Thee. Thou canst do it. I love Thee, my Jesus, above all things. I love Thee more than my life, my God, my Love, my All!
II. When the soul remains at the foot of the Altar, Jesus seems to address her in the words of the Canticle: Arise. my love, my beautiful one, and come. (Cant. ii. 10). "Soul arise," He says, "and fear not; approach, come near to Me. My friend: you are not now My enemy for you love Me, and are sorry for having offended Me. My beautiful one: you are no longer hideous in My eyes. My grace has made you beautiful. And come: come here, tell Me whatever you wish; I am on the altar for this very purpose." How delighted you would be if a king were to call you into his presence, and say to you "Tell me, what do you want, what do you wish? I love you and wish to benefit you." Jesus Christ, the King of Heaven, says this to all who visit Him: Come to me all you that labour and are burdened, and I will refresh you. (Matt. xi. 28). Come all you who are poor, sick, or afflicted, I can and will enrich you, hear you, and comfort you. I remain for this purpose on your altars: I myself that spoke: behold I am here. (Is. lii. 6).
My beloved Jesus, since Thou remainest on our Altar to hear the petitions of wretched creatures who have recourse to Thee, hear now the prayer which I, miserable sinner, make to Thee. O Lamb of God sacrificed and put to death on the Cross, Thou seest in me a soul redeemed with Thy Blood; forgive me the insults I have offered Thee, and help me by Thy grace to lose Thee no more. Give me, dear Jesus, a share in the grief Thou didst feel in the Garden of Gethsemani for my sins! Oh, that I had never offended Thee, my God! If I were to die in sin, my beloved Lord, I could love Thee no more; but Thou hast waited for me expressly that I may love Thee; I thank Thee for the time Thou grantest me, and since I now can love Thee, I will do so. Grant me the great grace of loving Thee, but of loving Thee so as to make me forget all, to think only of pleasing Thy most loving Heart. My Jesus, Thou hast expended Thy whole life for me; grant that I may use for Thee at least the remainder of my life. I hope for all graces through the merits of Thy Passion. I hope also in thy intercession, O Mary! Thou knowest that I love thee. Have pity upon me.
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