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[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Spiritual Combat: PREPARATION FOR COMMUNION, AND THE ROLE OF THE EUCHARIST IN EXCITING IN US A LOVE OF GOD

The Spiritual Combat: PREPARATION FOR COMMUNION, AND THE ROLE OF THE EUCHARIST IN EXCITING IN US A LOVE OF GOD
Included: Rare video of Padre Pio saying Mass


IF OUR MOTIVE in receiving Holy Communion be a desire of increasing our love of God, we should recall the love which God has for us. The preparation consists in an attentive contemplation of this Sovereign Lord of boundless power and majesty, Who not satisfied with creating us to His image and likeness, nor with the immolation of His only Son in our behalf, left this Son to us in the Sacrament of the Eucharist to be our food and support in all our necessities. Consider well the greatness and uniqueness of this love in the following manner:



1. In its duration we find that God's love for us is eternal and unceasing; for as He is eternal in His Divinity, so is He eternal in His love. Before time was, God determined to give His Son to mankind in this marvellous manner. Let these words, then, echo joyfully within your heart: "In the abyss of eternity, my littleness was so loved by the most high God, that He thought of me, and with love ineffable wished to give me His Son to be my food and my nourishment!"

2. Our strongest passions for earthly things recognize certain limits which they cannot exceed, but the love of God for us is limitless. The advent of His Son, equal to Him in majesty and perfection, was a testimony to that boundless love. Thus is the gift equal to the love, and the love to the gift; and both are infinite, beyond the borders of human understanding.

3. In loving us God was not constrained by any power or necessity, but heaped innumerable benefits upon us out of the magnitude of Divine love.

4. Neither have human merit or previous good works rendered us worthy of this remarkable gift. If God has loved to excess or given of Himself unstintingly, it is rather to be attributed to the immensity of Divine charity.

5. God's love for us is untainted with the blemish of the self-interest present in human affections. For what is the totality of human greatness to Him, the source of all happiness and glory? How could we possibly add glory to glory itself? The advantages, then, are all on the side of man.

Meditating on this truth, let each man say within himself: "Who could have imagined, O Lord, that a God of such infinite greatness would bestow His affections on such an abject and insignificant creature as myself! What could be Thy design, O King of glory? What canst Thou expect of me who am but dust? I see clearly, O my God, by the light of Thy burning charity which enlightens me with knowledge and enkindles me with love, that Thy design was one divorced from all self-interest. For Thy wish in so graciously bestowing this sacrament is to transform me into Thee, that I may live in Thee and Thou in me. Such an intimate union will ultimately remake my heart, fashioning from a vessel of earth, a delicate instrument attuned to things Divine."

Then, full of joy and wonder at the indications of Divine love given us by Christ, and aware that His only purpose is the transformation of our hearts from things of earth to things of heaven, let us offer a sacrifice, and consecrate the will, the memory, and understanding to the sole task of pleasing Him in the gracious acceptance of His holy will.

After this, recognizing our incapacity to dispose ourselves properly, unaided by His grace for proper reception of the Eucharist, let us strive earnestly to obtain that grace by ejaculations such as the following:

"O heavenly food, when shall I be united to Thee, to be consumed joyfully in the fire of Divine love? O Divine charity, when shall I live in Thee, by Thee, and for Thee alone? O heavenly manna, sovereign good, joy of my heart, when shall I, loathing all other food, seek Thee alone? O life of eternal joy, when shall I dwell in Thee alone? O my loving and almighty Lord, free my heart from the tyranny of its passions and vicious attachments; adorn it with Thy heavenly virtues, and with gentle compulsion force it to rejoice in loving and pleasing Thee. Then O Lord, will I open my heart and bid Thee enter; then shalt Thou come, my only treasure, to transform my heart by Thy Divine presence."

Such are the tender and affectionate sentiments which we should form on the evening before, and on the morning of reception of Holy Communion.
When the time itself draws near, we must consider attentively who it is that we are about to receive; for our guest is to be the Son of the living God, the august majesty before Whom the heavens and the powers of Heaven tremble in awesome fear. Our guest is to be the Saint of Saints, mirror without blemish, purity itself, before Whom all is unclean in comparison. This is Divinity become man; one looked upon as the very outcast of men, Who was pleased to be spat upon, struck, reviled, and crucified out of love for us. You are indeed about to receive God Himself, in Whose hand is the destiny of the universe.

On the other hand, think of your own utter insignificance, and your vile sinfulness which has reduced you below the level of the brute, and made you worthy of being the sport and slave of devils. Consider your acknowledgment of the infinite favors you have received from your Saviour; you have insulted the Redeemer and trampled upon His Precious Blood, displaying a most arrant ingratitude.

But even human ingratitude cannot overcome divine charity; capricious fickleness is no match for unchanging love. Still the gracious Lord summons you to the Divine banquet, and rather than rebuffing you for your obvious inadequacies, bids you come under pain of death. The arms of the merciful Father are always open to receive you, be you leprous, lame, blind, profligate, or possessed by devils. He demands of you these few requisites alone:

a. To be sincerely sorry for having so grievously offended Him.
b. To hate sin of all kind with an unquenchable vigor.
c. To consecrate yourself to cheerful acceptance of His Divine will whatever it may be.
d. To have a firm confidence that He will forgive your sins, cleanse your soul of all taint, and defend you against all your enemies.

Encouraged by this ineffable love of the Lord for you and all penitent sinners, approach the holy table with a prudent fear, tempered by hope and love, saying:

"After so many grievous offenses, I am not worthy to receive Thee, not having fully satisfied Thy justice. No, my God, I am unworthy of Thee, sullied as I am by an inordinate attachment to creatures and a reluctance to serve Thee completely with my whole heart and my whole strength.

"O my omnipotent Lord, be mindful of Thy goodness and Thy promise; through the Divine alchemy of love and faith, make my heart a worthy dwelling place for Thy Divine Son."

After Communion strive to be deeply recollected, shutting out from your heart the multiple petty encroachments of worldly distractions. Entertain the Divine guest with such sentiments as are expressed in the following prayer:

"O sovereign Lord of Heaven, what has brought Thee from celestial heights to the depths of earthly hearts?" His answer will be simply, "Love."

And you must reply: "O eternal love, what is it you ask of me?" And He will answer again: "Nothing but love. I would have no other fire within thee but charity, the ardent flames of which will conquer the impure flames of passion, and make thee pleasing in My sight.

"Long have I wished that thou wert all Mine, and I all thine. And long have I desired that surrender of thy will ever solicitous for frivolous liberty and worldly vanities; for only when thy will is attuned to Mine can the first wish be realized.

"Know, then, that I would have thee die to self, that you might live to Me; I would have thee give Me thy heart that I might make it like unto Mine, which broke on Calvary out of love for mankind. Thou knowest who I am, and yet thou knowest that in some measure, I have made thee My equal in an excess of love. When I give Myself entirely to thee, I ask nothing but thyself in return. Be Mine and I shall be satisfied. Will nothing, think nothing, understand nothing, see nothing but Me and My will. Let thy nothingness be lost in the depths of My infinity, and find there thy happiness, as I find repose in thee."

Finally offer to the Eternal Father His Only-begotten Son:

1. First in thanksgiving for the unspeakably great favors He has rendered in bestowing them on you.
2. In petition for such things as are needed by you and those to whom you are obligated to pray; remember also in your petitions the Souls in Purgatory.

Let this entire offering be made in commemoration of and in union with the offering made by Christ on Calvary's hill, when bleeding on the Cross, He offered Himself to His Eternal Father.

Similarly, you may offer for the same intention, the sacrifice of the Mass, wherever it may be celebrated that day throughout the Christian world.

Padre Pio Says Mass — 5 May 1956