THREE VISITS TO THE BLESSED SACRAMENT
by Alphonsus Mary Liguori
The sparrow hath found herself a house, and the turtle a nest for herself where she may lay her young ones: Thy altars, 0 Lord of hosts, my king and my God"-Ps. 83:4
THE SPARROW, says David, finds a dwelling in houses, turtledoves in nests, but thou, my King and my God, hast made thyself a nest and found a dwelling on earth on our altars, that we might find thee, and that thou might dwell among us. Lord, we can only say that thou art too much enamored of men; thou no longer knowest what to do to gain their love. But do, my most amiable Jesus, give us the grace that we also may be passionately enamored of thee. It would indeed be unreasonable if we were cold in our love toward a God who loves us with such affection. Draw us to thee by the sweet attractions of thy love; make us understand the endearing claims which thou hast on our love.
Oh, infinite majesty and infinite goodness, thou lovest men so much, thou hast done so much in order to be loved by men. How is it, then, that among men there are so few who love thee? I will no longer be as I have hitherto been, among the unhappy number of those ungrateful creatures. I am resolved to love thee as much as I can, and to love no other than thee. Thou deservest it; thou commandest me with so much earnestness to do so, I am resolved to satisfy thee. Grant, O God of my soul, that I may fully satisfy thee. I entreat thee to grant me this favor by the merits of thy Passion, and I confidently hope for it. Bestow the goods of the earth on those who desire them; I desire and seek the great treasure of thy love alone. I love thee, my Jesus; I love thee, infinite goodness. Thou art all my riches, my whole satisfaction, my entire love.
Foolish ones of the world, says St. Augustine, miserable creatures, where are you going to satisfy your hearts? Come to Jesus; for by him alone can that pleasure which you seek be bestowed. "Unhappy creatures, where are you going? The good you seek for comes from him." My soul, be not among the number of these foolish ones; seek God alone: "seek for that one good in which are all good things."
And if you desire to find him soon, look, he is close to you; tell him what you desire, because it is for this end that he is in the ciborium, to console you, and to grant your prayer. 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. 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. All who desire thee always find thee there, and converse with thee face to face. And even if anyone at length succeeds in speaking with t king, how many difficulties has he had to overcome before he can do so! Kings grant audiences only a few times in the year; but thou, in this sacrament, grantest audience to all, night and day and whenever we please.
If men always had recourse to the most Blessed Sacrament to seek from it the remedy for their ills, they certainly would not be as miserable as they are. The prophet Jeremias, lamenting, exclaimed: "Is there no balm in Galaad? or is there no physician there?" (Jer. 8:22).
Galaad, a mountain of Arabia, rich in aromatical spices, according to the Venerable Bede, is a figure of Jesus Christ, who in this sacrament keeps in readiness all the remedies for our woes. Why, then, our Redeemer seems to ask, do you complain of your misfortunes, sons of Adam, when you have the Physician and the remedy for them all in this sacrament? "Come to me . . . and I will refresh you" (Matt. 11:28).
I will, then, address thee in the words of the sisters of Lazarus, "behold, he whom thou lovest is sick" (John 11:3). Lord, I am that miserable creature whom thou lovest; my soul is all wounded by the sins which I have committed: my divine Physician, I come to thee, that thou mayest heal me; if thou wilt, thou canst cure me: "heal my soul, for I have sinned against thee" (Ps. 40:5).
Draw me wholly to thyself, my most sweet Jesus, by the all-winning attractions of thy love. I would much rather be bound to thee than become the lord of the whole earth. I desire nothing else in the world but to love thee. I have little to give thee; but if I could gain possession of all the kingdoms of the world, would do so, in order that I might renounce them all for thy love. For thee, then, I renounce what I can; I give up all relations, all comforts, all pleasures, and even spiritual consolations. For thee I renounce my liberty and my will. On thee I desire to bestow all my love. I love thee, infinite goodness, I love thee more than myself, and I hope to love thee for all eternity.
It is sweet to everyone to be in the company of a dear friend. Shall we not find it sweet, in this valley of tears, to remain in the company of the best friend we have, who can do us every kind of good, who loves us with the most tender affection and therefore dwells always with us?
Behold, in the Blessed Sacrament we can converse at pleasure with Jesus, we can open our hearts to him, we can lay our wants before him, and we can ask him for his graces. In a word, in this sacrament we can treat with the king of heaven, in all confidence and without restraint.
Joseph was only too happy when, as Scripture tells us, God descended by his grace into his prison to comfort him: "She went down with him into the pit, And in bands she left him not" (Wis. 10: 13-14). But we are still more highly favored; for we have always with us in this land of miseries our God made man, who, by his real presence, is with us all the days of our life, and comforts and helps us with the greatest affection and compassion. What a consolation it is to a poor prisoner to have an affectionate friend, who keeps him company, consoles him, gives him hope, succors him, and thinks of relieving him in his misery!
Behold our good friend Jesus Christ, who in this sacrament encourages us, saying: "Behold, I am with you all days."
"Pray and you will be saved; do not pray and you will be lost."
St Alphonsus Mary Liguori
return to Pick A Prayer
back to Feast of All Saints Contents Page