31 May 2024

Bishop Challoner's Meditations - Saturday Within the Octave of Corpus Christi


Consider first, that what, above all things, renders these divine mysteries venerable to a Christian, and that which principally calls for his faith and devotion, is the real presence of Jesus Christ, true God and true man, and of all that he contains both as God and as man, in the blessed Eucharist. This real presence we learn from the express words of truth itself so often repeated in the Holy Scripture, and from the express declaration of the church of God, against which the gates of hell can never prevail. Upon these two pillars of truth, the word of God, and the church of God, the humble and faithful Christian securely rests. Bow thyself down then, my soul, to adore this sacred truth. Let no proud thought of opposition arise in thee against this great mystery. Captivate thy understanding to the obedience of faith. Remember that the glory and merit of faith is to believe what thou canst not see; that the Almighty can do infinitely more than thou canst comprehend; and that no effort of mercy, bounty, and love can be too great for him who died for love.

Consider 2ndly, how many ways this Lord of ours, who is both our creator and our redeemer, communicates himself to us. He came down from heaven, and took our flesh and blood, in order to make us partakers of his divinity, and to carry us up to heaven. He offered up that flesh and blood upon the cross, as a sacrifice for us, to deliver us from sin and hell, and to purchase mercy, grace, and salvation for us. And he gives us here verily and indeed the same flesh and blood, to be our food, comfort, and support in our pilgrimage, till he brings us, by virtue of that food, to our true country, where he will give himself to us for all eternity. Thus in his incarnation and birth, he made himself our companion; in his passion and death, the price of our ransom; in the banquet of his last supper, our food amid nourishment; and in his heavenly kingdom, our eternal reward. O my soul, what return shall we be able to make him for giving himself so many ways to us? Alas! dear Lord, we have nothing to give but what is thine already - we have nothing to give that is worthy of thee. But be pleased to accept of all that our poverty can afford; and let this whole being of ours be for ever dedicated to thy love as a whole burnt offering, to lie always upon thy altar, there burning and consuming with that divine fire which thou camest to cast upon the earth, and which thou so much desirest should be enkindled.

Consider 3rdly, what ought to be our sentiments in coming to these divine mysteries, in consequence of our faith of the real presence of Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God, in this blessed sacrament. O! what reverential awe ought we to bring with us, when we draw near so tremendous a majesty; in whose sight the whole creation is a mere nothing? What fear and dread when we enter into his sanctuary, who is infinitely pure and holy, who sees all our guilt, and cannot endure iniquity? What sentiments of humility, when we reflect what he is, and what we are? What sorrow and contrition for all our past treasons and offences against this infinite goodness? What sentiments of gratitude for his giving us here his own self; in this wonderful manner? What desires of returning him love for love? O! how would a Christian be affected, if he visibly and evidently saw his God before him in his approaching to this blessed sacrament! A lively faith, which apprehends things invisible, as if they were visible, would produce the like affections. O! give us, sweet Jesus, this lively faith.

Conclude ever to admire and adore the incomprehensible ways by which God is pleased to communicate himself to us. Resolve to correspond in the best manner you are able with the riches of his bounty and goodness, by approaching to these divine mysteries with faith, with fear, and with love.

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