Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
HOW TO RECEIVE
THE HOLY EUCHARIST ACCORDING
TO ST IGNATIUS
September 15th 1973
The highly stable GIFT:
1. The grandeur of
I. THE GRANDEUR OF THE GIFT
God gave us being by creating us. God created heaven and earth for all men. God gave us the Incarnation of the Word, becoming flesh to save us. It is a huge gift for Him to have consented to become Man in order to save us. After becoming a Man, he spent thirty years in this earthly life with Our Lady to glorify God and pray for us men.
After having given us His Teachings and example of Patience, Forgiveness and Affection, He did even more: He gave us the HOLY EUCHARIST.
Through the HOLY EUCHARIST He acquired a more intimate union with us than by the fact that He became Incarnate.
1. HOW HE GIVES HIMSELF TO US IN THE EUCHARIST
He does so in a way no one could invent. It is such an admirable way that if the Seraphim thought about it for eternity they could not come up with this idea: God giving Himself to man through the species of bread and wine. He penetrates man and is assimilated by him.
2. WHAT ARE THE GIFTS THAT HE GIVES US IN THE EUCHARIST
All His merits, which are infinite. All His virtues come to us. That is to say, He comes with all holiness, touches and changes us. Now His holiness is infinite and He condescends to come to me in the Holy Eucharist. What a formidable gift it is for Him to be locked in the tabernacle until the hour I arrive to receive Him. Then He comes to me and visits me more intimately than He would in the house of Lazarus and Mary, because He enters into me.
All things on earth - intelligence, wealth, glory and health - cannot compare to a Communion. All the more so with those called to receive Him daily.
How many gifts accumulate in our daily Communions, it is something admirable. Such is the breadth of the gift that God gives us.
Note: When receiving Holy Communion, we should take one of these points and meditate on it. It is a way to prepare for it and do it well:
“You have been resisting other gifts, but can you resist a God who gives Himself to you?" This is an admirable question.
“You are receiving this GIFT, you have resisted other graces, will you resist this one? God gives Himself to you and you do not yourself to Him? What sense does it make for you not to offer yourself entirely to Him in this Communion?”
“He does not need me and so I do not offer myself to Him?”
Therefore, the OFFERING is the corollary of a Communion.
THE OFFERING: “Lord, I am not worthy to receive Thee, but since Thou enters my soul, give me the grace to desire to give me to Thee, grant me the grace that one day as soon as possible I may give myself entirely to Thee. In other words, that I may abandon sin, stop offending you, practice virtue entirely, and be a perfect soldier of Thy Cause through Mary, I beseech Thee.”
3. THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY
Today Our Lord has given Himself to me, I will ask Him that I surrender myself to Him entirely on such and such point; I will make such and such sacrifice by giving Him such a thing that is costly to me etc.
I know that today I am going to have a very great affliction. But if He gave Himself to me today and will do so again tomorrow, will I not trust Him? Won’t He, Who has given me so much, give me a little more, some help on such occasion, a smile on another opportunity? That is not possible. I will live this day confiding that He will help me.
These are the normal attitudes of soul of those whose life revolves around the Communion they received today and will receive tomorrow. This is how we form in ourselves a truly Eucharistic soul.
This reasoning calls for seriousness, as it is entirely logical.
If we are not serious in this life, when we die we will have the biggest shock imaginable because we are going to face the INFINITE SERIOUSNES OF GOD. And He will tell us: “I visited you every day for so many years. Every day, I gave you the grace to desire My visit; and every day, you corresponded to this grace and came to visit Me. But you were not serious in your visits. You did not reflect on what they meant and did not draw the consequences.”
Not even the highest angels in Heaven have the form of union with Our Lord that we have when receiving the Eucharist. An angel cannot receive communion, he has no body. He is flooded with all graces, sees God face to face but does not have the HOLY EUCHARIST. They look at us as if envying this grace. Should we not receive this grace with greater respect, greater meditation, greater preparation?
Do you want something more encouraging than this: When we receive the Eucharist, all Heaven is looking at us and helping us. How beautiful! What a joy! If we thought about this before Communion, we would receive it with more CONFIDENCE, more HOPE, more JOY. Obviously. We should think about this before Communion.
Repent for your ingratitude and remember the grandeur of the benefits; and if you abuse them, you will be punished. Try to give everything without reservation to the One Who gives you everything.
Let us think about Holy Communion and be sorry for our ingratitude. Being sorry does not mean not knowing what to say, being at a loss for words. It is a confident sorrow:
"I know that I behaved badly, but I trust in Thee, because Thou art the Way, the Truth and the Life. I prostrate myself at Thy feet with my sins, with St. Mary Magdalene, and with confidence, I know that Thou wilt not reject me nor abandon me. I confidently ask Thee to change me; Thou art the One Who heals everyone, so heal me and change me as well. I am here as the paralytic and leper of the Gospel, heal the diseases of my soul as Thou healed those bodies. By Thy Mother, Whom Thou never denies anything I beseech Thee to heal me.” This is how we should receive Communion.
Let us ask God to change our soul: If we ask Him every day at Communion to correct us, change us, one fine day He will change us! The Eucharist is the SOUL of our spiritual life, the center and focus of our spiritual life.
II. THE AFFECTION OF THE ONE GIVING HIMSELF
We must first consider the love with which He gave Himself. “"The night He was betrayed, that night He gave us the Bread.” This is the wonder that He imagined in order to be amidst men all the time.
At the hour when men betray Him, He finds a way to give them the supreme GIFT. He wanted to be with us in the form of food. So He never separate Himself from us but is ingrained in us. So to speak, we “digest Him” and that is what He wanted: to establish a supremely intimate union.
Our Lord knows the past, the present and the future. He faced difficulty when instituting the Eucharist: “The foresight of all the sacrileges committed to the end of the world with the Blessed Sacrament.” Yet not all these sacrileges were able to prevent Him from instituting the Blessed Sacrament. He wanted to overcome all difficulties in to give Catholics the Blessed Sacrament. This has a stupendous beauty. He accepted all this to have the Blessed Sacrament reach us. His Love and His Kindness are so great that He desires to reach us in this way.
What confidence and respect this should give us when receiving Holy Communion. How GOOD He really is! Let us imagine Him entering into our souls with the corresponding affection.
He enters our soul, as into the house of a sick person He wants to heal with affection and a desire to cure. Imagine Our Lord overflowing with goodness. What confidence this should inspire in us!
Always asking Our Lady, we should say, “My Mother, the reason for this is too great for me to fully comprehend,” but Thou didst understand it when Thou didst receive Him. I ask Thee to adore God for me, as I am not great enough to worship Him. Come spiritually into my soul and treat Him as you would on earth, for I am unable to treat Him properly.” We should receive Him with joy because Our Lady is receiving Him for me, and so He is being splendidly received into my soul. I am offering Him a royal feast.
III. UTILITY OF THE GIFT OF THE EUCHARIST
I am offering all the merits of Our Lord Jesus Christ to erase my sins. Therefore, I must go to receive Communion with confidence. Because these merits obtain the forgiveness of my sins and wash my soul. I am receiving the solution to all problems and the remedy for all ills.
Ask Our Lady, “My Mother, let these merits apply to me in a manner similar to the one they applied to Thee so that my soul may continually imbibe these merits. I will become a millionaire merit-wise with a simple communion.”
If a man spent his whole life doing penance in a cave, praying all alone, he would not acquire as many merits as he does with one Communion. This is Its value. What an invaluable gift it represents!
St. Ignatius says, “O God, what could I deny Thee after seeing this? Can I refuse Thee anything after seeing such great GIFTS that Thou dost to me?
We should address Our Lord through Our Lady this prayer: “May He give us of His innumerable gifts, plus this: the gift of giving everything to Him.” And we should end all Communions thus: “My God, give me everything that unites me to Thee, and remove from me everything that separates me from Thee.”
Soul of Christ, sanctify me, Blood of Christ, inebriate me etc.
Blood of Christ, give us a lucidity whereby our soul is raised far beyond ordinary realities. Inebriation with the Holy Ghost leads us to the supreme knowledge of the revealed truth. This is the chaste inebriation with the Holy Ghost. Water from Christ’s side, wash me ... that is, may the water that flowed from His side in the Passion, fall on me to wash me.
“I am almost blind to the things of God; I hear the things of God and do not know what to say about them. I do not see them well. O my God, may the water from Thy side that is now in me remove the scales from of my sight. I ask Thee this grace through Our Lady.”
These considerations by Saint Ignatius are higher, greater, and more serious than we are. We feel like ants... We are not used to seeing the true dimension of the Catholic Religion. How small we become before this! We are not accustomed to great goodness such as this, in the face of which we must give ourselves without limits. We do not know what forgiveness, what confidence is: The extreme goodness with which He turns a blind eye to our many sins for us to receive Him again. He gives Himself to us with joy. Our Lord greatly desires to be received by my soul with all its imperfections. With what confidence I should go to Communion!
What a feast it is for me to think all day long: Our Lord is ardently desiring that I receive Him tomorrow.
Take the holiest reception of communion ever to take place on earth, Our Lady’s. She was burning with the love for the Communion. Yet her desire to receive Our Lord was infinitely smaller than Our Lord’s desire to receive Her. This is how His love is greater than ours! Here we see the desire He has to receive us.
He is inside the tabernacle waiting for me with a smile; and He enters my unworthy soul with true delight. His delight is to be with the children of men. These are words of the Holy Ghost.
That is why on Holy Thursday the Church celebrates with flowers, white vestments etc. This is the INTIMACY to which He invites us. We will never be as close to anyone as we can be with Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist.
AN IMMENSELY GREATER LOVE, TENDERNESS AND JOY WAITING FOR US AT THE TIME OF HOLY COMMUNION
Original audio (in portuguese)