Sunday Reflection – 25 November – The Solemnity of Christ the King
Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)
On the Blessed Sacrament, Book 4, Chapter 1:9-13
Many people travel far to honour the relics of the saints, marvelling at their wonderful deeds and at the building of magnificent shrines. They gaze upon and kiss the sacred relics encased in silk and gold and behold, You are here present before me on the altar, my God, Saint of saints, Creator of men, and Lord of angels!
Often in looking at such things, men are moved by curiosity, by the novelty of the unseen and they bear away little fruit for the amendment of their lives, especially when they go from place to place lightly and without true contrition. But here, in the Sacrament of the altar, You are wholly present, my God, the man Christ Jesus, whence is obtained the full realisation of eternal salvation, as often as You are worthily and devoutly received. To this, indeed, we are not drawn by levity, or curiosity, or sensuality but by firm faith, devout hope, and sincere love.
O God, hidden Creator of the world, how wonderfully You deal with us! How sweetly and graciously You dispose of things with Your elect to whom You offer Yourself to be received in this Sacrament! This, indeed, surpasses all understanding. This in a special manner attracts the hearts of the devout and inflames their love. Your truly faithful servants, who give their whole life to amendment, often receive in Holy Communion the great grace of devotion and love of virtue.
Oh, the wonderful and hidden grace of this Sacrament which only the faithful of Christ
understand, which unbelievers and slaves of sin cannot experience! In it spiritual grace is conferred, lost virtue restored and the beauty, marred by sin, repaired. At times, indeed, its grace is so great that, from the fullness of the devotion, not only the mind but also the frail body feels filled with greater strength.
Nevertheless, our neglect and coldness is much to be deplored and pitied, when we are not moved to receive with greater fervour Christ in Whom is the hope and merit of all who will be saved. He is our sanctification and redemption. He is our consolation in this life and the eternal joy of the blessed in heaven. This being true, it is lamentable that many pay so little heed to the salutary Mystery which fills the heavens with joy and maintains the whole universe in being.
Oh, the blindness and the hardness of the heart of man that does not show more regard for so wonderful a gift but rather falls into carelessness from its daily use! If this most holy Sacrament were celebrated in only one place and consecrated by only one priest in the whole world, with what great desire, do you think, would men be attracted to that place, to that priest of God, in order to witness the celebration of the divine Mysteries! But now there are many priests and Mass is offered in many places, that God’s grace and love for men may appear the more clearly as the Sacred Communion is spread more widely through the world.
Thanks be to You, Jesus, everlasting Good Shepherd, Who have seen fit to feed us poor
exiled people with Your precious Body and Blood and to invite us with words from Your
own lips to partake of these sacred Mysteries:
“Come to Me, all you who labour and are burdened and I will refresh you.”