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Thoughts for the Week
 
 

 

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

Thoughts for the Week - Fr R Taouk 
10th August 2014

St. Robert Bellarmine on The Holy Eucharist

The holy Eucharist is the greatest of all the sacraments: in which not only is grace most plentifully given unto us, but even the author of grace Himself is received. Two things are necessary as regards this sacrament, that a Christian may live well and die well. First, that he sometimes receive this sacred nourishment, as our Lord saith: "Unless you eat of the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you." Secondly, that he worthily receive this excellent food, for, as the Apostle saith in his Epistle to the Corinthians: "He that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord." (1 Epist. xi. 29.) But the question is, how often we ought to receive this food; and again, what preparation is sufficient, that we may worthily, or at least not unworthily, approach to this heavenly banquet.

Whoever, then, desires to live well and die well, let him enter into the chamber of his heart, and shutting the door, alone before God, who searches the reins and the heart, let him attentively consider how often, and with what preparation, he has received the body of the Lord; and it he shall find that by the grace of God he has often and worthily communicated, and thereby has been well nourished and cured gradually of his spiritual maladies, and that he has daily advanced more and more in virtue and good works: then let him exult with trembling, and serve the Lord in fear not so much a servile fear, as a filial and chaste fear. But if any one, content with an annual communion, should think no more of this life-giving Sacrament, and forgetting to eat this heavenly bread, should feed and fatten his body whilst his soul is allowed to languish and starve, let such a one remember that he is in a bad state, and very far from the kingdom of God. Annual communion is enjoined by the holy Council, not that we should partake of it only once, but that we should approach to it at least once a year, unless we wish to be cut off from the Church, and delivered over to the devil. Those that act thus, (and many there are,) receive the Lord in His sacrament, not with a filial love, but with servile fear; and soon do they return to the husks of swine, to the pleasures of the world, to temporal gain, and to seeking after transitory honours.

Hence in death they hear these words that were addressed to the rich glutton: "Son, remember that thou didst receive good things in thy lifetime." But if anyone, frequently approaching this most holy Sacrament, either on Sundays, or every day, should still discover that he is not free from mortal sin, nor that he seriously performs good works, nor is truly disengaged from the world, but that, like others who are of the world, he pants after money, is fond of carnal pleasures, and sighs after honours and dignities this man certainly "eats and drinks judgment to himself;" and the oftener he approaches the holy Mysteries, so does he the more imitate the traitor Judas, of whom our Lord speaks, "It were better for him he had never been born." But no one, whilst he lives, must despair of his salvation. Wherefore, he that remembers in the chamber of his heart his years and his works, and feels that he has wandered from the way of salvation, let him reflect that he has still time to repent; let him seriously begin to do penance, and return to the path of truth.