First in a Series on the Reasons of the Eucharist
Fr. Albert Tesnière, S.S.S.
The Eucharist Continues and Extends the Great Blessing of the Coming of God upon Earth.
Recognize and adore, with all the power of your faith, Our Lord Jesus Christ, God and man, really present in the Blessed Sacrament. And after having saluted Him with profound reverence, as the angels and the Magi did at Bethlehem, prepare yourself to comprehend and to be profoundly penetrated with this capital truth, namely, that the Eucharist was instituted to continue and extend the great blessing of the coming of God upon earth.
You know and profess the mystery of the Incarnation, in which the Word, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, the only Son of God, became man, without ceasing to be God, and began to dwell among us, similar to one of us.
In virtue of this fact, God Himself, God in person, corporally inhabited the earth. He ceased to be invisible and inaccessible; He was seen in Jesus, He was approached and spoken to, and He was touched in Jesus; for Jesus, truly man, was also truly God.
Until then, God was seen only in inanimate creatures and in rational creatures, which are but imperfect images of Himself. But in Jesus, He was seen in His reality, in an immediate manner, and in person. Whilst continuing to be everywhere diffused by means of His infinite being and the universal action of His power, He was nevertheless circumscribed in Jesus; He had a soul, a body, blood, a heart, and human limbs. He spoke and acted by the mouth and by the hands of Jesus. He was one of us, like to us, born in poverty, of a human mother. He labored, was weary, He was hungry and thirsty, as we are; He performed miracles, placing at our service, in His benevolence and His compassion for our miseries, His marvellous omnipotence, which rules over sickness, afflictions and death, and made them retreat. He announced the truth for which human reason longs, the eternal truth, without any mixture of error, with regard to God, His majesty, His goodness, His mercy, and with regard to our sublime destinies. Jesus was God come upon earth, inhabiting it, treading on it with His feet, watering it with His sweat before watering it with His blood; He was come to unite in Himself these two extremes: sinful man and a justly irritated God; and He reconciled the world to Himself, giving to it by His presence and His benefits a warrant of the most complete of pardons, the assurance of future peace and happiness.
This fact of the coming of God upon earth had been awaited, desired, demanded by the anguish and sufferings of the creature and of the whole world during more than forty centuries; it was the work of works, the gift of gifts, the masterpiece of omnipotence and the greatest blessing which had ever emanated from the goodness of God. If it had not been for His coming, the world would have cast itself down the deep and sombre precipices of suffering, of sin, and of despair unto eternal death. Therefore, the Incarnation of the Word is the end and the reason of everything in the works of God.
The Eucharist continues to give to the world this great blessing, this incomparable masterpiece. Through the Sacrament, God is present in person, in body and in soul, in all parts of the globe; God is amongst us; God has dwellings; God can be approached, supplicated. He sees us, He hears us, He loves us with His human heart, in all things like to ours, and His presence is no longer confined to one point as it was formerly in Judea, but it is to be found in all parts of the earth at one and the same time: it is not there for a few years only, but always, until the end of the world.
Adore, then, with faith, with loving gratitude, the Son of God made man, the Man-God, the Incarnate Word, present and living in the Holy Eucharist; believe in the truth of His power, in the perfection of His life, divine and human at the same time.
It is certainly impossible to read in the Gospel of the numberless blessings which the Saviour bestowed all around Him without envying the happiness of those who were able to approach Him, to see Him, and to receive from Him a word of peace or a miraculous cure. His countrymen exclaimed with admiration: "No one ever spoke like this man." And His life upon earth is summed up in these words: "He went about doing good."
Now the same presence ought to produce the same results. If Jesus continues and perpetuates Himself upon earth, He will do so with the same power, the same goodness and for the same merciful and beneficent object as ever. Therefore, it is true to say that, in the same way in which all good things were restored to the guilty world by the Incarnation, they are preserved and applied to it at all times and in all places by the Eucharist: seeing that the Sacrament is the same Christ, the omnipotent Son of the Father, the wholly merciful Son of the Virgin Mother. Truth, virtues, order, peace, harmony in the world and in souls, the continuation of the relations between the earth, in spite of its crimes, and a justly irritated God all is preserved for us, continued and given ceaselessly, by means of the fact, the power, and the admirable efficacy of the presence of Jesus perpetuated here below in the Eucharist. If it were to disappear for one moment, there would be a chaos in the world of souls worse than that which would be caused by the disappearance of the sun or the falling into ruin of the universe.
Thank Jesus, therefore, for the love which makes Him remain here below for you, and enables you to enjoy all the advantages of His presence as much as did those who lived with Him during the days of His mortal life, and even more still; for if they saw Him and heard Him, you feed on Him in reality, and you possess Him so fully that He is yours fully and entirely.
The great crime of the Jews at the time of the first coming of Jesus Christ was to repel Him, to refuse to acknowledge Him, and to persecute Him down to His death on Calvary. Hence the malediction which has pursued them during nineteen centuries. Alas! The great crime of nations at the present hour is, also, to refuse to the God of the Eucharist the means of establishing His beneficent empire and ruling it for the good of souls. Disowned and persecuted, men desire to make Him disappear, even from His material temples, after having snatched from Him through infidelity the souls of children and of Christians of all conditions. Oh, make reparation for this great crime, by becoming more and more faithful to the Eucharist and by bringing souls to it as fast as it is possible for you to do so, above all the souls of children.
Ask for the grace of a lively, hearty faith in this great fact of the Eucharist perpetuating for you upon earth the presence of the Incarnate Word. Ask to believe so easily and in so lively a manner that the Eucharist is Jesus in person, that it may draw you towards Him, and that His presence may impress you and excite in you the same feelings you would have if you were to see the Saviour in His crib, upon Thabor, or on the cross.
As soon as you enter a church, salute Jesus in the tabernacle in these words: "Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God!"