Seventh in a Series on the Reasons of the Eucharist
Fr. Albert Tesnière, S.S.S.
The Eucharist is the Protection, the Consolation, and the Sanctification of Holy Church
Adore, like a true child of the Catholic Church, in her name and in her faith, Our Lord Jesus Christ, residing in the Sacrament since the foundation of the Church and until the end of the world, therein to give the Church, which He loves so dearly, all the succor of which she stands in need.
Salute Him by the beautiful name of Spouse of the Church; for He is so in very truth, and He has chosen her in His love, and washed her in His blood, that He might render her wholly pure and beautiful in holiness. He is in the Sacrament to follow her, to sustain her, to console her, and to give her the divine Bread which her children claim from this mother of souls. His presence is the joy, the life, the honor, the glory, and the reason of the inexhaustible fecundity of the Catholic Church. A royal Spouse, and crowned King of the earth and of the skies, He makes her partake in His regal honors and share His empire; she is a glorious queen reigning with Him and by Him. What are the Christian sects, deprived of the Eucharist, in comparison with her? Where is their glory, where their holiness, where their fecundity, their apostolate?
Adore the Eucharistic Christ as the sacred Head of the Church; that is to say, as the head and the principle of that mystic and supernatural body, the members of which are everywhere, and who everywhere participate in the same life, believe the same truths, and bear the same eternal hopes. It is from the Sacrament, from the Eucharist, the heart of the Church, that all the channels of grace branch forth, bearing life throughout the whole Church, even as the arteries in the human body diffuse heat and movement.
Adore, behind the veils of the Sacrament, the Holy of Holies of the New Law, the supreme but invisible Pontiff of the Church. He wills to operate the exterior functions of His pontificate by means of visible pontiffs. He speaks, governs, and sanctifies by the Pope, by Bishops and by Priests; but in the sanctuary of His Sacrament He exercises in an excellent manner the function of prayer and of sacrifice, which is the principal function of the Priest, offering it night and day, with infinite perfection. In the powerlessness of His Host, He in reality rules the Church; in His silence, it is He who teaches, by inspiring pastors with the teaching to which they must make the Church listen, by keeping away error from their lips, and by rendering souls docile to their voice.
Oh, Sacrament of the Catholic Church, its honor and its glory, be adored, known, and loved by all the children of this mother of redeemed humanity!
Consider how good, how advantageous for the Church is this assiduous presence of her Spouse with her here below.
See how He follows her everywhere, on all shores, under all climates; everywhere where she sets her foot, He is there, it is even He Himself who has led her there.
See how He shares in her condition: glorified with her when she is received and honored by a faithful people; flying with her when she is persecuted; descending with her into the catacombs during three hundred years, driven away with her from apostate countries.
See with what fidelity He has remained with her since He espoused her with His blood, nineteen centuries ago, without having even ceased for a single day to be present with her for her protection and consolation.
See, lastly, how patiently He bears with the faults and even with the crimes which forgetful and ungrateful children of the Church commit so often against Him; He bears it all, from His ministers as well as from simple laymen, and nothing can weary His heroic perseverance because nothing can conquer His incredible love for the Church His Spouse.
Appreciate these touching proofs of the love of Jesus for the Church, and you will render Him thanks for it by being a right-minded child of this good mother.
If the Saviour Christ loved the Church to such a degree that, having died in order to redeem her from the captivity of Satan, He wills to remain with her always, and at the price of all kinds of sacrifices to make Himself the food of her children and the victim of their sins, voluntarily offered and perpetually immolated, what unutterable, intense, and poignant pain does He not experience from the trials of the Church? It is necessary to understand it in order that we may offer Him the homage and the consolations of which He stands in need in the cruel afflictions inflicted on His heart as a spouse and father.
These trials are, first of all, the heresies and schisms which rise up against the doctrine and authority of the Church, striving to tarnish the one and to destroy the other; and what vast provinces have not heresy and schism snatched from the beneficent empire of the Church!
Then there are mortal sins, apostasy, indifference with regard to religion, the mortal lethargy in which so many souls lie, and which by rendering them paralyzed members of the Church here below, threaten to separate them from her forever.
There are, in addition, the notorious defections, the scandalous apostasies, the blows directed against the august face of the most amiable of mothers, which Jesus keenly feels, for He has said, "Who heareth you heareth Me, he who despiseth you despiseth Me."
Lastly, there are violent persecutions inflicted by a deceived and infuriated populace, or the perfidious and more dangerous persecutions of governments which strive to oppress, to humble, or at least to trammel the Church. Jesus feels them deeply and He exclaims, "Why persecutest thou Me?"
Let us think, and think often, of the divine Head of the Church, and let us remember that no one of the members of His mystic body is attacked without His being Himself grievously hurt. In these days of universal war against holy Church, it is a subject which imposes itself on the love and on the reparatory zeal of faithful souls.
If there be a prayer which cannot but be pleasing to Our Lord, and which He cannot but be ready to answer, it is certainly that which the children of the Church offer to Him for their afflicted mother, humiliated and persecuted. It makes its way straight to His heart; He considers it a sacred duty, promulgated in the precept which commands us to love our parents: and the Church is the true mother of souls.
He who does not habitually pray for the Church fails to fulfil this most sacred of all obligations. Jesus has set us the example of it, and the altars on which He prays and immolates Himself for the needs of the Church are numberless.
Let us, therefore, place prayer for the interests of Holy Church, the Supreme Pontiff, Bishops, Priests, Monks and Nuns in the first place of all our intentions; let us pray united with the divine invisible Priest for the reign, the peace, the extension of the Church, so that all, Jews and pagans, infidels and sinners, may be given back to the Church and may come and adore, and with her celebrate her adorable Spouse and her King in the Sacrament of His merciful presence.
Engage yourself in the apostolate of zeal in prayer and devotedness to the interests of Holy Church.