On the Great Goodness and Love Shewn by God to Man in this Sacrament

07-07-2024Weekly ReflectionThe Imitation of Christ, Book IV, pg. 226—Thomas à Kempis

Trusting in your goodness, Lord, in your great mercy, I come in my sickness to him who can make me well; hungered and athirst, I come to the fountain of life, a beggar to the King of Heaven, a servant to his Lord, a creature to his Creator, one lonely and sad to him who loves and consoles me. But what have I done to deserve that you should come to me? Who am I, that you should make me a gift of yourself? Dare I, a sinner, appear before you? And do you forget your greatness and come to a sinner? You know this servant of yours; you know nothing good of him, to make him deserve this gift at your hands.

I do not hide my wretchedness; I acknowledge your goodness, I praise your kindness, I thank you for your overwhelming love. It is for your own sake that you do this, not for any merit of mine. It is to make your goodness better known to me, to bestow you love more fully upon me, to give me a more wondrous example of humility. Since, then, it pleases you so to deal with me, since you have commanded that things should be so, it pleases me in my turn that you should stoop to my lowliness; and I hope that my sinfulness may not stand as a barrier between us. 2. O Jesus, sweetest, kindest, what great worship and thanksgiving we ought to shew you, what neverending praise, in return for the gift of your holy body! There is not a man to be found able to unfold in words its wonderful power. But what shall my thoughts be of as I make this Communion of mine, as I draw near to my Lord? To worship him as I ought is beyond my power, and yet I long to receive him devoutly. What better thought can I have, what thought more profitable for my soul’s health, than this: to abase myself entirely before you and to praise your boundless goodness towards me? I praise you, O my God, I give you glory forever. Myself I look on with scorn and place at your feet, in the depths of my nothingness...4.See where love has its source, see how brightly shines this divine abasement! How deep should our thanks be, how sincere our praise, for this your gift. It was indeed a device to heal and profit our souls, when you brought this Sacrament into being; a sweet and joyous banquet indeed, in which you gave yourself to be our food. What wonderful things you do, Lord! How mighty your power is, how unfailing your truth! You gave the word, and everything came into being; so was it with this Sacrament, because it was you who so gave command. 5. How wonderful a thing it is, worthy of man’s belief, yet exceeding the grasp of his mind, that you, my Lord and my God, truly God and truly man, are wholly contained beneath the lowly shape of bread and wine; that you are eaten by him who receives you, and yet not consumed. You, the Lord of all things, who stand in need of nothing, have wished to live in our midst by means of this Sacrament. Keep my heart and my body free from stain, so that with a glad and untroubled conscience I may take part more frequently in this mystery of yours; and may I receive to my eternal salvation this Sacrament that you have blessed and devised to be for your own particular honour your everlasting keepsake. 6. Be glad, my soul; thank God for leaving behind for you in this vale of tears so precious a gift as this is, so matchless a comfort. For every time you consider this mystery and receive the body of Christ you are furthering the work of your redemption and partaking in all the merits of Christ.