Saturday, 21 January 2017

Saint Francis de Sales: Feast Day Jan. 24, Introduction to the Devout Life

January 21-22, 2017
Third Sunday in Ordinary Time


St. Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life
2nd Part, Chapter 21: How we ought to communicate: [receive communion]

"Prepare yourself for Holy Communion the evening before retire a little earlier, that you may rise sooner in the morning. Should you awake in the night, raise your heart to God immediately and make some ardent aspirations by which you soul may be adorned for the reception of her Spouse. Being awake while you were asleep, He prepares a thousand graces and favours for you, if on your part you are disposed to receive them. In the morning rise up with great joy for the happiness you hope for...  ...full of faith, hope and charity, receive Him, in whom, by whom, and for whom you believe, hope and love. O Philothea, represent to yourself that as the bee, after gathering from the flowers the dew of heaven and the choicest juice of the earth, reduces them into honey and carries it into her hive, so the priest, having taken from the altar the Saviour of the world, the true Son of God, who, as the dew, is descended from heaven, and the true Son of Virgin, who, as a flower is sprung from the earth of our humanity, puts Him as delicious food into your mouth and into your body. After you have received Him, excite your heart to do homage to the King of your salvation. Converse with Him concerning your internal affairs. Consider that He has taken up his abode within you possibly can and conduct yourself in such as manner as to make it appear by all your actions that God is with you....

Your great intention in communicating should be to advance, to strengthen, and to console yourself in the love of God. you must receive through love hat which loves alone caused to be given to you. No, you cannot consider our Saviour in an action more full of love or more tender than this. In it, He abases Himself, if we may so express it, and changes Himself most intimately to the heart

If worldly people ask you why you communicate so often, tell them it is to learn to love God, to purify yourself from your imperfections, to be delivered from your miseries, to be comforted in your afflictions, and to be supported in your weaknesses. Tell them that two classes ought to communicate frequently: the perfect, because, being well disposed, they would be greatly to blame not to approach the source and fountain of perfection, and the imperfect, to the end that they may be able justly to aspire to perfection; the strong, lest they should become weak, and the weak, that they may become strong; the sick, that they may be restored to health, and the healthy, lest they should fall into sickness; that for your part, being imperfect, weak and sick, you have need to communicate frequently with Him who is your perfection, your strength, and your physician. Tell them that those who have not many worldly affairs to look after ought to communicate often because they have leisure; that those who have not many worldly affairs to look after ought to communicate often, for he who labours much and is burdened with troubles ought to eat solid food, and that frequently. Tell them that you receive the Holy Sacrament in order to learn to receive it well; for one hardly performs an action will which he does not often practice.

Communicate frequently, Philothea, and as frequently as you can with the advice of your spiritual father. And, believe me, as hares in our mountains become white in winter, because they neither see nor eat anything but snow, so, by adoring and eating beauty, purity, and goodness itself, in this Divine Sacrament, you will become altogether fair, altogether good, and altogether pure."