On the Need for Careful Preparation to Receive Christ in Holy Communion
CHRIST. I am the lover of purity and giver of all holiness. I seek a pure heart and there will I dwell.(Acts 7:49: Isa.96:1) Prepare and make ready for Me a large upper room and there will I and My disciples eat the Passover (Mark 14:15; Luke 22:12) with you. If you wish Me to come and dwell with you, purify the old leaven, ( I Cor. 5:7) and cleanse the dwelling of your heart. Exclude the whole world and its sinful clamour; sit there alone, like a sparrow on the roof-top, (Ps 102:7) and consider your sinfulness in bitterness of soul (Isa.38:15) For every loving person prepares the best and fairest room for his dear friend and in doing so, shows his affection.
However, know that even your best efforts cannot make a worthy preparation for Me, although you were to prepare for a whole year and do nothing else beside. It is of My mercy and grace alone that you are allowed to approach My table ; as though a beggar were invited to a rich man's supper and could offer no return for his kindness save humble gratitude. (Luke 14:12) Do whatever lies in your power and do it earnestly, not out of habit or necessity, but with awe and reverent love receive the Body of your Lord and God, who deigns to come to you. It is My invitation and My bidding : I will supply whatever is lacking in you. Come, therefore and receive Me.
When I grant you the grace of devotion, give thanks to God, not because you deserve to enjoy it, but because I have had mercy on you. And if you feel no devotion, but suffer dryness of soul, persevere in prayer, sigh and knock; (Matt.7:7; Luke 11:9) persist until you merit to receive some crumb or drop of saving grace. You have need of Me ; I have no need of you. (2 Macc.14:35) You do not come to sanctify Me, but I come to sanctify and raise you. You come in order to be hallowed and united to Me ; that you may receive fresh grace, and be inspired anew to amendment of life. Do not neglect this grace (I Tim.4:14) but prepare yourself with all care, and invite your Beloved into your heart.
Not only must you make a devout preparation before Holy Communion, but also carefully foster your devotion after receiving the Sacrament. No less vigilance is required after Communion than devout preparation beforehand. For a constant vigilance after Communion is the best preparation for receiving richer graces and a man will be entirely indisposed to do this if he straightway turns to outward pleasures. Beware of much talk ( Prov.10:19) remain in some quiet place and savour the presence of God for you possess Him whom the whole world cannot take away from you. I am He to whom you should offer your whole self, that, set free from care, you may no longer live in yourself, but in Me. (John 15:4; Gal 2:20)
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