By Rev. Henry Brinkmeyer
HE ABIDETH WITH US.
How can all this be explained, save by love? There are no obstacles that love cannot surmount, no chains that it cannot sever, no sacrifices that it cannot embrace, in truth, nothing is impossible to love. It requires a miracle for Jesus to be present in all the consecrated Hosts, and in every part of each Host: love works that miracle. It requires a miracle for a body to be without weight, color and extension: love works that miracle. It requires a miracle for flesh and blood to nourish a soul: love works that miracle. It requires a miracle to have the outward appearances of bread without the substance of bread, to have the species of wine without the substance of wine: love works that miracle. It requires a miracle for a human body to be placed at once in different positions, to be borne to the right and to the left, to be laid in linen folds and to be held up before the gaze of the worshippers, to remain in the chalice and to enter the breast of the communicant, but love works that miracle as well. "Love is stronger than death," and the wounded Heart of Jesus is a victim of love. No wonder that He says by the mouth of His prophet: Deliciae meae esse cum filiis hominum. "My delight is to be with the sons of men." And even though they abandon and despise Him, wandering far into paths of sin, yet does He remain ever in the tabernacle watching for the return of His prodigal sons. This is the reason of the Real Presence in our midst.
The saints understood this, all without exception had an intense attraction for the Blessed Sacrament, finding their delight to be in Its presence. Saint Liguori recounts many touching instances of devotion to the Holy Eucharist. At one time for some reason, Saint Aloysius was forbidden to remain long in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. But whenever he passed before It, he felt himself so drawn by the sweet attractions of our Lord, that only with the greatest efforts could he tear himself away; and when constrained to depart he would cry: "O Lord I let me go. O Lord! let me go!" There it was also that Saint Francis Xavier found refreshment in the midst of his arduous labors in India. During the day he was engaged in traveling, preaching, instructing, visiting the sick and administering the sacraments; at times, indeed, he was so exhausted that it was necessary to support his weary arm while he baptized the Indian neophyte, yet, at night, he was wont to pass hour after hour before the Blessed Sacrament. Saint Francis Regis had the same tender love for Jesus on the altar; ofttimes on finding the church closed, he remained at the door on his knees, exposed to the elements, and there he worshipped our God hidden in the Host. How tender, above all, was the devotion of Saint Wenceslaus to the Blessed Sacrament! It was his custom to gather the wheat and the grapes to make, with his own hands, the wafers and wine to be used in the Holy Sacrifice. Even on winter nights he frequently sought a church to visit the divine Guest of the tabernacle. These visits, says Saint Liguori, enkindled in his fervent soul such flames of holy love, that this ardor imparted itself to his very body, taking from the snow upon
which he walked, its wonted cold; for, it is related that the servant who accompanied him on those nightly excursions suffered much from the rigors of the season. On one occasion the holy king, perceiving this, was so moved to compassion, that he ordered the attendant to follow in the footsteps; the servant obeyed and marvellous was the result, for at once a genial warmth was diffused through all his frame.
Oh, how dear every chapel should be to the Christian heart. It is our Lord's dwelling-place; there He remains day after day, to console, enlighten, protect and defend us, to nourish and strengthen our famished souls. Each sacramental shrine is the home and the heaven of myriads of angels who ever surround, like a faithful guard, our patient Eucharistic King. Why may not the children of men find likewise there a paradise of pure delights? Si scires donum Dei. "If thou didst know the gift of God." O Faith! O Love! draw near, and weep with angels in the shadow of Christ's altar throne. "Could you not watch one hour with Me?" That voice trembling down the ages, gives its echo to the silence which lingers around the sanctuary. The generations of earth pass heedlessly by, unconscious of the Prisoner waiting there bound by chains of love divine. Illumined by His grace, we have seen behind the veil which shrouds Him from the worldlings gaze. We have heard the pleadings of His Sacred Heart. We know His longings to repair the glory of His Father, we know His yearnings to reclaim the souls that stray in paths of sin. "Behold this Heart which hath so loved men, that It has exhausted and consumed Itself to testify to them Its love." With these words sounding in our hearts, let us offer ourselves to our injured God as victims of reparation and of love. With generosity of spirit let us promise Him to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor with the holy joy of knowing that we do His ever blessed will, and that one day He will be our exceeding great reward.