A Pledge of Eternal Life
Why will you offer the holy sacrifice of the Mass, my dear friends? “That they may have life, and may have it more abundantly” (Jn. 10:10). This is also what Our Lord wanted: “That they may have life, and may have it more abundantly,” because the sacrifice of the Mass has no other purpose than to give life. And what life? Not the life of this world, not the life of our bodies, but supernatural life, the divine life we had lost. Our Lord wanted to give us His own life, His divine life, to make us enter into the Blessed Trinity, every one of us, however little, however weak we may be. Our Lord wanted us to share in His divine life, and that is why He died on the Cross. Thus you will offer the holy sacrifice of the Mass to give life, and the fruit of the sacrifice of the Mass is the Eucharist, in which are present the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. How sublime all that is!1
The Eucharist is the mystery of our hope. It was Our Lord Himself who said: “He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day” (Jn. 6:55). He will be our resurrection. The body of Our Lord Jesus Christ present in our poor bodies is a gage of our resurrection. We already possess within ourselves everlasting life; this eternal life will not leave us. Even at the hour of our death, this germ of the resurrection of our bodies for eternity will be in our souls because we have received Holy Communion, because we have been united to Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. It is Our Lord Himself who said it, and this Gospel was expressly chosen by the Church for the Mass of the dead.
The Eucharist is like a seed within us, a seed of our bodily resurrection, because in our Communion we partake of Our Lord Jesus Christ risen. He is in us with His risen body, His glorious body. Thus He is for us like a seed of resurrection. All these thoughts are so beautiful and consoling that we will never thank the good God enough for our being able to receive Holy Communion every day.2
Bond of Perfection
Communion is also the efficacious sign of the charity that should animate the Mystical Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for we are all members of this Mystical Body....It would be unacceptable that souls who partook of the same Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ should be divided. Charity should reign in the members of Our Lord Jesus Christ more than anywhere else. How can those who have partaken of the same Body and Blood, and of the same victim, Our Lord Jesus Christ, be divided; how can they not love one another? Certainly, the Sacrament of the Eucharist is the paramount cause of unity.3
I would like to emphasize the efficacy of the charity produced by the sacrament of the Eucharist. We too need this charity, we who believe, who have the Faith, who want to stay Catholic and Roman until the last moment of our lives. So we must remain in charity. This Sacrament is the sign and symbol of the love that emanates from Our Lord’s charity. Yet how painful it is sometimes to think that people who nourish themselves daily with the Eucharist never manage to be completely dominated by the virtue of charity! They need to criticize, to form factions, to make rash judgments, to display antipathy towards persons to whom they should show sympathy.
Well, then, let us who want to keep Tradition, this holy faith in the Blessed Eucharist, make the resolution today to also keep the fruit of the Holy Eucharist. It does not suffice to believe in it; it does not suffice to say that we are attached to the tradition of faith and hope in the Eucharist without having within us all its fruits. The fruits of charity are so good, they show so clearly the presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ in our souls!4
The Eucharist has a medicinal effect. Catholic doctrine is a doctrine that enlightens souls and compels them to banish sin. It leads them to tell themselves: “I must get rid of my shortcomings and defects and my sins so that my soul will be ready to receive graces from Our Lord and be transformed in Him.” This is what the Church has always taught. For this reason she asks missionaries to preach the gospel to the whole world and to carry the grace of Our Lord to souls, and to transform souls in Our Lord. Whence the importance of the holy sacrifice of the Mass, which is the continuation of the sacrifice of the Cross and the application to souls of Our Lord Jesus Christ’s Blood, which renews them, which transforms them by the manducation of the Eucharist. “May the partaking of Thy body be to me a remedy.” This we pray to Our Lord in the prayer before receiving Holy Communion: Give me your remedy. It is the propitiatory act of Our Lord renewed every day. We must be convinced of our need of a remedy.5
The Eucharist lessens lust. The Eucharist has for effect to keep us pure and unsullied from all sin. It is a heavenly antidote that prevents us from being poisoned and corrupted by the deadly venom of evil passions, especially lust. It is the bread of virgins. That is why it is necessary to highly recommend Communion to people today, and also to couples, who have so many difficulties staying faithful to God’s law in the conjugal domain....The Eucharist is the remedy. People used to receive Holy Communion frequently in olden days. Christians nourished themselves with the Eucharist because it is a specific remedy for reducing our concupiscence. In the Eucharist, we receive the Author of every grace in us, the One who is precisely the opposite of sin, who is the contrary of concupiscence: Our Lord Jesus Christ.6 Insofar as one receives Our Lord Jesus Christ with the necessary dispositions, the fire of concupiscence abates and souls rest in peace; they are not always tormented by these problems. “The Eucharist restrains and represses the lusts of the flesh, for while it inflames the soul more ardently with the fire of charity, it of necessity extinguishes the ardor of concupiscence.”7, 8
The Eucharist is heaven. What is the grace you receive in the Sacrament of the Eucharist? It is no more or less than the communication of Our Lord Jesus Christ’s divine life to you. Our Lord Jesus Christ came down upon the earth; He took a body like ours in order to communicate to us His Divine life. If today we could see souls as they are, the souls of those in a state of mortal sin would appear to us as leprous, or ulcerous, or afflicted by a dreadful malady. If today the good God revealed what souls in a state of grace look like, we would be amazed; we would think it is impossible for a soul in the state of grace to be so beautiful, so divine, so luminous, so full of charity! Grace is the good God in our souls; it is Jesus in our souls. And Jesus is nothing else than heaven.9
God is heaven; Jesus Christ is God; consequently, when we receive God in our hearts, we can truthfully say, “I have heaven in my soul; I have Paradise in my soul.” It would behoove us to be united to this Paradise in such a way that we would be prepared for the lasting Paradise, which will consist in being in the glory of Our Lord Jesus Christ for eternity. Only the true religion can possess such treasures. Only God could have invented such grand and beautiful expressions of His love and His charity for us.10
The Eucharist is our consolation. Imagine a Christian life without the Eucharist! What would we be without Our Lord Jesus Christ, without this extraordinary gift God gave us? What orphans we would be; how alone we would feel, a little abandoned by the good God. But with the Eucharist, when we need to speak to Him, to see Him, to tell Him that we love Him, or when we need special help we can go to our sanctuaries and kneel before Our Lord Jesus Christ, alone perhaps before the Blessed Sacrament. Surely it has happened to you to say to the good God before the Blessed Sacrament: “Come to my help; help me, I have worries and trials. Help my family; help my children.”
And when you departed, you left the church comforted. And that is what you have felt, I am sure, after every Sunday Mass. How many times it has happened to us as priests to assist the dying. How many times we have had to bring Communion to the sick. What a joy it was for these suffering souls to receive God from the hand of the priest. What a consolation! What a source of courage it was for them. By this Sacrament, Our Lord Jesus Christ worked an extraordinary miracle of His love. Consequently, we too must show Him our love.11
Source of Civilization
Communion is the source of civilization. Understand, my dear faithful, that in Holy Communion we unite ourselves to God, to Our Lord Jesus Christ: that is the source of Christian civilization. In Holy Communion, Jesus manifests Himself as our Savior and also as our King: the King of our intellects by giving us the truth; the King of our hearts and wills by giving us His commandments to help us act in accordance with His holy will. Then, going back home, the Christians who nourished themselves with the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ understand better what their duty is, how they must conduct themselves in daily life at home and in society. Conversely, to the extent that priests no longer celebrate the holy sacrifice of the Mass, our Christian civilization is reduced to nothing.12
1 Homily, ordinations, Ecône, June 29, 1975.
2 Easter retreat, Ecône, April 6, 1980.
3 Homily, Mantes-la-Jolie, July 2, 1977.
4 Homily, Ecône, June 17, 1976.
5 Priests’ recollection, Paris, December 13, 1984.
6 Priests’ retreat, Ecône, September 1980.
7 Catechism of the Council of Trent, p. 244. St. Thomas teaches us that the Eucharist remits our venial sins, a part of the punishment due to sin, and preserves us from future sins (Summa Theologica, III, Q. 79, Art. 4-6).
8 Easter retreat, April 1, 1980.
9 Homily, Doué-la-Fontaine, May 19, 1977.
10 Homily, Unieux, July 1, 1979.
11 Homily, Ecône, June 17, 1976.
12 Homily, First Mass, Besançon, September 5, 1976.