by Fr. Cajetan Mary da Bergamo, an
extremely popular classic full of wisdom and gems of instruction on how we
attain one of the most important characteristics of holiness -- humility
deep in our spirits. From every direction, Fr. Bergamo marshals up reasons
to practice humility and why it was so important in the lives of saints. No
one enters Heaven without it -- and so we must know how to assess ourselves
and how to build this powerful characteristic in the depth of our souls!
SECRETS OF THE EUCHARIST: WHEN COMMUNION IS 'SACRAMENT OF LOVE,' WE'RE GOING TO PARADISE
[adapted from Michael Brown's Secrets of the Eucharist]
God sees love like we see a searchlight. He can spot love immediately. It's the defining quality of spiritual existence. It causes us to radiate. And it grows when we receive the Eucharist. It grows when we take Jesus into our hearts. It grows because Jesus is love and illumination.
That's why saints are pictured with a halo. It's an artistic rendering of a special glow that comes from a person who loves with the love of Jesus.
Be careful about letting the "world" define the Church. Be careful about investing your emotions in politics. Transcend the current disarray with intense prayer, accented by the Eucharist, especially this Sunday.
When we love we are selfless. When we love we are blessing others. When we love our hearts are open and goodness pours forth. "After I have known it, LOVE works so in me," said St. John of the Cross, "that whether things go well or badly, LOVE turns all to one sweetness."
You know that "sweet" feeling when you are connected to the Lord?
Or as St. Thérèse the Little Flower wrote to her superior:
"How sweet is the way of love, dear Mother. True, one can fall or commit infidelities, but, knowing how to draw profit from everything, love quickly consumes everything that can be displeasing to Jesus..."
St. Thérèse explained that "merit does not consist in doing or giving much. It consists in loving much." Especially, in loving God. When we die, we're judged first and foremost on how much we have loved. Even sinners have found last-minute refuge because despite their serious transgressions, they had loved.
Hatred stirs up strife, says Proverbs (10:12), but love covers all sins.
We may fall, we may make a mistake, but love knows how to draw profit from all. It quickly consumes anything that may be contrary to Christ.
And it comes through the sacraments. It comes with Communion. "The Eucharist is the sacrament of love," explained St. Thomas of Aquinas. "It signifies love. It produces love."
It is a feast of love. It is a vortex through which comes the affection of God.
As bread nourishes the body, so does Communion serve as food for the soul because it plants love. It nurtures love. It maintains it.
We need little else when we have the sacrament of love. We're told by the saints that while on earth no one can properly appreciate the love and power of one Mass. As they say, it would be better for the sun to stop shining than for all Masses to come to a halt. The earth would plunge back into abysmal darkness. Mass is God's greatest gift to us. No one can comprehend its value because its value is infinite. "One merits more by devoutly assisting at a holy Mass than by distributing all of his goods to the poor and traveling all over the world on pilgrimage," said St. Bernard.
We must love Christ through the Eucharist and then extend that love to our fellow humans (or the sacrament loses its greatest effect). The more we receive, the more we should give. It all comes back. Love attracts love. Every time we love someone, something good happens throughout the universe. Every time we love a person, we are poised to cause a chain reaction. When we're nice to somebody, when we show consideration, especially to a stranger, he or she is often nice to someone in turn, and then the third person also does something nice, and soon there is a domino effect.
Every time we send love, we set the stage for a beautiful turn of events -- and we erase past incidents in which we sent dislike and even hatred. Every time we send love, we make up for a time in the past when we failed to send love.
Count the times you're tempted to anger. Count the times someone irritates you, or that negativity enters your thoughts.
The most simple acts of aggravation -- and hostility -- are troublesome to God.
He does not forget a minute of our lives. When we die we're made to feel the emotions we caused in every person we ever had contact with.
But I like to think that every time we love, every time we send out good feelings, we erase a time when we didn't love. Each blessing -- each kind thought we think about someone - erases a past curse. If we bless people all day long, we eventually make up for all the times we've sent curses in the form of negative thoughts. We erase all the hatred or dislike we previously held in our souls, and there is that much less to purge in the afterlife.
Bless everyone around you all day every day and then you are the walking Eucharist.
Then you are a personification of the Host.
Then you are with Jesus.
As Mother Teresa said, works of faith and love are always a means of bringing us closer to God.
If we are close to God we spread joy to everyone around us. Such benevolence, especially in the way of charity, is what Mother Teresa called "the key to Heaven."
We go to Heaven if we live an earthly life as if we are constantly before the Eucharist, which means as if we are constantly in the Presence of God.
Are you taking the Eucharist for the right reasons?
Bless your family each morning. Bless your friends. Bless your neighbors. Bless those who share the road or highway or sidewalk with you. Bless those behind you and those ahead of you.
Bless those at the office, or the convenience mart, or the restaurant and cafeteria. Bless those on the elevator. Bless your boss. Bless your co-workers. Bless those at the bank or the mall or the gas station -- and even the aggravating person taking his or her time at the supermarket checkout. Think of the person who has been causing you anger or anxiety. Think of the person who dislikes you, or who is arrogant, or a fierce competitor. Think of the person who has been envious or negative -- who has been throwing you fiery darts - and feel love for that person.
In prayer, love the person who is most difficult for you to love. Love him or her. Pray for such people. If you can love them, you can love all. You're on your way to loving everyone and that means you are on the way to paradise.
[Resources: Secrets of the Eucharist and Maryland-D.C.-Virginia retreat]
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