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To the Reader.
MY DEAR FRIEND,—In the Blessed Sacrament, our good Lord JESUS CHRIST provides Spiritual Nourishment for us His people. And our need of this Spiritual Nourishment is very evident; because we have souls as well as bodies.
If our bodies need food : so also do our souls. If bodily food is required for the body: the Spiritual Food is also required for the soul.
Without the food of this world, our bodies would be starved : so in like manner, without “the Bread of Life, Which cometh down from heaven,” our souls must suffer spiritual famine.
But JESUS, in His great love, has provided against this. He has “prepared a Table for us” in the wilderness of this world. He (the Eternal Wisdom) says to us : “ Come, eat of My Bread, and drink of the Wine which I have mingled (Prov. ix. 5). “For My Flesh is meat indeed, and My Blood is drink indeed” (St. John vi. 55). “Eat, then, Ó My Friends ; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O My beloved” (Cant. v. 1).
But you may well ask : How can I eat Christ's Flesh and drink His Blood ? Is such a thing possible ?
Yes, this is possible; and He Himself has provided a way. For in the night that He was betrayed He took Bread, and when He had given thanks, He said : “Take, eat; This is My Body. And He took the cup, and said : Drink ye all of This : for this is My Blood of the New Testament” (St. Matt. xxvi. 26-28).
But perhaps you will say again : Is this really true ? Can I vérily and indeed eat Christ's Body and drink Christ's Blood under the forms of Bread and Wine ? How can these things be ?
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Yes, my friend, all this is true, and it may be done. But still the mystery is great, and we cannot understand it. A little child may worthily receive the Blessed Sacrament, and yet the wisest and most learned theologian in the world cannot explain the mystery of this eating and drinking. Let us, then, with childlike faith, rest upon those words of our Blessed SAVIOUR, “ With God all things are possible” (St. Matt. xix. 26).
How encouraging are the invitations of the Lord JESUS to come to His Holy Table! And yet His Apostle Paul, filled with a holy reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, warns us again and again of the danger of partaking unworthily, lest we should thereby become “guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord.” “But let a man examine himself,” he says, “and so let him eat of that Bread, and drink of that Cup.”
The following pages are intended as a help in this examination.
May the HOLY SPIRIT direct your heart, my dear friend, and enable you to taste and see that the Lord JESUS is gracious indeed, unto all that call upon His Holy Name, and come to Him with humility in His Blessed Sacrament!
The following simple questions are addressed to those who desire to receive the Holy Communion of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. It is earnestly hoped that all who carefully consider these inquiries, will be able to reply to each with a hearty YES : 1. Do you believe that there is ONE GOD, Who is over
all, blessed for ever? 2. Do you believe that there are Three Persons in the
Godhead : the FATHER, and the SON, and the
HOLY GHOST? 3. Do you believe that the FATHER is GOD, the
MAKER of heaven and earth? 4. Do you believe that the SON is GOD, our SAVIOUR
JESUS CHRIST, and that for our sakes He became
Man? 5. Do you believe that He was conceived by the HOLY
GHOST, and that He was born of the Virgin Mary? 6. Do you believe that JESUS CHRIST, Who is true
GOD and true Man, died on the Cross to save poor
sinners from going to hell ? 7. Do you believe that He truly rose again from His
tomb on the third day, and showed Himself alive to
His disciples? 8. Do you believe that He afterwards ascended up into
heaven with the same Body in which He lived and
suffered on the earth? 9. Do you believe that He will, in like manner, come
back again at the last day?
10. Do you believe that the HOLY GHOST is GOD,
our Comforter and Guide ? 11. Do you believe that we cannot think, or say, or do,
anything that is good without His help? 12. Have you been baptized according to CHRIST'S holy
institution ? (St. Matt. xxviii. 19.) 13. If not already baptized, or if there is any doubt
about your baptism, will you seek to be baptized
without delay ? 14. Have you been confirmed, by the laying on of the
Bishop's hands, with prayer for the HOLY SPIRIT? 15. If not already confirmed, are you “ready and de
sirous to be confirmed ” whenever you have the
opportunity ? 16. Have you called to mind your past sins, whether
against GOD, or against yourself, or against your
fellow-creatures ? 17. Do you plead guilty before GOD, and confess that
you have no hope of forgiveness except through
His undeserved mercy ? 18. Do you beg for that mercy only in the Name of
JESUS CHRIST, Who offered Himself as a Sacri
fice for your sins upon the Cross ? 19. Is it your humble and hearty desire to give up all
that you know to be wrong, and to live (through the help of the HOLY GHOST) as an obedient
Disciple of JESUS CHRIST ? 20. Do you forgive all who have ever done you wrong? 21. Do you desire the forgiveness of all against whom
you may have offended in any way? 22. Do you put all your dependence upon JESUS
CHRIST as your only SAVIOUR? 23. Do you believe that His Flesh is Meat indeed, and
that His Blood is Drink indeed ?
24. Do you humbly desire to eat His Flesh, and to drink
His Blood, under the forms of Bread and Wine, in
His Holy Sacrament? 25. Do you desire to belong to Him for ever, in time and eternity?
JESUS SAID— “GOD so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten SON, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (St. John iii. 16).
“Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out" (St. John vi. 37).
“My Flesh is meat indeed, and My Blood is drink indeed” (St. John vi. 55).
“Except ye eat the Flesh of the SON OF MAN, and drink His Blood, ye have no life in you” (St. John vi. 53).
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FURTHER CONSIDERATION S.
WHAT IS THE HOLY COMMUNION ?
The Holy Communion is the Blessed Sacrament of the Body and Blood of JESUS CHRIST : for in the Holy Communion JESUS CHRIST gives us His Flesh and His Blood under the forms of Bread and Wine.
Yes, truly. He gives us His Flesh to be our Spiritual Meat, and His Blood to be our Spiritual Drink. For He has said in His Holy Gospel (St. John vi. 55), “My Flesh is meat indeed, and My Blood is drink indeed.”
Blessed is the man who worthily partakes of the Flesh and Blood of JESUS. For He Himself tells us again (St. John vi. 56), “He that eateth My Flesh and drinketh My Blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him ;” and in another verse (ver. 54), “Whoso eateth My Flesh, and drinketh My Blood, hath eternal life ; and I will raise him up at the last day.”