Challoner’s Reflection on The Imitation of Christ1
BOOK FOUR: AN INVITATION TO HOLY COMMUNION
CHAPTER III.: It Is Profitable to Receive Communion Often
As much as we should take care to prove ourselves before eating of the bread and drinking of the chalice of the Lord (1 Corinthians xi. 28), in the same degree should we be careful not to keep away from the Holy Table through false respect and excessive fear. We will be always, no matter what we do, infinitely unworthy of so high a favour; nothing is pure, nothing is holy before Him who is Holiness itself. But when the Saviour says to us . Come ye to me! He knows our misery, and it is in order to heal it that he invites us to go to Him. Let us go then, not like the hypocritical Pharisee, giving God thanks that we are not as the rest of men (Luke, 18:n): God repels with horror this pride of conscience which disguises from itself its secret scars; let us go, but like the humble publican, with our eyes cast down on this earth, striking our breast and saying: 0 God be merciful to me a sinner! (Luke 18:13.) It is necessary, without doubt, to prepare ourselves by penitence, recollection, and PRAYER. for the communion of the body and of the blood of Jesus Christ; but, having sincerely prepared ourselves with our entire soul, it is insulting the Redeemer to refuse his gifts; it is voluntarily depriving ourselves of the most precious, abundant, and holy graces; it is renouncing life: for, except you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you (1 John, 6:54).
Come, my Saviour, and apply a remedy to the wounds of my soul; heal the pride of my heart with thy humility, and consume all self-love with the fire of thy divine charity. Come and invest me with thy strength, that I may conquer my passions; animate me with thy spirit, that I may seek only to please Thee and live that supernatural and divine life which is characteristic of the life which Thou didst live and which Thou bringest to me in the holy sacrament of the Eucharist. Amen.
- Right Rev. R. Challoner, D.D., V.A., Imitation of Christ, Dublin: McGlashan and Gill, 1873 ↩