Challoner’s Reflection on The Imitation of Christ1
BOOK FOUR: AN INVITATION TO HOLY COMMUNION
CHAPTER XII.: The Communicant Should Prepare Himself for Christ with Great Care
The preparation for the New Pasch comprises two things: in order to purify the guest-chamber and to adorn it, that is to say, in order to receive worthily the body and the blood of Christ, the soul should above all be free from blemishes; it should have been washed in the waters of penitence, and afterwards exercised in the practice of virtues which make it pleasing to God. What pleases God and draws down his graces, is profound humility, and sovereign contempt of one’s self; a lively faith, a perfect abandonment of one’s own will, detachment from the earth, the desire for heavenly things, and divine charily. Christian soul! thou who aspirest to the nuptial banquet! imitate then the prudent virgins: take oil and light your lamp, in order to go meet the bridegroom; for those whose lamps are extinguished, shall hear those terrible words: verily 1 know you not.
O Jesus, the bread of angels, the divine and requisite nourishment of my soul! what should I be without Thee? How truly might I exclaim with the Psalmist, I am smitten like grass, and my heart is withered, because I forgot to eat my bread! Thou hast said in the gospel, that if Thou shouldst suffer the people who had followed Thee into the desert to return fasting to their homes, they would faint in the way. This evil would surely befall me, my Saviour, were I not to be nourished with thy body and blood. Weak as I am of myself, and becoming still weaker from the neglect of that divine food which is my strength and my spiritual life, I shall soon grow feeble and unequal to contend with my passions. Come then, my Saviour, come to me often, that I may never be separated from Thee. Amen.
- Right Rev. R. Challoner, D.D., V.A., Imitation of Christ, Dublin: McGlashan and Gill, 1873 ↩