Challoner’s Reflection on The Imitation of Christ1
BOOK FOUR: AN INVITATION TO HOLY COMMUNION
CHAPTER XVIII.: Man Should Not Scrutinize This Sacrament in Curiosity, But Humbly Imitate Christ and Submit Reason to Holy Faith
The impious man desires knowledge, and in it is his destruction. He demands salvation from knowledge, he demands it from pride, he demands it from himself- and from the depths of his darkened intelligence, from his powerless and degraded nature, comes an answer of death. Christians, never forget that the just man lives by faith. Live then by faith–by living on the adorable Eucharist, which is the strongest and the sweetest proof of it. He who is the way, the truth, and the life, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has spoken; He has said: This is my body–this is my blood. Do you then believe Him? Yes, Lord! I believe and confess that what were bread and wine, are truly thy body and blood. My mind submits itself and imposes silence on my rebellious senses. Through love for the world God delivered up his Son, and in order to render the gift complete, that Divine Son gives Himself daily to man at the holy altar. The infinite love of God explains all and renders everything clear. The ways of God being impenetrable, how can we understand everything. Our happiness consists in believing without comprehending. Let proud reason, ever ready with arguments, be therefore silent; let it cease opposing its weakness to thy omnipotence. To its doubts and questions, we will give but one answer: God so loved the world! (John, 3:16.) That answer suffices, and no other is sufficient without it: you are astonished that God conceals Himself under the mean appearance of earthly bread: that the Saviour of men makes Himself your food. You hesitate, your faith wavers; it is because you do not love. But do ye, faithful souls, go to the altar with joy and confidence; go to Jesus; go to the mysterious banquet of his love. Pay no attention to the so-called philosophers and wise men of the world. If they try to keep you from following Jesus, turn away from them, and say to Him as St. Peter did: If we do not go to Thee, O Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life (John, 6:69).
- Right Rev. R. Challoner, D.D., V.A., Imitation of Christ, Dublin: McGlashan and Gill, 1873 ↩