COMMUNIONIn Communion Jesus unites himself with us in order to transform us into himself. This supernatural union is at once physical and moral. Physical because after Communion "there exists between Jesus and ourselves a union similar to that existing between food and the person who eats it - with this difference, however, that it is Jesus that transforms us into Himself and not we that transform Him into our substance. The superior being is the one who assimilates the inferior."1
On this physical union depends another, a moral union, one that is most intimate and transforming. Jesus unites himself with us to transform us and to make us with him "cor unum et anima una."2
Since Communion has thus the goal to unite us to Jesus Christ and through him to God, the apostle will seek beforehand to intensify its effects and to follow it up with a thanksgiving that will foster this union. The preparation will have the form of an anticipated union with Our Lord; the thanksgiving will be putting this union into practice. A complete union of the mind, the will and the heart.
Union of the mind
Human intelligence should adhere in such a way to God's intelligence as to be enlightened with the radiance of faith and be able to see all and judge all in God's light.
This is extremely difficult, indeed impossible - the outcome of original sin - without a special grace. The sin of our progenitors resulted in human nature being impaired. History shows that before the coming of Jesus Christ, humans drifted from one error to the next and that in every age and human society the difficulty to perceive the truth, to reason theologically and to think in a Christian way was and is proved to be true.
Jesus Christ, who is truth,
redeemed us from the corrupt spirit of untruth and deceit and preached God's truths to us. Of these latter the Church became in turn the depository and dispenser.
By virtue of the Redemption all people are called to know this truth and to adhere to it. By virtue of the faith and the infusion of grace that they received in holy Baptism, Christians have a particular inclination to believe. In order to profess this faith and to persevere in it requires, however, further grace. This is what we look for in prayer, in the Sacraments and in Communion. Thus grace, habitual and actual, restores our intelligence little by little, healing it of its afflictions (lack of reflection, ignorance, forgetfulness, inflexibility, prejudice, error, deviation...) and raises it to the supernatural, to unite it with that of Jesus Christ.
If we bring together God's work in the Sacrament and the minimum required in our preparation and thanksgiving, then such benefits will be unfailingly granted.
In practice - Preparation and thanksgiving are each divided into three parts. Each involves the application of the mind, the heart and the will. The first, the exercise of the mind, is carried out in the following way:
Preparation: Compare your own ideas, convictions and judgments with
those of Jesus Christ. Ask pardon for the misuse you made of your intelligence, your lack of faith; promise to make amends, asking this grace of the Divine Master.
Thanksgiving: Profound act of adoration to Jesus Truth. With Jesus Christ and through Jesus Christ, render to God the homage of your intelligence. Pray to the Divine Master to establish your mind in him who is our Head so that it may grasp, adhere, retain and profess God's truths. Ask for your judgments, inclinations, counsels, decisions and memory to be sanctified and supernaturalized. Pray that all may come to know the Truth and submit their intelligence to God.
Union of the will
The union of the human will with the will of God means complete uniformity with the divine will. Herein lies perfection, because uniformity means love, and perfection lies precisely in the love of God. The more intense and perfect such a union becomes and the livelier our love of God, the higher will be our perfection.
What God's will is as regards human beings is made manifest [a] through the Commandments and the Precepts of the Church, [b] through happenings, and [c] in Jesus Christ. In the commandments and in happenings
it is conceptual. In Jesus Christ it is concrete, lived out, alive and life-giving. Jesus, in fact, is the living holiness, the living will of his Father. Holiness, because he lived out the Commandments and the evangelical Counsels; he achieved the highest perfection in every virtue. Will, because his examples are for us a law and because his words, by way of counsel and precept, have confirmed, implemented and explained the Commandments. Thus, adhering to Jesus Christ, to his will and to his example, we adhere, in him, to the will of the Father and we shall reach perfection.
The Father's will becomes easy because Jesus sustains us - like the vine sustains the shoot - and we share in his moral strength and supernatural power. With him we walk quickly in the way of perfection and, when difficulties slow us down, it is he who supports, indeed he who carries us.
The principal means to help us adhere to the will of Jesus Christ is prayer. And, among prayers, Communion is without doubt the most excellent - it is the Sacrament that gives us the very Author of grace. In communion, we, as wild olives, are grafted into Jesus Christ, the good olive.
Our will derives three advantages from Communion: it is healed, enhanced and strengthened. The "salutis humanæ Sator"3 heals the will
of such infirmities as loss of will-power, inconstancy, sloth, obstinacy and bad habits; he enhances the will and strengthens it by communicating divine grace: "qui manet in me et ego in eo, multum fructum affert."4
In practice - Preparation: Compare your own intentions with those of Jesus. Preventive examen on the day that lies ahead; close with an act of contrition and the resolution on the main point of your spiritual work. Act of sincere humility that flows from a consideration of God's holiness and one's own unworthiness. Ask the Divine Master for the grace [you need] for your spiritual work.
Thanksgiving: Act of silent adoration, self-abasement and complete self-giving to Jesus Christ Holiness and, in him and through him, to the Blessed Trinity. Petition Jesus Way to become your guide and strength in the fulfillment of your duties, in accordance with God's will. Pray that God's will be carried out by everyone: "fiat voluntas tua sicut in cœlo et in terra."5
Union of the heart
The union of our heart with the heart of God consists in experiencing and in living a divine life with Jesus Christ in all its facets: faith, hope and charity, in the spiritual goods and fruits that derive therefrom, in the exercise of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, in the practice of the Beatitudes, in the active possession of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. But since the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ communicates this divine life to us, we need to be incorporated in Jesus Christ so that with him and in him we become the Father's, in the Holy Spirit.
Incorporation in Jesus Christ begins with Baptism and, while the state of grace causes it to be sustained, it grows and is made perfect through the Sacraments - the first of which is the Eucharist. In Communion, in fact, Jesus becomes our nourishment so that his divine Heart may assimilate ours in such a way as to make it one heart with his. Then the Heart of Jesus will heal ours of its infirmities (indifference, diffidence, bad inclinations, morbid passions, vain feelings, human aspirations...), he will make it beat in unison with his for the glory of God and the peace of humankind. We will come to understand the abyss of our nothingness and the heights to which we are raised in Christ Jesus.
In practice - Preparation: Compare the feelings of your heart with those of Jesus Christ. Ask pardon for your selfishness, for your simply natural affections and attachments. Resolve to love God and, in him, to love others more ardently, more generously and more passionately. You ask such a grace of the Divine Master and you go to drink life, to eat Jesus! You set off again, bearing Jesus wherever you go, allowing him alone to live and work while in him and in his work you remain hidden and secluded, for "Vivo autem, iam non ego: vivit vero in me Christus."6
Thanksgiving: Glorify Jesus Christ our Resurrection and our Life. Through Jesus Christ offer to God the homage of your heart. Lay open your soul in sweet colloquies with the Divine Guest. Ask for a greater infusion of divine life. Pray for particular graces, for yourself, for those towards whom you have greater obligations, for the Church militant and the Church purgative, for the whole world.
1 A. TANQUEREY, The Spiritual Life, [n. 278].
2 * Cf. Acts 4:32: "One heart and one soul."
3 * "Author of human salvation"; "the Savior of all": 1 Tim 4:10; cf. Jn 4:42.
4 Jn 15:5. * "He who abides in me, and I in him, bears much fruit."
5 * "May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven": cf. Mt 6:9 and Lk 11:2.
6 Gal 2:20. * "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me."