Ave Maria Meditations
“WE BELIEVE in the love of God for us.” That is a profound saying. Belief in the truth of the words of God is required of every Christian; but there is another belief, which is more perfect and is the crown of the first: belief in Divine love. Belief in the Divine truths will be vain if it does not lead to belief in Divine love.
What is this love in which we must believe? It is the love of Jesus Christ; the love which He manifests to us in the Eucharist, a love that is Himself, a living and infinite love. But what proofs of His love does our Lord give us in the Eucharist? FIRST of all we have His word, His veracity. Jesus tells us that He loves us, that He instituted His Sacrament only out of love for us. Therefore, it is true. We believe an honest man on his word. Why should we not trust our Lord as much? When someone wants to give his friend a proof of his love, he tells him personally that he loves him and he gives him an affectionate handshake. Well, our Lord sends neither Angels nor ministers to assure us of His love; He comes in person. Love will have no go-between. And so He perpetuates Himself only to tell us over and over again: “I love you. You see that I love you!”
Our Lord was so afraid we might forget Him that He took up His abode among us. He made His home with us so that we might not be able to think of Him without thinking of His love. By giving Himself thus and insisting on this gift, He hoped not to be forgotten. Whoever gives serious thought to the Eucharist, and especially whoever partakes of it, cannot help feeling that our Lord loves him. He feels that in Him he has a father. He feels that he is loved as a child and that he has a right to come to his Father and speak to Him. In church, at the foot of the tabernacle, he is in his Father’s home; he feels that he is. Ah! I understand why people like to live near a church, in the shadow of their Father’s house!
And so, Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament tells us that He loves us; He tells us interiorly and makes us feel it. Let us believe in His love. DOES He love me personally? To this there is but one answer: do we belong to the Catholic family? In a family, do not the father and the mother love each one of their children with an equal love? And if there were any preferences, would they not be for the weakest and frailest child? Our Lord’s sentiments toward us are at least those of a good father; why deny Him this quality?
Besides, see how our Lord manifests His personal love for each one of us. Every morning He comes to see each one of His children in particular, to converse with them, to visit them, to embrace them. Although He has repeated this so many times, He is as gracious and as loving at His last visit as He was at the first. He is as young as ever and is not tired of loving us and giving Himself to each one of us. Does He not give Himself whole and entire to each one? And if a greater number come to receive Him, does He divide Himself up? Does He give less to each one? If the church is full of adorers, can they not all pray to Jesus and converse with Him? Is not each one listened to and his prayer granted as if he were the only one in church?
Such is the personal love of Jesus for us. Each one may take it all for himself and wrong no one; the sun gives all its light to each and everyone of us; the ocean belongs whole and entire to each and every fish. Jesus is greater than us all. He is inexhaustible. THE persistency of the love of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament is another undeniable proof that He loves us. An almost incalculable number of Masses are celebrated every day; they follow one another almost without interruption. But how distressing it is for an understanding soul to realize that very often no one is present to hear or assist at these Masses in which Jesus offers Himself up for us!
While Jesus is crying for mercy on this new Calvary, sinners are insulting God and His Christ. Why then does our Lord renew His sacrifice so often, since men do not profit by it? Why does our Lord remain day and night on so many altars to which no one comes to receive the graces He is offering so lavishly? He loves, He hopes, and He waits! If He came down on our altars on certain days only, some sinner, on being moved to repentance, might have to look for Him and, not finding Him, have to wait.
Our Lord prefers to wait Himself for the sinner for years rather than keep him waiting one instant; having to wait would perhaps discourage the sinner in his attempt to break with the slavery of sin. Oh! How few reflect that Jesus loves them that much in the Most Blessed Sacrament! And yet all these things are true! We have no faith in the love of Jesus! Would we treat a friend, or any man at all, as we do our Lord?
St. Peter Julian Eymard (feast day is August 2nd)