Book 4, Chapter 12: That Whoever Is About To Communicate With Christ Ought To Prepare to Receive Him With Great Diligence.
Chapter Focus: It is important to nourish ourselves with the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Do we approach the Blessed Sacrament with faith, hope, and love (1 Cor 13)? By receiving this Sacrament, we grow closer to Christ Himself and open ourselves to His grace. When Christ invites Himself into our house, like Zacchaeus (Lk 19:1-10), we receive salvation and joy and are inspired to repair our injustices four times over. Thomas reminds us that, like Zacchaeus, we are sinners who are not worthy to receive Him into our house. But we have to remember that we do not sanctify Him, it’s the other way around. He shows His abundant mercy in dealing with us: we are beggars seeking bread, the Bread of Life.
Chapter 12, In Short.
1. Christ seeks pure hearts as a place to rest and sanctify.
2. You cannot prepare enough to receive Christ based upon your merits, but only by His tenderness and grace.
3. When Christ bestows the grace of devotion upon you, give thanks to God; because He has shown you mercy.
4. You ought to prepare yourself for devotion not only before Holy Communion but afterward as well.
Question: Will you follow our Lord’s command to come and receive? Will you answer His request to enter into your house?
The Text of Chapter 12: That Whoever Is About To Communicate With Christ Ought To Prepare to Receive Him With Great Diligence
The Voice of the Beloved:
I am the Lover of purity and Giver of sanctity. I seek a pure heart, and there is the place of My rest. Prepare for Me a large furnished upper room, and I will eat the Passover at your house, together with My disciples(Mk 14:14-15).
If it is your will that I come to you and abide with you, purge out the old leaven(1 Cor 5:7), and cleanse the living space of your heart. Shut out the whole world, and the throng of your vices. Sit as a sparrow alone upon the house-top,(Ps 102:7) and think of your own excesses with the bitterness of your soul.
For every lover prepares the best and fairest place for their beloved, since thereby is known the affection of those which entertain the beloved.
2. Yet know that that you cannot make sufficient preparation out of the merit of any of your actions even if you prepared yourself for a whole year and if you thought of nothing else. But only out of My tenderness and grace are you permitted to draw close unto My table; as though a beggar was called to a rich man’s dinner, and had no other recompense to offer for the benefits done to him, but to humble himself and to give him thanks. Do therefore as much as what lies within you, and do it diligently, not from custom or of necessity, but with fear, reverence, and affection, receive the Body of Your Beloved Lord God, who promises to come to You. I am He who has called You. I commanded it to be done. I will supply to you what is lacking. Come and receive Me.
3. When I bestow the grace of devotion, give thanks to your God; not because you are worthy, but because I have had mercy on you.
If you have no devotion, but rather feel dry, persist in prayer, sigh and knock (Mt 7:7); do not stop until you prevail in obtaining some crumb or drop of saving grace. You have need of Me, but I have no need of you. Nor do you come to sanctify Me, but I come to sanctify you and make you better. You come that you may be sanctified by Me, and be united to Me – that you may receive fresh grace, and be freshly enkindled to amend your life. See that you do not neglect this grace, but prepare your heart with all diligence, and receive Your Beloved.
4. But you ought to prepare yourself for devotion not only before Communion, but you must also keep yourself with all diligence in such a state after receiving the Sacrament. Nor is less watchfulness needed afterward, than devout preparation beforehand: for strict watchfulness afterward becomes, in turn, the best preparation for gaining more grace. For by this you are made entirely indisposed to good if you immediately return from Communion to give yourself up to exterior consolations. Beware of speaking too much; remain in secret, and enjoy communion with your God; for You have Him Whom the whole world cannot take away from you.
I am He to Whom you ought to give your whole self; so that from now on you may live not in yourself, but in Me, free from all anxiety.