by Abbé Astruc, “Irish Messenger“ series,
a continuation on the theme of Communion:
Jesus is in the Holy Gospels, where, in some sort, an incarnation of Christ lies hidden beneath the letter. When you meditate on the Word of God – and here I quote Mgr. Landriot, who has summed up the doctrine of the Fathers on Spiritual Communion with Christ – as you go deeper and deeper into its divine meaning, and find your way right to its very heart, there takes place within you a true Eucharistic mystery: the Word enters into you, nourishes your mind, enkindles your heart, renews your life, and transforms you into Himself; then you partake in Spiritual Communion of Jesus hidden in the holy Gospels.
Jesus is in every soul in a state of grace. He Himself has publicly and formally declared that He has made such a soul His dwelling place, in a permanent and lasting way. “If any man love Me, He will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and will make Our abode with Him” (John 14:23). And many a time besides has He said the same thing. When, therefore, in thought, affection and charity, you are united to souls who are in possession of the life of grace, you partake in Spiritual Communion of Jesus, dwelling within them.
Jesus is in little children, in the lowly, the poor, and in all who suffer. He Himself has told us so: “Whatsoever you do unto the least of these my brethren, you do it unto Me.” So when you work at the intellectual, moral, or religious formation of little children – when you serve and help the needy – when you visit and care for the sick – when you become a consoling angel, or a kind Cyrenian to those who have a cross to bear, and a Calvary to climb – when you give a little joy, a little happiness, to the outcasts of life – then you communicate spiritually and partake again of Jesus.
Jesus is in everything that you do. All the actions, all the sacrifices, all the little details of your daily life, are as Father Faber says: “So many Sacraments, so many real presences, for God is within each one.” When, then, following the advice of St. Paul, who wrote: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philipp. 2:5); you strive to think, to will, to love, to feel, as Our Lord Himself did – do you know what you are doing? You are partaking of the Interior Life of Jesus; you receive, as it were, a Communion of His Spirit, of His Will and of His Soul.
When, in accordance with the Divine Master’s teaching: “I have given you an example, that as I have done to you, so you do also” (John 13:15), you endeavor to reproduce His manner of life, His way of acting towards persons, events and things, what then do you do? You unite yourself in spiritual Communion to Jesus, in His active exterior life.
When suffering in body, soul, or heart; when, burdened with your cross, you painfully struggle up the Calvary of your life; when, fastened to that cross, you expiate, make reparation, and gain merit for yourself and others, are you conscious of all that you are doing? Father Faber makes it clear to you when he says that “suffering is the greatest of all sacraments.” Your suffering becomes a Spiritual Communion; through it you partake of the saving Passion of your Lord.
When you visit the poor and sick, or come to the aid of the suffering – when you promote the sanctification of souls, by catechising, or by occupying yourself with other works of zeal – when you give those around you an example of Christian virtue – when you speak a kind, well-chosen word, some little word that does good, consoles, encourages, that uplifts and edifies, do you realize what you are doing? You then communicate spiritually; you are united to the Apostolate of Jesus.
When you are recollected, when in words or silently within your hearts you pray, then, in Spiritual Communion, you partake of the Prayer of Jesus.
…to be continued