Holy Eucharist – Part 3 of 3

Father Cassilly writes: “With the wealth of sanctifying grace received in Communion come a host of actual graces, that urge, impel the soul to numerous acts of the theological and moral virtues, and blow the fire of charity to a white heat, consuming in its flames venial faults and the remnants of past sins.”

“The normal effect of material food is to please and satisfy the taste as well as to nourish the body, and the Eucharistic food, likewise, brings with it every spiritual savor and sweetness.”

“The Eucharist, then, is a hallowing of spirit by Spirit, the sanctification of our soul by God; but it is more than this, it is the touch, as it were, of body to Body through the sacramental species. When Christ walked the earth the touch of His hand, yea, of his garment, wrought wonders, restoring health and vigor to withered limb and atrophied organ. Nor has His glorified Body today lost its health-giving power.”

“Christ’s Body and ours, when united in the Sacrament, do not form one substance, for each retains its manner of existence. But, as the theologian Vasquez teaches, since love tends to the closest possible union between lover and beloved, Christ, in the vehemence of His affection, is driven to satisfy it by joining His Body to ours.”

“Through the primal sin came the inherited rebellion of the flesh against the spirit. If man’s will refused to obey its Creator, neither would man’s body be subject to his mind. The body became a wild, independent agent, seeking emancipation from the control of reason and disregarding the command of its master. It would not brook control, so that even the Apostle of the Gentiles cried out in anguish against its tyrannous sway and capricious moods. But, at the sacramental touch of Christ’s Body it loses to an extent its self-will and ferocity, and returns in some degree to the tamed, serviceable condition in which it was created. Original justice has fled from this sin-accursed planet never to return; but in the bodies of the saints who frequently eat Christ’s flesh there is at least some approach to the state of primitive innocence, and for what is wanting Christ’s grace is sufficient.”

Father Cassilly says of one who frequently receives Holy Eucharist: “The Divine life grafted on his soul will change his nature and make him a Godlike being. Or rather, since Christ, as He Himself tells us, is the vine and we the branches, we shall be grafted on Him, and the fruit we produce shall spring from and be nurtured by the sap of the Divine life by which we shall live.

Quotations from Francis Cassilly, A Story of Love, 2d ed. (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1917).

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