Friday, September 17, 2010

The Example of the Saints: Thanksgiving After Holy Communion

"The saints chose, when possible, to set no time limit on thanksgiving after Communion, which consequently might last for them at least half an hour. St. Teresa of Jesus told her daughters, 'Let us entertain ourselves lovingly with Jesus and not waste the hour that follows Communion. It is an excellent time to deal with God and put before Him the matters that concern our soul… As we know that the good Jesus remains within us until our natural warmth has dissolved the breadlike qualities, we should take great care not to lose so beautiful an opportunity to treat with Him and lay our needs before Him.' "

"Let us, also, resolve to do everything possible so that thanksgiving after Holy Communion last at least fifteen minutes and nothing take precedence over it. These minutes during which Jesus is physically present to our souls and within our bodies are heavenly minutes in no wise to be wasted."

"The Apostle, St. Paul wrote, "Glorify and bear God in your body" (1 Cor. 6:20). There is no time in which these words, taken literally, apply so well as during the time immediately after receiving Holy Communion. How insensitive, then, for someone to receive Communion and leave church at once as soon as Mass is over, or as soon as he has received Our Lord! We may remember the example of St. Philip Neri, who had two altar boys with lighted candles go to accompany a man who had left the church right after his Communion. What a beautiful lesson! For the sake of good manners, if for no other reason, when a person receives a guest he pauses to give his attention to him and takes interest in him. If this guest is Jesus, then we will only have reason to be sorry that His bodily presence within us scarcely lasts fifteen minutes or a little more. In view of this, St. Joseph Cottolengo personally used to oversee the baking of hosts for Mass and Communion. To the sister assigned to this he gave the following instruction: 'Make the hosts thick so that I can linger a long time with Jesus. I do not want the Sacred Species to be quickly consumed.' "

"Are we not perhaps acting contrary to the example of the saints when we regard our period of thanksgiving as too long and perhaps feel impatient to get it over with? But, oh how we should watch ourselves here! For if it is true that at every Communion Jesus 'gives us a hundredfold for the hospitality we show Him,' as St. Teresa of Jesus declares, then it is also true that we must answer a hundredfold for neglecting this hospitality. A confrere of Padre Pio of Pietrelcina told how one day he went to Confession to the holy friar, and, among other things, confessed to omitting his thanksgiving after Holy Mass because, he said, some ministry impeded him. While Padre Pio was lenient in judging the other faults, when he heard him confess this omission, his countenance became stern and he said firmly, 'Let us see to it that our being unable is not just being unwilling. I always have to make my thanksgiving; otherwise I pay dearly.' "

~ Fr. Stefano Manelli: excerpts from his book, Jesus Our Eucharistic Love ~

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