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Meditation on the Body and Blood of Christ


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The Body and Blood of Christ

From The Imitation of Christ by Thomas Kempis:

O my Lord Jesus Christ, you command me to draw near to you confidently, and to receive the food of immortality, if I desire to obtain eternal life and glory. You say, "Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you." Oh, sweet and lovely word in the ear of the sinner, that you, Lord God, invite the poor and needy to the Communion of your most holy body and blood! But who am I, Lord, that I should presume to approach you? Heaven and earth cannot contain you, yet you say, "Come, all of you, to me."

What does this most gracious condescension mean, this most lovely invitation? How shall I bring you within my house, seeing that I so often have sinned in your most loving sight? Angels and archangels stand in awe of you, the saints and just men fear you, and yet you say, "Come, all of you, to me"! If you had not said this, Lord, who would believe it true? And if you had not commanded, who would dare approach?

O God, invisible Creator of the world, how wondrously you work with us, how sweetly and graciously you deal with those to whom you offer yourself in this Sacrament! O admirable and hidden grace of the Sacrament, which only Christ's faithful ones know! In this Sacrament spiritual grace is conferred, lost virtue is regained in the soul, and the beauty which was disfigured by sin returns again. So great sometimes is this grace that, from the fullness of devotion, not only the mind but also the frail body feels filled with greater strength.

"Thanks be to you, O good Jesus, Eternal Shepherd, that you see fit to refresh us poor exiles with your precious body and blood, and to invite us to partake of these holy mysteries by the invitation from your own mouth, saying, 'Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you.'" (Book IV, 1)