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How the desire was given her to receive holy communion, and of its precious effects in her; of her sufferings when she did not receive, and how it seemed to her that she had lost faith, and walked by sight.
On the day of the Festival of the Annunciation of the glorious Virgin Mary, after her conversion, that is, after her loving wound, her Lord gave her the desire for holy communion, which she never lost during her whole life; and her Love ordered it in such a way, that communion was given her, without any care on her part, for she was, in a wonderful manner, provided with it in one way or another; and without asking, she was often summoned to receive it, by priests inspired by God to give it to her.
On one occasion a holy religious said to her: “You receive communion every day, how are you now satisfied?” and she answered him simply, explaining her desires and feelings. In order to prove her, he said to her: “Perhaps there may be something wrong in receiving communion so often” and then left her. In consequence of this, Catherine, for fear of doing wrong, abstained from communion, but with great pain; and the religious, finding that she thought more of doing wrong, than of the consolation and satisfaction of communion, directed her to make daily communion, and she returned to her accustomed way.
Once, when at the point of death, so ill that she was unable to take any sustenance, she said to her confessor: “If you would give me my Lord three times only, I should be cured.” It was done, and her health was immediately restored. Before receiving communion, she suffered severe pains about the heart, and said: “My heart is not like that of others, for it only rejoices in its Lord; and therefore give him to me.” It indeed seemed that otherwise she could not have lived, and if deprived of communion, her life would have consumed away in suffering. Of this there are many proofs, for if, on any day, she happened not to receive, she would pass it in almost insupportable pain, so that her attendants were filled with compassion for her, and believed it clearly, to be the will of God, that she should receive daily.
One day, after communion, God gave her such consolation, that she lost her consciousness, and the priest could not give her the ablution until she had been restored to herself, and she then exclaimed: “Oh, Lord, I do not desire to follow thee for these consolations, but only for pure love.”
Although she did not easily shed tears she awoke one night weeping, when she had dreamed that she was not to receive on the next day. But if, for any human reason, she could not have received it, she would have been patient and confident, saying to her Lord: “If thou wouldst, it could be given to me.”
She said, that at the beginning of her conversion, when this desire of communion was first given to her, she sometimes envied the priests who received whenever they wished, without causing remarks from any one. And it was her special desire, to be able to say the three masses on Christmas day; so that she envied no one in this world but the priests, and when she saw the Sacrament in the hands of one of them at the altar, she would say within herself: “Take it, take it quickly, to your heart, for it is the Lord of the heart.” To receive it, she would have gone miles, and endured fatigues beyond human power to bear.
When she was at mass she was often so occupied interiorly with her Lord, that she did not hear a word; but when the time came to receive communion she accused herself, and would say: “Oh! my Lord, it seems to me that if I were dead, I should come to life, in order to receive thee, and if an unconsecrated host were given to me, that I should know it by the taste, as one knows wine from water.” She said this, because, when consecrated, it sent a certain ray of love into the very depths of her heart.
She also said, that if she had seen the whole court of heaven, arrayed in such a manner, that there was no difference between God and the angels, yet the love in her heart would have caused her to know God, as the dog knows his master: and much sooner, and with less effort, because love, which is God, himself, instantly and directly finds its end, and last repose.
At one time, on receiving, she perceived such an odor and such sweetness, that she believed herself in Paradise, when suddenly she turned towards her Lord, and humbly said: “O Lord perhaps thou wouldst draw me to thee by this fragrance? I do not desire it; I desire nothing but thee, and thee wholly; thou knowest, that from the beginning I have asked of thee the grace that I might never see visions, nor receive external consolations, for so clearly do I perceive thy goodness, that I do not seem to walk by faith but by a true and heartfelt experience.”
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