O Sacrament Most Holy
“What is there to say about the great purity of soul with which the saints managed to receive the Bread of Angels? We know that they had a great delicacy of conscience which was truly angelic. Aware of their own wretchedness, they tried to present themselves to Jesus ‘holy and immaculate’ (Eph 1.14), repeating with the publican, ‘O God, be merciful to me, a sinner’ (Lk 18.13), and having recourse with great care to the cleansing of Confession.
‘Approach the Sacred Banquet,’ said St. John Baptist de La Salle, ‘with the same dispositions that you would desire to have in order to enter Heaven. One should have no less respect in receiving Jesus than in being received by Him’. When St. Jerome was brought Holy Viaticum at the end of his life, the Saint prostrated himself on the ground in adoration, and he was heard to repeat with profound humility the words of St. Elizabeth and those of St. Peter, ‘How is this, that my Lord should come to me?’ and ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord’. And how many times was the angelic and seraphic St. Gemma tempted not to receive Holy Communion, considering herself to be nothing else than a vile ‘dunghill’?
(St.) Padre Pio of Pietrelcina used to repeat with trepidation to his brethren, ‘God sees stains even in the angels. What must he see in me!’ For this reason he was very diligent in making his sacramental confessions. So too St. Teresa of Jesus, when she was aware of having committed the least venial sin, would never receive Holy Communion without first going to Confession.
‘Oh, if we could only understand who is that God whom we receive in Holy Communion, then what purity of heart we would bring to Him!’ exclaimed St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi. For this reason St. Hugh, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Francis de Sales, St. Ignatius, St. Charles Borromeo, St. Francis Borgia, St. Louis Bertrand, St. Joseph of Cupertino, St. Leonard of Port Maurice and many other saints went to Confession every day before celebrating Holy Mass. St. Camillus de Lellis never celebrated Holy Mass without first going to Confession, because he wanted at least ‘to dust off’ his soul.“
- Fr. Stefano M. Manelli, F.F.I.