SIXTH MEDITATION. THE SACRAMENT OF NOURISHMENT AND REFRESHMENT

To Thy table, Lord Jesus, we come to
eat and drink that we may be nourished and
refreshed. In holy Baptism Thou dost take
away what we have by nature that is evil;
but in Thy Holy Supper Thou dost give us
what we have not that is good.

Blessed words: I am the bread of life;
he that cometh to me, shall never hunger;
and he that believeth on me shall never
thirst. He that eateth me, even he shall
live by me; for my flesh is meat indeed, and
my blood is drink indeed. This is the
highest and best eating. The life which it
nourishes is the highest and best life. Those
who ate manna, died; and those who eat
only natural food, also perish. Only the
hidden manna, only the spiritual food, giveth
the true, everlasting life. Lord, evermore
give me this bread.

Natural bread nourishes the body, natural
drink refreshes the body, and after that it
has no more that it can do. But as natural
bread and wine support this temporal life,
so Thy crucified body and shed blood are the
true meat and drink whereby our souls are
fed to eternal life. The food which Thou
givest nourishes faith, hope, love, and all
the graces of the Spirit.

This is a mystery, Lord Jesus, but faith
lays hold of it and receives it. I know not
how natural food and drink affects even the
soul by replenishing the body, giving energy
to the whole man. So I know not how the
bread and the cup of blessing which Thou
hast blessed, can nourish and refresh body
and spirit; but as Thou hast declared, so I
believe. Amen, my faithful Lord Jesus, be
it unto me even as Thou hast said.

In this most comfortable Sacrament of Thy
body and blood, I will come to the hidden
fountain of grace and life. Here the word
shall be fulfilled: Man did eat angel’s
food. My poor sense shall not measure the
virtue of the bread which cometh down from
heaven. My faith alone can receive it. The
life which is to be nourished is hid with
Christ in God. Enter into this holy of
holies, my soul, where, beneath the cover-
ing of what is visible to mortal eyes, and
unhindered by things of sense, spirit with
spirit, life with life, shall commune. There
the quickening Spirit, whom the world can-
not receive, but who dwelleth in me, shall
take of the things of Christ and show them
to me.

Lo, I am with you always, even unto the
end of the world! Thou art present at Thine
own feast; and I hear Thy words: Eat,
friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly,
beloved, I believe that Thou dost feed and
nourish my soul to everlasting life, with Thy
crucified body and shed blood, as assuredly
as I receive from the hands of the minister,
and taste with my mouth Thy bread and
Thy cup, as certain signs of Thy body and
blood.

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