From The Works of the Rt. Rev. Charles C. Grafton (Volume 7),
edited by B. Talbot Rogers, New York: Longmans, Green, 1914, pp. 291-295
Addresses to the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament
THE ADDRESS OF THE SUPERIOR GENERAL
REVEREND FATHERS AND DEAR BROTHERS OF THE CONFRATERNITY OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT:
ACCEPT my loving greetings, and benediction in the Lord. May we all draw nearer to each other in His love and grace. We have a special need to do this in times like our own, when the clouds of threatening heresy hang over us, and the enemy of souls is so subtly active, and the coming of our Lord's chariot, as we may believe, is speeding on.
Every fresh Church festival should strengthen and encourage us in our purpose to defend the Holy Faith, and to grow in mutual charity, and spiritual union with our hidden and dear Lord.
There are two aspects of our Lord which come out in the Gospels and Revelation, to which, by others, wisdom, I have been, especially of late, drawn. He is represented to us both as Master, and as Lord. As our Master, He is our most loving Friend, Companion, abiding Protector, tenderest and dearest Love of our souls. We are drawn into most familiar walking and confidence in Him. We may speak to Him in all the simplicity of children, and in all the tender and affectionate language of a lover. Dear Jesus is our Jesus. We must call Him again and again by His most loving title. We must let that personal tie grow deeper and more permanent. We want to love Him with an obedient love, a faithful love, a true love, an overcoming love, a love above all other loves, an abandoning love, an all-consuming love. We desire to enter more and more into His life, principles, feelings, emotions. Let our trials be shared with His trials, our troubles with His troubles, our little crosses with His great cross. We should turn to Him at all times, in the first act of our morning cross, to the last when we repose at night. He is ever abiding with us, speaking to us, alluring us, comforting us, infusing His love into us, that the divinely-given love may grow in love of Him. O sweet blessed companionship! O divine, blessed resting place! Not John only, but we, His disciples, may learn to rest on His bosom. This is that sweet, gentle, loving, all-controlling companionship that grows and deepens between ourselves and our dearest Lord. He is our hope, our tranquillity, our riches, our strength; our Love, our All-in-All. The great gift of God to man is this companionship with. Jesus.
But there is another aspect in which He stands toward us, and we to Him. He is our Lord. He is the Lord of Glory. He is no longer worshiped in the outward garment of a poor and suffering humanity. He is no longer to outward appearance as He was when He walked through the fields in Galilee, or rocked in the boat on its lake, or spoke from the hillside. He had laid aside His glory, and in the likeness of sinful flesh had appeared like one of us. He was destitute of all the insignia of His glory, majesty and power. After His Resurrection and His Ascension He put on glorious apparel. The divine nature glorified His humanity. His blessed Form glowed with the light beyond the brightness of the sun, as on the day of His Transfiguration. Majestic in His splendor, clothed with the symbolic vestment of His loyalty, and priesthood, St. John fell at His feet as if dead. He, who had been admitted to such tender and loving familiarity, nevertheless overcome by the radiant glory of His person, could only fall prostrate before Him, as dead. That same majestic splendor as it appeared to Saul on the way to Damascus, cast Him to earth, and he ever wore His certain blindness as a token of Christ's glorified Presence.
Beyond all description of word or thought is the Person of our Blessed Lord, now at the right hand of God the Father. His human flesh is filled with the glory and power which surpasses all man can conceive, and which is to be the sustaining power of man in his glorified condition. O great, O marvelous contrast! At once our Master, alluring us into the most tender companionship, and also our adorable Lord and God, before whom it is our highest joy to be as dust under His feet.
Now these two aspects of our divine Lord are wonderfully brought out in the dear Sacrament of His love. There in mercy hiding His glory lest it blind us, He sits enthroned amongst His people. A cloud veils His splendor, in mercy, from our visible sight. His marvelous condescension kindles our gratitude and devotion, and we learn to be dead to self, living in Him. Blessed, indeed, is that process of self-destruction, in which self-love and self–interest die. Blessed that spirit of self-abrogation and resignation of all into His hands. Blessed are they who are spiritually dead here, and who die in the Lord. Blessed are they who, united to Him crucified, and buried with Him, have risen with Him, and are living with Him in a supernatural union consummated in the Eucharist. But O, here in the dear Sacrament of His love, we find in the most tender way, a realization of the companionship of Christ. He is with us, and we are with Him. We can tell Him of every trial, every sorrow, as well as of every joy. He gathers, not only our petitions, but ourselves up into His sacred Heart. Happy children, to be as incense consumed in the censer of His love. It is this revelation of Christ in the Eucharist as our Lord, and as our dearest companion that the strength of the Catholic movement consists.
You all know, dear Brothers, that no great reli–gious cause ever succeeds which is chiefly an intellectual one. It must be devotional. It must be something more than devotional. It must have in it the warm, tender action of piety. The question before you, dear Brothers, is how to awaken this in your own hearts and the hearts of your people. We have to teach them, of course, about the Real Presence. We need to teach the great doctrines of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. We need to make them realize that offering of the Holy Eucharist is the great act of Sunday worship.
But we want them to love it, and to surround it with all the dignity of beauty of worship; and we want, above all, to kindle in their hearts an intense feeling of personal love to our dear Lord in the Eu–charist. There, He trusts Himself to us. There, He puts His Sacramental Body, as it were, under the jurisdiction of His priests. There, He allows them to enter into the very mysteries of Heaven itself. "What," a holy man has said, "should make you fear or despond, when you hold in your hands the Bread of Life, and can drain the Chalice of the Divine Victim?" It is to a daily Eucharistic Sacrifice that the victory of the Saints is given. It is through it, and by means of it, our own branch of the Church shall recover her heritage.
Be ingenious for the introduction of hymns, or acts of devotion, to stimulate the piety of your people. With a love that is beyond human love, let us develop within the Church a love to our Blessed Lord. We must sing our hymns to Him, prostrate ourselves before Him, cherish Him in our hearts, and ever come back to Him. May He touch our hearts and minds with a coal of fire from His divine Altar, and fill us with a new spirit, new intention, new devotion, new consecration to Jesus. Let us love our Confraternity, and press on His Kingdom.
C. C. FOND Du LAC,
Superior General, C. B. S.