St. Bernard appropriately refers to the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist as “the Love of loves,” Amor amorum. If we use the eyes of faith to contemplate the marvelous effects of our Savior’s ineffable goodness to us in this adorable mystery, we shall see eight flames of love issuing continually from this wondrous furnace.
The first flame is the inconceivable love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus which impelled Him to imprison Himself in this Sacrament and has constrained Him to abide there continuously night and day, for nearly two thousand years, to be always with us, so as to fulfill the promise of these words: Ecce ego vobiscum sum onmibus diebus, usque ad consummationem saeculi. “Behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world” (Mt. 28:20). He is the Good Shepherd who wishes always to be with His flock. He is the divine Physician who wishes always to be at the bedside of His patients. He is the Father full of affection who never leaves His children. He is the Friend most loyal and tender, whose delight is to be with His friends: Deliciae meae esse cum filiis hominum (Prov. 8:31).
The second flame of this fiery furnace is the love of our Savior’s adorable Heart vibrating in great and significant actions on our behalf in this Sacrament. He is there adoring, praising and glorifying His Father unceasingly for us, to satisfy to the full our infinite obligations of adoring, praising and glorifying. He is there continually giving thanks to the Father for all the corporal and spiritual blessings, natural and supernatural, temporal and eternal, which He has ever given to us, which He gives at each moment, and plans to give us, provided we interpose no obstacle. He is there loving His Father for us, paying to the full our debts and obligations of loving Him. He is there offering His merits to satisfy His Father’s justice and to pay Him on our behalf what we owe Him by reason of our sins. He is there continually praying to His Father for all our spiritual and temporal needs. Semper vivens ad interpellandum pro nobis (Heb. 7:25).
The third flame of this furnace is the infinite love of our dear Redeemer, who exercises His omnipotence so as to perform in this adorable Sacrament many stupendous miracles, changing bread into His body and wine into His blood, and performing several other wonders incomparably surpassing all those of Moses, of the prophets, and of the apostles, and even of our Savior during His sojourn on earth. All those miracles were performed only in Judea, while these take place throughout the universe. The visible miracles were transitory and of short duration; the invisible have been continuous for more than nineteen hundred years and they will endure till the end of time. The former were effected on bodies separated from their souls and then restored to life, on sick persons who were healed, on water changed to wine, but the latter are effected on the adorable, body of God, on His Precious Blood, and even on the glory and grandeur of His divinity, which is hidden in this Sacrament.
The fourth flame is indicated in the inspired words of St. Peter, the Prince of the Apostles: Misit Deus Filium suum benedicentem vobis. “God hath sent his Son to bless you” (Acts 3:26). This Adorable Son has come filled with love for you and with a most ardent desire to pour out His blessings upon those who honor Him and love Him as their Father. It is chiefly in this divine Sacrament that He showers His blessings upon those who open the way to His grace.
The fifth flame is His immense love which constrains Him to give to us all the treasures of grace and holiness which He acquired on earth. To us He does give them, indeed, in the Blessed Eucharist, boons immeasurable and infinite, graces most abundant and special, provided we have the dispositions required for receiving them.
The sixth flame is that burning love always impelling Him to enrich us with the gifts and graces which He acquired by His precious Blood, and to give Himself to us without reserve in Holy Communion. He gives us His divinity, His humanity, His divine person, His adorable body, His Precious Blood, His holy soul, in short, all that He has and all that He is, as God and as man. Consequently, He will give us His Eternal Father and His Holy Spirit which are inseparable from Him, just as He will inspire us with devotion to His most holy Mother, who everywhere follows her divine Lamb, much more than do the holy virgins of whom it is said: Sequuntur Agnum quocumque ierit (Rev. 14:4).
The seventh flame is the incredible love of the Blessed Savior in immolating Himself continually for us, a love that surpasses in every way the charity by which He was immolated on the altar of the Cross. There He sacrificed Himself on Calvary only; here He sacrifices Himself all over the world by means of the Blessed Eucharist. There He immolated Himself once only; here He sacrifices Himself thousands of times daily. It is true that the Sacrifice of the Cross was accomplished in a sea of sorrows and that it is accomplished here in an ocean of joy and felicity, but the Heart of our Redeemer is still, in our day, as flaming with love for us as it was then. Jesus is ready, if it were possible and necessary for our salvation, to undergo the same sufferings that He bore in His immolation on Calvary, as many times as He sacrifices Himself on the altars throughout the world because of His infinite love for us.
The eighth flame of this wonderful furnace of love consists of the love that our most benign Redeemer manifests to us when He gives men continual evidence of His goodness at a time when He receives from them nothing but the most furious hatred imaginable. At what moment does He thus manifest such love? At the time of the institution of this divine Sacrament, the last day of His life, the night before His death. At that very moment men are not less moved with rage and fury against Him that the devils themselves; for what does He say? Haec est hora vestra, et potestas tenebrarum (Lk. 22:53).
What happened then still happens today. Thy most loving Heart, O Jesus, dwells in this Sacrament, burning with love for us. It is there continually performing thousands of good deeds towards us. How do we repay Thee, O Lord? We repay Thee with ingratitude and injuries a thousandfold, in thought, word and deed, trampling under foot Thy divine commandments and those of the Church. Ungrateful wretches, our most gracious Savior so loved us that, while He was on earth, He would have died a thousand deaths for love of us if He had not miraculously preserved His life. He is still ready to die a hundred thousand times for us if it were possible and necessary for our salvation. Let us then die, die of sorrow in beholding our sins; let us die of shame that we have so little love for Him; let us die a thousand deaths rather than ever offend Him again. O my Savior, grant us this favor, we implore Th