The Blessed Sacrament
By Fr. Frederick William Faber (1855)
Converted from Anglicanism in 1845
The love of the Blessed Sacrament is the grand and royal devotion of faith; it is faith multiplied, faith intensified, faith glorified, and yet remaining faith still. And out of it there come three especial graces which are the very life and soul of an interior life, an overflowing charity to all around us, a thirst to sacrifice ourselves for God, and a generous filial love of Holy Church.
The spiritual life requires also a generous filial love of Holy Church. People in these days often try to draw a distinction between what is spiritual and what is ecclesiastical in the Christian religion; and obviously ... the two cannot be separated; they lie together practically inseparable. Hence there is no interior or mystic life, not even in the cloister, which is not distinguished by a vivid interest in the vicissitudes of the Church, an inveterate attachment to her external and ceremonial observances, and quite a supernatural sympathy with the fortunes of the Holy See.
Love of God and love of Rome are inseparable. To obey Peter is the same thing as to serve Jesus. Now the triumph of Corpus Christi is especially a triumph of our loyalty to Holy Church. Here is this poor land of heresy and schism dark and desolate to-day [The Feast of Corpus Christi]. It has no response to the mighty acclamations of the catholic millions of other lands. It sees nothing in to-day but a common unhonoured weekday. So through the fair realms desolated by the Greek Schism there is the same lifeless silence. It is a catholic feast, a monument of Rome.
It is a patriotic thing, a national exultation; and dear, most dear, as our native country is to us, the Church is a dearer and a truer country still, for it is more like that heavenly country for which we are sighing, and out of which we are exiles at the best. We of all men need triumph; for we are cowed all the year round by the dominance of heresy. It tarnishes our faith. It chills our love. It checks us, and galls us, and unmans us, at almost every turn of our spiritual life. No one comes quite unscathed out of the trial; least of all, those who think they do, and have no fear.
O we need the triumph of to-day, the feast of our loyalty and patriotism to the most ancient, the most godlike of all monarchies, the Holy Apostolic Roman Church… the universal Church, the famous Church, the martyr Church, the Church that is never old but ever has a perpetual freshness like the Holy Trinity, ever virgin as Mary herself, ever wet with blood as the martyrs were, ever teaching like the apostles and doctors, ever witnessing like the confessors, ever suffering innocently like the Holy Innocents themselves, and sending up a perpetual song of victory even out of the fires of persecution.
O how we ought to bless God, now that we know Jesus, that we were not born in the poor times of the patriarchs and prophets before the Blessed Sacrament! Ah! How they desired to see our day and saw it not! Nay, we even seem privileged in our day beyond elder Christian times; for the longer the Church battles with the world the more venerable she seems to become, and her victories of grace more brilliant, and the heavenliness of her ways more wonderful. Time “writes no wrinkles on her brow,” but adds line after line of glory and of freshness. She seems, because we know her better, to grow more beautiful, more powerful, more bright of face, more sweet of voice, more strong in arm, more mother-like in manner. Dear Church! To-day is her great day, the Feast of Holy Faith!