The Purity of Soul Necessary for Holy Communion
What is there to say about the great purity of soul with which the Saints approached to receive the Bread of Angels? We know that they had a great delicacy of conscience which was truly angelic. Aware of their own misery, they tried to present themselves to Jesus “holy and immaculate,” (Eph. 1:4) repeating with the Publican, “O God, be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13), and having recourse with great care to the cleansing of Confession.
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?” “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Luke 5:8). And how many times was the angelic and seraphic St. Gemma tempted to not receive Holy Communion, holding herself to be nothing else than a vile “dunghill?” Padre Pio of Pietrelcina used to repeat with trepidation to his brethren, “God sees blights even in the Angels. What must He see in me!” For this reason he was very diligent in making his sacramental Confessions.
“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 Magdalen of 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 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. Once, at sundown in a public square in Livorno, before taking leave of a priest of the same religious order, foreseeing that he would not have a priest to confess to on the following morning before his Mass, paused, took off his hat, made the Sign of the Cross and went to Confession right there in the square to his confrere. Continue reading