From a Letter of Saint John of Avila, Doctor the Church, to a Lady,
On the Feasts of Pentecost and Corpus Christi
Let us now consider how you are to prepare for the feast of Corpus Christi which is so near at hand. It would indeed be a disgrace for the Christian soul not to long and hunger after this holy Bread. Christ was waited for even by the three Kings in their far-off country, and desired by the prophets and patriarchs long before the Incarnation. What greater joy than to see our Lord, Whom heaven and earth cannot contain, veiled beneath the accidents of bread: sometimes borne by our hands, passing amongst us through our streets, and making Himself our companion, and again, sometimes deigning to enter into our poor sinful breasts.
Do not let my words pass from your mind, but rouse yourself to consider this great favour and work of God. Empty your heart of all else, that it may hunger keenly for this celestial Bread on which the Angels feed. Be watchful during these days lest your attention wander. This is the week consecrated to the Holy Ghost, therefore beg Him for grace to observe devoutly the feast of the Body of Christ. That Body was conceived by Him, and when we receive Holy Communion on that day, the Paraclete will come to us also, because it was through our Lord’s merits that He was sent to us. Christ’s merits are imparted to us in the Holy Eucharist in proportion to the worthiness of our dispositions.
Thus one festival prepares us for the next and should make us long for it. Unlike the banquets of the world, where those who have feasted at noon are not hungry at night, each festival of the Church increases our appetite for the next, fulfilling God s promise in Leviticus (26:5) “the threshing of your harvest shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and you shall eat your bread to the full.” Blessed be God, for so bountifully providing for us that He even bestows on us His very Self. The Son is given to us, and through Him the Holy Spirit, and with Them comes the Father. Thus the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit reside within us, and we already have a beginning here of that intercourse with God which will be perfect in the next life. Let us thank Him for all His mercies and prepare ourselves to receive the favours that still remain to be bestowed on us. With hearts raised on high, let us celebrate the feasts of heaven, so that from temporal joys we may pass to those which are eternal, in which I pray that you, Madam, may have your share. Amen.