Nothing More Dear

From Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ, XXXIX, (1410)

Take now good heed here, thou Christian man, but specially thou priest, how devoutly, how diligently and truly, the Lord Jesus Christ first made this precious Sacrament and after with his blessed hands ministered it, and communicated that blessed — and his beloved — company. And on the other side, take heed with what devout wonder they first saw him make that wonderful and excellent Sacrament, and after with what dread and reverence they took it and received of him. Truly at this time they left all their natural human reason, and only rested in true belief to all that he said and did, believing without any doubt that he was God and could not err. And so thou must do that would feel and have the virtue and the spiritual sweetness of this blessed Sacrament.

This is that sweet and precious Memorial that in sovereign manner makes man’s soul worthy and pleasing to God, as often as it is duly received, either by true and devout meditation of his Passion, or else, and that most especially, in sacramental eating thereof. Wherefore with reason this excellent gift of love should kindle man’s soul and inflame it all wholly into the Giver thereof, our Lord Jesus Christ. For there is nothing that he might give or leave to us that is more dear, more sweet, more profitable, than himself. For without any doubt, he that we receive in the Sacrament of the altar is himself God’s Son, Jesus, that took flesh and blood and was born of the Virgin Mary and that suffered death on the Cross for us, and rose the third day from death to life and after went up into heaven and sits on the Father’s right side, and that shall come in the day of doom and judge all mankind. In whose power is both life and death, that made both heaven and hell, and that only may save us or damn us forever without end.

And so he that is himself God and man is contained in that little host that thou seest in form of bread, and every day is offered up to the Father of heaven for our spiritual health and everlasting salvation.

Nicholas Love (d. 1484) was an English Carthusian monk and spiritual writer. He translated a popular fourteenth century Franciscan devotional manual, Meditations on the Life of Christ, into English at the request of Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Arundel, as part of a campaign to strengthen faith in Catholic teaching about the sacraments after controversy provoked by John Wycliffe.


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