St Gemma's devotion to the Blessed Sacrament
St Gemma's spiritual director, Venerable Father Germanus C.P. writes "Holy Communion was the culminating point of Gemma's devotion. I could quote hundreds of affections that vibrated in her virginal heart in the presence of her God, all faithfully taken from her lips and scrupulously put down in writing, but my space will not allow of it".
In a letter to Venerable Father Germanus, Gemma writes "Let me speak of Holy Communion- I cannot contain myself. Is it possible that there are souls who do not understand what the Blessed Eucharist is? Who are insensible to the Divine Presence.....to the mysterious and fervent effusions of the Sacred Heart of my Jesus? O Heart of Jesus! Heart of love!"
"What would become of me if I did not dedicate all my affections to the Sacred Host? Oh yes, I know it Lord; that in order to make me deserve paradise in heaven, You give me Communion here on earth!"
St Gemma once called the Eucharist "a school of paradise where one learns how to love." Explaining this thought she said "The school is the Supper room, Jesus is the Master and the doctrines are His Flesh and Blood."
"I am Yours, o Jesus. You have good reason to complain about me, yes, because I have offended You. And, undeserving as I am, I should be obliged to give back to the Altar so many stolen Breads, and so much precious Blood. But I promise You that I will make amends. "
"My God, open Your Heart to me. O Jesus, open to me Your sacramental breast, because I wish to place all my affections there. O Jesus, how much I love Thee! But why do You act towards me me with so much love, while I offend You with countless ingratitude's? This thought alone, if I could but comprehend it, should be enough to turn me into a furnace of love. Is it not an irresistible love to love Him who is not angry with one who always offends Him? O Jesus, if I only considered attentively Your immense love for me, how greatly I should excel in every virtue! Pardon me, O Jesus, so much carelessness; pardon such great ignorance. My God! Jesus my love, infinite Goodness! What would have become of me if You had not drawn me to Thee? Open to me Thy Heart, open to me Thy sacramental breast; I open mine to You.
Once, while in ecstasy, she said to Our Lord "Listen, Jesus, to what my confessor asks me: 'What do you do, Gemma, when you are before Jesus?'
"What do I do? If I am before Jesus crucified, I suffer; and If I am with Jesus in His Sacrament, I love."
Your eyes, oh Jesus, watch continuously over me. I thirst for You, oh Jesus. Do You not see how I suffer in the morning before I feed on You?
"What makes me feel anxious is that frequent Communion, the Bread of the Angels, has not infused into my soul all those graces that It has given to so many others in abundance. And the evil, I know it, is because my few virtues are weak, and I come to Jesus without any merit. Help, help my Father! I should by this time have reached much greater holiness, and instead I have gone backwards, to the loss of my poor soul. At times, believe me Father, I tremble and blush all over when I think that, being so vile, I go to receive Jesus, who is purity itself. But Jesus, dear Jesus, loves me even in this state and continues to make Himself felt in my soul.
Venerable Father Germanus writes "After the many marvels we have seen up to this point, I do not think that anyone will be tempted to doubt the veracity of another fact that I am about to relate. It is concerning the Blessed Virgin, who sometimes joined the Angels of the Eucharist to assist at Gemma's Communion. At the unexpected vision (of the Blessed Virgin Mary-editor)
the good child went into ecstasy, heart beating with joy at her Mothers feet. "How wonderful it is" she said to me afterwards, "to receive Holy Communion with my Mother of Paradise! I did so yesterday, May 8th. I had never before received Holy Communion in Her company. Do you know, Father, the outpourings of my heart at that moment? In these words "Oh Mother! My Mother!"
"Jesus, sacred Host, to you I consecrate all my tenderness......Oh Jesus, Jesus my love! I am hungry for your Bread of life, I am thirsting for your sacramental Blood!"
"......I am Yours Jesus. But, by so much kindness and so much love, what power would not be conquered? Whose will would not be swept away?"
".....Beloved Jesus!.....When I see good souls come, oh Lord, to enjoy the delights of your heaven in Communion, I feel compassion; but when You accept souls like me, then....O Lord, You come to me entirely as Love, and I come to You as a sinner; one so lazy. Oh Lord, let me say it---perhaps in giving me such Things You debase Them too much. Or is it that You desire a total change in my life? What shall I do to be pleasing to You? Do you want me, Oh Lord, to change your crown of thorns into a crown of lilies?"
Father Germano writes "On one occasion, her ordinary Confessor, with a view to try and test her, feigned to deprive her of Holy Communion. Read now in what terms she told me of her misfortune-
"Oh Father, today at 5 o'clock I went to Confession, and the Confessor said he will deprive me of Jesus. Oh Father, Father! My pen refuses to write, my hand is shaking and I am crying."
The following incident was attested during the official processes by Marianna Bianchini:
‘One day when she was living, as far as I know, in the Via del Biscione and used to frequent the Church of St. Peter Somaldi, she told me that the Devil often tried to prevent her from receiving Holy Communion. She said that the Devil in the guise of a coarse looking man would push her and even throw her down on the ground in the mud, in order to compel her to return home, and that she used to go back and change and then return to the church to receive Holy Communion. Sometimes she met him at the door of the Church of St. Peter, in the appearance as usual of a coarse-looking man, and he said to her: "Do not go to receive Communion; you will commit a sacrilege. Last night you were guilty of wicked things!" Gemma usually paid no attention to him, but she confessed to me that on one occasion she did listen to him and did not receive Holy Communion although she went to the church to hear Mass. On leaving the church she found the man there at the door, and he was pleased with her and rejoiced because she had listened to him at last. Then Gemma realized that she had been tricked by the Evil One, and returning immediately to the church she received Holy Communion. She confided to me that on turning back with the firm resolution to go to Communion, she said to the man: "Oh, I understand!" and she took off into the Church--by that she meant to say: "So you are the Devil! Well, I am going to receive Holy Communion to spite you."’
Click here for Part 2 of St Gemma's extraordinary love for Jesus in the Eucharist
"Fire! Fire in my heart! This morning it is burning......
Dear Jesus, I love you so much! I shall endeavor always to love You; I shall live to love You; I shall die to love You!
....Give me wings oh Jesus, so I can fly to Your throne!"
St Gemma Galgani -June, 1902