After Holy Communion
You may be in the habit of praying while looking at a picture or statue of Christ, but at a time like this (after Holy Communion), do you not see that it is foolish to turn away from the living image - the Person Himself - to look at His picture or statue? Would it not be foolish if we had a portrait of someone whom we dearly loved and, when the person himself came to see us, we refused to talk with him and carried on our entire conversation with the portrait?
We know that, until the accidents of bread have been consumed by our natural heat, the good Jesus is with us. We have no need to go and seek Him somewhere a long way off. Delight to remain with Him. Pray to Him. Talk to Him. Do not lose such an excellent time for talking with Him as the time after Communion. This is a good time for our Master to teach us and for us to listen to Him. Beg Him to show you how to pray and never to leave you.
If you grieve at not seeing Him with the eyes of the body, remember that would not be good for us. It is one thing to see Him glorified and quite another to see Him as He was when He lived in the world. So weak is our nature that nobody could endure the sight of His glorified body. In fact, there would be no one left to endure it, for no one would wish to remain in the world any longer. Once having seen this Eternal Truth, people would realize that all the things we prize here are mockery and falsehood. And if such great Majesty could be seen, how could a miserable sinner like myself, after having so greatly offended Him remain so near Him?
Beneath those accidents of bread, we can approach Him. For, if the King disguises Himself, it would seem that we need not mind coming to Him without so much ceremony. By disguising Himself, he has, as it were, obliged Himself to submit to this. Who, otherwise, would dare to approach Him, so unworthily, with so many imperfections and with such like warm zeal? But though unseen by bodily eyes, He has many ways of revealing Himself to the soul. I tell you, and tell you again, for I should like to repeat it often, that if you practice the habit of staying with Him, not just once or twice, but whenever you communicate, and strive to keep your conscience clear, He will not come so much disguised as to be unable to make His presence known to you.
But if you take your thoughts elsewhere and pay no more attention to Him than if you had not received Him, and care nothing for His being within you, how can He make Himself known to you. Will He have to drag us by force to look at Him? No, for when He revealed Himself to all men plainly, and told them clearly who He was, they did not treat Him at all well - very few of them, indeed, even believed Him. I know a person who, though by no means perfect, always tried to strengthen her faith when she communicated, by thinking that it was exactly as if she saw the Lord entering her home. She believed in very truth that this Lord was entering her poor abode. She ceased, as far as she could, to think of outward things and went into her abode with Him.
The Lord had given this person such a lively faith that, when she heard people say they wished they had lived when Christ walked on this earth, she would smile to herself. She knew that we have Him as truly with us in the Most Holy Sacrament as people had Him then. If while He went about in the world, the sick were healed merely by touching His clothes, how can we doubt that He will work miracles when He is within us? He will give us what we ask of Him since He is in our house. His Majesty is not wont to offer us too little payment for His lodging if we treat Him well.
O, My Lord, how ill we profit from all the blessings which You have granted us! Your majesty seeks methods and ways and inventions by which to show us what love You have for us. Yet we, inexperienced in loving You, set so little store by them. Do You, my God, cure such great folly?
Source: The writings of St. Teresa of Avila.
We are incomparably stupid when we do not strive to know who we are, but limit ourselves to considering only roughly these bodies. We have heard and, because faith tells us that we have souls, we know. But seldom do we consider the precious things that can be found in this soul or who dwells in it or its high value. Consequently, little effort is made to preserve its beauty. All our attention is taken up with the plainness of the diamond's setting.
Source: Meditations with St. Teresa of Avila.
"The Kingdom of God is within you," says Our Lord. Turn to the Lord with all your heart, forsake this sorry world, and your soul shall find rest. Learn to turn from worldly things, and give yourself to spiritual things, and you will see the Kingdom of God come within you.
The Imitation of Christ.