Why is Jesus Christ in the Eucharist? We might make several answers to this question. But that which comprises them all is this: He is there because He loves us, and because He desires that we love Him.
Love — that is the reason of the institution of the Eucharist. Without the Eucharist, the love of Jesus Christ would be for us a dead love, a past love, which we should soon forget, and which we should be almost pardonable in forgetting. Love has its laws, its demands. The Eucharist alone fully satisfies them. By It, Jesus Christ has every right to be loved, because He testifies in It infinite love for us. Now, natural love, such as God has put into our hearts, demands three things: The presence of the loved one, or social life; a community of goods; and perfect union.
Absence is the pain of friendship, its torment. Distance weakens and, if it is too prolonged, ends by putting the firmest friendship to death. If Our Lord is away from us, removed from us, our love for Him will undergo the dissolving effect of absence. It is in the nature of man’s love to require, in order to live, the presence of the object loved. Behold the poor Apostles while Our Lord was in the tomb. The disciples of Emmaus avowed that they had almost lost faith because they no longer had their good Master. Ah! if Our Lord had left us with no other pledge of His Love than Bethlehem and Calvary — poor Saviour! how quickly we should have forgotten Him! What indifference! Love wishes to see, to hear, to converse, to touch. Nothing takes the place of the beloved one, neither gifts or portraits, these are without life. Our Lord knew it well. Nothing could have taken the place of His Person.
We need Our Lord Himself. But His Word? No, it no longer sounds. We no longer hear the touching accents that fell from the lips of the Saviour. His Gospel? It is a testament. But His Sacraments — do they not give life? Ah! it takes the Author of Life to sustain it in us! The Cross? No; apart from Jesus, it only saddens! But hope? Without Jesus, it is agony! Protestants have all that, and yet Protestantism is cold and frozen! Could Jesus have wished to reduce us to so sad a state of living and struggling without Him? We should be too unhappy without Jesus present with us! Exiled, alone upon earth, obliged to deprive ourselves of terrestrial goods, of the consolations of life, while thos of the world have all that they desire — life would be insupportable! But with the Eucharist! with Jesus in the midst of us, often under the same roof, by day and by night, accessible to all, waiting for everyone in His ever-open house, admitting the lowly, calling them with marked predilection — ah! Life is less bitter. He is the good Father in the midst of His children. It is social life with Jesus. And what society! A society that makes us better, that elevates us! And what facilities for social relations with heaven, with Jesus Christ Himself in Person! It is, indeed, the sweet companionship of simple, loving, familiar, and intimate friendship. Ah! it was necessary!