Acts 2:4, Alternate—John 6:56

Ignatius Matthews
Catholic Maryland 1773, 1783, 1787
GTM.000002, American Catholic Sermon Collection, Special Collections Research Center, Georgetown University


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Dom Pen.


Do. 11 post pen: 73


Brin Do-pen: 1778


D. Pomft Dom 4 post Pen: 1789


Caro mea vere est cibus; et Sanguis meus vere est potus. (John 6:56)


Et repleti sunt omnes spiritu Sancto And they were all filld with the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:4)


We read in the acts of the apostles that after our savior's most glorious ascension into heaven St. Peter & all the Apostles together with the Blessed Lady mother of God & the rest of the faithful went back into Jerusalem & continued in prayer fasting & holy works expecting the coming of the Holy Ghost, & preparing themselves for it; which great mystery the Church celebrates today. and that the Holy Ghost [*] then descended visibly in form of fiery Tongues on the apostles, & they were filled with the holy Ghost & the love of God and began immediately to speak different Languages from what they knew before & to teach discourses & to think of nothing else but of God & repentance. They You must observe that they prepared themselves for the coming of the Holy Ghost by ferverous prayer & by most humble chaste & holy meditating on the greatness of the Mystery & the Majesty of god who was to descend on them. This is an example, Christians, from which You must learn with what reverence & most holy dispositions are required in You when god himself comes to you, that is, when You approach to the holy mysteries of god's body & Blood & receive him into Your souls by holy communion. for whose reception a work a preparation above all others is required & a solicitude above all others to make yourselves worthy of his sacred & tremendous presence, because above all others the dignity & majesty of him that comes to you requires it; & he requires it also of all those who are present at this divine sacrifice & who come into the house of God & in the corporal presence of God himself. a few serious reflections proposed to catholics who believe as they ought in the real presence of god offered for them on the altar will, I hope, be sufficient to awake in them a great fear & reverence when they appear in his presence, & make them cry out with a great Saint


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And Doctor of the Church, o altitudo! Oh the Depth & greatness of God! (Romans 11:33) Tis god himself, Tis the holy of holies whom we adore! that so by this short but principal reflection which includes all that Divines, all that men or Angels can tell express, they may excite themselves to believe firmly, to love sincerely & to spare no pains to prepare themselves most worthily for the presence of god when they come to communion and to hear mass that they may not deserve that dreadful threat of the unworthy Receiver (1 Corinthians 11:27) , qui manducat meam comem et bibit etc. (John 6:55)


The great & glorious work of our faith & redemption from the birth of our Savior to his most glorious ascension and the most wonderful descending down today of the Holy Ghost today in form of fiery Tongues on the heads & into the hearts of the Apostles to confirm them in their faith & to enable them to propagate the same throughout the whole world which they have delivered down to us pure & untainted, because Jesus Christ himself built his Church upon a rock & gave his unerring word & promise that it should never err, nor the gates of hell never prevail against it (Matthew 16:18) are all great mysteries of the [most] bounteous unerring hand of god who has done them for us that nothing might be left undone to save us from sin & perdition & keep us from the like danger for the future; But that which above all surpasses our comprehension, But no less true then all the others, is the adorable, the sacred & precious gift of his own most holy Body & blood which to complete to consummate & to enforce still more strong to us the character of god & Savior to us, he has left to his only true church in the adorable & tremendous Mystery of the most Blessed sacrament of the altar, which he himself instituted at his last supper by those strong true & never to be altered words this is my body (Matthew 26:26) this is my blood (Matthew 26:28) . & again, my flesh is meet in deed and my blood, drink indeed (John 6:55) , verily verily I say unto you except you eat the flesh of the sun of man & drink his blood you shall have no life in you (John 6:53)


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where I would have all observe that Jesus Christ in the old original Greek & Latin Testaments, which are not corrupted by Heretics, does not say this is the sign of my body, but absolutely this is my body (Matthew 26:26) , & then commands all to take & eat. Here, Christians and [*] I could prove to you by elaborate discourse & argument the truth of the real presence in the Blessed sacrament from many passages of the old & new Testament from Antique writing of the holy fathers & from the doctrine of all ages down from our Savior's time down to this present day But I am speaking to a Catholic auditory who know how to submit their belief & Judgment & understanding to that safe & unerring rule of faith which the Catholic faith teaches them & which Jesus Christ taught & [established] on earth & which will endure to the end of the world; my business therefore is not to convince you those who [*] already believe but believing as you do, to excite you to true devotion to this great mystery, to a due & careful preparation for [**] all receiving this sacrament & to a great honor & fear of omitting any thing they lays in their power & is conducive to the honor reverence due to god himself faith alone will not do for a preparation to come worthily to this sacrament a superficial preparation won't excuse you from that sentence of the unworthy receiver (1 Corinthians 11:29) when you come to this great this dignified this adorable mystery in which you know god himself is present. No Christians you will still be under the sentence of perishing eternally unless, believing as you do you take the greatest care to correspond to the dignity of this mystery by leading lives worthy of the holy faith you profess [* damage] you by an humble, sincere & faithful confessing of your sins joined with a most hearty sorrow for them & such a resolution never to do the like again that you may depend on & not deceive yourselves, in fine unless you are careful in rendering due Homage & adoration to your god & Savior before & specially after You communicate & have your god with you. in a word at all times when You make [your] visit to the house of god & the place of his abode. Did Christians only [reflect on]


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this and that it is god himself who remains for them I am sure they would return a larger share of love & gratitude & be more cautious in recollecting themselves with due reverence & devotion when they come to, and enter into the place where god's majesty & power dwells. did you only stir yourselves up the day before you design coming to your devotions, with this only thought, tis god himself, tis Jesus Christ, that dwells there whom I am to receive, they would take care the morning they come to allow themselves more time for a preparation for [confession] & communion & come earlier to recollect themselves in prayer, and not run to the sacred tribunal without any or at least little or none preparation all in a bustle & hurry least they should be too late. is not this often the case, Christians! is it not the cause that so little fruit is received from these powerful preservatives from sin & relapses? a little serious consideration of these consequences would make you Christians more cautious on the matter. when the God of hosts gave the Law to Moses in mount [Sinai] he ordered 3 days preparation for all the people before he would speak to them give them the Law. The same god makes himself the food of your body & souls & yet I fear there are those who [scarce ever] make even [*] a few hours preparation for the reception of that god who then gave us the Law. Yes, it is I fear too true, that many never come or enter into the Chapel but just before service begins, & never think of coming into the Chapel to pray from one year's end to the other upon [*] those Sundays & holy days they don't come to their devotions but just come in before prayers begin to [love] their distance without the least devotion thought of the greatness of the mystery they assist at or of the presence of god before whom they stand.


Let me, [dear Christians], propose to you all a more frequent use of the Sacraments, for this is the true the only preservative against Sin for which Jesus Christ, instituted them, are not you all sinners? don't the most ferverous & pious fall into many Sins & imperfections. is not your soul's


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salvation your only concern? Come to me all you says Jesus Christ that labor & are heavy burdened & I will refresh you (Matthew 11:28) , for my flesh is [Christians] Jesus Christ instituted the Sacrament for sinners. They are remedies for sinners & preservatives for the just. You are all members of the Catholic church, but remember those are useless & rotten members only fit to be [out] of who deprive themselves of the conditions to make themselves true & useful members, or at least only make use of them when obliged. Cut down that barren & fruitless tree & why does it occupy the ground (Luke 13:7) . I speak to you all Christians souls whose souls I have care of & must give an account of to god, I recommend to you all a more frequent use of the sacraments than the generality of you are accustomed to make use of. if the frequent use of confession & communion is good & necessary for the pious, how much more for the tepid & even wicked Christians, since tis only by repentance only that they must get quit of their sins & save their. souls. Libertines & all you who make a custom of neglecting the sacraments take notice of what I say, if you are a mind to save your souls. 1st then I affirm that a frequent use of the Sacraments is necessary for the good & ferverous Xian, to keep him in fervor, without which he will by little & little come to fall. 2ly— a frequent use of the Sacraments is necessary for the weak & tepid that that fire may be kindled in him which Jesus Christ say he came dow to cast upon the earth (Luke 12:49) , for if he is neither hot nor cold Jesus Christ will spew him out of his mouth (Revelation 3:16) . 3ly— a frequent use of the Sacraments is necessary for great Sinners that so they may save themselves from that eternal perdition that hovers over them & into which they must certainly fall without they make use of this great & merciful restorative to gods favor, & which can only keep them from relapsing again & make them gather new strength for the future. in a word who can be called a Catholic or at least a true member would willfully deprive themselves of those great gifts of god & stay away from one year's end to the other from the Sacraments


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How many are there of those who do this & how many are there who neglect the indulgences set times of indulgence; a good & pious Christian would never neglect once a month to come to their devotions to gain new strength to fight with more courage in the dangerous affair of their souls' salvation surrounded as You we all are in this mortal life with dangers & temptations & one [* illeg.] of death when in mortal sins, we are lost for all eternity, [*] must involve you in an eternal loss of your souls, who then would ever venture to go to bed or sleep with a conscience burdened with one only mortal Sin.


Wherefore Christians , make use of the sacraments & prepare your selves well this holy time of indulgence for that great that dreadful yet life giving sacrament of god's sacred body & blood. from a true preparation you will find that solid comfort that joy & quiet of conscience after communion never to be found but in a strict union with god in this Sacrament. have not you your selves [* damage] amid [*] comfort after communion that has strengthened & fortified your souls against Sin & that which is not good, your old habits? have not you very verily prospered after to suffer all things for the future rather than again offend your god by returning to your old sinful habits? was not your eyes then open to the world & its tempting baits & elements & did not you then see & know from god who then whispered to your souls that all was vanity & afflictions of spirit but to love & serve god . . . whence came all these pious dispositions during the days after, [here] [* illeg.] at your devotions but from the presence of your god & the effects of his grace your have you not found the contrary of these good resolutions the moments you relapse again into sin. twas god that gave you these holy thoughts after the sacraments. Twas the Devil that blinded you when you fell into sin & which makes you neglect the sacraments that he may keep your Eyes shut. Call your selves again, Christians, to your duty this holy [* illeg.] & excite your selves again to a worthy & generous preparation of for the Sacraments & you will be happy [****] reflect on the great power & assistance of the Blessed mother of god will by her prayers obtain of her beloved son for you if you honor his great feast of his ascension & make use of this divine [** illeg.] communion


Footnotes