I got quite the surprise when I learnt there was a time in the life of Gertrude the Great when she did not feel worthy to receive Our Lord in the Eucharist.  I mean, she was such a fantastically holy and pure nun to whom Our Lord gave a wealth of truths about Himself, that it seems strange she was not worthy to receive Him. Yet one Sunday she doubted whether she was satisfactorily prepared to receive Holy Communion. I thought that just happened to sinners like me. In the last year alone, before the outbreak of Covid-19, when we could freely go to Holy Mass and receive the Host, I had to abstain several times. Now, however, neither Catholics who are in sin nor those who are in a state of grace may receive the Eucharist.

In the mystical exchange between Gertrude and Our Lord, He agreed with her that she was not in a fit state to receive His Body and Blood into her body. Jesus said to Gertrude: "I prefer that you should deprive yourself of Communion through holy prudence, on this occasion, rather than approach it." Gertrude bemoaned that she had no time to make herself ready. But then Our Lord advised her to make a Spiritual Communion. So Gertrude offered an act of Spiritual Communion.

Then Gertrude worried that those who had the Eucharist enjoyed greater grace than her, so she besought Jesus; "Lord, have not those who have received Thee in this Sacrament obtained greater grace than I?" Our Lord did not agree that they had obtained "greater grace". And while Gertrude posed this question over 700 years ago, deep in the confines of her convent in Germany, it is surely on many of our minds today: would we enjoy "greater grace" were we to receive Christ's Body and Blood into our human flesh?  We may consider Our Lord's answer to Gertrude is our answer, too. Our Lord made Gertrude aware of the great value and merit of making a Spiritual Communion when He asked her, "Who is esteemed most worthy, he who is adorned with pearls and precious stones, or he who has an immense treasure of pure gold hidden in his house?"

Our Lord enlightened Gertrude that the sincere soul who desires the Eucharist, but for whatever true reason cannot receive it, and communes spiritually has, "an immense treasure of pure gold," and while it is "hidden", it is still marvelous treasure. For you today, who make a Spiritual Communion, you may also have a trove of purest gold, hidden from the sight of other people. When you may once again go to a church, assist at Mass and receive into your body the Body and Blood of Christ, you will be like one who has pearls and precious stones on display.

It is in the course of making a Spiritual Communion, when you and I pray: Apply to my soul, I beseech Thee, O merciful Jesus, Thine infinite merits, and when Our Lord deigns to grant our souls His "infinite merits," this is the gold that our souls store in secret. Our Lord's sacred discourse with Gertrude harks back to Matthew's Gospel, Chapter 6 where we are exhorted to, "Lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven: where neither the rust nor moth doth consume, and where thieves do not break through, nor steal. When Our Lord spoke to Gertrude of the "house", He is speaking of the place in Heaven awarded to the saved soul, and yet the "house" is also the soul because were the soul not in a state of grace and worthy of Heaven, there would be no place for it in paradise.

Off the subject of Spiritual Communion, but in the exact same conversation where Our Lord confided in Gertrude the treasures of a Spiritual Communion, He also told her that which happens to a soul when He stares at it with His eyes. Throughout the intimate, mystical conversations between Jesus and Gertrude a continuous item of discussion was Our Lord's explanations as to the relationship between a soul and His Face, in this case how the stare of His Eyes change a soul, how His Eyes cleanse, warm, soften and make the soul fertile. 

When Jesus lets His eyes wander on a soul, Our Lord inspects the soul and cleans it of all grubbiness, secondly the stare of mercy softens the souls and makes them ready to receive spiritual gifts. As Gertrude explained so poetically, "as wax is softened by heat of the sun and becomes capable of receiving any impression" so too, is my soul and your soul made malleable for Our Lord to work into a marvel when He has bestowed His loving glance upon it. The last effect is that the stare of Our Savior makes the soul fertile and fruitful so there is the flowering of virtues. On another occasion, Our Lord instructed Gertrude that like the sun, His face throws light on the soul and warms it, and here we learn that the gaze of His eyes upon the soul have the specific role of warming and softening the soul so it may become the masterpiece Our Lord intends it to be.

The conversation between Our Lord and St Gertrude which I quoted in the above post may be read in the book, The Life and Revelations of St Gertrude the Great which you may buy at the Spirit Daily Store.


  1. Mary,

    Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory to Him forever! In your charity, please pray for Father Michael Meilach and his wife, Germaine, an 88 year old laicized Franciscan priest. Remember, marriage is only for this lifetime, but a priest is forever according tot he order of Melchizedek. The devil loves to come after these old gents, trying to persuade them they are hopelessly lost for being laicized.
    I need your help to make sure the Meilachs ar surrounded by the love of the Trinity.

    A holy, healthy, and happy holy week to you!

    1. Dear James Ignatius,

      Yes, I will pray for Father Michael and his wife, Germaine. I included his intentions in today's Rosary.

      May you be rewarded for looking out for Michael's absolute best interests and seeking prayers for his salvation.

      A most beautiful Holy Week to you and yours.


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