What Napoleon Thought About Holy Communion

What Napoleon Thought About Holy CommunionIn an age of instant gratification, we are encouraged to forget about the most important things in our lives. Our rushed and hectic schedules demand our attention. We must have everything now, instantly, regardless of the consequences. It must be the latest and greatest, the biggest and the best version; it must be new and improved; updated to 5.0, 6.0 or even 7.0.

When we are caught up in the frenetic intemperance of our times, it would be good to stop a moment and reflect on those things that really matter. This is especially true of our Catholic Faith. All too often, we do not fully appreciate what our Faith has to offer. We do not, for example, realize what a great grace it is to adore Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and especially to receive Him, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

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In moments of reflection, we should think about Napoleon. He was the emperor of France in the early nineteenth century. There was no glory he did not receive during his lifetime. Always victorious in war and adored by his men, he subjected huge parts of Europe to his rule. His life might be considered the apotheosis of all possible glory and joy.

Yet, he left the Church, persecuted the Church and lived a life that was ultimately unhappy. Indeed, it might be asked: What was his greatest joy?

In James Joyce’s book, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, there is a passage where Subscription5.3Napoleon tells his generals that the happiest day of his life was the day of his First Holy Communion. Beloc, in his biography of Napoleon, confirms this great happiness when he wrote: “His preparation for his First Communion he always remembered and that day stood out for him all his life.”

The Church is full of hidden treasures that we do not value as we should. One need not be an emperor to appreciate the Holy Eucharist; one need only be a Catholic.

As seen on Catholic365.com

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  • Diana Schmidt

    We Catholics all too often “forget” what an amazing thing Holy Communion or Eucharistic Adoration is. We need to truly appreciate what happens at the Altar AND how it can transform our lives. As the hymn says…” I received the LIVING GOD”
    WE need to, as Catholic, through word of mouth and education reawaken our fellow Catholics to the real presence in the Eucharistic.

    • Ana Milan

      A very large number of people have stopped going to Holy Mass as they proclaim that since Pope Pius XII there have been no authentic Bishops or Popes and after Vatican II no authentic priests, so the NO Mass is not a real Mass. On the other hand, the See of Peter is in Rome but how to bring it back to preaching the Ten Commandments and keeping the faith intact until the End Times by destroying the secular Modernity that has taken over its governance is the task that is facing all of us.

      • william

        Another lost sheep.

        • Ana Milan

          Can I take it that you completely support the secular ecumenism that has done away with the ancient liturgy of the Holy Mass, practically wiped away the sacraments, no longer teaches the Ten Commandments, has not catechised its youth, has weakened in its support of Holy Matrimony, is about to allow divorced & remarried without annulment couples and cohabitants to receive Holy Communion & is now saying that homosexual unions may have a “sacramental character” (Cardinal Marx)? Never before has there been so much corruption in the Catholic Church despite all the demonic filth that has been thrown at it over the ages and the bad Popes that have held the Papal Office. Catholic Europe is no longer and the same can be said for most of the USA/UK/Canada/AustraliaI & Ireland. The only places the faith is growing is in Africa and the Philippines. Islam is a constant threat to Christians but that doesn’t apparently resonate with the Vatican who have been labouring over Laudato si together with their Atheist consultants.

          It would be impossible to count the “lost sheep” and what is really offensive is that our leadership doesn’t care. Their concept of there being no Hell and we are all the same and will attain Heaven (even Atheists who deny God) is so non-Catholic it beggars belief that they retain even one miniscule of the teachings of Jesus Christ our Founder and bears no witness to Apostolic Tradition. It is on record that since the Reformation failed from without it is the intention this time to fight from within to destroy Christ’s Church on earth, but we still have His promise that the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.

  • Jim Brunetti

    Holy Communion (or the Holy Eucharist) is a great Gift from Our Lord Jesus Christ. The more often we receive the Body and Blood of Our Lord, the closer we can get to His Divine Presence. Christ said, “Unless you eat My Flesh and drink My Blood, you shall not have life within you”. Why would anyone NOT want to take up His Offer, His Gift and His Presence in our lives?? This is a heavenly Offer that we dare not refuse nor take lightly. The word, “Eucharist” comes from the Greek and means, “Thanksgiving”. Let us give Thanks to our God and worthily partake in the Food that He offers us.

  • Joanie Torres

    He says, “COME to Me and I will give you rest.” To fully understand Him, we need to receive His Body and His Blood as He gives Himself to US freely and without reservation, at the Holy Altar. Once we are in Holy Communion with Him, then we are given the GRACE to TRUST Him and develop a Loving Relationship with God, Our Father, God, The Son, Our Brother, Jesus and God, the Holy Spirit. Catholic parents you must ask God to allow you to encourage your children to receive the Gift of the Sacraments of Holy Communion and Holy Penance. So that they will be worthy to have God live inside their bodies and equip them for the final days, AMEN…….

  • babtxu

    i am appalled by the idea of putting Napoleon on a pedestal when history is full of facts of all his cruelty, the pseudo Catholic he was – so many innocent lives were lost because of his crazy imperialism, his troops sweeping over Europe initiating secularism, causing the death of so many priests, nuns and monks, poor peasants… in Bavaria alone, over 40,000 young farmers had to accompany him to Russia to die miserably. This is not a role model, I am sorry.

    • me, myself & I r all here

      You missed the point & proved the point at the same time. I am sorry.

      • babtxu

        it depends on the perspective – me, myself &…,by any chance, do you have a family member in the past having suffered under Napoleon’s regime? I do.
        To the uneducated mind, the aforesaid post might convey the message that Napoleon was a benign ruler – people who know about Napoleon would marvel how he could still remember the sacredness of the sacrament. I do not dispute the beauty of it, God can work miracles, everywhere, every day.

    • Ralph Rivera

      I agree, he may have remembered his first real joyous moment, but he soon forgot and persecuted the church, the reverse of St. Paul. I mainly remember that he took the crown from the pope and crowned himself emperor.

    • Preston

      We might also have said the same thing about St. Paul, but for the grace of God. Who knows what God’s mercy might have done for him. Let us pray for his immortal soul.

    • Skyewatcher

      Talk about missing the point.

    • 1Bobby8

      You don’t see the irony?

    • Elizabeth Kurian

      In the biography of Blessed Anna Maria Taigi who had visions of Napolean’s life it tells how in his last hours Napolean ordered exposition of the blessed Sacrament and received all the last sacraments except viaticum (which his sickness forbade). He is not a hero. He is an example of the greatness of God.

  • jcsmitty

    That the cruel and egomaniacal dictator Napolean would remember the happiest day of his life as his First Holy Communion bears witness that only God can make us truly happy!

  • babtxu

    This is not about irony. truly, The article is misleading. The “great” dictators in the world were always adored by their men following the strongest leader, regardless of how bad they were. I would have loved for the article to focus on conversion through the Eucharist. If Napoleon had repented, had gone the right way after all, I could appreciate the intent. Everybody is entitled to their opinion, and that includes me. Sneering comments are derogatory and not remotely helpful.

  • The point is well made: Napoleon had everything the world could promise, but in his lust for fame lost the goods of the spiritual life, grace and union with God. That’s what he recognized in reference to his Holy Communion. Too bad he didn’t have the humility to abandon the world and follow the plan of God.

  • What a ridiculous guy Napoleon was! He should never have walked away from the Church!

  • Deacon J

    I read most of the discussions. As a deacon in the Church I too am troubled by some of the points made by people. However, I don’t place most of the blame on the church. We, the parents and godparents, are to be the first teachers of our children. I look around my church and fortunately we still have a young and vibrant group of young people who come to Church every Sunday. Yet I see so many who don’t come. I was the principal at the local high school for 19 years. I tried every day to instill morals and dedication to God, Flag, Country and family in my students. However it became apparent parents were no longer in charge. If disciplined, a student’s parent would arrive at school to defend the child instead of joining in the school in making corrections to bad behavior. It is the same in the Church. As parents, we have an obligation to do everything we can to help our children to gain eternal life in Heaven. Yet we are willing to let them make bad choices without any repercussions or disdain on our part. I can’t speak for the Pope, all I know is that Jesus will not let the gates of Hell win the war. He spoke of only a remmant of the faith left upon his return. I love the Latin Mass, but believe this Mass is just as valid, otherwise how would Jesus leave his flock unfed. Continue the discourse you have started but let the Holy Spirit guide you as He has the Church since that first Pentecost. God Bless you all.

    • John

      Seeing Ana and William’s arguments, I can honestly say that I come in on both sides of the fence. The one side of me says that it is terrific for Pope Francis to be so pastoral and incude everyone, including the atheists, homosexuals, divorced and remarried without the benefit of an annulment couples, co-inhabiters, etc. Because Scripture tells us Salvation was made available to all through the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Pope is absolutely correct in his inclusive Theology. I was very impressed with him when he was first elected; I thought that finally the Church has a spiritual leader who will shepherd the flock to get ‘right with God’ in all aspects of our lives, the spiritual, intellectual, and the physical prior to Jesus’ Second Coming, which many people, including myself, believe to be imminent. I thought Pope Francis to be the best of his 2 immediate predecessors combined. Why, shortly after his election, he had a dove land on his hand in the middle of St. Peter’s Square. I felt this was amazing symbolism, especially since a descending dove is often used to depict the Holy Spirit. I wondered if this were a sign from God that this newly elected Pope has found favor with Him. The other side of me, began to slowly become more suspicious of Pope Francis. Notice how he never gives direction on how to do good. He always makes pronouncements concerning how to right wrongs in our lives. This is what is termed ‘Replacement Theology’; if such and such is what is bad in your life, replace it with something good or at least take action to nullify it. Say one is an atheist, replace that aspect of your life with doing good to others and living with a loving attitude. Were you to do that, God will understand and in His great Mercy, forgive you for your atheism because you did live as if you are a believer, though you didn’t know it. If you are a homosexual, replace the way you’re living, if that happens to be one of being sexually active, with a platonic lifestyle. I could go on and on but Jesus would have been adamently opposed to ‘Replacement Theology’ because it waters down the moral teachings He left with His Apostles to spread throughout the world beginning with the moment He sent them out, two by two, to preach His Word. Surely, He forgives the sinner and admonishes him or her to, as William so aptly put it, “Go and sin no more.” This statement is an example of proving both sides of the argument true. On the one hand, it takes the more pastoral approach of William but one cannot deny that to remember the fire and brimstone attitude of Ana is necessary as well. In other words, Jesus forgives us of our sins, which Pope Francis emphasizes but without some element of fear instilled within us, we are apt not to have a true conversion experience which leads us to a complete participation in the servant leadership to which Christ calls us. If Pope Francis is a false or misleading teacher, then it is the obligation of every Catholic, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to follow what their individual consciences direct them as far as how to fulfill the Will of the Lord in their lives is concerned. This discernment comes through prayer, hopefully informed through proper upbringing. I pray that each and everyone of you who reads my commentary wins favor with God and that we shall all one day meet Him and live with Him for all Eternity. Amen!!!