In 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.
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 Napoleon tells his generals that the happiest day of his life was the day of his First Holy Communion. Belloc, 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.”