An Extract from St. Alphonsus Liguori's THE HOLY EUCHARIST, with Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1934: This treatise, "Visits to the Blessed Sacrament and to the Blessed Virgin" [which we have shortened to Blessed Sacrament Visits, for the sake of reducing the size of the banner, only] was the Saint's first published work, in 1745. It consists of thirty-one visits. St. Alphonsus began his treatise with a prayer to the Mother of God, to whom he entrusted his work, and so we, too, begin by presenting this prayer immediately, the Contents of the Directory to come later:


My most holy Queen,-----On the point of publishing the present little work, in which I treat of the love of thy Son, I know not to whom I can better dedicate it than to thee, my most beloved Mother, who, amongst all creatures, art His most tender lover. I believe that by this little offering which I present to thee, and which is composed for the sole purpose of inflaming souls more and more with the love of Jesus Christ,-----I believe, I say, that by it I shall greatly please thee, who desirest to see Him loved by all as He deserves. To thee, then, I consecrate it, such as it is; do thou graciously accept and protect it; not indeed that I may receive the praises of men, but that all who read it may for the future correspond, by their greater devotion and affection, with the tender and excessive love which our most sweet Saviour has been pleased to show us in His Passion, and in the institution of the Most Holy Sacrament. As such, I place it at thy feet, and beseech thee to accept the gift as wholly thine, as also the giver, who has long since placed all his hopes in thee, and wishes and hopes always to call himself, and to rejoice in being, Most gracious Lady, Thy most loving, though most unworthy servant,

Of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer


I BEG, my dear reader, that you will not despise this little book, though written with the utmost simplicity. I have composed it in a style very simple, because I believe that it will thus more likely promote devotion amongst all classes of persons. I also beg that whether I am living or dead you will recommend me to the Most Holy Sacrament each time that you use it; and on my part I promise to pray for all who do me this act of charity, every time I offer up the Most Holy Sacrifice.


Manner of Making the Visits
Visit 1-------Visit 2-------Visit 3-------Visit 4-------Visit 5
Visit 6-------Visit 7-------Visit 8-------Visit 9-------Visit 10
Visit 11-------Visit 12-------Visit 13-------Visit 14-------Visit 15
Visit 16-------Visit 17-------Visit 18-------Visit 19-------Visit 20
Visit 21
-------Visit 22-------Visit 23-------Visit 24-------Visit 25
Visit 26-------Visit 27-------Visit 28-------Visit 29-------Visit 30-------Visit 31


The Visit to the Most Holy Sacrament

Our holy faith teaches us, and we are bound to believe, that in the consecrated Host Jesus Christ is really present under the species of bread. But we must also understand that He is thus present on our altars as on a throne of love and mercy, to dispense graces and there to show us the love which He bears us, by being pleased to dwell night and day hidden in the midst of us.

It is well known that the Holy Church instituted the festival of Corpus Christi with a solemn octave, and that she celebrates it with the many usual processions, and so frequent expositions of this Most Holy Sacrament, that men may thereby be moved gratefully to acknowledge and honor this loving presence and dwelling of Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of the Altar, by their devotions, thanksgivings, and the tender affections of their souls. O God! how many insults and outrages has not this amiable Redeemer had, and has He not daily, to endure in this Sacrament on the part of those very men for whose love He remains upon their altars on earth! Of this He indeed complained to His dear servant St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, as the author of the Book of Devotion to the Heart of Jesus relates. One day, as she was in prayer before the Most Holy Sacrament, Jesus showed her His heart on a throne of flames, crowned with thorns, and surmounted by a Cross, and thus addressed her: "Behold that heart which has loved men so much, and which has spared itself nothing; and has even gone so far as to consume itself, thereby to show them its love; but in return the greater part of men only show Me ingratitude, and this by the irreverences, tepidity, sacrileges, and contempt which they offer Me in this Sacrament of love; and that which I feel the most acutely is, that they are hearts consecrated to Me." Jesus then expressed His wish, that the first Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi should be dedicated as a particular festival in honor of His adorable Heart; and that on that day all souls who loved Him should endeavor, by their homage, and by the affections of their souls, to make amends for the insults which men have offered Him in this Sacrament of the Altar; and at the same time He promised abundant graces to all who should thus honor Him.

We can thus understand what our Lord said of old by His prophet, that His delight is to be with the children of men; [Prov. viii. 31] since He is unable to tear Himself from them even when they abandon and despise Him. This also shows us how agreeable all those souls are to the heart of Jesus who frequently visit Him, and remain in His company in the churches in which He is, under the sacramental species. He desired St. Mary Magdalene of Pazzi to visit Him in the Most Blessed Sacrament thirty-three times a day; and this beloved spouse of His faithfully obeyed Him, and in all her visits to the altar approached it as near as she possibly could, as we read in her life.

But let all those devout souls who often go to spend their time with the Most Blessed Sacrament speak;-----let them tell us the gifts, the inspirations which they have received, the flames of love which are there enkindled in their souls, the paradise which they enjoy in the presence of this hidden God.

The servant of God and great Sicilian missionary Father, Louis La Nusa, was, even in his youth and as a layman, so enamoured of Jesus Christ, that he seemed unable to tear himself from the presence of his beloved Lord. Such were the joys which he there experienced, that his director commanded him, in virtue of obedience, not to remain there for more than an hour. The time having elapsed, he showed in obeying (says the author of his life), that in tearing himself from the bosom of Jesus Christ he had to do himself just such violence as a child that has to detach itself from its mother's breast in the very moment in which it is satiating itself with the utmost avidity; and when he had to do this, we are told that he remained standing with his eyes fixed on the altar, making repeated inclinations, as if he knew not how to quit his Lord, Whose Presence was so sweet and gracious to him. To St. Aloysius it was also forbidden to remain in the presence of the Most Blessed Sacrament; and as he used to pass before it, finding himself drawn, so to speak, by the sweet attractions of his Lord, and almost forced to remain there, he would, with the greatest effort, tear himself away, saying, with an excess of tender love: Depart from me, O Lord, depart!  There it was also that St. Francis Xavier found refreshment in the midst of his many labors in India; for he employed his days in toiling for souls, and his nights in the presence of the Most Blessed Sacrament. St. John Francis Regis did the same thing; and sometimes finding the church closed, he endeavored to satisfy his longings by remaining on his knees outside the door, exposed to the rain and cold, that at least at a distance he might attend upon his comforter concealed under the sacramental species. St. Francis of Assisi used to go to communicate all his labors and undertakings to Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament. But tender indeed was the devotion of St. Wenceslaus, duke of Bohemia, to the Most Holy Sacrament. This holy king was so enamoured of Jesus there present, that he not only gathered the wheat and grapes, and made the hosts and wine with his own hands, and then gave them to be used in the Holy Sacrifice, but he used, even during the winter, to go at night to visit the church in which the Blessed Sacrament was kept. These visits enkindled in his beautiful soul such flames of Divine love, that their ardor imparted itself even to his body, and took from the snow on which he walked its wonted cold; for it is related that the servant who accompanied him in these nightly excursions, having to walk through the snow, suffered much from the cold. The holy king, on perceiving this, was moved to compassion, and commanded him to follow him, and only to step in his footmarks; he did so, and never afterwards felt the cold.

In the visits you will read other examples of the tender affection with which souls inflamed with the love of God loved to dwell in the Presence of the Most Holy Sacrament. But you will find that all the Saints were enamoured of this most sweet devotion; since, indeed, it is impossible to find on earth a more precious gem, or a treasure more worthy of all our love, than Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament. Certainly amongst all devotions, after that of receiving the Sacraments, that of adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament holds the first place, is the most pleasing to God, and the most useful to ourselves. Do not then, O devout soul, refuse to begin this devotion; and forsaking the conversation of men, dwell each day, from this time forward, for at least half or quarter of an hour, in some church, in the Presence of Jesus Christ under the sacramental species. Taste and see how sweet is the Lord. [Ps. xxxiii. 9] Only try this devotion, and by experience you will see the great benefit that you will derive from it. Be assured that the time you will thus spend with devotion before this most Divine Sacrament will be the most profitable to you in life, and the source of your greatest consolation in death and in eternity. You must also be aware, that in a quarter of an hour's prayer spent in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, you will perhaps gain more than in all the other spiritual exercises of the day. It is true, that in every place God graciously hears the petitions of those who pray to Him, having promised to do so: Ask, and you shall receive; [John xvi. 24] yet the disciple tells us that Jesus dispenses His graces in greater abundance to those who visit Him in the Most Holy Sacrament. Blessed Henry Suso used also to say that Jesus Christ hears the prayers of the faithful more graciously in the Sacrament of the Altar than elsewhere. And where, indeed, did holy souls make their most beautiful resolutions, but prostrate before the Most Holy Sacrament? Who knows but that you also may one day, in the presence of the tabernacle, make the resolution to give yourself entirely to God? In this little book I feel myself bound, at least out of gratitude to my Jesus in the Holy Sacrament, to declare, that through the means of this devotion of visiting the Most Blessed Sacrament, which I practised, though with so much tepidity and in so imperfect a manner, I abandoned the world, in which, unfortunately, I lived until I was six-and-twenty years of age. Fortunate indeed will you be if you can detach yourself from it at an earlier period, and give yourself without reserve to that Lord Who has given Himself without reserve to you. I repeat it, that indeed you will be blessed, not only in eternity, but even in this life. Believe me, all is folly: feasts, theatres, parties of pleasure, amusements,-----these are the goods of the world, but goods which are filled with the bitterness of gall and with sharp thorns. Believe me, who has experienced this and now weep over it. Be also assured that Jesus Christ finds means to console a soul that remains with a recollected spirit before the Most Blessed Sacrament, far beyond what the world can do with all its feasts and pastimes. Oh, how sweet a joy it is to remain with faith and tender devotion before an altar, and converse familiarly with Jesus Christ, Who is there for the express purpose of listening to and graciously hearing those who pray to Him; to ask His pardon for the displeasures which we have caused Him; to represent our wants to Him, as a friend does to a friend in whom he places all his confidence; to ask Him for His graces, for His love, and for His kingdom; but above all, oh, what a heaven is it there to remain making acts of love towards that Lord Who is on the very Altar praying to the Eternal Father for us, and is there burning with love for us. Indeed that love it is which detains Him there, thus hidden and unknown, and when He is even despised by ungrateful souls! But why should we say more? "Taste and see."

The Visit to the Blessed Virgin

And now as to the visits to the Most Blessed Virgin, the opinion of St. Bernard is well known, and generally believed: it is, that God dispenses no graces otherwise than through the hands of Mary: "God wills that we should receive nothing that does not pass through Mary's hands."  [In Vig. Nat. Dom. s. 3] Hence Father Suarez declares that it is now the sentiment of the universal Church, that "the intercession of Mary is not only useful, but even necessary to obtain graces." [De Inc. p. 2, q. 37, a. 4, d. 23;  This question is treated at length in the Glories of Mary, Part I: ch. 5.] And we may remark that the Church gives us strong grounds for this belief, by applying the words of the Sacred Scripture to Mary, and making her say: In me is all hope of life and of virtue. Come over to me, all ye that desire me. [Ecclus. xxiv. 25] Let all come to me; for I am the hope of all that you can desire. Hence she then adds: Blessed is the man that heareth me, and that watcheth daily at my gates, and waiteth at the posts of my doors. [Prov. viii. 34] Blessed is he who is diligent in coming every day to the door of my powerful intercession; for by finding me he will find life and eternal salvation: He that shall find me shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord. [Ibid. 35] Hence it is not without reason that the Holy Church wills that we should all call her our common hope, by saluting her, saying, "Hail, our hope!"

"Let us then," says St. Bernard (who went so far as to call Mary "the whole ground of his hope"), "seek for graces, and seek them through Mary." [De Aquaed.] Otherwise, says St. Antoninus, if we ask for graces without her intercession, we shall be making an effort to fly without wings, and we shall obtain nothing: "He who asks without her as his guide, attempts to fly without wings." [P. 4, tit. 15]

In Father Auriemma's little book, Affetti Scambievoli [Affetti Scam. p. 2. c. 3], we read of innumerable favors granted by the Mother of God to those who practised this most profitable devotion of often visiting her in her churches or before some image. We read of the graces which she granted in these visits to Saint Albert the Great, to the Abbot Rupert, to Father Suarez, especially when she obtained for them the gift of understanding, by which they afterwards became so renowned throughout the Church for their great learning: the graces which she granted to Saint John Berchmans of the Society of Jesus, who was in the daily habit of visiting Mary in a chapel of the Roman college; he declared that he renounced all earthly love, to love no other after God than the Most Blessed Virgin, and had written at the foot of the image of his beloved Lady: "I will never rest until I shall have obtained a tender love for my Mother."; the graces which she granted to St. Bernardine of Siena, who in his youth also went every day to visit her in a chapel near the city-gate, and declared that that Lady had ravished his heart. Hence he called her his beloved, and said that he could not do less than often visit her; and by her means he afterwards obtained the grace to renounce the world, and to become what he afterwards was, a great Saint and the apostle of Italy.

Do you, then, be also careful always to join to your daily visit to the Most Blessed Sacrament a visit to the most holy Virgin Mary in some church, or at least before a devout image of her in your own house. If you do this with tender affection and confidence, you may hope to receive great things from this most gracious Lady, who, as St. Andrew of Crete says, always bestows great gifts on those who offer her even the least act of homage. [In Dorm. B. V. s. 3]

 Mary, Queen of sweetest hope,
Who can e'er forget thee?
By thy mercy, by thy love,
Have pity, Queen, on me?

Spiritual Communion

As in all the following visits to the Most Blessed Sacrament a spiritual Communion is recommended, it will be well to explain what it is, and the great advantages which result from its practice. A spiritual Communion, according to St. Thomas, [P. 3, q. 80, a. 1] consists in an ardent desire to receive Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament, and in lovingly embracing Him as if we had actually received Him.

How pleasing these spiritual Communions are to God, and the many graces which He bestows through their means, was manifested by our Lord Himself to Sister Paula Maresca, the foundress of the convent of St. Catherine of Sienna in Naples, when (as it is related in her life) He showed her two precious vessels, the one of gold, the other of silver. He then told her that in the gold vessel He preserved her sacramental Communions, and in the silver one her spiritual Communions. He also told Blessed Jane of the Cross that each time that she communicated spiritually she received a grace of the same kind as the one that she received when she really communicated. Above all, it will suffice for us to know that the holy Council of Trent [Sess. xiii. c. 8] greatly praises spiritual Communions, and encourages the faithful to practise them.

Hence all devout souls are accustomed often to practise this holy exercise of spiritual Communion. Blessed Agatha of the Cross did so two hundred times a day. And Father Peter Faber, the first companion of St. Ignatius, used to say that it was of the highest utility to make spiritual Communions, in order to receive the sacramental Communion well.

All those who desire to advance in the love of Jesus Christ are exhorted to make a spiritual Communion at least once in every visit that they pay to the Most Blessed Sacrament, and at every Mass that they hear; and it would even be better on these occasions to repeat the Communions three times, that is to say, at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end. This devotion is far more profitable than some suppose, and at the same time nothing can be easier to practise. The above-named Blessed Jane of the Cross used to say, that a spiritual Communion can be made without anyone remarking it, without being fasting, without the permission of our director, and that we can make it at any time we please: an act of love does all. [An Act of Spiritual Communion, according to any pious formula, is enriched with a partial Indulgence. In the Saint's time and until 1968, the Church granted an Indulgence of 300 days for every act of spiritual Communion, and a plenary Indulgence once a month, on the usual conditions.-----the Web Master]
Manner of Making the Visits

My Lord Jesus Christ, Who, for the love which Thou bearest to men, remainest night and day in this Sacrament full of compassion and of love, awaiting, calling, and welcoming all who come to visit Thee: I believe that Thou art present in the Sacrament of the Altar: I adore Thee from the abyss of my nothingness, and I thank Thee for all the graces which Thou hast bestowed upon me, and in particular for having given me Thyself in this Sacrament, for having given me Thy most holy Mother Mary for my advocate, and for having called me to visit Thee in this church.

I now salute Thy most loving Heart; and this for three ends: 1. In thanksgiving for this great gift; 2. To make amends to Thee for all the outrages which Thou receivest in this Sacrament from all Thine enemies; 3. I intend by this visit to adore Thee in all the places on earth in which Thou art present in this Sacrament, and in which Thou art the least revered and the most abandoned.

My Jesus, I love Thee with my whole heart. I grieve for having hitherto so many times offended Thine infinite goodness. I purpose by Thy grace never more to offend Thee for the time to come; and now, miserable and unworthy though I be, I consecrate myself to Thee without reserve; I give Thee and renounce my entire will, my affections, my desires, and all that I possess. From henceforward do Thou dispose of me and of all that I have as Thou pleasest. All that I ask of Thee and desire is Thy holy love, final perseverance, and the perfect accomplishment of Thy will.

I recommend to Thee the Souls in Purgatory; but especially those who had the greatest devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament and to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. I also recommend to Thee all poor sinners.

In fine, my dear Saviour, I unite all my affections with the affections of Thy most loving Heart; and I offer them, thus united, to Thy Eternal Father, and beseech Him in Thy name to vouchsafe, for Thy love, to accept and grant them.


My Jesus, I believe that Thou art truly present in the Most Blessed Sacrament. I love Thee above all things, and I desire to possess Thee within my soul. Since I am unable now to receive Thee sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace Thee as being already there, and unite myself wholly to Thee; never permit me to be separated from Thee.

I believe that Thou, O Jesus, art in the Most Holy Sacrament! I love Thee and desire Thee! Come into my heart. I embrace Thee; oh, never leave me!

"May the burning and must sweet power of Thy love, O Lord Jesus Christ, I beseech Thee, absorb my mind, that I may die through love of Thy love, Who wast graciously pleased to die through love of my love."-----St. Francis of Assisi.

"O love not loved! O love not known!"-----St. M. Magdalene of Pazzi.

"O my spouse, when wilt Thou take me to Thyself?"-----St. Peter of Alcantara.

Jesus, my good, my sweetest love,
Strike and inflame this heart of mine,
Make it all fire for love of Thee!

Hail to the love of Jesus, our life, and our all! to Mary, our hope! Amen.

After the spiritual Communion, you will then make a visit to some image of the Blessed Virgin Mary.


Read the visit of the day, and finish by the following prayer, thereby to obtain the most powerful patronage of Mary:

Most holy Immaculate Virgin and my Mother Mary, to thee who art the Mother of my Lord, the Queen of the world, the advocate, the hope, the refuge of sinners. I have recourse today,-----I, who am the most miserable of all. I render thee my most humble homages, O Great Queen, and I thank thee for all the graces thou hast conferred on me until now, particularly for having delivered me from Hell, which I have so often deserved. I love thee, O most amiable Lady; and for the love which I bear thee, I promise to serve thee always, and to do all in my power to make others love thee also. I place in thee all my hopes; I confide my salvation to thy care. Accept me for thy servant, and receive me under thy mantle, O Mother of mercy. And since thou art so powerful with God, deliver me from all temptations, or rather obtain me the strength to triumph over them until death. Of thee I ask a perfect love for Jesus Christ. From thee I hope to die a good death. O my Mother, by the love which thou bearest to God, I beseech thee to help me at all times, but especially at the last moment of my life. Leave me not, I beseech thee, until thou seest me safe in Heaven, blessing thee, and singing thy mercies for all eternity. Amen. So I hope. So may it be.