Amid all these apparitions, Satan held a conspicuous place, under various forms, which represented different species of sins. Sometimes he appeared under the form of a gigantic black figure, sometimes under those of a tiger, a fox, a wolf, a dragon, or a serpent. Not, however, that he really took any of these shapes, but merely some one of their characteristics, joined with other hideous forms. None of these frightful apparitions entirely resembled any creature, but were symbols of abomination, discord, contradiction, and sin—in one word, were demoniacal to the fullest extent. These diabolical figures urged on, dragged, and tore to pieces, before the very eyes of Jesus, countless numbers of those men for whose redemption he was entering upon the painful way of the Cross. At first I but seldom saw the serpent; soon, however, it made its appearance, with a crown upon its head. This odious reptile was of gigantic size, apparently possessed of unbounded strength, and led forward countless legions of the enemies of Jesus in every age and of every nation. Being armed with all kinds of destructive weapons, they sometimes tore one another in pieces, and then renewed their attacks upon our Saviour with redoubled rage. It was indeed an awful sight; for they heaped upon him the most fearful outrages, cursing, striking, wounding, and tearing him in pieces. Their weapons, swords, and spears flew about in the air, crossing and recrossing continually in all directions, like the flails of threshers in an immense barn; and the rage of each of these fiends seemed exclusively directed against Jesus—that grain of heavenly wheat descended to the earth to die there, in order to feed men eternally with the Bread of Life.
Thus exposed to the fury of these hellish bands, some of which appeared to me wholly composed of blind men, Jesus was as much wounded and bruised as if their blows had been real. I saw him stagger from side to side, sometimes raising himself up, and sometimes falling again, while the serpent, in the midst of the crowds whom it was unceasingly leading forward against Jesus, struck the ground with its tail, and tore to pieces or swallowed all whom it thus knocked to the ground.
It was made known to me that these apparitions were all those persons who in divers ways insult and outrage Jesus, really and truly present in the Holy Sacrament. I recognised among them all those who in any way profane the Blessed Eucharist. I beheld with horror all the outrages thus offered to our Lord, whether by neglect, irreverence, and omission of what was due to him; by open contempt, abuse, and the most awful sacrileges; by the worship of worldly idols; by spiritual darkness and false knowledge; or, finally, by error, incredulity, fanaticism, hatred, and open persecution. Among these men I saw many who were blind, paralysed, deaf, and dumb, and even children;—blind men who would not see the truth; paralytic men who would not advance, according to its directions, on the road leading to eternal life; deaf men who refused to listen to its warnings and threats; dumb men who would never use their voices in its defence; and, finally, children who were led astray by following parents and teachers filled with the love of the world and forgetfulness of God, who were fed on earthly luxuries, drunk with false wisdom, and loathing all that pertained to religion. Among the latter, the sight of whom grieved me especially, because Jesus so loved children, I saw many irreverent, ill-behaved acolytes, who did not honour our Lord in the holy ceremonies in which they took a part. I beheld with terror that many priests, some of whom even fancied themselves full of faith and piety, also outraged Jesus in the Adorable Sacrament. I saw many who believed and taught the doctrine of the Real Presence, but did not sufficiently take it to heart, for they forgot and neglected the palace, throne, and seat of the Living God; that is to say, the church, the altar, the tabernacle, the chalice, the monstrance, the vases and ornaments; in one word, all that is used in his worship, or to adorn his house.
Entire neglect reigned everywhere, all things were left to moulder away in dust and filth, and the worship of God was, if not inwardly profaned, at least outwardly dishonured. Nor did this arise from real poverty, but from indifference, sloth, preoccupation of mind about vain earthly concerns, and often also from egotism and spiritual death; for I saw neglect of this kind in churches the pastors and congregations of which were rich, or at least tolerably well off. I saw many others in which worldly, tasteless, unsuitable ornaments had replaced the magnificent adornments of a more pious age.
I saw that often the poorest of men were better lodged in their cottages than the Master of heaven and earth in his churches. Ah, how deeply did the inhospitality of men grieve Jesus, who had given himself to them to be their Food! Truly, there is no need to be rich in order to receive him who rewards a hundredfold the glass of cold water given to the thirsty; but how shameful is not our conduct when in giving drink to the Divine Lord, who thirsts for our souls, we give him corrupted water in a filthy glass! In consequence of all this neglect, I saw the weak scandalised, the Adorable Sacrament profaned, the churches deserted, and the priests despised. This state of impurity and negligence extended even to the souls of the faithful, who left the tabernacle of their hearts unprepared and uncleansed when Jesus was about to enter them, exactly the same as they left his tabernacle on the altar.
Were I to speak for an entire year, I could never detail all the insults offered to Jesus in the Adorable Sacrament which were made known to me in this way. I saw their authors assault Jesus in bands, and strike him with different arms, corresponding to their various offences. I saw irreverent Christians of all ages, careless or sacrilegious priests, crowds of tepid and unworthy communicants, wicked soldiers profaning the sacred vessels, and servants of the devil making use of the Holy Eucharist in the frightful mysteries of hellish worship. Among these bands I saw a great number of theologians, who had been drawn into heresy by their sins, attacking Jesus in the Holy Sacrament of his Church, and snatching out of his Heart, by their seductive words and promises, a number of souls for whom he had shed his blood. Ah! it was indeed an awful sight, for I Saw the Church as the body of Christ; and all these bands of men, who were separating themselves from the Church, mangled and tore off whole pieces of his living flesh. Alas! he looked at them in the most touching manner, and lamented that they should thus cause their own eternal loss. He had given his own divine Self to us for our Food in the Holy Sacrament, in order to unite in one body—that of the Church, his Spouse— men who were to an infinite extent divided and separated from each other; and now he beheld himself torn and rent in twain in that very body; for his principal work of love, the Holy Communion, in which men should have been made wholly one, was become, by the malice of false teachers, the subject of separation. I beheld whole nations thus snatched out of his bosom, and deprived of any participation in the treasure of graces left to the Church. Finally, I saw all who were separated from the Church plunged into the depths of infidelity, superstition, heresy, and false worldly philosophy; and they gave vent to their fierce rage by joining together in large bodies to attack the Church, being urged on by the serpent which was disporting itself in the midst of them. Alas! it was as though Jesus himself had been torn in a thousand pieces!
So much for our little pity parties.