The feast of Corpus Christi is the Church’s reminder that the Eucharist is not to be taken for granted. It is a great mystery — a priceless gift. We cannot expect it or demand it. It is imperative that we receive it with a proper disposition. It is the Body of Jesus Christ.

The Imitation of Christ, a timeless work written by Thomas A Kempis, explains, using the words of our Lord, our inability to prepare ourselves worthily to receive this great gift.

You must realize that you cannot make adequate preparation for me through your own merits, even if you prepared yourself for an entire year and with your mind on nothing else. It is through My generosity and grace that you are allowed to approach My table; just as if a beggar were invited to a rich man’s dinner and could only return him thanks for the kindness shown to him.

Thomas A Kempis, Imitation of Christ

While we should take great pains to spiritually prepare ourselves for this Sacrament, we must keep in mind that we cannot make adequate preparation solely through our own merits. It is impossible. The reception of the Holy Eucharist is a gift — a gift that we must prepare for and long for, but a gift nonetheless. We must give thanks to Christ for his great generosity; let us not be ungrateful wretches who receive an unimaginable gift as if they deserve it. We should instead express our gratitude by careful preparation, humbling ourselves before our God.

Do the best you can and as well as you can; not from habit or necessity, but with reverential fear and affection, receive the Body of your beloved Lord God, Who condescends to come to you. I am He Who has invited you, and I have commanded this Sacrament to be; therefore, I will make up for whatever is lacking in you. Come, then, and receive Me.

Thomas A Kempis, Imitation of Christ

The infinite love of Christ is so great; how can we possibly love him as we should? If we strive to love him, he will in turn inflame our hearts, giving us the grace to love him as we ought. The same is true with preparation before Holy Communion. We must humble ourselves before Him, coming with reverential fear and affection to Christ in the Sacrament. He will then inflame our hearts and make up in us whatever is wanting. With this spirit, then, let us come and receive our Lord.