Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
On Friday I went with my parish priest to the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, Rottingdean, as he was hearing Confessions and the Community of St John were there giving a talk on the healing nature of the Sacraments. There was Holy Hour for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. I expect this is one aspect of Catholic worship of which non-Catholics are mostly unaware. That we bow in veneration and adore what to non-Catholics would appear as a large white wafer in a jewelled and golden Mmnstrance must seem absurd. Yet to us Catholics, we believe that what is held in the monstrance is no longer that, but our Blessed Lord Himself.
Many of the Saints now venerated by the Church learned the Love of God in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. St Teresa of Calcutta, St Joseph Benedict Labre and countless others had an enormous devotion to adoration of the Most Holy Eucharist. It is not surprising. To be before the Blessed Sacrament is to be before God. To gaze upon the Blessed Sacrament is to be gazed upon by God. This is our faith...
So, you see, the Catholic life, even for a poor and lonely singleton such as me, is not without a sense of Romance. Fr Ray Blake in his homily on the Feast of Christ the King, spoke eloquently about the liturgy of the Church, at its best, being the language of lovers. St John of the Cross is one mystic whose writings express in poetic form his love for God, transcending all other loves, rapt in love with Love Itself.
Nobody can see God and live, the Lord said to Moses on Mount Sinai. Yet, now we behold Him on the Altar and He gazes upon us with tender love. How easy it is for us to keep God at arms length in our lives. How easy it is for us to run away from love! However, to gaze upon the Blessed Sacrament is to be gazed upon by God and suddenly there is nowhere else to look. And when Jesus looks at us, He does not look at us in an accusatory way. He is the true Lover, who sees the heart, gazes into it and then when the soul recognises its utter weakness and desperation, yearning for Him, is embraced by Him. The True Lover then takes the soul to Himself and caresses it as if it were the most valuable and precious thing on Earth. His Perfect Love for us teaches us in the interior of our hearts the love that we should have for our neighbour.
To be Catholic should be like a life long love affair. It should be like a marriage. Yet, was any marriage ever easy?! In this World, has any marriage been without trials and difficulties? From Him we can run if we choose and how often does our weak nature seek independence and earthly pursuits for our own pleasure? Ah, but God is the Perfect Husband, ever faithful and ever ready to take us back to Himself until we realise our unfaithfulness and he gently whispers into the ear of our soul, "You have run and now you realise you are poor without Me. Now, let Me love you."
If, in Holy Hour, God's love can penetrate my poor, stubborn heart then I am pretty convinced His love can penetrate anyone's. The one great difference in this marriage is this: The wife is always in the wrong.