Voce mea ad Dominum

Random thoughts from an amateur theologist.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Where I am going you cannot come.

Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, `Where I am going you cannot come.' - John 13:33

One of the things I have found most comforting as a Catholic is that even when a church building is empty of people, it is alive because of the Eucharistic presence of Christ in the tabernacle. When this is most comforting are those times when you need to actually be in the presence of the Lord. I don't mean this in a "spiritual" sense; of course we can be in the presence of Christ's spirit anywhere, but because we are incarnate beings we have the need to experience the Lord in a concrete and incarnate manner. There are times where I quite literally need to be with Christ.

For those of us with faith, we experience the risen Lord in the consecrated bread and wine which has been transformed into his body and blood. This is a substantial and real presence where we experience the risen Lord. Many churches in our archdiocese (including my own) have chapels of perpetual adoration (a place where the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, usually in a monstrance) where you will find someone present in prayer 24 hours a day throughout the year, so I spend at least one hour a week in prayer before Christ present in the most holy Eucharist.

However, there have been times of special need when I have just popped into the chapel to pray outside of my scheduled holy hour. One such time was yesterday at about 2:00 pm. I had some time, so I figured I would use it to do my assigned penance from confession earlier in the day. My penance was to pray the rosary for our pastor, Fr. John Talamo. Easy enough. Since it was Lent, I chose to meditate on the sorrowful mysteries. As I contemplated the final mystery, the crucifixion, I thought how the disciples and Our Lady must have felt so abandoned and alone after Christ's death. Their friend and teacher was suddenly taken from them in a most violent manner. They must have been so afraid and wondered, "What are we going to do now? He's gone."

Then I realized something. In an hour, the chapel was going to be closed for the Triduum celebration. We would celebrate the Mass of Maundy Thursday soon, and afterwards the Blessed Sacrament would be removed from the Church, reposed on a special altar until midnight, and then completely unavailable for adoration for 3 days. The only experience we would have would be Holy Communion on Good Friday, but immediately afterward, he would be taken away once again. In a very small manner, I experienced a sense of sadness knowing that for a time Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament will not be there. For a time, all of the Church will feel a longing for the Lord's sacramental presence, but he will be gone.

For this period of loneliness, I am truly thankful to God, for it made me realize the grace bestowed on me by Him through the gift of the Eucharist which is truly the gift of his son at Calvary.


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