All of it — the Eternal Moment. Our good and glorious God creating everything — every sub-particle, every dust mote in the vast universe, every platypus, every thread of saffron and lavender, all elephants and great whales, each unique and unrepeatable person viewed sipping cappucino in a crowded city, Time, Space, Matter — all created EFFORTLESSLY, from NOTHING. HIs mysterious gift of Free Will, given along with abundant and preternatural gifts overflowing with abundant love and mercy to His first children, who didn’t trust Him and chose death over life. His plan of salvation, on a long and meandering timeline (to Him the Eternal Now) of our trust, betrayal, hesitation, stubbornness, evil, hope, suffering, but joy. The immense reverberation of His entry into our time and space, pitching his tent and dwelling intimately among us, His Incarnation, Life, Passion, Death, Resurrection, Ascension, and the Holy Spirit pouring down upon us, waiting for us to open our arms and accept his endless mercy and love — the Sacraments, Scriptures, His Holy Church — all of it. It’s true! “Who shall stand when He appeareth?”
There’s a fantastic and intense spiritual diary written by an anonymous Irish Benedictine monk (presumably still alive) who has been called to an intense relationship in adoration of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Called In Sinu Jesu, it reads as an immense call of God for priests to adore Him and enter deeply into their vocation, with amazing passages calling to mind the Reality of His Presence!
Here’s a great one from page 169:
From In Sinu Jesu, p. 169 :
“Where there is faith in My real presence, there will be adoration; and where there is adoration, there will also be an efficacious radiance of My presence, drawing souls to My Eucharistic Heart and surrounding them, even at a distance, with the healing influence of My Eucharistic Face. …. When I am adored in a place, My hidden action upon souls is wonderfully increased. The place where I am adored becomes a radiant center from which love, life and light are diffused in a world in the grip of hatred, darkness and death.”
“Chapels of adoration are not mere refuges for the devout. They are the radiant, pulsating centres of an intense divine activity that goes beyond the walls of the place where I am adored to penetrate homes, and schools, and hospitals; to reach even those dark and cold places wherein souls are enslaved to Satan; to penetrate hearts, heal the infirm, and call home those who have wandered far from Me.”
“For these reasons, the work of perpetual adoration, or even of prolonged daily adoration, is intensely apostolic and supernaturally efficacious. …”
Take that to adoration. Whew! Prepare to radiate!
We visited the St John Paul II Shrine in DC today. It is interesting and beautiful. Chapel murals are stunning. Smaller chapel has all 5 Luminous Mysteries (Jesus’ Baptism, Wedding at Cana, Jesus’ Public Ministry, Transfiguration, and Institution of Holy Eucharist) in mosaics, with smaller New Testament scenes above the large ones. The docent said that the artist did not name the smaller scenes, and left it up to viewers’ interpretations.
Anyway, this one caught my eye — it is right above a larger one of Jesus being baptized in the Jordan. The docent was fairly sure it was the Prodigal Son — Prodigal is in the home with their Father, with the familial ring on his finger, and elder son is choosing to walk away in the darkness.
I am not so sure. I think it might be almost- Apostle/Bishop Judas walking away during the Last Supper. Jesus is in the Upper Room with Simon Peter — wearing the ring of papal authority, yet he’s soon- to- be- betrayer — and Judas stomps off, destined for the potters’ field — and the deep sorrow of Jesus and Peter is evident. “Friend, you will betray me with a kiss? And, Peter, after you betray and then repent, you must love my lambs, and behold my sorrow over those who choose to leave.” (Our Lord Jesus present in time and also in the Eternal Moment — can we ever wonder enough about that?!)
I immediately thought about our Church in these days — priests (and us laypersons!) sorrowfully witnessing our brothers and sisters walk away in disgust (perhaps for just a time, and times, and half a time), yet we are also struggling with their own betrayals. I wish I could find a photo of the Baptism just below. St John with awe beholding Jesus submitting to baptism, with an angel with an equally awed look holding a towel for him.
I bet there’s a whole lot connecting these two images with the terrible headlines that keep pouring in: Divine Mercy offered to the betrayals, a Loving Father and Sacrificial Redeemer-Shepherd who has given us the awe-full gift of Free Will, and wow that angel — he’s part of it too. The loving Lord won’t force us into the water, he won’t tie us up as a prisoner in the house, won’t give up on us until we irrevocably and totally reject Him.
These men are some of the best seminarians in the country. (We are totally biased as we know several of them!) Four of them will become priests in several weeks, and the rest of them will be joined by potentially many more next year to complete their discernment/formation over the next several years. These are the men who are willing to run back into the burning building.
We are running back in to save and rebuild, too, when we spend the time with Our Lord in adoration. It is a mostly hidden act of love, of the will, to commit to a regular time before the Lord (or in our homes, if we are unable to get to church or chapel) and then DO IT, week in and week out. Most times I am ready and willing to venture out and keep my appointment with the Dearest One. Sometimes, though, it is difficult, especially a night hour. But — we need diocesan priests and religious sisters, brothers and priests. Most of us are not called to such a radical vocation — one of the deepest ways to support them, and encourage them, is to commit to regular prayer before the Blessed Sacrament if we are able.
Our Lady, Queen and Mother of Priests, Religious, and Seminarians, pray for us! Draw many more of us into a deeper relationship with your Son in the Blessed Sacrament, on behalf of our brothers and sisters who are discerning the priesthood and religious life!
What an amazing reality that the immensity of eternal joy in heaven will include deep and unimaginable friendships with beloveds of God such as Father Willie Doyle, SJ, Irish front-line WW I chaplain-hero. Read about him here.
This is part of a letter (to his father?) included in To Raise the Fallen: A Selection of the War Letters, Prayers, and Spiritual Writings of Fr. Willie Doyle, S.J. , written soon after the Battle of Messines Ridge, France, June 7, 1917, two months before his death:
“As I knew there was no chance of saying Mass the next morning, I had taken the precaution of bringing several consecrated particles with me, so that I should not be deprived of Holy Communion. It was the Feast of Corpus Christi, and I thought of the many processions of the Blessed Sacrament which were being held at that moment all over the world. Surely there was never a stranger one than mine that day, as I carried the God of Consolation in my unworthy arms over the bloodstained field. There was no music to welcome his coming save the scream of a passing shell; the flowers that strewed his path were the broken, bleeding bodies of those for whom he had once died; and the only altar of repose he could find was the heart of one who was working for him alone, striving in a feeble way to make him some return for all his love and goodness. “ p. 78
Præstet fides supplementum
Father Willie Doyle, pray for us and increase our love for the Most Holy Eucharist!
Lent is a great time to gaze upon the Lord, and allow Him to gaze back at you. It sounds somewhat daunting and maybe even strange, especially if we have doubts (we all do at times!) about Is There Actually Someone In that Monstrance? or maybe the quiet unnerves us. Remember “Green Eggs and Ham”? Just try it, Sam : ) Spend 10 – 15 minutes in the Oratory or Church for three times this month. You don’t need to say or do anything — just rest in the Lord. He is specifically there — for just you! He would love your company.
Links to Lenten Adoration at St. John the Evangelist, Severna Park:
Ash Wednesday, March 6th, 6:30 am – 7:30 pm: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60b044ba9ae22a31-ashwednesday1
First Lenten Friday, March 8th, 9 am – 7 pm: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60b044ba9ae22a31-first18
Second Friday in Lent, March 15th, 9 am – 7 pm: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60b044ba9ae22a31-second1
Third Friday in Lent, March 22nd, 9 am – 7 pm: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60b044ba9ae22a31-third1
Fourth Friday in Lent, March 29th, 9 am – 7 pm: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60b044ba9ae22a31-fourth1
Fifth Friday in Lent, April 5th, 9 am – 7 pm: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60b044ba9ae22a31-fifth1
Sixth Friday in Lent, April 12th, 9 am – 7 pm: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60b044ba9ae22a31-sixth1