This morning, I spent a few minutes revisiting some reflections I wrote several months ago, and I came upon this one. In recent days, I’ve been thinking and writing about the Spirit’s gift of wonder and awe, and I enjoyed revisiting this piece that reflects how I’ve experienced it. I am amazed, daily, at how God pours joy and consolation over my living in faith. Here is the piece:
During the Eucharistic Liturgy, just prior to Holy Communion, the celebrant holds up the Precious Body and Precious Blood, saying, “Behold the Lamb of God; behold Him Who takes away the sins of the world.” And we respond, like the centurion in Luke 7:6-7, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof; but only say the word, and my soul shall be healed.”
Lord, forgive me my distractions! But I see that most of us, kneeling as we are in the very Presence of Jesus Himself, do so with bowed heads and lowered eyes. In that manner we show our worship and adoration, I know; and yet I have such a clear recollection of a weekday Mass not so many years ago, when I knelt just so with bowed head and closed eyes and the words came suddenly and clearly into my mind:
“Look at Me.”
My head came up and my eyes opened, and I must admit that I wondered for a moment if someone had actually spoken the words.
And I looked at Him, and in doing so my heart was opened so widely to Him. My outpouring of prayer and adoration is met daily in that moment by such an influx of grace and mercy. That was the first time that I began to meditate on how it is that I can see with my human eyes only bread and wine, but in faith I have certainty that I am truly seeing Jesus. I am in His presence and He knows me by my name.
In this very sacred moment of the Mass, when we behold Jesus Who redeems us and Who will also judge us, we come to understand that He is the very Word that we ask Him to say so that we may be healed.
In this moment, we are asking:
Let the Word be spoken to us,
Let the Word be spoken in us,
Let the Word be spoken of us,
Let the Word be spoken by us,
Let the Word be spoken through us.
I do not know if I am capable of even a limited understanding of the wonder of this time in the Mass, when Jesus makes Himself present in these forms of bread and wine. I do not know if I will ever have the capacity to fully experience the joy and profound humility my soul experiences in His Real Presence. I do not know if I will ever have words to express the absolute wonder of this experience.
I do know that in these moments, He offers a clear invitation to us. He longs for us to come to Him, receive Him, be nourished by Him. This walk from my seat to the front of the chapel where I receive Him – and this walk back to my place, when He is truly present within me: These are the most precious and important steps I will take in my day. Here I receive the only gift that can truly satisfy every need.
Dear Jesus, my Lord, my King, my Savior, my Friend, thank You for coming to me in this most precious of sacraments. Thank you for this greatest of gifts. In receiving You I am nourished for the work You call me to do in this world. You come to me because You love me and long for me; please stay with me so that I may always know Your love and carry it with me for those I will meet throughout this day.
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