Friday, 24 May 2013

The New Adoration Chapel

Embedded in the existential fact of our existence, in our very DNA, is the question Why? Why do I exist?

Some look for an answer in philosophy or one of the sciences. They have their heads down – peering through telescopes, running clinical experiments, observing the laws of nature and proposing theories.

We who believe, we have our heads up. Our answer to the question why? has come to us from heaven; and we have believed it. We call that revelation from God – the Good News, the Gospel, Jesus.

We know that Jesus came from the Father to call humanity to faith in him. And we know that he continues to call humanity today. Moreover, we know that he is calling each one of us – individually. He is calling me; he is calling you.

And we have to answer his call; we have to look for God. The truth of our need to search is always present, unavoidable, because we long to see the face of the One who gives us meaning; to see and understand the face of our future.

Are you looking for God in your life? It would surprise me greatly if you replied with a no because to search for the footsteps of Jesus in our lives is a profound Christian instinct. We all search for signs of his presence; we can’t help it.

So where do you look for Jesus? Since he is everywhere spiritually we can look for him anywhere and find his spiritual presence. However, he does have some preferred ‘hangouts’ (if you’ll pardon the slang), some places he is more easily found.
  • The Scriptures, for example, are a wonderful rendezvous with the Lord. We listen, he speaks – and then we speak and he listens.
  • Where two or three are gathered in his name, he is always present.
  • In the person of the priest Jesus is mysteriously present and many have had reason to experience this reality.
And, of course, Jesus is present in the Eucharist, but with one difference. In the Bread of the Eucharist Jesus is not only spiritually present but he is present, as Catholic theology puts it, in his Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

I have spent many hours reading Scripture, talking to priests, and praying with other believers but I have never encountered this fullness of presence, this ‘real’ presence, except in the Eucharistic species. Here, our Faith tells us, the ‘whole’ Jesus is to be found and, if in faith we approach him there, we will not be disappointed.

On numerous occasions I have spoken with converts who tell me they were initially drawn to the faith by the ‘presence’ they experienced only in Catholic churches. This presence is Jesus Christ in the tabernacle in his most excellent mode of presence on earth – Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. When Helena Kowalska knocked on the door of the convent she wished to join the Mother Superior told her to go to the chapel and ask ‘the Master of the house’ if he would accept her. She obeyed and the Lord told her ‘I do accept you.’ When Helena became a Sister she was given the name Faustina and we know her today as St Faustina.

As Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament gave new direction to the life of St Faustina so he will do for us, nothing is more certain. I say this with all the confidence of my own experience because as a layman, for seven years, without missing a single day, I spent an hour with the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, right up to the day of my ordination. My ears never heard a single word from the Tabernacle but I guess my soul must have been paying more attention.

For some their lives are a mess – they need special graces. Some are in danger of making wrong choices and need light. Some feel unloved – they seek consolation. Some are sunk in sin and need forgiveness, a fresh start. Some are seeking perfection of soul and need his help and guidance. Some are lost and need to rediscover the road.

To anyone who is searching for the Lord, wanting to speak with him, to be with him, to ask him for something, or to listen to what he has to say to them – I would point and say – He is there, behind that door, waiting for you.

And if you are faithful enough to spend some time with him he will ‘tune you in’ to his presence. We all need this. You will come to love his presence and will learn that it is not a waste of time to sit and do nothing before the Lord. He will be exceedingly busy with you.

We need to learn that God is heard in silence. That is his language.

Let me give you this bit of practical advice which you should take seriously. If you can manage to go to the office and get a key card to open the electronic lock on the chapel door, and if you can then walk the twenty steps to the prayer chapel and sit down before the Lord – say hello to him and tell him up front how long you are going to be with him. ‘Hello, Lord, I have stepped in here to be with you for three minutes, for five minutes, for ten or twenty minutes – however long you wish. And then stay precisely that long. Don’t leave it up to your feelings to decide when to go. And don’t squib it.

The bottom line is to be there with him. You may say your favourite prayers, read the Bible, say the Rosary, read a holy book or just gaze at him and speak your thoughts. It doesn’t matter. The important thing is not what you do; it’s what he will do.

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