In Rome recently, to pass through the Holy Door at St Peter’s Basilica, I visited a number of different Churches within the city, from small Chapels on little side streets, to major Basilicas.
Coming upon the Chiesa S. Maria In Trevio, I was delighted to find that Eucharistic Adoration was about to take place, and so I spent some time there. I was astonished to see something I had not seen previously – Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament under both Species, as seen in the image above. This made more sense to me when I discovered that the Congregation whose Church it is have a special devotion to the Most Precious Blood. As it is the Year of Mercy and as the Divine Mercy Image portrays the Blood and Water flowing from the pierced Heart of Jesus, I considered this to be a grace from the kindness of the Merciful Lord and I was deeply grateful for it. More so, because there were a number of people spending the evening hours there in adoration of the Lord.
A large number of Churches had Eucharistic Adoration taking place, at different times of the day; in some there were a number of good souls visiting the Lord, less so in others; in one, I was the only member of the public, together with the Priest who was guarding the Blessed Sacrament – this was, of course, very special as I had the Lord almost to myself, and I put that time to good use.
I was conscious of one fact and one observation.
The fact was that the Merciful Lord is infinitely kind to us, constantly making Himself available to us in this Sacrament of His Divine Presence, truly there before us under the appearance of Bread, or of Wine. Throughout two thousand years, He has remained there, the silent Prisoner of the Tabernacle and the Monstrance. He has kept His promise – “I will be with you always”.
The observation I made was that we don’t truly appreciate the immensity of this heavenly Gift. If we did, every single such Church would be filled with souls at every possible moment, adoring there the Lord of all creation. The Church tells us very clearly indeed that the Eucharist is “the Source and Summit” of the Christian life; every Saint in these past two millennia has echoed the same clear message and advocated Eucharistic Adoration. But I wonder if, perhaps, we could do a little more and a little better in visiting the Lord in the Tabernacle and upon the Altar.
Time spent before the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is a foretaste of Heaven itself.
It is most assuredly a moment of great mercy and graces, if only we would make use of that moment and visit Him, and ask Him for those graces which He so longs to grant us.
Long after the Resurrection, in the years between that moment and Her Assumption into Heaven, I wonder how long and how often the Mother of the Lord spent before Her Son in the Eucharist? I suspect She spent a great deal of time praying and adoring in this way, and profited greatly by doing so. I am sure the Apostles did likewise. And I know that the Saints have consistently done so down the centuries. The Popes have all told us the same message – spend time with the Lord in the Eucharist, for it is an inexhaustible Source of blessings.
I recall, too, that the appearances of Our Blessed Lady at Fatima were preceded by those of the Angel, who taught the children Eucharistic Adoration and specific prayers to offer; as a result, they were infused with a deep love of the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament – they referred to Him afterwards as “the Hidden Jesus”.
We, too, have the opportunity to do the same as all of them, to spend time with the Lord veiled under the appearance of Bread, waiting there so patiently for us to come to Him in adoration.
If only we realised the Treasure we have been given, we would wish to spend every moment of our lives with Him.
I pray that we may all make visits to the Lord in the Tabernacle, to adore and to console Him, to place all our cares and worries before Him and to ask His blessings and graces and mercy.
In this, may Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament, and all the Saints of Heaven, assist and encourage us.