Tuesday adoration….why am I here?

ChildofChrist

Why did God create you?  Do you ever think about that?  I do.

Many years ago while on retreat, I wrote across the top of the first page of my journal:  Dear God, what is my purpose in life?  Who am I supposed to be?

I prayed all weekend for an answer, bringing my question continually before the Lord.  But I never heard an answer…and I was somewhat disappointed.

But, now years later, I realize that I didn’t hear the answer because I was listening for the wrong kind of answer.  I wanted something specific and concrete.  I wanted to leave my retreat with a plan…maybe even a list which I could check off.  Here is what God has sent me to do.  Here is how I will make a difference in the world.   I wanted a mission.

But as the years passed, and life moved on with its sorrows and its joys, I began to hear the answer I sought.  It is always the same, and it takes root deeper and deeper in my heart, and the joy it imparts is a reassuring certainty.

Today, I heard a young woman describe her very first visit to the Eucharistic Adoration chapel in her parish.

She went in, not knowing what to expect.  And to her amazement, she saw a type of vision…one which arose within her imagination.  She saw a large tree and beneath it she was seated with Jesus.  To her great surprise, Jesus carved His initials and hers in the tree, and then He drew a heart around it.

He looked at her so tenderly and told her, “You could never understand how very much I love you.  Fall in love with Me.  I so much want you to fall in love with Me.”

Then she went on to say that God  always knows just what we need to hear, and the way we need to hear it.

And, I understood.  So many times in the adoration chapel, I have had a similar “vision,” only in mine, I am a little girl, all dressed up with ribbons in her hair, and I am snuggled in the arms of Jesus, or sometimes standing on his lap, looking into His eyes, or hugging His neck so tight.  And….I am so very peaceful, both in the scene, and as I quietly sit there being loved.

Getting out of the car, after hearing the young woman’s encounter with Jesus, I looked up at the blue sky and the trees in their tender spring leaves.  I listened to the bird songs of some cardinals nearby.  I gazed at all of this and with wide-eyed wonder, marveled that the God Who had created it all, and Who sustains a world teeming with life and beauty, would so love me, and you….would so love us above all of His material creation combined.  Yet, I know that He does…because He told us so.

This is the answer I have been hearing for so long…in the quiet of the adoration chapel, in the writings of the mystics, in the longing of my heart which nothing on earth can fill.  The answer is the echo in the restlessness of my soul which yearns to be totally accepted, completely understood, unconditionally loved.  The answer is in my quest to rest in ravishing Beauty which will never fade, never end.

Yes, God answered my question on that retreat so long ago, but His answer was too wonderful, too beautiful, too perfect for me to hear at the time.  But He has repeated it over and over until at last I began to listen:

I created you so that I could love you.  And, I made you in My Own Image and Likeness so that your soul would be so beautiful in its resemblance of Me, that I would thirst for you to love Me in return.

It is really that simple.  We were created for Love. God is always loving us, always giving Himself to us, never turning His gaze from His beloved.  And we, at every moment, can be loving Him in return, whether in thought or deed or absence of malice.

And we can grow, moment by moment, in that love for Him…the more we forgive, the more we give, the more we  forget ourselves….always inviting Him to refine His Image more visibly within our souls.

O Jesus, what a glorious “mission!”  What a sublime purpose for my life….to be Your Heart’s desire!   Teach me to surrender myself to Your Love….and grant that I may love You in return by doing all that I can to imitate You.  Amen.

 “Jesus make me resemble You…”  prayed St. Therese.

“For in reflecting upon it carefully, Sisters, we realize that the soul of the just person is nothing else but a paradise where the Lord says He finds His delight.  So then, what do you think that abode will be like where a King so powerful, so wise, so pure, so full of all good things takes His delight?  I don’t find anything comparable to the magnificent beauty of a soul and its marvelous capacity.  Indeed, out intellects, however keen, can hardly comprehend it, just as they cannot comprehend God; but He Himself says that He created us in His own image and likeness.”

The Interior Castle, Study Edition: pp. 33-34, nos. 83-84.
St. Teresa of Avila
ICS Publications
Washington, DC

(a personal favorite from the archives, as we await Corpus Christi Sunday)

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Tuesday Adoration… embraced by Mercy

Today, I was all alone with Jesus for my entire two hours of Eucharistic Adoration. This is a rare grace for me, although I feel sad when Jesus does not have other visitors.

But, His Love is so great that He is pleased and happy to remain in the monstrance for just one little soul.

When I have Him all to myself, I feel a special kind of joy. I recall St. Jean Marie Vianney’s words, “His eyes are fixed on you alone.” And I know, that if I truly understood that, I would surely die on the spot.

Being alone with Jesus is being like Mary of Bethany, sitting at His feet, fixing a loving gaze upon His Divine Countenance, choosing to do the “one necessary thing.”

I know that wherever Jesus is, all of Heaven dwells, and so I am never truly alone in the chapel. But Jesus doesn’t remain in the Eucharist for the angels and Saints, but for you, and for me…. He waits.

I used to wonder what Jesus does when we visit Him in the Most Blessed Sacrament. How does He greet us?

Once when I was on a women’s retreat, we were kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament in a rather large chapel. It was the first night of the retreat, and we were praying the Rosary before dinner.

I was kneeling toward the back praying with the others, when to my great surprise, I saw a beautiful image in my mind. Jesus, clothed in white, was standing in front of the first pew in the chapel. As I watched the scene unfold, I saw Jesus bend over and most lovingly and tenderly caress the face of the lady kneeling nearest to Him. Holding her face in His Sacred Hands, He gently tilted it upward toward His Own. Then He did the same to the lady kneeling beside the first one.

I only saw this for a few moments, but the unforgettable memory of this sweet and tender welcome by Jesus is still with me 20 years later. I know that He greeted each one of us that night with this same most loving and affectionate caress.

And He welcomes you the same way too, whenever you visit Him in any church or chapel where His Eucharistic Presence dwells. Can we ever expect too much from His Love? Just imagine the warmth and the kindness and affection…and the gratitude, pouring out of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ when He beholds us coming into His Presence…longing for Him….loving Him….seeking Him….trusting Him…wanting to spend time with Him. He Who is so often lonely and despised.

You help to quench His Thirst for love, and He gives you His Heart.

We would do Him an injustice if we imagined anything less than the most loving and tender caresses and embraces from the Bridegroom of our souls.

But are we in sin?  Let us come to our Savior.  We know the story of the Prodigal Son. Will Jesus not welcome us back with joy infinite beyond that of the father in that parable? And He will supply much more than a robe and ring and sandals, but rather all the graces needed to confess our sins and be washed in His Most Precious Blood. Then we shall dine not on the fatted calf, but on the Bread of Life.

Today, after telling Jesus everything in my heart, I asked Him what He wanted to talk about. And after a moment, I opened a book and immediately read:  As often as you want to make Me Happy, speak to the world about My great and unfathomable Mercy….

Before I made the world, I loved you with the love your heart is experiencing today and, throughout the centuries, My Love will never change.

Quotations from the book:
Consoling the Heart of Jesus, pp. 263, 275
By Father Michael E. Gaitley, MIC

(First published 11/30/2011)

Tuesday Adoration…Delight of the Father

Today during Eucharistic Adoration, in preparation for the Feast of St. Teresa of Avila, (a Solemnity for Carmelites),  I was reading some of her Spiritual Testimonies and received, from the Saint, a beautiful new insight into what transpires during Holy Communion.  Perhaps what St. Teresa reveals will be a blessing to you as well.

 

st-therese-of-avila-5

Once after receiving Communion I was given understanding of how the Father receives within our soul the most holy Body of Christ, and of how I know and have seen that these divine Persons are present, and of how pleasing to the Father this offering of His Son is, because He delights and rejoices with Him here–let us say–on earth.  For His humanity is not present with us in the soul, but His divinity is.  Thus the humanity is so welcome and pleasing to the Father and bestows on us so many favors.  I understood that He also receives this sacrifice from the priest who is in sin, except that He doesn’t grant to his soul the favors He grants to those who are in the state of grace.  But the reason for this isn’t because these influences proceeding from this communication, by which the Father receives this sacrifice, lose their force, but because of a lack on the part of the one receiving it; just as the lack is not on the part of the sun when it fails to shine on a piece of pitch as it does on crystal, but on the part of the pitch.  If I could now describe this, I would give a better explanation, for there are deep interior secrets revealed when one receives Communion.  It is a pity that these bodies of ours do not let us enjoy them.

The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, Volume I
Spiritual Testimonies, No. 52, Deep secrets revealed in Communion
ICS Publications,
Washington, D.C.
(Italics by me)

Tuesday adoration….what is love?

Federico Barocci, Insitution of the Eucharist, Rome, S. Maria sopra Minerva, 1608

Federico Barocci, Insitution of the
Eucharist, Rome, S. Maria sopra Minerva,
1608

What is another Name for God?
It is Love.

And what is love?
It is desiring the good of the beloved.
And what does that mean?
We give all that we can
to insure the well-being of our loved one.

And what does God do?
He gives Everything:
His Very Self
His Divine Life
His Human Life, sacrificed for us.
His Precious Body and Blood to be our Food.

As a baby receives milk from its mother,
Can we doubt that God would nourish us too,
would give His entire Self?
Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity,
pouring Himself into us
in a union so profound
that the angels are in awe.

If only we could see,
could realize what is happening:
feel His Sacred Heart
beating within us–
His very Blood
mingling with ours–
His Divinity
filling us–
preparing us to share one day
in His Own Divine Life.

Love so great
Stooping to lowliness–
It is what His Love does
Giving to the least
All
That He is.

O God of Majesty and Glory, we bow before the Mystery of Your Infinite Love for us…we  who are but mere creatures of Your hand, and yet, children of Your Heart!

Tuesday adoration….Fire and nothingness

descendingfire

Whenever I hold this book in my hands, I feel like I’m holding onto fire.

The reluctant author was a priest born in the late 19th century.  I presume that he was a Benedictine monk, since the brief preface was written by Dom Vincent Artus, OSB, who tells us that Father Jean Petit (pseudonym) only allowed his journal notes to be published if “we” take on full responsibility of their publication, and keep his identity unknown.

I purchased this book about ten years ago, but for the past couple of years, it is always close at hand.  It is a small book, and only 155 pages, but it is stirring, passionate, surprising, bold yet humble.  And, it is on fire.  The words leap into sentences and the sentences pulsate with Father Petit’s burning love for God, and his ecstatic wonder and joy over God’s Love for him.

Although he mentions a few other Saints, he is utterly taken with that great Saint of Love, Therese of Lisieux.  He quotes from her frequently, and includes the entire text of her Act of Oblation to Merciful Love within the notes that compose this book.

Today in adoration, I read the following paragraphs:

The immense stream of flames descending upon man from the Trinity through the union of the divinity and the humanity in the Person of Christ will bear me along by its impetuous force, will destroy in me what remains of my self, will change me little by little into Himself, will make me disappear into His unfathomable mystery and what remains of me will be fashioned into a new being that will still be me, yet no longer me, a creature swallowed up in the consuming fires of divinity.

…To what extent will divinity pervade my being? Already grace makes the substance of my soul divine. The Holy Trinity abides in me…”We will make our home with him…as in a temple: “You are God’s temple.” (John 14:23, 1Cor 3:16)

I participate in the divine nature. I live in Christ and Christ lives in me; I no longer live anything but the life of Jesus. The Holy Spirit has been given to me.

“You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you.” (Ps 82:6)
“Just as fire can make an object glow with incandescent heat,” says St. Thomas (Aquinas), “so God can deify souls.”

….Therese with ingenious simplicity took on the ideal to live, not only in love, but in “an act of love.” In order that her acts of charity might be perfect, she desired to live not only in love, not only in perfect love, but in “a single act of perfect love.” She desired to live in this single act; she desired her whole life to be this single act. To live in this unique act of perfect love, she offered herself as a victim to Merciful Love.

One day you will have disappeared into the flames of the Infinite.

Nothingness…have you understood?

Nothingness…do you dare to understand?

You will live in the Unique Act of the One who is Charity.

You will be consumed in the One who is the Supreme Good.

You will shine in the One who is Being.

Have you understood?

Father Petit’s little book was first published in French in 1953. He was still living then. But surely now, he has achieved that final union with the flaming Furnace of Charity that is the Most Blessed Trinity

I only wish I knew his real name. But, I keep reading his words, praying that I too will catch fire.

Descending Fire
The Journal of a Soul Aflame
By Jean Petit
Sophia Institute Press
English translation, Copyright 2000, Sister Mary Grace, CSE

Tuesday adoration….give Me every moment

adoration

Jesus is real.  He’s not a nice idea, or someone who lived long ago.  He’s real now.

I was driving to my Tuesday adoration hours this afternoon when a very joyful young woman on the radio emphatically stated the above words.  Coincidentally, she was sharing her own experiences with Our Blessed Lord in Eucharistic Adoration.

“We cannot conceive how much our visits mean to Him,” she went on.  Then she shared this little story:

I had promised to make a holy hour each day during Lent.  But one night, I got home really late, and I decided to go to bed instead.  But, the Lord was relentless.  My conscience kept bothering me and so I got up and got dressed and went to the chapel.

I tried to stay awake, and after checking my watch, I saw that 50 minutes had passed.  Is it okay if I leave now, Jesus?  It’s almost an hour.  Then I heard in my heart these words, “Before you go, open the bible.”  So, I did, and it opened to Matthew 26:40, “Could you not watch one hour with Me?”  Oh no!  I’m so sorry, Jesus.  I’ll stay.

And then she went on to talk about how crazy in love with each of us Jesus is.  How it matters; it really matters that we spend time with Him.

Funny….earlier today I was going through a box of old books, and thumbed through one about some private revelations concerning the Eucharist from Jesus to a nun in Kenya. ” I count your very breaths, your every heartbeat.  You cannot imagine My Love for you….and I am abandoned here in My tabernacle.”  I put that book in the save pile.

Listening to that joyful young woman on the radio this afternoon gave me much to ponder when I reached the chapel….three minutes late.  My prayer partner is always on time, so it never occurred to me that being one to five minutes late, as I often am, mattered that much.  But today I realized that it matters very much to Jesus.  

When you love someone deeply, you cannot wait to see them again.  When my son and his wife came for dinner Sunday, I was so excited when I heard their car in the driveway.

But Jesus!  Who can measure His Love for us?  He sold Himself for me, for you.  I know He thought about us while He hung on that Cross.  And because He is God, He could think of each and every one of us by name.  I think He did that.  I think His Love, not His Power, was the strength that kept Him on that Cross.

What did He see, looking down through the ages?  Who would return His Love?  Is that why He cried out, “I thirst!”  Did He see the paltry return most of us would make for His entire gift of Himself?

Did He see me, taking a break, between my 4pm and 5pm holy hours?  While it’s true that because I am the only adorer at 5pm, I often need to grab a little snack before my 4pm prayer partner leaves…because I tend to get low blood sugar symptoms at the 6pm Mass, if I don’t.

But, how many times have I checked phone messages while in the car getting my snack? Or even texted a quick reply to someone?  Or put on some lipstick?  And yet, Jesus was counting the minutes.  Jesus, was in the chapel waiting, while I wasted time that I had promised to Him.

Jesus is real!  But, He is so much more than that.  He is God, and He loves us beyond anything that we could desire or dream of or hope for.  The Saints tell us that we would literally die if we could for a moment experience that Love in Its Fullness.

St. Therese experienced a few moments of only a touch of this Divine Love a few days after she had made her Act of Oblation to Merciful Love, and she declared that she would have been dead, had It lasted a second longer.  She was on fire!

I thank Jesus that I heard that young woman on the radio today.  It was like He was saying to me:

Remember a long time ago, when you first began to come?  Remember when spending hours with me was so new to you?

You brought Me flowers, and you knelt the whole time just gazing at Me.  You were so careful to bow reverently, and you hated so much to leave Me when our time was over.

Let it be like that again.  I so long for your love, and every moment is precious to Me.  Don’t  waste even one when you are here.  

Most of all, fall in love with Me again…and again.   Just as I am forever and eternally in love with you, My precious child.

Tuesday adoration….I am coming soon

From the root of Jesse a flower will blossom, the glory of the Lord will fill the earth, and all creation shall see the saving power of God.  (Antiphon:  Canticle of Zechariah, Morning Prayer, Tuesday, first week of Advent)

While praying the beautiful Psalms and readings for these first few days of Advent, I found myself feeling a precious bond with the people of Israel.  And I wondered:  Was it difficult for them to keep believing in the prophecies…that God would truly send a Savior?

Two thousand years passed between the time of Abraham and the coming of Christ.  That is a long time to keep a Promise alive.  So much suffering, enslavement, exile.  The prophets came with their words of fire, but they too passed away.

Where was the promised Messiah?   Would He ever really come?  Was it all a dream?

Surrounded by pagans, the Hebrew people must have wondered about their God.  How different He was!  He alone was God and He would tolerate no other gods.. He demanded holiness and obedience.  Stories of His great power and might were recorded in their holy Scriptures.  Were these accounts really true?  It had been so long…so very long…the waiting.

One thousand years passed between David singing of the suffering Servant in his Psalms and, finally, the birth of Christ.

But He did come!  The Promise was fulfilled.  Many generations had come and gone, but somehow faith in their God survived among these people.  They continued to hope, and to pass this hope on to their children.

We too are waiting for Christ.  During this Advent, we prepare for His coming at Christmas.  We await the celebration of His birth.  But our waiting is not like that of the Israelites who waited in darkness.  We already possess the Light of Christ.  We know that He has come, and even now, is with us in our waiting.

But, we are waiting for something else!  We are waiting for His coming in Glory on that Last Day.  We are waiting for the Resurrection of the dead.  We are waiting for our glorified bodies.  We are waiting for the New Heavens and the New Earth.  We are waiting for our King!

And in that sense, we are very much like the Israelites, for it has been so very long….over two thousand years since the birth of our Savior.

The apostles, it seems, thought He would return in their own lifetimes.  So many have thought that.  But He hasn’t come yet.

And it seems the world is weary of waiting.  It even seems that many, if not most, have forgotten Him…have abandoned the Promise.   It is too hard to be holy and obedient and patient.  We have so many distractions with which to amuse ourselves now.  We are so smart and clever and self-sufficient.  We have filled the world with our own creations.  Who needs a demanding God?  We have a new god:  ourselves….or pleasure….or both.

But He Is Coming Again!  Jesus Himself promised us that the first time He came.
And we know God keeps His Promises.

But it has been so long…where are You Jesus?  The world grows so dark again, like in the days before You came two thousand years ago. We need Your Light!  We are so weary.

We long for You so!  If we call to You….will You come?  Can our yearning bring you to us?

Look, I am coming soon.. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
I am the sprig from the root of David and the bright star of the morning. I am indeed coming soon.

Amen; come, Lord Jesus. (Revelation 22:13-14,16,20) NJB

Tuesday adoration….broken promises?

I was reading some Facebook comments tonight, and one woman wrote that she had always felt she should have been a nun, and that she still regrets every single day that she did not follow-up on that desire.

That made me smile.  After my adult conversion, I too wanted to be a nun, but there was one problem:  I was married.  I spent a couple of years mourning my lost vocation, before it occurred to me that Our Lord would have timed things differently if He had really wanted me to be a nun.

All of this reminded me of something I was thinking about during Eucharistic Adoration today.

I have recently been going through items I have kept for years, like cards and pictures, and my stack of prayer journals.  The latter go back thirty years, and flipping through them re-acquaints me with someone I no longer am.

There are so many resolutions in those journals, so many promises to the Lord to  do great things for Him, so very many lists of virtues to practice, faults to overcome and new and better prayer schedules.

There are pages written while awash in consolations or on a weekend retreat…words splashed across pages filled with fervor and wonder and exclamations of love.

Have you ever done this?  Have you ever promised the Lord everything….your whole life, every moment just for Him, no turning back, no old ways.  And you meant it, with every beat of your heart…at the time.  No string of adjectives could express what you felt, nor could there be too many exclamation points!  Have you…ever?

I must confess to feeling some sadness and regret, as I leafed through hundreds of pages written by a much more idealistic and passionate young woman than the person I am today.  And of course, I have not kept all of those well-meaning promises or become that warrior for the Lord…..or fulfilled my long ago dream of echoing the heart of my beloved Therese.

“What about all of this Lord?”  I found myself wondering today, when I realized that I had not even kept most of the resolutions written in this year’s journal.

And Jesus seemed to say:  But you meant them at the time, didn’t you?  Don’t you know that I am listening to your heart at every moment, and I accept every good intention, every act of love, every desire you have for Me and My Glory?  Nothing meant for good is ever lost.  Without your realizing it, I have planted within your soul, a kernel, a seed of all that you have ever offered to me….and in My Own Time, I bring forth the harvest. 

I was truly comforted by these thoughts, which seemed to lift a burden from me….the impossible burden of being perfect, of remembering every promise, and of journeying in darkness and dryness of soul with the same flush of fervor experienced during my first encounter with my Lord, so many years ago.

Thank You, Jesus, for tending the garden of my soul.  May it flower in Your Season.  I love You!

Tuesday Adoration….my widow’s mite….

Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.  They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” (Mark 12:41-44)

Jesus is so delightful.  Nothing escapes His notice….the story of the “widow’s mite” is  a perfect example.  He not only observed her with obvious love and kindness, but He deemed her example worthy of pointing out to His apostles…and to us. 

When I think of this story, I believe that Jesus is speaking not only of money, but of everything we offer to God.

I know many people who have wonderful gifts of teaching and speaking and leadership and organization etc., who really make a difference in my parish and diocese.  But, I’m not one of them.  I don’t have those gifts.

It has always been that way.  I was the quiet, compliant child who prayed that the teacher wouldn’t call on me, not because I didn’t know the answer, but because I knew my face would blush bright red as soon as I heard my name.

My gifts are quiet gifts.  I love to talk to people one on one; I’m really interested in what they have to say.  I try to notice the unique qualities in others, and to give sincere praise, because we all need encouragement.  I can keep a secret forever, and oh, I smile….a lot.  I always have.  I didn’t even realize this until the yearbook crew in my junior high wrote one of those “wills” and by my name declared:  “Patricia wills her ear to ear smile to……”

The years passed, and I guess I kept on smiling. But I didn’t do any of the big, important things that others around me were doing.  That just wasn’t my way.  So, I tried to think of what I might do for the Lord, and I decided that one thing I could easily do would be to  deliberately smile at the people I encountered throughout my day.  And so I made a point of offering warm smiles and a kind word to as many people as possible….especially the elderly, who always smiled back.

Then, I began to think that perhaps this was silly…all this smiling.  “I don’t think I’m going to do this anymore, Lord,”  I said one day.   “I probably look like an idiot.”

I didn’t hear Jesus’ response until the next day, when I read the Letters to the Editor section of our newspaper.  To my amazement, there was a lovely letter written by an older, retired gentleman who simply said that while he had been out shopping in the meat department of his local supermarket, a young woman had smiled at him, and that it had greatly lifted his spirits and made his day.  He went on to say how such little things as a smile are so undervalued in our busy lifestyles, and that sometimes he passed several days without anyone smiling at him…and that he just wanted to say “thank-you.”

I was astonished by the letter, which even I could not write off as a coincidence.  But most of all, I was touched by the graciousness of Jesus.  All this time, He really had been watching me…just as He had observed the widow.  He knew that I wasn’t rich in the gifts most esteemed by others, but He wanted me to know that He was still pleased with my “widow’s mite” of a smile. 

Truly, in His Eyes, everything we try to do for love of Him has worth.  Nothing is too small…not even a smile.  So, if you think that you too are poor like me, look more closely and I know you will find a precious “coin” which will bring great joy to the Heart of Jesus.

When my parents died, within 13 days of each other, I hardly knew my son’s girlfriend (now fiancé.)   But, at the second funeral (my dad’s) she showed up at the funeral home with dozens of delicious homemade cookies.  She must have been up all night baking.  They were just what we needed for a light breakfast before the services began.  I have never forgotten her thoughtfulness, and she quickly endeared herself to my heart that day.

So, even if you can’t do great things by the world’s standards, don’t discount your widow’s mite.  Only in Heaven will you learn its true value.

As for me, well I’m still smiling, with a sub-specialty in children and old people.  ; )

But the One to Whom I give my biggest, most joyful smiles is Jesus, in the Most Blessed Sacrament, and I know He smiles right back at me.

The Smile of God, purchased with a widow’s mite!

When Jesus sleeps…..

When I went to adoration the other day, I found myself fighting sleep.  I had taken an antihistamine, and it might as well have been a sleeping pill.  There I was, all alone in the chapel with Jesus for two hours, and all I could do was struggle to stay awake.

I remembered that I had brought with me a little book titled, When Jesus Sleeps, by dear Archbishop Luis Martinez, who also wrote Secrets of the Interior Life which I chose as one of my three favorite books in a recent meme.

I have always been fascinated by the idea of watching Jesus sleep, and of wondering what He dreamed….just the incomparable beauty and wonder of the God of the Universe fast asleep so delights me.  The charm of God.  The sweet mystery of the God-Man.

But Archbishop Martinez expressed similar ideas in such rapt words:

Jesus was exceedingly beautiful when He spoke words of eternal life, accomplished wonders, looked with love, pardoned with mercy and caressed with tenderness. But I would like to have seen Him while He was sleeping because I could have contemplated Him to my heart’s content, without the fascination of His gaze distracting me, without the perfection of His beauty and the glory of His splendor dazzling my eyes and enrapturing my soul. The beauty of Jesus awake is too great for my smallness. Who could support it? I feel it more suited to me veiled by sleep, as the glory of the sun is more adapted to my eyes when I look at it through a translucent lens……

In the presence of that regal immobility and the divine silence of that most comely body, could one guess the interior glory? Through the delicate, celestial veil of human sleep, could penetrating and loving eyes like those of the Virgin discover the deep secret of the interior joy of Jesus? (pp 6,7,9)

And then, I was awake…my heart stirred by the touching portrait of Jesus, shared above only briefly, sketched by this holy Archbishop.

His little book shall be my companion this Lent. After sharing the magnificence of the Son of God at repose, the book continues on to encourage the soul in desolation by reminding her that Jesus has not departed. He is only sleeping. Gaze upon Him within your soul as He rests in you…as He slept on the boat amidst the stormy sea. He is sleeping? Yes, but not as we sleep.

Jesus says to the soul, “I sleep, but my Heart is awake.” (Song of Songs 5:2) He has not forgotten us. He can never forget. His Love never sleeps. In dryness and darkness and desolation, He is present with us, in all of His Glory.

He is only testing our faith, our trust, our love for Him, just as He tested that of the apostles on the lake. “Why are you so frightened, you who have so little faith?”

Let us not wake Jesus when He desires to sleep in our souls. Let us be brave and trust that He will awake at the perfect moment. Like St. Therese, let us permit Him to rest. She liked Jesus to sleep in “her boat,” because, as she said, so few allow Him any rest.

___________________________________________________________________________

My sleeping Jesus,
You are breathtaking
In Your rest.
Your Peaceful Face
belies the Truth
That You are God
Of all Power and Might
Lord and King
Of The Universe.
But the resting place
You choose
Is my heart,
For more than
All else,
You are
LOVE,
Seeking love
That asks nothing save
Your Presence.