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)

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Mad with Love…..

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You, Jesus Christ become Man; You, bread! Oh, to annihilate oneself, how little that would be! If you had left us a relic of Yourself it would be a sign of love worthy of our veneration, but you yourself remain knowing that you would be the object of profanation, sacrilege and ingratitude, abandoned. Are you, Lord, mad with love?”         (St.Teresa of the Andes OCD)

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Enter into His Heart…in silence

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God loves silence.

In silence, when all noise and distraction have ceased, there is only God, Who is everywhere. God and us in the silence…together.

Great and mighty things happen in silence.  The Eternal Word leapt down from Heaven and became flesh in Mary’s womb … in silence.

“…and on the third day, He arose again from the dead.”  In silence.

Little miracles happen in silence too.  We go to bed at night and we wake up in the morning, and roses have bloomed and seeds have sprouted and the sun has appeared again….all in silence.

Our Lady is almost completely silent in the gospels, her Immaculate Heart so united to God that she too prefers the silence….so full of God.

On this Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, I am thinking of the silence of His Eucharistic Heart beating within us at Holy Communion.  I love to ponder the Heart of Jesus embracing my poor little heart and beating with Infinite Love within me, during those precious moments of His Presence…..that union with Him beyond words.

Yet all is silent.  I do not sense the flames of Divine Love.  I do not hear His sweet voice, or experience the transformation of my soul.  But I believe that all of this is present….in the silence in which I immerse myself in thanksgiving.

I try to rest in that silence, my head on His breast, my inner voice stilled.  It is enough to be with Him in those few moments, in a mutual embrace of love….in silence.

It is the same when I kneel in Adoration before His Sacred and Eucharistic Heart.  Those hours are the most silent periods of my week.  Yet, they are the most transformative.  I am in His Presence.  Nothing more is needed.  He is at work in my soul … silently.

An hour, a  day, a week, a month later, I experience evidence of those Divine touches.  I find patience I did not know I had, forgiveness comes easily, there is strength for a difficult trial, there is peace in my soul, there is joy in my heart.   All the work of the Master.  He never comes without changing us, without leaving gifts yet to be discovered.  You too have experienced this, I know.

And, He does it all….in silence.

Let us not become discouraged because we do not see visions of the Sacred Heart like St. Margaret Mary, or do not experience Jesus placing a flame of His Heart within us as He did to this humble nun..

Let us not even doubt when we walk the path of spiritual dryness and darkness and feel as though Jesus has abandoned us.  That will never happen.  He likes to hide, that we might seek Him more, as the bride in the Song of Songs sought her Lover.

And are they not especially silent, these times of aridity and spiritual desolation?  Great graces are being showered upon us, if we remain faithful to God….in the silence.

Our poor little hearts are so easily distracted by what our senses perceive.  But God gives us the gift of silence wherein there is only He, and nothing created to compete with the One we cannot yet see.

What joy we will bring to the Sacred Heart of Jesus today, if we seek Him in silence, draw near and rest our head upon that Heart which is filled with such unimaginable tenderness for each one of us.

“Behold this Heart which has so loved men, but is loved so little in return.”  Jesus to St. Margaret Mary.

Let us love Him in return….in silence,  which is, after all,  the language of Love.

(If you would like to read more about silence, please visit my friend Theresa’s blog, desert of my heart, where she writes so beautifully on this topic.)

 

Souls are more different than faces….

St. Therese had a saying, “Souls are more different than faces.”

I heard something similar growing up in Catholic school, under the wise and devoted instruction of glowing nuns in flowing habits who appeared to have vast insights into the mysteries of God.  I listened intently, but found it difficult to believe that each of the billions of people God had created was absolutely unique and unrepeatable.  But the nuns said it was true.

My friends and I seemed pretty similar as far as I could tell.  We might have looked different, but I didn’t see how our souls could be all that unique.  In fact, my best friend and I thought we were just about exactly alike.

But the nuns taught that each soul was created to reflect one of the Infinite Perfections of God with such beauty and intensity that even the angels would be in awe.  And they went on to say that no other soul created before or afterward could possess the same splendor reserved for that particular soul by God….not ever.

But, I was looking at faces.  And faces weren’t all that dazzlingly different, and some were almost identical…like twins.  So, what was up with all these billions of souls being so individually precious and so beautiful that even God was madly in love with them…with all of them?

First I had to get to know the Lover.  Then He began to teach me to look beyond the faces and to see His Beauty in my brothers and sisters.  And Therese and the nuns were right.  I began to see first the tremendous dignity of each person God has created, and then the fragile loveliness of a soul…more delicate than a butterfly’s wing, and I understood how terrible a thing it is to wound such a creature….one who bears the very Image of God.

And yes, they are all different from one another….so very different.  Many people are kind, but they express it in a myriad of ways and degrees..  It is the same with all the other virtues and attributes of God.  Each person is a unique and exquisite constellation of Our Father’s Image, imprinted on that soul alone….for all time.

Therese knew this, and that is why she always treated everyone alike, aspiring to have no favorites.  Her blood sisters in the convent often complained that she seemed to love the other nuns more than she loved them.  But that wasn’t true.  She felt great natural affection and familial love for her own sisters, but she knew how to look beyond such human affection, and to love others as God loved them.

When faced with difficult people, it can be helpful to stop and contemplate how much God loves that person.  He is truly looking at us and longing for us to gaze in admiration on His beloved creation….to see the potential He sees in them.  He desires that we do all in our power to help everyone He places in our path to become the fullness of His Image within them.

Whenever Therese saw another nun committing what appeared to be a “fault,” Therese would remind herself of all the good deeds the offending nun had accomplished, which Therese had not been privileged to see.

Blogging is an excellent venue in which the uniqueness of souls is able to shine, because there are no faces, no gestures, no audible voices.  There are only ideas, words, sharing, caring…..things of the spirit, rather than the flesh.

And here, we begin to see that bloggers….like snowflakes, are delightfully different from one another.  As I click around and read my favorite blogs and then check out a new blog or two, I am always amazed at the endless variety of expression….even though the bloggers I follow are very much in agreement with one another on matters of Faith and family.  Yet, each has a niche.  Each has a beauty found nowhere else.

And here in the blogging world, there is the rare opportunity of being able to admire souls, without being distracted by faces.

On those rare occasions in my parish when a baby is baptized during Sunday Mass, the cantor sings a song which begins, “You are God’s work of art…..”

You are!  We all are!  Like the song says, “There will never be another you…..”  God loves you so much, for you resemble Him in a way that no one else ever can.  You are so precious to Him that He is waiting to give you a new name in Heaven….a “secret” name, known only to you and to Him.

Just imagine…. all the beauty of creation from its dawn until its end someday is nothing compared to you, for you bear the very Image of God.  Truly you are God’s work of art!

Father, grant that we may not hinder your work in our souls, or in the souls of our brothers and sisters, as You, with Divine Love, Wisdom, Goodness and Power are at each moment refining Your Very Image within us.  We thank You that we are Your children, destined for Glory in the Kingdom of so Great a Father, through Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

…..to those who prove victorious I will give some hidden manna and a white stone, with a new name written on it, known only to the person who receives it.  (Rev. 2:17) NJB