It has taken me a little longer to get my thoughts together for this final post. Partly it is because I have just been busy with life events in my family, but also I think it is because a number of things have converged for me in recent weeks, many things I have seen, heard, or read, and events have come swirling together like a whirlwind. And as a whirlwind collects and tightens, it also clears an opening in its center that can be seen through. This is what I feel all of these things have done. They have converged and given me a pinpoint window onto one monumental conclusion:
The lack of faith and falling away of those in the Catholic Church, the decline of priestly and religious vocations, the great crisis of our young people not knowing their true worth, purpose, and destiny, and so finding themselves in despair, the lack of zeal and passion of the faithful which should be drawing many to the Catholic Church, the watering down of the faith, and many other problems within the Church, I believe, are a direct result of one thing…
There is a lack of true belief, in general, for the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist by many who profess to be Catholics, and the reverence and adoration rightly due Him, even by those of us who do profess to believe in the Real Presence, is not as it should be.
Respect, reverence and honor to Jesus in the Eucharist has been replaced with casual indifference and over familiarity in many Catholic Churches. Where is the passion? Where is the zeal? Where is the fervor? We have been given the same gifts of the Holy Spirit that the apostles had, but many of us have either not developed or wasted the gifts.
If we really, and truly, with our whole heart, believe that Jesus is present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist, and we do everything we can to ACT like it, then He will in turn, shower us with graces and even miracles. This is what He consistently did when He was here walking on earth. If you read the Gospels, it is clear that Jesus performed miracles when a person had real faith, and really treated Him like God.
Wearing the veil, has helped open my eyes to how we really and truly should treat God when we are in His Presence. This is nothing new, but it has helped me to see much more clearly that what Jesus wishes to do in His Church, and in individual souls, partly depends on us! We must humble ourselves and then acknowledge and treat Him as God before we can ask great things of Him.
What are some things we can do? Here is a list, but it is not in order of importance :
- Begin by never neglecting to genuflect, all the way down on your right knee, and make the sign of the cross slowly and reverently when coming into the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. This should never be omitted. You should also genuflect every time you pass in front of the Tabernacle as well. If you are unable to genuflect, a reverent bow will do.
- Make sure you are in a state of grace before you receive Holy Communion! (Redemptoris Sacramentum 80-81)This is paramount! Go to confession, or get some counsel from your priest if you are not sure about it. Also, I have heard more than one young person say that if confessions were available more often that this would be a great help to them! Our young people, in particular, are deluged with more temptations, and evil than, I believe, any other time in history! They need our priests to do everything possible to help keep them in a state of grace, as well as out of the grips of despair which seems so much more common now! Our pastor does a good job of providing opportunities for confession, and adoration to our young people.
- Silence…”Even before the celebration itself, it is commendable that silence to be observed in the church, in the sacristy, in the vesting room, and in adjacent areas, so that all may dispose themselves to carry out the sacred action in a devout and fitting manner.” (General Instruction of the Roman Missal 45)
- For ladies, wearing a veil, as I have recounted in these posts, is one way of acknowledging His Presence and showing reverence to the Lord, since it is only worn at that time. It also reflects that the woman is covering her “beauty” in order to point to the One Perfect Beauty, Jesus!
- Before you receive Holy Communion, you should always make some act of reverence, at the very least a reverent bow, but a genuflection, or kneeling is still allowed, ( RS 90-91) although not seen as often in the Ordinary Form of the Mass, in my experience. For many it is still considered the most reverent way to acknowledge our poverty before the Lord.
- If you receive on the tongue, make a point to open your mouth and stick out your tongue adequately, so the Host can be put there without danger of falling. If you receive in the hand, please make a point of looking at your hand to see if any particles of the Eucharist are left there, and consume those too. I have read and seen where it was demonstrated that this occurs, and probably more frequently than we realize. This is terrible! I mean it really horrifies me that this may be happening, and people are unknowingly leaving particles of the Eucharist, Our Lord, who knows where! Not only that, but those who distribute Holy Communion, especially Extraordinary Ministers should also check their fingers and rub them over the chalice to make sure they are not walking off with particles of the Eucharist on their fingers to be dropped to the floor! This is partly the reason that a paten is used, to prevent this from happening, and why the priest or deacon rubs his fingers over the Chalice and the paten is brushed off into the Chalice by the priest or deacon and water is added to it and drunk during the purification rite. (GIRM 278-279 and RS 119) Each particle is still Our Lord! This is not being overly scrupulous! I believe it is being prudent and vigilant with the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ! I think if we do all we reasonably can then He will bless us. There is also a protocol “if a host or any particle should fall, it is to be picked up reverently” (GIRM 280). So we should not ever forget to treat Our Lord this respectfully in every way that we can.
- When the Blessed Sacrament is exposed in a monstrance for Adoration, then we should make the most reverent genuflection on both knees with a bow to the Lord. This is not always known, but has always been the way to reverence Jesus when coming into His Presence in Adoration, and it should be done when entering or leaving His Presence. In addition, if Adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is available in your parish, make time to go! If you can go to daily mass, and receive the Eucharist do it! There is nothing better for our spiritual nourishment than these! But even if we cannot adore Jesus in the Monstrance, any time that we spend before Jesus in the Tabernacle, is fruitful, and not just that but eternal. We will reap eternal blessings from every moment spent with Jesus, and from every Eucharist consumed. There is truly a fountain of blessings, graces, and even miracles awaiting us!
These are a few of the ways that we can better treat Jesus as God, and honor and respect Him as He deserves! And I truly believe that if we do this, and it becomes the norm in our parishes, that graces beyond our belief will flow. Do you have special requests for Jesus for your family? Are there loved ones you ache for because they are away from God and the Church? Do you have problems and heartaches to which there seems no relief? Do you have a lack of vocations in your diocese? Do you want to become what you are called to be, a Saint? Then perhaps this is your special call to show you love Jesus and believe in Him, and in His power, by acting like you do! Then just Trust Him, stop being anxious, and setting in your mind the way you think things should happen, and just let Him be God and work! I can testify to the fact that just wearing the veil in reverence and honor to Him and spending more time with Him in Adoration, has not only opened my eyes in so many ways, but has also brought blessings to me and my family. Our Blessed Mother has been an invaluable guide and loving Mother to me throughout this process, and she will be to you too!!
May the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be glorified in all places through the Immaculate Virgin Mary.