I apologize that I do not have a Blog because an experience at Mass this morning caused me to have heavy reflections on the humble faith possessed by the beloved spouse I lost some six months ago, and I feel the need to take a few paragraphs to share her monumental witness. I hope and pray you will bear with me as I share in the only venue I possess.
At Mass today, we had a visiting Priest, and in his homily, he shared his consternation with the casual manner in which most Catholics receive the Eucharist. We Catholics believe that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharistic Host, but as the Priest observed, you wouldn’t know that by observing the nonchalance of Catholics in the reception of Communion. Joy, on the contrary, quite visibly telegraphed her belief in the Real Presence, without demonstrating any overtones of pretension. This was in spite of the fact that she was a convert. Her humble, yet fervent faith would put that of any “cradle Catholic” to shame.
A testament to the awe we should display at the prospect of receiving the true Body and Blood of Christ was exhibited by the angel that appeared to the three children of Fatima. Before offering the Eucharist to the children, the Angel suspended the Chalice and Host in the air, and prostrated himself before the Blessed Sacrament and had the children recite a prayer three times before giving them the host. Consider that an angel lives in the Beatific Presence of Christ eternally, thus this show of devotion to the Host truly exhibits the significance of what many non-believers consider only a symbol.
This story brought Joy’s devotion home powerfully! I remember that when Joy attended Eucharistic Adoration, (This is when a large host is displayed in a monstrance for prayer and adoration of the faithful), instead of making the customary genuflection, or kneeling before entering the pew, she would prostrate herself flat on the floor for a period of time. I must admit that on those times I was with her, I found this mildly embarrassing, and I even tried to get her to stop, especially as she persisted in this practice even when her back and knees were beginning to weaken. I told her she was going to find herself down and not able to get up. But she felt it was something she had to do and she kept the practice until she simply could not physically will her back, knees and joints to do it any longer.
As Joy’s physical condition continued to deteriorate, she found it increasingly difficult to even kneel at Mass, a practice she refused to cease, even when she needed all my strength to assist her in getting up and down. She tried so hard to mask the pain she was obviously feeling. Finally, things got so bad that I actually had to order her not to kneel anymore, but to simply be seated. She reluctantly accepted this, but there were tears that would well up in her eyes in the realization that she could not show the depth of humility in posture she felt was due our Blessed Savior.
When she was still ambulatory, Joy took pride in being able to assist in the distribution of the Blessed Sacrament. Just in case I, or anyone else, would even think to question the depth of Joy’s faith in the Real Presence, please consider this testimony from a parishioner at St. Peter’s. In this woman’s own words: “I loved receiving the Blessed Sacrament from Joy. When she held up the Host before me and said the words; ‘The Body of Christ’, I would look into her eyes and see Jesus!”
While these memories are a bit painful for me personally, I take great solace in the certainty that Joy is now pain free and reaping the rewards for her unbridled faith in the Real Presence of our Savior! She is now basking in that Real Presence together with Jesus and his beautiful mother!
POPE JOHN PAUL II and EXPECTING THE UNEXPECTED
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