It was interesting to me, that God would punish me for crying out in my exhaustion and distress. I would have never thought to put that on Him and I was a bit confused; not sure if that person's faith tradition is still heavily in the Old Testament or I was just misunderstood. Perhaps they don't know me well enough to know that God and I can go round and round but I always have my "fiat" ready...along with my repentance.
This goes back many years to the time my dad was killed. He died Dec 19th, 1997, when an 18-wheeler drove over his car and broke every bone in his body (I read the coroners report). Clearly, there's no coming back from that one. My high school friend who was a fireman assured me that he was dead when they sawed his car open. I will have to take all of that as truth since I never saw my dad again...I couldn't quite bring myself to see him at the funeral home before they closed the casket. I carry visions like that forever and I knew it wasn't good for me.
Moving on...after skipping Christmas Mass that year I went to confession. (I was really heartbroken in so many ways. I was also struggling with the failure of my marriage and I was kind of done with everything) It was a life-changing confession. The priest (who is abrupt on a good day) said, "you can be angry at God, He can take it; but you can never question His love or His plan for you." Wow. That changed everything about my faith and led me to where I am right now. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for that reconciliation at that time, with that priest, in that place.
This is a long way of saying, I think Pope Francis is right (I know, I'm slow to the party). I think it is all about MERCY. Society makes us all so stressed and ready to jump and condemn and that's not going to be our salvation...with God or with one another.
Today, specifically, I'm thinking about Adoration.
It is a blessing to have a few chapels nearby where I can go, with or without the kids, to worship the Lord present in the Eucharist. These chapels understand the importance of everyone coming to spend time with the Lord and do all they can to encourage people to attend. Yes, you can do that anytime you find a Catholic church, merely by drawing near the tabernacle. Still, there is something about the Host within the beauty of the monstrance. It's clear there is something extra special. As the kids would say, Jesus came out of His golden house for a visit.
Most Adoration chapels seem to come with some "rules" regarding behavior, dress, etc., and I applaud that. We are in a time that people seem to have forgotten (or have never been taught?) how to act in the Presence of the Eucharist (I saw three hosts drop during one Mass a few weeks back. Yes, they were all receiving by hand. Yes, you can drop it at any time but usually, by mouth, it has a better chance of getting where it belongs). Digression. There should be rules and they are there to help everyone have a better experience while reminding all involved why we are there in the first place.
Having seen a few of these "rules" posted, I get the distinct feeling that some may know a bit better why we are here...
From a local chapel :
Adoration is for everyone- all ages! God loves every soul that He created, and delights in you! In the silence of adoration, our hearts speak to the One Who created us, Who loves us beyond measure, and Who died and rose for us so that we could be with Him forever.
The Children’s Hour: Be sure and introduce children to this dynamic relationship with the Living God in Eucharistic Adoration! Teach them about Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and bring them into the chapel! Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs (Mt 19:14). While it is important to maintain silence in the chapel, it is quite reasonable to bring the little ones in for as long as their attention span will allow. No one expects little ones to be perfectly silent. There are children’s books on the book shelf. Teaching them about the Real Presence at a young age solidifies a life-long love of Jesus in the Eucharist. When they get older, if they have developed a relationship with their Eucharistic Lord, they will seek His Presence in difficult moments, and keep their Catholic Faith!
A little farther away, there is an Oratory where we can gather as a family on Monday morning for an hour of family-friendly Adoration. It's a beautiful space, made more beautiful by the smiles of those there who adore beside us, knowing the importance of teaching the truth to our children.
If you have Adoration near you that is family-friendly, here is a great resource for the kids...praying, loving and learning.
Yay! Hooray! They "get it"! I am overjoyed when we understand that God sent His Son for everyone.
Needless to say, not all Adoration chapels are as welcoming as these two. Some are pretty much the opposite, which is sad. When I approach a chapel, alone or with my kids, and there is a long list of "don't do this, don't do that" before I even get through the door, I'm heading the other way. I know those in charge have done so out of a belief that any distraction is insulting toward Jesus present in the Eucharist. Perhaps, but let's remember that these people have taken time out of their day to approach the monstrance with their cares, concern and love (you don't have to go to Adoration to be a practicing Catholic). Can we ascribe something nefarious to them if they choose to approach the monstrance in their spare time? I feel really sad that the chapels who lead with correction rather than mercy will always struggle. People who come to Adore are, more often than not, seeking relief. Jesus wants us to come to Him and seek His Mercy. Sometimes the person who acts the worst needs that Mercy the most (something about the well not needing a physician? I'm no Bible scholar). Shouldn't we be the first ones to welcome them with open arms and do all we can to help them find their relief?
In this week, specifically tomorrow, we need to beg His Mercy for the sin of abortion that has poisoned this nation for decades. Let's all pray and fast for an end to the scourge of our time.
We are blessed.