The bishop came for Mass and dinner on Saturday. I was bound and determined to take it casually but excitement won out. It was fun having an important guest coming to the house and many people were working hard to make sure he was satisfied with his visit. I am so grateful that he assigned me here and as a result want him to be happy with his choice.
The visit went well but as with most situations, the most important moment are rarely the ones you expect. It is that moment you remember almost out of time. The kind you recall in flashes. An offhand remark, a touch, a sound that hits you and stays with you to teach you a lesson.
Such a moment came for me at the end of communion. The bishop and I were returning to the tabernacle to combine the Eucharist in a couple ciboria into one large ciborium. When we got there, I quickly tilted the contents of my small ciborium into the large one. Not disrespectfully, but with what I like to call graceful expediency. But the bishop carefully lifted the hosts in his vessel in his hand and gently laid them with the rest. It took maybe a couple of seconds more and was a moment to show great piety toward our Lord.
Now, I am not the type that thinks Jesus is harmed if we chew the Eucharist. That is not the point. The point is that the Eucharist is not a thing, but in a mysterious way a Person. And though we cannot hurt His Person by less than gentle handling, but we can become reckless in our devotion to Him like a lover who grows familiar with his heart’s desire and forgets to say I love you though he does. Or better still, if there is one nearby who is having difficulty believing or if their devotion has grown lax, our example might go a long way in assisting them back in love, in reverence, and in joy.