My room overlooks the church and my bed allows me to see the stained glass windows. Last night the church was lit up like Vegas as we were having out forty hours of devotion; Our Lord is exposed on our altar all day and all night until Tuesday at 7PM when we have our closing ceremonies. During this time the light in the church back lights the windows exposing the pictures of saints that normally remain dark and hidden at night. So I look out and see Saint Augustine, Saint Maria Goretti, and a number of their friends on this side of the church.
Once in a while Fr. Pfeiffer or I would wander over to the church to see how things were going during exposition and to pray for a little while. I tried to go during the transition times from one hour to the next allowing those who needed to leave to go but being there until the persons who showed up for the next hour to come. It turned out to be completely unnecessary.
I do enjoy sneaking over to the church at night when it is still and dark; Just a couple of “ghost lights” on and a glow from the candles. But last night I went over to the lit church just before 11PM to do my Night Prayer and Office of Readings. There were a number of people praying or coming and going. Everything was quiet except the roar of the air handlers. We had put one of my chiming clocks in the church to help people keep track of time but the clock that makes a ruckus in the house is almost not heard in the vast cavern of a church.
All is still save for the candles burn away as they stand in honor of the presence of our Lord. After my prayers I rest one elbow on the pew back and rest my chin and try just talking and listening to God. Occasionally my mind wanders and I shake myself back to paying attention to Him. This is not just a problem between me and Jesus, I experience it with just about anybody. My mind wanders and I think, “Hey! Pay attention to this person in front of you!” So, gently I come back – although much of the time the things that I am trying not to think about because I am supposed to be about the business of praying ARE the very things I should be praying about.
During my homily promoting our Eucharistic Devotions I used the phrase in reference to the Blessed Sacrament as Jesus; Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity. An older gentleman (as he put it) lodged a complaint about this. “Jesus said, ‘this is my body,’ why do we have to add anything?” My homily had been in part about how some people do not know what the Eucharist truly is anymore. I explained that this understanding is at the heart of the Church, the heart of Vatican II, the basis of our belief and many Catholics have lost this understanding and we must reclaim it so I constantly reiterate it. “It just sounds too EWTN,” he replied.
So, my mind wanders to him last night. I shake my head and try to come back to where I was supposed to be in my schedule of prayerful things I had to talk about. Then it caught me that this is what I should be praying about. And here is the glory of celebrating 40 hours, coming back to our roots, our reason for being in common union, the source and summit of our lives, the basis for being Catholic, the heart of our community and the center of our covenant – what better thing to pray about than that we as a community come to understand this better, grow in unity, and strive for sainthood through the Jesus present to us in His Eucharistic form.