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Father Muench Says...

Time in the presence of Jesus

June 29, 2022

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

Today, I want to take this opportunity to encourage you to take some time in prayer and adoration in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. So, once more let us take some time with the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. I am certain that you know our Catholic belief that all the consecrated hosts at Mass that are left over at Communion time are reserved in the special tabernacle at the altar.

So, we believe as Catholics that when we enter a Catholic Church that the Lord is present as the consecrated Blessed Eucharist placed in the tabernacle. And so, the Lord Jesus is present in a special and powerful way. And so, the Church is a perfect place for prayer. The Lord is truly and sacramentally present, waiting to receive each of us. Now please understand we believe that our God is present everywhere. However, through the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, the Lord Jesus, made sacramentally present through the consecration of the Mass, is present.

The Lord is present Body and Blood.

Every Catholic Church throughout the world makes it clear to any visitor that the Lord is present, the consecrated Holy Eucharist is present in the tabernacle, by placing a lit candle before the tabernacle. This candle is called the sanctuary light. In many parish churches, individuals may request the sanctuary light be lit for their special intention.

Together we have remembered that our Savior, Jesus Christ, instituted the blessed Eucharist at the Last Supper. During each celebration of the Mass, this consecrated Eucharist is distributed to the people of the congregation as Holy Communion. Through the reception of Holy Communion, we, Catholics, firmly believe that each of us are united to our Lord and Savior in a special and powerful way. The bread and wine, placed on the altar during the Offertory, is consecrated by the priest celebrant, using the very same words as Jesus did at the Last Supper. Through transubstantiation, this bread and wine becomes the Body and Blood of Jesus. We take our Lord with us as we leave the Church after Mass and carefully live our ordinary lives in the Spirit of our Savior. The Lord is part of our life – our guide and protector.

At other times, we are invited to spend time in the presence of the Lord truly present in the tabernacle in prayer and adoration. Such a gift! This continues to be a unique opportunity transforming this time of prayer as a special moment as we unite our heart with the Lord in love.

Personally, I like to simply remain silent with the Lord during this time. I have learned that the Lord comes to be with me, filling my heart and soul with his powerful love. I have experienced a personal transformation in the Lord’s presence. I have discovered the support I often need, especially during the times of need, times of confession, times of loneliness.

Of course, we can spend our time before the Lord saying prayers, saying the rosary. However, we must never forget that the Lord is with us, the Lord Jesus who loves us, who forgives us, who wants to be part of our very being.

In many parishes, there are scheduled special devotions during which the Blessed Sacrament is placed in the sacred vessel called the monstrance. These usually take the form of a Holy Hour of special prayer. These are very special opportunities to discover and enjoy the presence of the Lord.

Finally, there is a wonderful tradition in many Catholic parishes of the people of the parish visiting the church during the day, stopping in for a brief moment of prayer and visiting of the ever-present Lord, spending some time in the presence of the Lord and finding the Lord’s love and support.

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