Before The Lord
It is quite something to be able to spend some time before the Lord in the Tabernacle. It can be a moment of deep revelation for us when we place ourselves there before Him and simply ‘be’ in His Presence.
We are before the One who knows us far better than we know ourselves, the One to whom nothing is hidden. That realisation can be the path to a very particular honesty in our approach to Him, in our prayer offered before Him. And this sense of honesty can extend to us, also – any pretence, any self-delusion or any self-agrandisement on our part is gone, for it is pointless.
It can be the moment in which our prayer takes on the quality of silence, where no words are necessary – this is especially beneficial to us at those moments when we simply cannot find the words; He knows. He knows all things; and we are there before Him, offering it all to Him, whatever ‘it’ might be. That prayer of silence is also the ideal to which we ought to aspire in our prayer lives.
There is a very direct connection between us and the Lord when we are there with Him at the foot of the altar. I have heard of people who were not Catholic – sometimes, of no religious belief at all – and who spent a little time before the Lord in the Tabernacle, and who were changed profoundly by the experience. One friend spent some time there at the suggestion of an acquaintance – not Catholic, he experienced a very real sense of the presence of the Lord; this was so intensely strong and deep that he went on to convert to Catholicism as a direct result of what happened there before the Tabernacle.
For those of us who are ‘used’ to being before the Lord in this way, there is a very real danger that our familiarity can breed contempt – we forget (to our great cost) what it is we do and before Whom we are present. Sometimes, then, it is good practice to stop and to consider, and to re-orientate ourselves.
Saint Teresa of Avila has this to say –
“Your Spouse never takes His eyes off you. In the measure you desire Him, you will find Him. He so esteems our turning to look at Him that no diligence will be lacking on His part.”
I believe these words of the great mistress of prayer apply in a very particular way when we are before the Lord in the Tabernacle. The Blessed Sacrament is our greatest Treasure – I cannot believe that to be there in His Presence does not offer us an immense outpouring of His divine grace, whether we are aware of it or not. Our job is to be and to trust – His task is to do. And that, He will fulfil perfectly as He chooses best for us.