There’s a man who comes to the Church on Saturday afternoons, at least an hour before the evening Mass begins. After lighting a little candle, he then goes and sits toward the back, gazes at the Tabernacle and prays until Mass begins. There is another man who comes in the morning and he does much the same as the first man.
And there are the women, too. The ones I am thinking of come along to the Eucharistic Holy Hour on Sunday afternoons and spend that hour simply being in the presence of the Lord, praying silently and placing everything before Him.
These people – and countless others like them in innumerable quiet little parish churches across the world – recognise something very special. They know in Whose presence they find themselves – and they value that divine and very real Presence.
They are like latter-day Simeons, taking Christ in their arms and praising Him.
They are also following in the example of the Saints, who greatly loved to be in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. And they remind me of a passage in the Diary of Saint Faustina –
I spend every free moment at the feet of the hidden God. He is my Master; I ask Him about everything; I speak to Him about everything. Here I obtain strength and light; here I learn everything..
On this side of eternity, we will never know the extent of the mercy, grace and divine light which we are granted as a result of our time spent in the presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament; but one day, on the other side, the full extent and reality of this will – I am certain – be made perfectly clear to us. And how we will give thanks, then.