So there they were kneeling in front of the tabernacle waiting for me to open it and show them what was inside. The first and second graders in Friend, Nebraska asked to see inside the tabernacle, so as we finished touring the Church, we received permission to open it and see Jesus. The excitement and anticipation that was present in that moment was refreshing to me as it truly led me to reflect on who the young children wanted to see. They wanted to see Jesus. We had talked about Him all morning, and had pictures of Him up everywhere we turned, but they wanted to experience the real thing…Jesus in the Eucharist. I opened the tabernacle, and each child got to come up, genuflect, and peer inside at their savior and friend. As the last young girl came up to have her turn, she genuflected and peered into the tabernacle, and exclaimed in a soft voice, “He is so beautiful!”
At that moment my heart was filled with immense joy. The world in that instant was so simple and true. A little six year-old girl, who could easily be the twin of ‘Dora the Explorer,’ peered into eternity, and proclaimed the beauty of Jesus, the one who left us the Eucharist as a sign of his love and faithfulness to His people. HE IS SO BEAUTIFUL. Praise God for the little girl and all the kids that believed in that moment, they were dwelling with Jesus. Oh how much we can learn from them!
When is the last time you looked at Jesus in the Eucharist and were overwhelmed with His presence? I had to ask myself that question as I experienced the simplicity and truth of the young kids desiring so much to see who was in the tabernacle. I experience Jesus in the Eucharist everyday and do my best to kindle the flame of his love and presence in my life. But at that moment, I asked Jesus and Mary once again to reveal to me the truth of the Eucharist.
I once heard a story of a young seminarian who used to visit his spiritual director often. One afternoon the spiritual director summoned the young seminarian for spiritual direction and told him to meet him at the dock so they could go out on his boat. When the seminarian arrived, the priest was marveling at his new anchor he had just finished welding together. The two spent most of the afternoon in the middle of the lake, rejoicing over great conversation and fellowship with one another. As it got into the evening the priest, upon observing the clouds, thought it was time to head towards the dock because it looked like it was going to storm.
Glancing at the clouds a second time, the priest decided that it was going to storm and there was no use in trying to get to shore. He figured they would be just fine if they dropped the anchor in the lake and waited out the storm. He motioned to the young seminarian to grab the new anchor that was stationed behind him and toss it over the side into the lake. The seminarian excitedly grabbed the anchor and tossed it overboard - only to realize that they anchor was not attached to the boat! It headed straight to the bottom of the lake!
Realizing what he had done, he looked at his spiritual director expecting the wrath of hell to come over him. But his spiritual director calmly used it as a moment to teach. Amidst the rain he proclaimed, “We can have the nicest, most well made, and most durable anchor ever made, but if it is not attached to the boat, then it makes no difference.” Then he brought the point home to the young seminarian saying, “We can have Jesus, the Son of God and Savior of the world present in our lives, but if we are not attached to Him, then it makes no difference.” With a smile on his face and wonder in his eye, the seminarian and his spiritual director waited out the storm with no anchor but Jesus.
My friends, it does not matter that we have an anchor, it matters if we are attached to HIM or not. Jesus in the Eucharist is the anchor of our faith and of our lives. Are you attached to Jesus in the Eucharist? Ok, you might receive Him every Sunday, but are you truly attached to Jesus, bonded with Him, as we experience the gift of Him on the cross? We so often go through life on cruise control, assuming of we just go to Mass and say a few other prayers then everything is ok. Oh how minimal this way of life is!
Let Jesus be you anchor and your refuge. Make Him a part of every moment in your life. Embrace His love and let His presence lead you to experience greater things in your life. So we all may know the true beauty of the Lord…
God Bless You,