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  • Sarah Raad

Reverence

Christ helps us to carry on. We just need to be able to see Him there! “I adore You oh Christ and I praise You. For by Your Holy Cross You have Redeemed the World!”

Adoration of the Eucharist (Peter Paul Rubens)

Today, during Mass as I was simultaneously reprimanding one of my children and trying to pray, in my distracted and mildly angry state, I was suddenly struck with the forceful realisation of God’s infinite love for me and my children – even the naughty ones!


There I sat, in Mass, which is the commemoration of the actual Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ who is the Perfect Sacrifice – Offering, Altar, and Priest – while having a whispered frantic argument with a nine-year old boy while unsuccessfully trying to be discrete.


There God sat – loving us anyway!


I have done nothing to earn this love of God – in fact, through sin, I often repulse Him so badly that He would surely have more comfort in and of Himself if I had not been born.


“The Son of Man will go just as it is written about Him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.” (Matthew 26:24).


I am no better than Judas – I am worse.

Judas betrayed Christ once with a Kiss – I betray Christ a billion times with barely a backward glance!

Woe to me!


Yet, by some miracle that I will spend a lifetime contemplating, God loves me anyway – infinitely, perfectly, intimately and completely. His infinite graciousness allows me to be His friend, His sister – His child.


What graciousness!


As my mother knows me, for she raised me, so too does my Heavenly Father know me – though His knowledge is infinite and eternal. I should be His SLAVE for I am His creation – but He made me His CHILD!


What graciousness!


Many years ago, one of the beautiful teachers who taught me as a schoolgirl told me a story of a conversation she had had with a friend. I have never forgotten it.


Her friend was discerning her faith – having previously identified as atheist – and eventually decided to become an Anglican Christian rather than Catholic like my teacher. My teacher asked her friend why she chose not to become Catholic and her friend replied, “If Catholics really believed that God Himself was in the Blessed Sacrament then they would enter the Church on their knees. But since they do not show such reverence in the Church, I cannot believe in what they tell me is there.”


The friend had a point!


I know that is God there, right there – hidden in the Blessed Sacrament.


That is why I genuflect before approaching the altar. That is why I lick every crumb of the host from my fingers (and sanitise later for COVID) after receiving Communion on my unworthy hands because inside that scrap of bread – that there… that is GOD. As in… THE GOD, as in… THE KING OF THE UNIVERSE. And there He is – contained in every single crumb – held in the palm of my most unworthy, sinful and miserable hand!


Either I believe in this TRUTH or I do not. There is no halfway in something like this! Either I believe that God is in the room with me physically and spiritually or I do not.


It is a big call… But lucky for me – God gives me Grace! I believe!


Years ago – several years after I lost my baby before he had been born – while I was still under the shroud of grief that caused me to stupidly think that God HATED me and that was why He allowed my child to become a saint… I walked into the Church at my children’s school after dropping them off.


I had been to Mass every week after losing that child. But though I had been physically inside the Church, the anger in my soul kept me away.


I remember that morning vividly – it was a Friday. In fact, it was the first Friday of the month and as such there was Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.


It had been many years since I had been to the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.


As a schoolgirl we were taught that during the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament we were to genuflect on BOTH knees out of respect for God and that we were to ensure that someone was sitting with God before we left the Church so as not to leave Him alone in the Church.


On that First Friday – so many years ago now – there, on the altar, was God.

GOD Himself was hidden in an apparently worthless piece of bread, exactly as He was hidden in the weak – and eventually battered and flayed – human body of Christ.

I saw Him there that day!


That Friday, when I saw Him, sitting there on the altar in the monstrance – that unassuming little piece of bread – something inside me gave way. It was like a dam burst and the clanging cymbals in my soul were quiet for a moment and the wonder inside me caused me to cry and cry and cry – there… alone in that quiet church. For I realised the TRUTH for the first time in many years – though I had been lonely, I was never alone!


You see – through Grace and no merit of my own – I saw God there. I see Him now!


And He quieted the wailing in my soul – even though I had been angry with Him for years before and I continued to be angry with Him for years afterwards – even though I did not deserve it.

But there, inside that quiet Church, with nobody around to see, God gave me a moment of respite – not because I deserved it, for I did not – but because He is my Dad and I am Daddy’s little girl and He loves me!

I have never forgotten that oasis in the desert that God allowed me on that quiet Friday morning so long ago. For that moment of respite allowed me to continue on my way all those years ago.

That day, all those years ago, Christ – God Himself – was Saint Veronica for me, though I am as infinitely unworthy as He is worthy of such respite. God dried my face with His garment that day, and in doing so, gave me the strength to pick up my Cross and carry on.


One small step at a time…


For God is love, pure love and now everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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