(Photo from Father Lawrence Lew, O.P. - God’s Excessive Love - Used With Permission)
" "In the first place it should be known that if a person is seeking God, his beloved is seeking him much more." — St. John of the Cross

Monday, April 23, 2012

Not This Time Buddy!

I am ashamed to admit how easily I fall prey to the “blues.” God has immensely blessed me in this life and I have no real reason for ever feeling down and discouraged.  But, of course, I am human and prone to such disorders.

In reflecting (many times) on what might set me off on this non-productive path, I discovered a number of culprits, these being the “big three” - thinking I can actually accomplish anything of value by myself and without God’s grace and assistance; being self-centered and self-absorbed; and not being present and helpful to others.

The solution then seems so obvious: allow God to be God and use me as His instrument, put others before myself, and do something concrete to help someone.

Inevitably, the “blues” evaporate whenever I stop thinking of myself and focus on God and my neighbor.

But lately, these demons, like vultures circling their prey, have refused to leave. They have used my love for our Eucharistic Lord and passion for Eucharistic Adoration, to imbed their claws into my weak soul.

Instead of being astonished and grateful that God has permitted our Perpetual Adoration chapel to complete its tenth year, I fret over the lack of interest from the majority of my fellow Catholics and from the general unwillingness of far too many priests to promote and participate in this vital devotion.

Ever ready to thwart this devotion, I hear the evil one whispering in my ear, “You’re wasting your time. Most Catholics don’t believe He is really and substantially present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Blessed Sacrament anymore.”

 “That will change in time,” I say to myself.

 “You can tell them of the benefits of an Hour of Adoration till your blue in the face,” my invisible adversary blurts out in response. “They won’t come, visit and spend anytime with Him. Why should they? Many of their own priests don’t. You’re wasting your time.”

Smelling the stench of discouragement trying to take root in my mind, his unrelenting assault continues: “You’re foolish to think you can keep this Adoration chapel open perpetually. You won’t fill the empty slots – look how long they have been vacant. You can’t expect the same people to pick up extra hours just to keep the chapel open. You would be better off just opening it for a few hours a day.”

On and on he goes. Enough! I must stop listening to him! Discouragement never comes from God, leads to nothing good and impedes the work He asks us to do for Him.

I reflected on these truths when I next filled in for an absent adorer and imagined this conversation taking place.

  “What’s the problem? Who is in charge of this devotion? - You or me?

 “You are Lord,” I whisper sheepishly.

 “Then act like it. I was the one who called a handful of souls to ask their pastor to establish Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration here. I was the one who opened his heart to be receptive to that request. I was the one who provided and continues to provide the adorers needed to keep me company 24 hours a day. Not you. If I want this sacred place to remain open, no one will be able to stop Me.  So don’t be discouraged! Trust me! Keep inviting others to come.  I will do the rest!”

As if on cue, at varying intervals during the rest of that hour and for different lengths of time, one visitor after another came to be with Him – first a family of four, then an elderly and crippled woman, followed by seven other individuals. I had no idea so many were stopping in for brief visits. He was letting me see the pool of potential adorers from which He would be drawing!

And just yesterday, as an added and unsolicited blessing, He had a friend send this unique picture taken during the Pope’s recent visit to Mexico – a perfect image that so stirringly conveys the power and awesomeness of His Presence among us:

Oh, that none of us will ever tire of inviting others to Come and Adore Him!

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