Often we hear “don’t take _______ for granted.” Like, don’t take each new day for granted, or someone’s kindness, or in this case for the purpose of my post, I said to myself this morning: don’t take the opportunities to go to Mass for granted.
It isn’t until those opportunities have obstacles that make it challenging to go. So of course when the announcements of Mass cancellations were made, it left an impact far different and more bleak than that of school or office closings. I’ve felt this similar way many times on Good Friday in anticipation of Easter, when I see an empty tabernacle with its doors opened wide. It’s a harrowing feeling. A gaping void. It’s a bit different this time, but a similar feeling of loss.
We, Catholics, we believe that Christ is truly present — Body, Blood, Soul, Divinity — in the Eucharist under the appearance of bread and wine. The Mass is most important thing that happens in the world every day. Thankfully there will be private Masses said daily, it’s just that we can’t go for safety precautions, to avoid crowds. And this time it’s not that He is taken, but that the easy opportunities we’ve been fortunate to have to come before Him are no longer there for the time being.
A harrowing feeling.
I’ve found that it is in these types of moments that I hunger more for Christ and His presence, when the opportunities are limited. And then I think to myself, why did I take being with Him for granted so many times? Not particularly in a guilt-ridden way, but moreso a humbling realization of why didn’t I take advantage of this incredible gift, this medicine of immortality, when I could have?
Sacred art is a great gift to the Church for it provides us to come into deeper prayer with the Gospel and even the mystery of the Eucharist in ways that perhaps words couldn’t explain. Each day of Lent I make an effort to stare at this image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on my mantle for a moment. His thorn crowned brow. The tears on His face. The Eucharist Host behind His Sacred heart, enflamed with love for us…
This image of Christ above was inspired from an apparition of Christ to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, during which He said: “Behold the Heart that so loved men… instead of gratitude I receive from the greater part only ingratitude…”
So today, on this Friday of the second week of Lent, and as we plunge deeper into this global pandemic that separates us from being at Mass and receiving Him in the Eucharist, I am asking myself the very simple question, in realizing again the overwhelming love of Christ: how can I respond back to His love today, right now?