Every day in my email inbox I have something from Church Pop. Their logo is a Popsicle on a stick with a halo around it, very creative. The article/video they send is always interesting and orthodox. Church Pop is a subsidiary of EWTN. A few days before Christmas I received my usual Church Pop and it was an article about Precepe. Precepe are the Italian version of the Nativity. Precepe are more than just Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, a few animals, shepherds, and Kings. They are usually whole cityscapes with shops, and houses, and farms, and courtyards, and lots of people. Lots of people doing various activities, some are working, playing, resting, and just going on about their day. Precepe are very busy and involved, and they take up a lot of space.
And usually it’s very hard to find the Holy Family. They are not in the front and center; they’re usually off to the side, almost hidden. To find the Holy Family in the Precepe is like trying to find Waldo. It takes effort. And that’s the point. Hardly anyone knew when the King of Kings was born. Except for a few shepherds and the Wise men, nobody knew of our Lord’s birth. The rest of the world went on; business as usual.
Now the Shepherds knew because of the Angel’s message. The angel came to them saying, “Today in the City of David a Savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you; you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a
manger.” But what was difficult then is not difficult today. Today it’s not hard to find Jesus; it’s not hard to find our Lord. He can be found in every tabernacle in every Catholic Church across the world. Under the veil of Eucharistic Bread the fullness of our Lord’s humanity and divinity is present and waiting.
Our Lord once said this about the Eucharist to a mystic, “Come to Me in the Sacrament of My love and I will fill you with the sweetness of My friendship. Know that there is no companionship on earth that can be compared with Mine. For this too did I institute the Sacrament and Sacrifice of My Body and Blood: so that souls might find Me present in My churches and, by remaining in My presence, learn from Me all that I have heard from My Father. For this reason do I call you friends. You are My friends because, from the tabernacle where I am present, and from the monstrance that exposes Me to your gaze, I will share with you the secrets of My Heart.”
Our Lord also told this same mystic, that to be in the presence of the Eucharist, whether in a tabernacle or a monstrance is to sit within the loving gaze of his Eucharistic face, a privileged place to rest and be in peace. In our first reading we are given a blessing that prays for exactly this, to be in the presence of the Face of our Lord. We read, The Lord bless you and keep you! The Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon you kindly and give you
peace! To sit before the Eucharist (Tabernacle or Monstrance) is to let His Face shine upon us.
In this upcoming New Year, find some time each week, put it right into your schedule, to just come and sit with our Lord, here at St. Joseph’s/St. Jerome’s. He is not hard to find and don’t worry about what you’ll pray or say, you don’t need an agenda of prayer, just come and be. He’s always here waiting, see what happens, you will not regret it. The world out there may go on, business as usual, but in here, with Our Lord we have rest, peace, and consolation. He graces us so that we can make Him present out there.
The Lord bless you and keep you! The Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!
Happy New Year!
Fr. Christopher J. Ankley