Ever since I signed up for Friday nights, it seems like quite a few other people had the same idea. I was hoping to sit with Jesus at a time when no one else would and just when it seemed like perhaps I should choose another time, I found I had the chapel all to myself last night. I know I should be saddened at the drop off in adorers, but in selfishness, I was glad to have the time alone. It meant I could sit in the front pew and that I would have very few distractions.
I am keenly aware that when I am in the Real Presence of our Eucharistic Lord, we are not alone. The angels who are in constant adoration share the chapel with me, even though they do not make their presence known. Last night, it struck me how much adoration is like being with the Lord in the garden at Gethsemane. The only creatures who attended Him were the angels, even though He pleaded with the disciples to stay awake. Adoration is our chance to act in imitation of those angels who comforted Jesus on the night before His Passion.
I have a poor habit of recounting to myself all of the things I did each day to please the Lord. I need not bother because He knows what I will do even before I do. Like St. Therese, I wish I could perform acts of kindness without Him knowing it was me as anonymous acts seem to me the most fruitful. But because I'm a weakling, I find myself inadvertently reminding myself of some small thing I did. If someone who ignored me for years and neglected me to the point of going out of their way to hurt me would suddenly start counting all the nice things they recently did for me, I'd probably be quick to say: "Well, you have a lot of lost time to make up for, how about all the times you ignored me or spoke badly about me?"
But the Lord will never do that. He will never repay us in kind for our neglect, our ungratefulness, even our coldness toward Him. Who else would do that for us? If I treated my mother the way I once acted toward Jesus, she would definitely try to inflict some guilt before taking me back. Not so with the Lord.
Realizing the greatness of His Love, we are compelled to return the favor towards those who do the same to us.
The other day, I was listening to former Philadelphia Flyer Eric Lindros talk about how he would take the ice with his former nemesis, Bobby Clarke. He said he would shake his hand, and play the alumni game with him at the Winter Classic. When a caller asked him how he could forgive all that was done to him by Clarke, he simply said: " I can keep looking back, or I can move forward. I choose to move forward."
When Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque conferred with her spiritual director about the Lord's revelations to her, he ordered her to ask Jesus what the most serious sin the priest had committed in his youth. The Lord's response to her was: "I don't recall."
Does this mean we will not have to account for our actions during this life? No. It simply means what my late friend Father Jim Galligan knew: When we sit in the Divine Presence, the Lord does not see our sins when He looks back at us. He only sees how much He loves us. No one will ever love us more.
What am I prepared to do to return that love?
For one thing, make sure I'm in the chapel every Friday night when I'm scheduled to be And not let slip one single opportunity to show my gratitude for a King who lowered Himself to reside in a white particle so that I can bask in His Presence whenever possible.