LIBERA ME, Domine, Iesu Christe, ab omnibus iniquitatis meis et universis malis,
fac me tuis semper inhærere mandatis et a te numquam separari permittas. Amen.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

The Reality of Reverence

I’ve said more than a few things, both on this blog and in comments on others, about respect for the Most Holy Sacrament : and I stand firmly by what I’ve said, that we can never show Our Blessed Lord too much respect and reverence in the Sacrament of the Altar.

At the same time I must admit that some of my comments have been somewhat judgemental; and I was reading recently ‘Diary of a City Priest’ by ‘Pastor Iuventus’ which had a passage in it which I found very helpful in thinking about this subject.

When something is small and infinitely precious it is easy, if you are not used to it, to be frightened of its preciousness, or rather of one’s own clumsiness or unfamiliarity with something so vulnerable. This in turn can make one more clumsy, more lacking in dexterity. Babies need the sure grip of love, not the reverent touch of the connoisseur. Jesus makes Himself vulnerable in the Blessed Sacrament not so that we can be all uptight and precious about It, but so that we can love Him. The fear of making a mistake, of not being able to cope with His preciousness, can actually create a block to loving Him – which is a crude definition of scrupulosity.

When taking the Blessed Sacrament in my hands I need to guard against any casual approach but also against what I might call idealism. True reverence can only come from toughing the reality of holiness, not from being frightened to touch it lest one’s clumsiness and unfamiliarity betray one.

It seems to me that this offers a valuable insight. It is not suggesting – of course – that we should ever do other than offer the greatest possible respect to Our Blessed Lord : but what it seems to me to be emphasizing is that that respect needs to come from the heart, and that our reverence needs to be the outward and visible sign of a genuine inward and spiritual devotion.

Lord, grant me the grace to find such depths of love for You that my devotion may be made manifest in my external reverence, not formed by it.

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