Let Him Gaze Upon You

I am back to square one here in our new state of residence, Tennessee.  Dear friends would remind me that it one of the top five stressers in a person’s life to relocate, and the greater the distance, the greater the stress (she added for effect). So from Ohio to Tennessee may only be 6-7 hour drive, depending on the traffic through Cincinnati and Louisville, but culturally we have flown the coop.

The hardest part of this journey for me has been spiritual. I left behind my perfect job at the desk of the parish office, publishing the bulletin and having wonderful spiritual interactions with the staff, school and parish community where we lived for a combined 16 years. My kids were next door in the school and I had the Eucharist next door in the church all day long. I would make little trips to “deliver bulletins” or drop off a key, and slide into the sacristy door and through the vestments to the altar where Jesus resides. I would collapse on my knees on the closest kneeler I could get, and drop my head in relief, knowing that Jesus was there, welcoming me, happy to have someone drop by to visit, and that he had all of my worries wrapped up tight for me in his arms, and as far away from me as he could take them.

For a long time here I could not find Eucharistic adoration that was accessible for me. It was painful to leave the warmth and safety of the Tabernacle behind, as our new parish has a special adoration chapel where the tabernacle resides, and it is behind a key pad and usually dark and locked. I felt like a lost boy looking for Peter Pan perusing parish bulletins and trying to find my path to prayer time before the tabernacle.

The first week of Lent, I dropped Cirque off at soccer practice and under my breath mentioned I may go pray if I can get into the church. She piped up from the back seat, “Mom, just go into the office and ask them to let you in.” I didn’t want to bother anyone, I explained, and then with a jump from the van, running after her pink ball she yelled “Just ask!”

In the parish office a minute later, it was explained that all I needed was a key code, which allows access to the tabernacle in the chapel any time of day or night.  Being notorious for my short-term memory, I sighed as I scribbled away on a note, the numbers I knew I would lose within a day, and (glass-half-empty-like) would keep me from going as often as I could. Upon the last number I looked up in shock. The code was almost identical to a number I was already daily in another capacity. It was a number I had already committed to memory. From there I nearly collapsed on the floor of the dark, quiet, candle-lit chapel before the tabernacle. “Just ask”, I laughed. Knock and it shall be opened unto you. Really Jesus? Was I that lacking in faith and perseverance? No matter. I was here and here I would be for five, or fifteen or fifty minutes a few times a week, breathing relief like a diver whose tank was just engaged.

Post Script: Many people avoid Eucharistic Adoration or going before the tabernacle in their church because they don’t know the “Protocol”. As said very well by a speaker at church a few weeks ago, simply go before him. “Let him just gaze upon you.” You will see, he will do the rest.

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