Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Carl Heinrich Bloch - Christ Teaching at the Temple

Posted on the 4th Day of the 28th Week of Ordinary Time - 2006 AD - (Year B)

Today God taught me something. Every other lunchtime during the week I attend a small chapel in the local shopping mall. I am extremely lucky in that daily Eucharistic Adoration takes place here and I am privilidged that every day, if I choose, I am able to pray the Rosary before the Blessed Sacrament. Today I entered the small chapel as usual, there was another 'regular' in there already, one of the official 'Adorers' who maintain the vigil while the exposition takes place.

I began to pray the Rosary as usual, today it was the Glorious Mysteries. It's funny how we seem to have preferences in these things. I have always thought I preferred both the Joyful and the Sorrowful Mysteries, however, today I felt was beginning to appreciate the Glorious Mysteries more than ever before. It was time for God to give me a kick.

A lady entered the chapel, she was a stranger, nervous in this quiet, small, almost intimate setting. She approached me and very politely asked if I knew how how the mechanical candle dispenser worked. Having never used the machine before (I have to admit that the electric candles just somehow seem 'wrong' to me), I said something to the effect that I wasn't sure how it worked and then I turned to the 'regular' sitting behind me, interrupted his prayer and asked if he knew (knowing for sure that he did and that he would help the lady).

Now, the regular 'Adorer' who was on vigil at this particular time has a disability. He prays the Rosary with both feet because, either through accident or birth, he has no arms. Because of this obvious disability he takes a while to get settled and comfortable with a Rosary, or Scriptural and prayer texts that he may happen to be reading. At my request he dropped all this, got up and showed the lady how the candle machine worked, balancing on one leg and using his feet to show her the buttons and the coin slot.

I am my brothers keeper. He comes to me (in the form of my brother or sister) and I must clothe and feed him. I was shocked with what my immediate response had been to a simple request for help of a very straightforward kind. My immediate, unthinking and almost automatic response was to divert that request away from myself. Even when aware that my brother, to whom I diverted my request, was disabled, was also in prayer as I was myself. Something in me wrongly felt that the responsibility was more his than mine. That my new and fine appreciation of the Glorious Mysteries somehow took precedence over an innocent request for simple assistance. God showed me here, very directly, that beautiful and mysterious though the Rosary is, and it is a most beautiful thing, what he really wants from us is that living prayer, the unthinking automatic charitable response to our neighbour, our brother or sister, and ultimatley, through them we are giving that response to Our Lord as Christ is present in our neighbour. Though He came to me in person, I was too intent on a beautiful idea of him to see the real image of Christ who was presented to me in the chapel, needing a gentle and simple helping hand.

Immediatley after I had turned to my fellow congregant to ask for his help I felt guilty and appalled with myself. It was as if God had taken a picture of my real self, given me a kick and shown it to me. A side of myself I don't very often become aware of or acknowledge. A lack of humility, an impatient deflective response to strangers rather than that open, welcoming charity which Our Lord expects from us. All of this in the very presence of Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist.

I think that the safest way to deal with situations like these from now on is to assume that, if someone asks me for help, then God actually wants me to deal with this request myself, out of Love and Charity, out of poverty of Spirit. He comes to us in the form of our neighbours, in the forms of strangers, it is our duty to welcome all, to be prepared to lay down our lives unthinking rather than be caught off guard in attatchment to our own unimportant needs.

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