THE GREATEST TREASURE
Commercially, we are already in the Christmas season. And, individually, as we approach the end of 2010, we feel an urge to hurry a lot of things to a conclusion, to get rid of a lot of accumulated odds and ends, and sub-consciously we begin the process of planning a review of the order of our lives as we prepare to face the New Year. Of course, 1st January will dawn largely indistinguishable from 31st December – except that some revelers may face “the morning after the night before” somewhat the worse for wear. But, in our wonderfully human way, we will seek once again a new beginning, to try again to put order into our lives and hope to reform in some way
It is a good instinct, and at its heart a very Catholic instinct. And, it is one that is valid in every aspect of our lives especially the spiritual. Whilst Christmas is as we know truly about Christ, it is no easy task to keep our minds and hearts TRULY CENTRED on Him in the swirl of pre-Christmas and Christmas activity which distracts us with lists of cards to send, gifts to buy and wrap, cakes and puddings to cook, gatherings to plan and perhaps, a holiday to arrange. Sometimes it can seem that the greater the reality, the more our mundane concerns grow up to obscure it.
The “Big Apple”, New York, has a new Archbishop Timothy Dolan. He is a big personality. But that big personality wraps around a shrewd observer, a devout and holy Bishop at heart. Perhaps it was these latter characteristics that led many to be surprised when in very recent times he was elected as the new President of the American Bishops’ Conference. In the last few weeks, he drove one Sunday morning past one of the large Department Stores just along 5th Avenue from St. Patrick’s Cathedral and remarked on the huge queues around the block as customers waited to catch the bargains inside, then back along 5th Avenue to the Cathedral – contrast : no queues at all. He asks: “WHERE WAS THE GREATER TREASURE?”
The Great Reality of the generous Presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ among us in the Blessed Sacrament is something that should shake us like an earthquake, compel our awed attention like a volcanic eruption yet displacing the terror of those phenomena with an overwhelming love far exceeding the love of parents and family…..And yet, “familiarity breeds contempt” we are wisely told.
What are we to do? Spiritually stick our heads under a stream of ice cold water and wake up to the Truth! Get real! Recovering our wits, let us give up every hint of casual ease in the presence of Our Lord – BE SILENT, GENUFLECT CAREFULLY AND TOWARD THE TABERNACLE, KNEEL UPRIGHT IN PRAYER – NO BUTTOCKS RESTING ON THE PEW’S EDGE, DON’T GO ALONG WITH THOSE WHO DO OTHERWISE, DON’T PASS A CHURCH WITHOUT PAYING A VISIT, DON’T BRING PROFANE BOOKS AND TOYS FOR CHILDREN TO MASS, TURN OFF YOUR MOBILE PHONE, FOLLOW THE HOLY FATHER’S INVITATION AND RECEIVE HOLY COMMUNION ON THE TONGUE, AND, IF IT CAN REASONABLY BE ACHIEVED, KNEEL TO RECEIVE OUR LORD.
Become a Catholic “activist” ask for regular exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in the Church – preferably at least for half an hour before Holy Mass. You get the idea I’m sure. Stop going with the flow or just tut – tutting at things you know are wrong. Be absolutely awe-struck by the wonder of the Divine Presence and ACT ACCORDINGLY. You can transform one, then two, then ten, then twenty folk and your Parish .And then you will have the Happy Christmas we wish for you!
COPYRIGHT TONY DIXON THIS ARTICLE APPEARED FIRST IN THE DECEMBER,2010 ISSUE OF FOUNDATION