It is good for the spirit to get out into the country, or out to sea from time to time to enjoy the peace and timelessness of landscape and seascape. It seems that it would look the same no matter what was going on in the world. All the wars and turmoil down through the ages might never have happened, whilst our serene and strangely beautiful Australian landscape remains unchanged in its ancient tranquillity and the great ocean continues on its steady passage. We need to be refreshed periodically, to escape the press of events and to allow some quiet reflection on the recent past.

Sometimes this will help us sort out things that have happened or are happening, or it may strengthen us or stabilize us to meet anticipated challenges. These are good and fitting experiences for the human mind and spirit.

We Catholics have as well a far greater restorative experience available to us - the Presence of Our Divine Lord in the Blessed Sacrament in our churches. Cardinal Newman realized this when, after his conversion from Anglicanism, he bewailed his lost opportunities as an Anglican visiting Italy when he called into many Catholic churches not realising the Real Presence of Christ.

There in the tabernacle Our Lord waits, ever willing to refresh our souls and hearts as well as our spirits, and to calm our minds. How often when we pay a visit we see the tearful bereaved, or penitent, the troubled , or just John or Mary Average, pleased to be with Him for a time. Unlike the tranquil landscape or the gentle sea, both ignorant of man and his troubles, here is the Lord all-knowing - our problems and joys, past, present and to come - knowing us better than we know ourselves, and loving us beyond measure.

In His Presence we can find all the refreshment, tranquility, peace and strength we need.

Like the country landscape or the seascape, it is up to us to avail ourselves of His Divine Presence. We can make time for that visit to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. We make time for so many things in our lives but "Martha, Martha....Only one thing is necessary".(Luke 10:41)

Many of our churches bear the Latin inscription in their Sanctuaries:

"MAGISTER ADEST ET VOCAT TE"-  "The Master is here and calls you."

Let us go! Regularly! Unburden ourselves ....we have been invited : "Come to Me all you who labour and are burdened, and I will give you rest."(Matt. 11:28) Listen to silent...then pray.

You can restore yourself and change the world.

(This item first appeared in FOUNDATION in June 2009.)   


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