By Fr. Roy Cimagala
THIS is something that we all have to learn as early as possible and as best that we can.
If we only realize what the Blessed Sacrament is, the only thing that we can do is indeed to adore it, because the Blessed Sacrament is nothing less than the real presence of Christ who makes himself completely available for all our needs, material, moral, spiritual, temporal and eternal.
Christ in the Blessed Sacrament should be the center and focus of our whole life! We should all be drawn to him just like those people who went to Christ asking for the cure of their various illnesses.
We are reminded of this duty in the readings of the Mass of Monday of the 5th Week in Ordinary Time (for this year 2024 it falls on February 5) that talks about how the Ark of the Covenant was revered by the people then (cfr. 1 Kings 8,1-7.9-13) and about Christ drawing many sick people to himself. (cfr. Mk 6,53-56)
I remember that as a kid I often wondered why my mother would make the sign of the cross every time we would pass by a church. I became even more deeply puzzled when inside the church my mother looked transformed, telling me to keep still.
One day, after a high school drill in the then PMT (Preparatory Military Training), I decided just out of curiosity to drop by the cathedral before going home. I was amazed to see many matrons moving towards the altar on their knees. Then I got a shock of my life when I saw my own mother among them. I immediately felt embarrassed of my own self because I knew I was missing something that my mother and the other women had.
In school, we were taught about the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, but that to me was more of an idea rather than a reality. I, of course, would just go through the motions of adoration whenever we were made to make a visit to the chapel. But the conviction of the real presence of Christ that should affect my whole self was not there.
That’s when I tried to drill into my mind and heart that Christ was indeed present in the Blessed Sacrament. It’s was a most challenging test of faith for me, a test that required a deep sense of humility because many disturbing and heckling thoughts would also hound me. I found myself having to make a choice of either believing my own thoughts or following the example of my mother and the doctrine taught in class, etc.
It was not an easy thing at all. It took me a lot of time, because I was also surrounded by people and things in general that somehow had little regard or even contrary consideration of the Blessed Sacrament.
Indeed, some force had to be used. And that’s when I somehow understood why Christ said that if we would follow him, we should deny ourselves and carry the cross. (cfr. Mt 16,24) That’s when I also understood that I have to continually nourish my life of faith by submitting myself to a program of pious practices, like mental prayer, spiritual reading, going to Mass and regular confession, praying of the holy rosary, etc.
I understood then that my life should not just be temporal, material, natural, but also spiritual, supernatural and eternal. I understood that this is the only way the Blessed Sacrament can strongly and abidingly attract me in deep adoration.