Thursday, November 12, 2009

Do Not Run In Pursuit

I have a little book at home titled Hidden Treasure: The Riches of the Eucharist. In it is found a story about St. Louis (that would be King Louis IX of France) and an appearance by Christ.

In the person of St. Louis IX were the qualities which form a great king, a hero of romance, and a saint! With his death, the century of knights ended. One day a messenger, breathless with haste, burst in upon the king with surprising and exciting news. “Your majesty,” he cried, “hasten to the Church! A great miracle is occurring there. A priest is saying holy Mass, and after the consecration, instead of the host there is visible on the altar Jesus Himself in His human figure. Everybody is marveling at it. Hurry before it disappears.”

To the astonishment of the messenger, the saintly monarch calmly replied:

Let them go to see the miracle who have any doubt regarding the Real Presence of our Lord in the Holy Sacrament. As for me, even if I saw Jesus on the altar in His visible form, and touched Him with my hand, and heard His voice, I should not be more convinced than I now am, that He is present in the consecrated Host. The word of Christ is sufficient for me. I need no miracle.

I never quite understood the indifference of the king. Today’s gospel, though, gives an important clue:

Then he said to his disciples,
“The days will come when you will long to see
one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it.
There will be those who will say to you,
‘Look, there he is,’ or ‘Look, here he is.’
Do not go off, do not run in pursuit.
For just as lightning flashes
and lights up the sky from one side to the other,
so will the Son of Man be in his day.
But first he must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation.”

Luke 17:22-25

When Jesus returns, it will be in glory, impossible to miss. Yes, it is also true that he returns in a real and substantial way with every consecration at mass. Let us look forward with anticipation to his glorious coming, and let us appreciate as well the way in which he comes to us in a more mundane way through the Blessed Sacrament.

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