|Our Lady of Victory, Manhattan|
|The main altar in our Lady of Victory|
I try to go there as often as I can for Adoration. And there is usually a fair amount of people there. It really is inspiring to see high power businessmen kneeling in the pews and praying the Rosary.
|The Exposed Blessed Sacrament|
Credit: St. Hugh of Cluny Society
This past week I found myself becoming very agitated when a man, after helping out at Benediction, held an animated conversation with a woman in the front pew. He stood with his back to the Blessed Sacrament, touching and hugging the woman with whom he was talking, disturbing the rest of us who were trying to pray and worst of all, completely ignoring and disrespecting his Creator and Savior who was right in back of him. When he finally finished his conversation, he passed in front of the Blessed Sacrament and gave a barely perceptible nod of his head.
Often I will see people walk into the Church during Adoration, completely ignore our Lord and walk up to the statue of our Blessed Mother. I have no problem at all with giving reverence to our Blessed Mother, but to ignore Her Son for any reason, even if it is to give reverence to her, is the greatest insult you can give Our Lady.
Almost no one genuflects or kneels on entering or leaving the pews.
I would implore all Catholics to think about what they are doing. Remember that the Blessed Sacrament is not just a piece of bread on the altar, but the One who gives us every breath we breathe, the one who formed us in the womb and causes our heart to beat, the one who created the universe and everything in it. This is the same One who allowed Himself to be whipped and beaten on our behalf, who took up His Cross and carried it on Calvary, who allowed men to pound nails into His Sacred Body and who poured out His Precious Blood so that our sins could be forgiven and we could spend all eternity with Him.
St. John the Apostle was transported to the Heavenly Throne of Christ in a vision, and this is how he describes it (Revelation 1:12-17):
12 When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands. 13 There with the lampstands was someone who seemed to be the Son of Man. He was wearing a robe that reached down to his feet, and a gold cloth was wrapped around his chest. 14 His head and his hair were white as wool or snow, and his eyes looked like flames of fire.15 His feet were glowing like bronze being heated in a furnace, and his voice sounded like the roar of a waterfall. 16 He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp double-edged sword was coming from his mouth. His face was shining as bright as the sun at noon. 17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet like a dead person.
Because Our Lord has such a great desire to be intimately with us, He humbles and veils himself under the appearance of a small piece of white bread. We enter into the Presence of the Blessed Sacrament with our faith, seeing Him not with our physical eyes but in a spiritual sense. Our physical demeanor in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament has a direct effect on our belief and obedience to our Lord. "Lex orendi, lex credendi" means how we pray is how we believe. Prayer is not just the words we use but involves our whole being, and part of prayer is our bodily expression. If we want to cultivate a true reverence for our Lord and Savior, we must manifest this in our outward appearance.
Physically genuflecting and kneeling in front of the Blessed Sacrament will actually help you grow in holiness and in love of Jesus Christ. And don't we owe Him at least this much for the very fact that He, as Creator, has given us our physical existence and then poured out His Precious Blood on the Cross so that we may inherit eternal life with Him as well?
Please show the proper respect when entering into the presence of the Lord. He has humbled Himself to come to us under the appearance of bread. The least we can do is bend our knees in reverence and respect to Our Creator and Savior.