"God made us for joy. God is joy, and the joy of living reflects the original joy that God felt in creating us." (St. John Paul the Great)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

An Encounter


The first sentence of today's Gospel reads, "A man came up to Jesus and went down on his knees before him." This is the proper response to any encounter with our Lord. We Catholics know this. We bow before the altar. We genuflect before the tabernacle. We fall on our knees before the Eucharistic Presence of our Lord.

But how often is this devotion authentic adoration, and how often is it a more automatic response, something we've been trained to do? How often are we really aware of Who it is we are encountering?

I just finished reading the second chapter of Pope Benedict's book Jesus of Nazareth. This chapter is entitled "The Temptations of Jesus." I read the following:
If we had to choose today, would Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Mary, the Son of the Father, have a chance? Do we really know Jesus at all? Do we understand him? Do we not perhaps have to make an effort, today as always, to get to know him all over again? The tempter is not so crude as to suggest to us directly that we should worship the devil. He merely suggests that we opt for the reasonable decision, that we choose to give priority to a planned and thoroughly organized world, where God may have his place as a private concern but must not interfere in our essential purposes.
There is a lot here to think about, to pray about, but the passage struck me. Do I really know Jesus at all? Yes, I am a theology graduate. Yes, I work for the Church. But, do I really know Jesus? Do I let Him "interfere in my essential purposes" or do I try and control every aspect of my life? Do I live what I believe -- that Jesus is my Lord and Master?

I have resolved this school year to pray for an increased devotion to the Eucharist. I have resolved to find ways to foster this devotion in my children, to teach them the whys of their bows and genuflections, to teach them love and adoration, not just mechanics. In order to do this, I must "make an effort ... to get to know [my Lord] all over again." Every day. I must encounter our Lord in Scripture and in Sacrament. I must make an effort to teach my children how to get to know Jesus. I must teach them more than facts -- how does one fall in love with facts? Children need encounters.

So, my question to you, dear readers, is how do you foster love for Our Lord in your family? At what age do you start bringing them to Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament (for more then a quick visit)? How do they spend their time there? How do you approach a church where the tabernacle in hidden from view? Simply put, how do you and your family "go down on your knees before Him"? How do you love Our Lord?

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