It is not uncommon to wander into church and find someone lost in prayer. It seems strange to use the word “lost” since, in our prayer, it should be the one place where we are most aware of who and where we are. Maybe when we wander into church as see a person deep in prayer, we might say that we saw them “found in prayer!” Prayer in a sacred place, then, is an experience of being lost from the world and found in the sight of God. It is also a sacred place because it is where the prayers of countless others are joined in one chorus of praise raised to God!
While some might say, “I can pray anywhere” and have the same experience, our prayer “in” the Church has a deeper and more profound meaning. In the past few months, I have been impressed by the large number of people who come into our church throughout the day to pray and be found in God’s presence. But even in church, when I am praying, my mind always seems to wander and I get “distracted.” I get distracted by the things I see and hear.
When looking up from prayer, I catch sight of the Baptismal Font and hear the flowing of the water and I am led to remember those who have been (and will be) brought to new life in this most wonderful Sacrament. I can’t help but chuckle a bit as I also remember the many Rites of Sprinkling which have come forth from the font and of how some have literally been drenched in these waters!
In the Crucifix, now relocated above the Altar of Sacrifice, I seem to find my prayer moving from adoration to an intercession for those whose life burden is great and heavy. I seem to get most “lost” or probably most “found” before the tabernacle. There contained is the reserved Body of the Lord Jesus. I recall the Masses at which I have presided and the people gathered in those many celebrations. I remember that it was our sacrifice of simple, common elements which have become the very Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus.
Sometimes, even when celebrating Mass, my mind starts to wander. As my prayer has moved from in many directions, when my intent was simply for adoration, I have become concerned that I wasn’t really praying at all but was being led from one distraction to another! Thankfully, I recently re-read a quote from the Theologian Paul Bernier which says:
A true Eucharist is never a passive, comforting moment alone with God, something which allows us to escape from the cares and concerns of our everyday life. Eucharist is where all those cares and concerns come to a focus, and where we are asked to measure them against the standard lived by Jesus when he proclaimed for all to hear that the bread that he would give would provide life for the entire world. But it will do so only if, finding ourselves with a basket of bread, we have peered deeply enough into the heart of Christ to know what to do with it.”
Perhaps the “distraction” is the place where Jesus is really leading me. Perhaps the distractions which we have at Mass are also a place where Jesus is leading us all!
On this Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, a day so special in the lives of a parish named “Blessed Sacrament,” we pray that is all our “distracted moments” we might serve the One who offered his life that we all might be a part of His Mystical Body.
May the week ahead be filled with grace and countless grace blessings!