June 11, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Today is traditionally the great feast of Corpus Christi, when we remember Our Lord’s institution of the Most Blessed Sacrament and when, according to Holy Mother Church, we are to bear aloft the monstrance in public procession to receive the homage of Christian souls. Thanks primarily to the spread of this feast throughout the Christian world, the practice of Eucharistic Adoration received a tremendous boost, reaching its apogee in the Tridentine or Counter-Reformation period. In the twentieth century, Adoration withered under the chilling influence of Modernism; it flourishes anew wherever the Faith has begun to be believed and lived again.
For centuries, Catholics were encouraged to make pious visits to the tabernacle in any church. We should recover this custom. If you pass a church during a walk or an errand, step inside for a moment to pray to Our Lord. If stopping is not possible, make the Sign of the Cross as you pass by, and say a short prayer, like “Jesus, King of Love, I put my trust in Thy loving mercy.”
Mother Mectilde de Bar (1614–1698), a spiritual writer of 17th-century France whose writings are now more readily available thanks to an anthology recently published by Angelico Press, The Mystery of Incomprehensible Love, tells us:
We must never lose sight of our holy tabernacles: it is there that we find our strength and our virtue. If human infirmity and affairs allowed, we should pass our whole life at the feet of our divine Master; at least let us go there as often as possible, and quit so many futile occupations that rob us of precious time claimed for what we owe the love of a God. (p. 22)
In the magnificent book In Sinu Jesu: When Heart Speaks to Heart — The Journal of a Priest at Prayer, Our Lord emphasizes the importance of these visits and expresses His displeasure at churches that are kept locked:
The Most Holy Eucharist is not only My Sacrifice offered to the Father, although in a bloodless manner; it is not only the sustenance of souls, nourishing them with My very Body and Blood; it is also the Sacrament of My divine friendship, the pledge of My burning desire to remain close to all who seek Me, to all who need Me, to all who would spend time in My company.
This is why it so grieves Me that churches are locked and that I am left for days on end alone in the tabernacle. I would draw souls to My open Heart, I would have them experience what it is to abide in the radiance of My Eucharistic Face, I would give Myself in intimate friendship to souls drawn to Me in the Sacrament of My love, but you priests, shepherds of souls, have forgotten that keeping open your churches is integral to your sacred ministry. I would pasture souls in My Eucharistic presence, but you, by continuing to close My churches to souls, frustrate and contradict the desires of My Eucharistic Heart. There is sorrow in heaven over this. It is not difficult to keep My churches open and to provide for the spiritual needs of those who would readily enter them in search of My friendship. The obstacles are not those of which you think; the obstacle is a lack of faith, a loss of belief in My real presence. My priests will be held responsible for the coldness and isolation that has come to surround Me in the Sacrament of My love. How I desire to see My churches open! Open the doors of My consecrated houses and trust Me to fill them with adorers in spirit and in truth! (p. 54)
Later in the book, Our Lady speaks these words:
How is He [my Son] betrayed? His priests, my own sons, betray Him when they fail to make Him known, when by not teaching the mystery of His real presence they leave souls in the darkness of ignorance, without fire or light. They betray my Son when, by their example, they discourage reverence, and adoration, and a loving attention to His presence. They betray Him when they offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass unworthily, and when they hand Him over to sinners who have no intention of giving Him their hearts and seeking His mercy and His pardon for their sins. They betray Him when they leave Him alone in locked churches and when they make it difficult or impossible for souls to approach His tabernacles and rest in the radiance of His Eucharistic Face. They betray Him when they allow His churches to become places of noise and worldly chatter, and when they do nothing to recall souls to the living mystery of His love, that is, His presence in the tabernacle. (p. 184)
It seems quite clear what Our Lord’s and Our Lady’s “marching orders” would be for the clergy and the faithful today as regards the use of churches and the veneration of the awesome mystery of Christ, truly present in the Blessed Sacrament.
Thanks be to God, some churches did remain open even during the COVID-19 lockdowns, and the faithful went to them to pray. Dutiful priests exposed the Host for adoration. Some were able to say Mass and hear confessions. When the history of this strange time is written, these men will be the heroes whose quiet exploits are told.
In other places, the public life of the Church was all but extinguished, in a manner eerily reminiscent of prophecies of the end times, when souls will search in vain for priests or sacraments, and the dark prince of this world will gloat as if he has extirpated religion from the face of the Earth. “When the Son of Man returns, will He find faith on earth?”
He will find faith at least among those Catholics who have held tightly to the mystery of Corpus Christi and who adore the Lord in the Host, in the tabernacles of His churches — and, if all else fails, in the tabernacles of their hearts where He has made Himself a home.