“When you have received Him, stir up your center to do Him homage; speak to Him about your spiritual life, gazing upon Him in your spirit where He is present for your joy; welcome Him as warmly as possible, and behave outwardly in such a way that your actions may give proof to all of His Presence.”
— St. Francis de Sales
When I was about to establish my First Holy Communion, my Catholic school offered the opportunity to purchase religious parts to commemorate the moment. They turned one of our larger classrooms into a mini religious-goods store filled with all sorts of entries, including white-hot gloves, white Rosaries, Holy Communion remembrance books, and religious jewelry, along with small effigies of the saints, the Blessed Mother, and Jesus.
I can retain marching into the room and my mother’s encouragement to buy something that I really required, something special that enables you to me recall this significant minute of my life. I think we were both surprised by my choice. I have always been a girly girl who loves her share of bling. But I didn’t make a dash toward the delicate bracelets or lace gauntlets. Instead, it was a statue that caught my nose and tugged at my heart. It was Jesus harbouring a chalice. At the bottom of the statue were two cute angels and below them the words “Panis Angelicus”–Latin for “the bread of angels.”
Decades later, I still have that bronze and was thinking about it not too long ago during Mass. My husband and I are sanctified to be back in our dwelling parish, the same one where I went to school. As I was looking up at the altar and the image of the resurrected Christ–the same portrait I pictured ambling up the aisle to receive Jesus in the Eucharist for the first time–an upcoming talk that I would be giving in the spring too came to mind.
While I have never mentioned my statue during my reverting narrative, in reflecting on the expedition of this statue and its impact on my life and faith, I time felt I had to work it into my rendition somehow. After all, even though it’s now in two slice, the main part of the bronze is still under my pillow. That’s the same place it has taken place since I marched into that makeshift accumulate and insisted that I had to have it. It traveled with me to college, our first suite, our first residence, and our current home, where my husband and I have lived now for twenty-six years.
This article is from Listening for God.
Despite falling away from the Church for some time, I still received comfort and inducement knowing the effigy was there. And formerly I came back home to my religious springs, I realized the bronze serves as a reminder that Jesus was and is always with me , no matter what.
It was a miracle of sorts that I never lost that statue despite all the packing, unpacking, emptying, and the regular day-to-day activities of a hectic household that make countless treasured entries to disappear every now and then. And this was what I was studying and crying about during Mass: how to incorporate this little miracle into my demonstration. I wanted to express how God can use all sorts of parts, images, and knowledge to let us know that He means what He says.
It was then that abruptly I noticed the hymn that was being sung. It’s not one that we discover very often anymore at Mass, and if we do hear the views, it’s usually during the holidays or at bridals( and this was during Ordinary Time ). The chant was none other than “Panis Angelicus.” It was written in the thirteenth century by St. Thomas Aquinas in honour of the feast of Corpus Christi, which is connected to the Eucharistic miracle in Orvieto, Italy.
It was hard for me to maintain my composure. What are the risks that beautiful hymn( again, one not heard very often) would be sung right as I was thinking about my Panis Angelicus statue? Oh, and did I mention that this was just days before I ability back to Italy to lead a pilgrimage, with my first stop being none other than the beautiful Etruscan town of Orvieto? It was no coincidence but another Godcidence or “God-wink.” It was indeed a grip from heaven and an early Christmas present, one that I will never forget.
“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, make us be indebted, and so worship God acceptably with reverence andawe.”
When was the last you expressed gratitude to God? What are you most grateful for in your life right now? What are some ways you can express that gratitude to God more regularly? Are you recognizing also that uttering gratitude is a form of devotion? As the saying moves, do you see your glass as half-empty or half-full? WhyHow is your prayer life? Have you ever heard from God when you didn’t think you were actually praying?
This article is adapted from a section in Teresa Tomeo’s Listening for God: Discovering the Incredible Ways God Speaks to Us. It is available as an ebook or paperback from Sophia Institute Press.
image: Christ& the Mass via Renata Sedmakova/ Shutterstock.com
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