What is the
loneliest place in the world? I will
tell you. Picture to yourself an immense
dark room. There is no light, save for a
tiny red glow floating feebly at the further end. Yet its puny radiance enables you to pick out
an ornate table, with a sort of box standing on top of it. On either side gleam tall, cold, brass
candlesticks, standing stiff like frigid sentinels. And as you realize where you are, and slide
to your knees, you feel a Presence.
the loneliest place in the world is an empty Catholic Church. Whether in the dimness of an immense
cathedral, or smothered in the smoky smallness of a tiny chapel, there is always
the same atmosphere of silent solitude.
Here dwells One, Who for 2000 years has voluntarily shut Himself up in
our tabernacles, in order to be near us.
And we have abandoned Him.
Who can even
begin to measure the self-abasing love of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament? Almighty God conceals His Infinite Majesty
under the appearance of a tiny piece of bread!
And Jesus desired that He should be placed in the Tabernacle, amongst
us, close to us, so that we may not fear to approach Him.
Me, all you that labour and are burdened, and I will refresh you!” Such is His silent plea. He has come to help us in our trials, to be
with us in Person, but do we turn to Him?
Oh, how the Divine Prisoner must strain against His chains when He sees
so many souls sitting sullenly in a swamp of sins and all the sorrows spawned
therefrom. “Come to Me!” They are deaf to His call – either they
refuse to hear Him, or they forget to listen.
Dazed by the demands of the World, the Flesh, and the Devil, their wills
grow steadily colder, and turn away from their Saviour, Who pleads still, even
though His Voice is drowned by the clamour of His enemies.
day, week after week, year after year – aye, century after century, Jesus waits
in the Blessed Sacrament. He is hidden
in the tabernacle, but His Eye beholds all the souls of the world. He sees them, hundreds of them, as they daily
hurry past His door, intent upon their business, caught up in a tortuous whirlwind
of worldly worries and care. He watches
them with loving, sorrowful Eyes. He
pities these souls rushing here and there, ever in pursuit of happiness, and
never finding it. Our Lord holds out His
Hands to them, eager to draw them apart from the brutal bustle of the world and
give them peace. But they hasten on, ignorant
of the true Source of Happiness within arm’s reach, unaware of the consolations
they could have for the asking, if only they would turn to Him!
Sundays His House is visited – perhaps by many, or perhaps only a few. He welcomes them all eagerly, and sets out
His richest graces, ready to pour them in abundance upon His guests. But here again, His Love is slighted. Souls do not think to open their hearts to Him,
to tell Him all their troubles, to ask for His graces. They sit there, wrestling with worries,
unaware that the all-powerful, all-loving Sacred Heart, only a few feet away,
has an avalanche of grace, strength and consolation all ready to pour down upon
them, driving away all their cares, if they would only ask Him.
And what about
when these souls receive Holy Communion?
Here is a fresh proof of the sublime love of the King of Kings, for He
does not come to be ministered to, but to minister. He comes, the Source of Grace, with all the
graces He sees each individual soul needs.
He is omnipotent – by His mere presence in that poor weak, sin-infested
soul, He can turn all its sorrows into joy.
But forgetfulness, ignorance, and even neglect paralyse His action, and
He, respecting the freewill of His creatures, is obliged to leave much work
pitiful condition He is in! Our Lord in
the Blessed Sacrament is consumed with a scorching desire to heal us, to
console us, and yet He cannot reach us, for we do not approach Him. Let us kneel before Him, and console Him in
His loneliness. Let us turn to Him in
every trouble – He will be much more anxious to hear the tale of our miseries
that we could ever be to recite it. And
we may be sure that His Sacred Heart will not be unmoved – no, He will not let
us leave without His blessing. Let us
visit Him, the poor Prisoner of the Tabernacle, the Loneliest of all Captives,
as often as we can; and let us open wide the doors of our souls so that He may
fill them with the graces He is so anxious to bestow. And when we cannot visit Him, let us often
turn our thoughts to Him and send our guardian angels to greet Him on our
behalf, so that at the Last Day we may have the inestimable joy of hearing these
words from His Lips:
ye blessed of My Father, and possess the Kingdom which was prepared for you
from the beginning . . . for I was in prison, and you visited Me.”