Finding Jesus here, there, and everywhere!
How often do you visit your friends? Most of us see our friends at work or at school, on the weekends, on the Something I noticed from a very young age is that every time we passed a church, no matter where we were, my mom would make the Sign of the Cross in the car. I asked her one day, “Momma, why are you doing that when we pass the church?” She told me that it was a sign of respect, and it was a good way to remember how important it was that Jesus was inside there!
Did you know that you could walk into any church in the world and Jesus would physically be there? How cool is that?! We have the chance to go visit him any day of the week, and anywhere we find ourselves. and anywhere we find ourselves. the world. The word tabernacle com from the Hebrew word mishkan, which simply means dwelling place. We can find Christ dwelling among us in the tabernacle. Tabernacles can all look different, but they are usually ornate and meticulously chosen by each parish. The next time you walk into a Catholic church, try to spot where the tabernacle is.
The giveaway for the location of the tabernacle is a red light or candle, formally called a sanctuary lamp. This red light is always lit in the church building; it is the symbol to show that Jesus is there for us to visit.
There is only one time every year that the light goes out; we shut the light off when Jesus is taken out of the tabernacle on Holy Thursday, and then the light is re-lit when Jesus is returned to the tabernacle on Saturday night at the Easter Vigil. It’s the sign that Jesus has defeated death and he has risen. Next time you’re in the church building, go look and see if you can find the red light all lit up to remind us Jesus is in His house.
REVERE AND ADORE HIM
When you go near the tabernacle or are going to walk past it, you should always genuflect towards Jesus as a sign of respect and love and make the Sign of the Cross. Did you know that you can go as a family to see Jesus any day of the week? Most churches are open to having parishioners, neighbors and friendly faces come in to visit with Jesus any time during the day.
You could come early in the morning or right after school or work to visit with Jesus and talk to him. Of course, you can talk to Jesus from anywhere – but it’s extra special when you get to sit there in awe of Jesus and his sacrifice for us while you’re talking with him and praying to him.
That’s why Catholics will hold what we call Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in our parishes. Adoration is when the priest or deacon takes Jesus out of the tabernacle and places him in a monstrance.
The word monstrance describes an object with a transparent window that you can place the Eucharist in so that it’s seen by everyone. They will place Jesus on the altar and we will pray as a community, there is time for silent prayer and then there is time for music to be played to enhance our worship.
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament gives you time to be in awe of Jesus and to be grateful for all of the beautiful things in your life. If you’ve never been to Adoration, I challenge you to go as a family next time you see it advertised in your parish bulletin or announced at Mass.
As we head into this year of the Eucharistic Revival at the parish level, there are going to be even more opportunities for you to strengthen your connection to the Eucharist. Blessed Carlo Acutis would say, “the Eucharist is [our] highway to Heaven,” so we should do everything in our power to visit our friend Jesus.
Lisa Ann Limongello serves as parish catechetical leader in the parishes of St. James, Pennington; St. Alphonsus, Hopewell, and St. George, Titusville.
Faith at Home is a monthly column coordinated by the Diocese of Trenton’s Departments of Catechesis, Evangelization and Family Life, and Youth and Young Adult Ministry. For additional Faith at Home resources, visit dioceseoftrenton.org/faith-at-home.