This poem reflects a recent visit to the local Catholic church where the Blessed Sacrament is displayed in the monstrance for exposition after morning mass, allowing people to come and pray in the presence of Jesus…
I trudge in from the heat of the street,
Swapping the glare of a summer lunchtime,
For the cool of the church near my work.
Dizzy from the noise and tumult of the town,
What pure joy to enter this quiet side chapel,
Where my Lord awaits, present on the altar!
For the cost of some few moments of my time,
Time that is only mine through His loving gift,
I sit in tranquillity, replenishing body and soul.
I am alone with my Saviour, snug in His love.
I look at the monstrance. I look at Him!
My Saviour, really present – He, looks at me!
I tell Him my wandering, disjointed thoughts.
He listens, as ever. I sense a gentle invitation:
Wait. Simply wait. No fancy words needed.
No chatter. Just to spend time together…
Wow! The Eternal Son, the Pantocrator,
Giving me His full attention in this kairos.
So I wait, in the comfortable cool and calm.
Why aren’t more folk here, enjoying grace?
Catholics – do you know the gift you’ve got?
Sure, anyone can access God, anywhere. Yet,
This is sacred space, blest by the Real Presence.
This is holy ground, where my sweet Lord awaits.
A Muslim, when told what Catholics believe
About the Real Presence of God’s own Son,
Declared that he would crawl on his knees,
Both going into and going out of the church.
Yet here I sit in comfort pose before my God:
I pray my reverence is heartfelt nonetheless.
Faint sounds of the outside world intrude;
A background clang of a frantic busy-ness.
Yet here is peace: precious, perfect peace.
These noises only serve to heighten the still:
Here is healing, and deep inner recuperation;
Here in this sanctuary where my Lord awaits.
I notice the carpet is a warm russet hue.
A carpet for a VIP. That’s me – God’s VIP.
I enjoy His favour in this quiet sacred now.
Is this not the treasure beyond all price,
That, once found, is the source of true joy?
And so my waiting is heavy with emotion.
I want to stay here, and yet I want to leave:
To go out into the herding crowd and shout:
‘Look! Here is what you are searching for!’
But they would take me for a fool, or worse,
A fanatic. So He whispers: hush, be still.
Your witness will be stronger for biding here.
Like a sunbather absorbing the sun’s rays,
To achieve a visible mark of their devotion,
So I sit, allowing grace to radiate all around.
Friend, I do not have the words to express
The caressing warmth of His Sacred Heart,
Beating with unconditional love for me now.
This amazing grace, this open-to-all place,
Is but metres from the busy public street!
What sign could I erect to encourage folk?
‘Priceless gift inside!’ ‘Happiness this way!’
But some might enter and find… boredom.
Others: perplexing signs, terrifying silence.
For His exposition is predicated on… faith.
Is that why its potent peace is found by few?
To value Living Water one must first thirst.
Behold, the stream flowing beside life’s street!
His people rush to and fro, frantic in haste,
Like sheep running past the gate to their fold.
I must go now, back to my work and family.
Can I draw some drops of this Living Water,
That I might salve the lips of my fellow men?
Perhaps enough that I have been quenched;
I am the better for spending some minutes,
Resting in this place, where our Lord awaits.