Sunday Reflection – 30 September – Twenty sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
It is remarkable how it was the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament in Catholic churches that more than anything else impressed and moved Blessed John Henry Newman, even more than the Mass itself.
And so it was that the feature of his new religious life as a Catholic that most struck him came as a complete surprise – namely, the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament in Catholic churches. He wrote in a letter to a close friend, herself about to become a Catholic a few months later:
“We went over not realising those privileges which we have found by going. I never allowed my mind to dwell on what I might gain of blessedness – but certainly, if I had thought much upon it, I could not have fancied the extreme, ineffable comfort of being in the same house with Him who cured the sick and taught His disciples …
When I have been in Churches abroad, I have religiously abstained from acts of worship, though it was a most soothing comfort to go into them – nor did I know what was going on; I neither understood nor tried to understand the Mass service – and I did not know, or did not observe, the tabernacle Lamp – but now after tasting of the awful delight of worshipping God in His Temple, how unspeakably cold is the idea of a Temple without that Divine Presence! One is tempted to say what is the meaning, what is the use of it?”
“It is really most wonderful to see this Divine Presence looking out almost into the open streets from the various Churches … I never knew what worship was, as an objective fact, till I entered the Catholic Church.”
“It is such an incomprehensible blessing to have Christ in bodily presence in one’s house, within one’s walls, as swallows up all other privileges …”