After a few days of the same five or six kids coming at 3 PM each day to pay the Divine Mercy Chaplet with us, we decided that we would bring out Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament for them while we prayed. Each day, we had taught a little more about Jesus and mercy to them, and how much He loves us by using different images around the church, such as the statue of the Sacred Heart and the crucifix. So, today, we were going to do our best to show them the Eucharist.
It’s obviously not an easy task to explain the Eucharist to anyone, but we’ve learned that a lot of times with the children, it’s not exactly what you say, but that you show that you believe. We told them that we would kneel while we prayed in front of Jesus, and that they could come kneel in front of the altar. They came up as closely as you could get without being in the sanctuary. They were quiet and they watched closely as I opened the tabernacle and brought the Blessed Sacrament to the monstrance. Once I turned the monstrance towards them, one boy, Kenneth, blurted out, “I can see Him already!”
Obviously, he meant the Eucharist in the monstrance, but I wonder if his childlike gaze allowed Him to really see Jesus. Perhaps his childlike belief allowed his senses not to be fooled at all by the appearance of bread. Perhaps his childlike belief allowed him to only see Christ.
We always know that we will be blessed to work with kids in these places, and despite that they can bring a lot of challenges, they are always involved in the highlights of our trips. For me, working with the kids is inspiring because of their disposition towards what we do and towards the day in general. Kenneth’s belief and awe about the Eucharist was an example of this for me. To be in awe of something and then be drawn to worship more.
Their joy is also an inspiration. They are joyful that we are there, reminding us that our presence to them is important even when we may be tired or frustrated about something else. That first day of bringing the Eucharist out to them, we actually arrived late to the church. As we drove up, we were wondering if the kids would even still be there. Sure enough, as we pulled up to the church, we spotted the kids on the porch waiting for us. They began jumping up and down and cheering that we were there! It made us cheer too! It was so encouraging to us, and a reminder of how simple joy reveals that each moment is important.
Although it can be tough at times to be believe that our presence is making a difference, that half hour there gave me a lot of hope. From seeing the kids jumping up and down when they saw us, to watching them gaze in wonder at Jesus, I realized that if we came up here for any reason, it could have been just those 30 minutes. Sharing Jesus in joy and presence with one another, and then finally in the true presence of the Eucharist – I wouldn’t trade those 30 minutes for anything else.
Our last full day in Barrow was Corpus Christi Sunday. All week we had bounced around the idea of doing a Eucharistic procession, which as far as anyone knew, had never been done before in Barrow. We weren’t sure how people would take to it, but we weren’t disappointed. After Mass, the church emptied to follow Jesus Christ out onto the streets, as was being done around the world that day to honor the Eucharist and to proclaim the truth that God is truly with us. As I watched the people pray and sing as they walked behind Christ, there was affirmation of the power of a mission where first and foremost we make Jesus present to those around us. That is what our hearts truly desire and what the world truly needs.