Strange Things Happen on the Night of Christmas
During these last few days before Christmas, our hearts turn more than ever to Jesus and His Coming among us.
He is still present among His brothers and sisters two thousand years after His initial appearance. We know that Christ is with us in several ways: through His Word proclaimed, by the ministry of His priests, whenever two or more gather in His Sacred Name and in a most unique and exalted fashion in the Most Holy Eucharist.
These final Advent days afford us an excellent opportunity to reflect well on the Most Blessed Sacrament and to ask ourselves how we reverence the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the God-Man, Jesus Christ.
Jesuit Father Segundo Llorente (1906-1989) was an outstanding missionary to the faithful of Alaska. A brilliant and humble priest, Father Llorente spent himself in the service of the indigenous of Alaska for decades.
Years ago, in a meditation entitled "Strange Things Happen on the Night of Christmas," this Spanish religious offered his thoughts on the adoration due the Most Holy Eucharist. This powerful essay, which was published in the February 1998 newsletter of the Catholic Society of Evangelists, seems more pertinent now than when it first was penned.
A priest told me what happened to him once in his first parish. After the Midnight Mass on Christmas Day he personally locked the church. With the keys in his pocket he went to his room and had a good sleep. At 7:30 in the morning he got up and went back to the church intending to have one hour of prayer all to himself. He opened the side door leading to the sacristy, turned on a light and then turned on the lights for the church. As he opened the sacristy door and walked into the church, he literally froze. Strange people clad in the poorest of clothes occupied most of the pews and all were in total silence. No one so much as wiggled and nobody cared to look at him. A small group was standing by the Nativity Scene contemplating the manger in total silence.
The priest recovered quickly and in a loud voice asked them how they got in. Nobody answered. He walked closer to them and asked again. "Who let you in?" A woman answered totally unconcerned: "Strange things happen on the night of Christmas." And back to total silence The priest went to check the main door and found it locked just as he had left it. He was now determined to get the facts and turned his face to the pews; but they were empty. The people had vanished.
He kept this puzzle to himself for some time. Unable to hold it in any longer, he told me just what I have told you. Could I help with any plausible explanation? Let me hurry to say that the priest in question is a model of sanity and is as well educated academically as most of the priests I know, if not better.
My explanation was and still is as follows. Those were dead people who were doing their purgatory, or part of it, in the church. It is safe to assume that we atone for our sins where we committed them. Those people were immersed in total silence. Why? Consider the irreverences committed before the Blessed Sacrament; how many people act out in church: chatting, giggling, and looking around. After Mass some people gather in small groups around the pews and turn the church into a market place with no regard for Christ's Real Presence in the tabernacle. Why did they vanish? They did not vanish. They simply became invisible; but they remained tied to their pews unable to utter one single word to atone for their disrespectful chatter while living.
The Blessed Sacrament is no laughing matter. There is a price tag to all we do or say. In the end it is God Who gets the last laugh--so to speak. Those people had to give the Blessed Sacrament the adoration and respect that Christ deserves. For how long? Only God can answer that. Why did the priest see them? So he could pray for them and for all other Poor Souls detained in other churches. Why other priests do not see these people? Well, perhaps they already know in theory that souls can be detained in churches as well as anywhere else, so they do not need a miracle.
Why were they clad in such poor clothes? To atone for their vanity while living. People often use clothes not so much to cover their nakedness but as a status symbol to impress others. But God is not impressed by, say, mink coats. Also people walk into church with hardly any clothes. In the summer months it is not unusual for people--mostly women--to go to receive Holy Communion in the most indecent clothing. The pastor may or may not put up with it; but God will have His day in court about this. Rags could be an appropriate punishment for these excesses.
Absent an official declaration from the Church that the above episode recounted by Father Llorente is true, one may dismiss it. But the deeper meaning cannot be summarily rejected, namely, that the Sacred Heart of Emmanuel, Who comes to us, is really, truly and substantially present in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar and is to be "praised, adored and loved with grateful affection at every moment in all the tabernacles of the world, even until the end of time. Amen."
http://www.catholic.org , VA
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan - Official, 390 66616-1125
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Daily Readings for Friday, April 28, 2017
- St. Peter Chanel: Saint of the Day for Friday, April 28, 2017
- St. Athanasius HD Video
- Pope Francis refuses bulletproof popemobile during Egyptian papal visit
- St. Padre Pio appears in U.S. on 130th birthday anniversary HD Video
- Lesbian Nuns?! Hollywood director to create smut film disgracing ...
- Irish priest's healing prayers offer MIRACLES - But who is he?
- Daily Reading for Saturday, April 29th, 2017 HD
- Day 7 - Novena for Workers, the Unemployed and Underemployed HD
- Pope Francis surprises with TED Talk appearance and powerful message HD
- Daily Reading for Friday, April 28th, 2017 HD
Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.