The Readings for the 16th Wednesday, Tempus per Annum (C2)
Memorial of St Apollinaris, bishop and martyr
Then the LORD extended his hand and touched my mouth, saying to me, See, I place my words in your mouth!Jeremiah 1:9
LET’S OPEN UP with an episode of Catholic Stuff You Should Know. I’ve forgotten the episode number, but it blew my mind. A seminarian and two priests were talking:
Seminarian: You invited us for a bike ride
Priest 1: I thought it would be fun
Seminarian: But then you gave us the silent treatment
Priest 2: you did your holy hour
Seminarian: you put your headphones on and the first half of the ride was totally silent
And I’m thinking to myself, “Holy hour? On a bike ride? With headphones? What would Fulton Sheen say?”
That one off-handed comment left me thinking, though. Or, caused me to pick up something I’d begun before: how close do you need to be to the Blessed Sacrament to engage in Adoration?
The monstrance is usually an enclosed container of glass so it’s not “air-to-eye” contact. But also it’s not even eye-to-eye contact as you can do adoration when the Eucharist is in the closed tabernacle. There are some churches that are quite large so “from the other end of the same room” means half a block away or more. But you don’t need to be inside: Fulton Sheen himself reported doing a Holy Hour from the Church parking lot when the doors were locked.
And so, if you can be a block away and outside… why not on your bike?
Can you realize, where you are, that you are in the presence of God? Is the Sacramental Presence in the Tabernacle – body, blood, soul, and divinity – any less real than the living presence of God in your being, at the very root of your beingness? Is the Consecrated Host – the actual presence of God – any less real to you than the living presence of God in your life? Can you live in an ongoing act of Spiritual Communion?
In today’s readings, Jeremiah has an experience parallel to Isaiah’s Hot Coal moment, to the same ends, but in another format. And it reminded me of Jesus’ statement, “For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.” (Matthew 10:20). But there are other similar movements in scripture:
And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD’S people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!Numbers 11:29
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of IsraelJeremiah 31:33 / Hebrews 8:10
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws into their minds,
and write them on their hearts,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:Joel 2:28 / Acts 2:17
Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.II Corinthians 3:3
How can we read these and not want to engage in a deeper relationship? How can we hear what God has planned for his people and not want to dig in? If these are the intentions of God how can we not crave and desire these intentions to be manifest in our lives?
Instead of my earlier question, “Can you live in an ongoing act of Spiritual Communion?” Let us try a better one: Dare you not make the attempt? God is ready for you to do so. The word is very near… why not speak to him?
It may change your life entirely, in fact, it is assured to take you out of step with many things you possibly hold dear now. But if you have an ongoing, active, conscious conversation with the Living God, would that not surpass at least a little of what you’d lose?
Bike Riding Holy Hour Now, Y Not?