CYCLED about 20 minutes from my home to the church of the Blessed Sacrament the other evening, hoping to catch a glimpse of my Beloved in the Tabernacle. I reached the church and found the gate unlocked, but the church was closed and the doors of the church were locked due to restrictions imposed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. I walked around the outside perimeter of the brick church building. It was all dark within the church. But I knew that if I could just spot that little tabernacle light, I would be able to know that the Lord was close by.
It was pitch-black in the church and I walked all around, peeking through every narrow window I could find. But I still could not spot the tabernacle light. “Where are you Lord? Are you there?” I pleaded. Finally, behind a statue on the far side of the building, I looked through the small narrow slots of the window and I spotted the familiar red light, pulsing away in the darkness. “There you are Lord!” Tears streamed down my face. I knew that the Lord was close to the red tabernacle light, and even though I could not see the tabernacle in the darkness of the church, my heart was satisfied that I had found my Lord.
I have come to realise that we are all called to be that little tabernacle light. Especially in this day and age where so many cannot see Our Lord because of the coronavirus shuttering our churches. We are that tabernacle light for the world to see, for even though the world does not see or know Him, we do. We are the people of whom He spoke the words “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” (John 20:29)
Masses are still suspended at this point in time in Singapore and they have been suspended since mid-February. Many of the faithful here have not partaken of the Eucharist for many, many months. The churches have just started re-opening for private worship, but even then, only a small number of people are allowed to be before the Lord. It is hard when we cannot see Him, feel Him or partake of Him in Holy Communion. The Eucharist is hidden from us. But, the Body of Christ is not.
We are the Body of Christ. That knowledge has enlivened me, knowing that He walks among us. And this thought has been on my heart: “How am I to point the way to Him, the way that the tabernacle light points the way to Him?”
The world cannot see His Sacred Heart, 1 but they can see our hearts, like that candle, pulsing with love for Him. Is my heart and my love for the Lord on fire, just like that candle that faithfully glows and pulses beside the tabernacle? Am I willing to melt away with the fire of that love, the way His Heart melted away for me upon that cross? Am I willing to be that little tabernacle candle that burns itself out with the fire it’s been kindled with?
Lord, set our hearts aflame
with love for You,
that we may truly be
your Light in the world.
ADDENDUM: In the time which has elapsed since I wrote this article, Singapore has begun (somewhat) to resume Masses over the past month, with limits on how often the laity can attend. Right now, the quota is one weekend Mass per month, with a limit of 50 parishioners at each Mass. So churches are gradually opening up, but many adoration chapels remain closed and churches still have limited Mass times. Masks are mandatory and communion is restricted to reception in the hand, which I am truly sad about, but I’m hoping measures will ease and allow for reception on the tongue as soon as possible.
NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:
1 This calls to mind a beautiful hymn from the 12th century: Lux Alma, Jesu, Mentium. In the Brébeuf hymnal it is #746, and a literal translation is provided. The third verse is quite beautiful: “How happy the man that is host to You, for You are the companion of the Father at His right hand. You are the light that consoles heaven, but is unseen by man on earth.” The Brébeuf hymnal includes a metrical version by Saint John Henry Cardinal Newman, who renders that verse as follows:
Joyous is he, with whom,
God’s Word, Thou dost abide;
Sweet Light of our eternal home,
To fleshly sense denied.