Presence

The chapel is quiet, silent.  A single candle burns in the sanctuary, and on the altar sits the cross-shaped monstrance, its gold glittering in morning light.  There is frame centered at the intersection of vertical and horizontal.  Somehow, attention rests on what really matters: there, in that center, is the Eucharist.  And kneeling there, spread among the pews, are believers, each in silent prayer.  There is the paradox of individual and community life.   There is the possibility of comfort and hope, and there is a deep sense of belonging.

Belonging, simultaneously knowing welcome and purpose, giving and receiving, is far more than physical presence.  But in this space, in this place, there is something sacred.  And it rests in the simplicity of that center: the gift of Eucharist, the shared belief in the Presence of God in the world.

There is a tenderness to that space, to  memories evoked, to the very origin of it.  There is the Gathering of friends for Passover, the presence of friends to one another and the broken bread,  Jesus’ words: “This is my body…..”  And  so One gives to many love and caring, awareness and recognition.  And in doing that, giving that Presence, presence is invited from so many others.  Centuries have slipped past since those words were first spoken; repetition, sharing, communicating, gives new life in each generation.

And so this morning, that silent cluster of persons, knows the power of those words, the meaning of belonging to and with the moment.  Humbled and home, each one experiences Presence uniquely.

And here, prayer in all its forms has life.  Prayer confides the unbearable, comforts the confused, allows life to conscience and articulates joy and gratitude, fear and possibility. Prayer is the testimony to mystery and the path to knowledge and awareness of God.  It is intuitive for some, and structured for others.  It bears the mantras of repetition, and the depth of silence.  It is a path to discovery of self and other, a path to knowing, exploring Presence.

Presence is the gift of relationship; prayer is the path to knowing and experiencing Presence.  Theological writings steady the intellectual and give reason and rationality to the practice.  But prayer opens the door to the gift of love that is the Presence of the Eucharist.  And somewhere in the world, there is someone kneeling in a church or chapel quietly belonging to something far greater than self.

 

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