Any priest who has ever presided at Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament can probably relate to what I’m about to say.
Every Saturday morning, the parishioners of St. Joseph Catholic Church gather for Mass followed by Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Confessions. At the conclusion of this holy hour, we celebrate Benediction, the blessing of the people with the Sacred Host in the monstrance. It is this most holy moment that I find myself gazing at the Lord Jesus. What a privilege to look upon my Lord and God in this moment! And even more so, to bless everyone who is present in the Church.
It is in this moment of blessing that I simply cannot look away from the Lord Jesus in the monstrance. As I make the sign of the cross with the monstrance, I find my eyes following Him through the sign of the cross. Even more so, I am looking through Him at His people. Looking through the Lord Jesus at those entrusted to my pastoral care and knowing that this is my vocation – to care for the People of God. We live as Holy Cross religious always directed towards to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and living through the Lord’s love towards His people. What an incredible life I am blessed to be able to live!
In the evening, a splendid illumination flooded the church with light. After a last sermon on Jesus triumphing in the Eucharist over the minds and hearts of all, there began the most imposing procession yet seen in this beautiful sanctuary. A closely packed crowd followed the procession with lighted candles or torches in their hands. After going around the church and cloisters, each one returned to his place while the Pange Lingua was sung. Then, before the Tantum Ergo, the act of reparation was read from the pulpit. Immediately after benediction the choir sang the Te Deum, and then the congregation retired in silence amidst the joyous ringing of the bells. In closing the description of this touching solemnity, reverend Fathers and dear Brothers, I feel myself urged to commend earnestly to your attention fidelity to your hour of adoration, so day and night there may be someone among us before our Lord to adore Him, thank Him, beg for graces, and ask pardon in the name of the entire family of Holy Cross.
Blessed Basil Moreau, Circular Letter
Most importantly, however, it is not so much me who is gazing on the Lord Jesus, but rather, it is the Lord Jesus who is gazing upon all of us. He calls us each to Himself and invites us into his love every day of our lives.
Fr. Dan Ponisciak, C.S.C., took his Final Vows with the Congregation of Holy Cross in the fall of 2014, and was ordained a priest in the spring of 2015. He earned an M.Ed. from the College of William & Mary prior to completing his M.Div. from the University of Notre Dame. He currently serves as Parochial Vicar at St. Joseph Parish in South Bend, Indiana. Fr. Dan is originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.