The Feast of Reparation
They believed not in God: and trusted not in his salvation. And he had commanded the clouds from above, and had opened the doors of heaven. And had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them the bread of heaven. Man ate the bread of angels: he sent them provisions in abundance. (Psalm 77:22-25)
In our particular calendar, the Thursday of Sexagesima Week is the Feast of Reparation for Offenses Committed Against the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. The liturgical texts of Mass and Office of this feast are poignant and full of compunction. Dom Benedict translated the proper Mass so that anyone praying with us might have the Latin and English texts side-by-side.
They forgot his works: and they waited not for his counsels. (Psalm 105:13)
In reflecting on the liturgy of this special feast, it became clear to me that the root of every sin against Our Lord in the Sacrament of His Love is ingratitude. The soul without gratitude forgets that Our Lord is present in the tabernacle, that He waits for the company of those upon whom He has set His Heart, and that He offers His very Self to us as food lest we perish on the way to eternity.
Serve ye the Lord with fear: and rejoice unto him with trembling. (Psalm 2:11)
Those without gratitude lose reverence for Our Lord in the Sacrament of His Love. Reverence is an expression of gratitude for the Gift, and an expression of humility in the presence of the Giver.
They remembered not his hand, in the day that he redeemed them from the hand of him that afflicted them. (Psalm 77:42)
Like One Long Forgotten
Those without gratitude forsake Our Lord in the Sacrament of His Love. He becomes for them like one long dead, like one forgotten, out of mind, and far from the thoughts of their hearts.
Be still and see that I am God. (Psalm 45:11)
Those without gratitude lose the spontaneous need to be silent in His presence; silence expresses adoration. In those churches from which silence has disappeared — churches where Jesus Christ is sacramentally present — the sense of adoration also disappears. Where there is no adoration (I speak here of an inner abiding disposition of the soul), there is no worship in spirit and in truth. Even the sacred liturgy of the Church becomes something merely outward that fails to touch souls in that inmost part where Our Lord yearns to be present to them and reveal to them the flame of His love.
Let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord. Seek ye the Lord, and be strengthened: seek his face evermore. (Psalm 104:3-4)
A grateful soul will be a joyful soul. Why is there such sadness and gloom among some who profess to be disciples of Jesus Christ, the Living Bread come down from heaven? Might it not be because, worn down by routine, they have become dull and insensitive to the supreme Gift of His Body and Blood?
So in the sanctuary have I come before thee. (Psalm 62:3)
Gratitude and Reparation
It is not difficult to recover gratitude for the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. It is enough to come to Our Lord who waits, silent and hidden in the tabernacle, and to tarry in His presence. A soul who does this will express gratitude to Our Lord and, in so doing, will make worthy reparation to Him in the Sacrament of His Love.
Reparation begins with the recovery of gratitude; it has to do with being grateful for those who show Our Lord no gratitude. It has to do with allowing all the fruits of gratitude to develop and manifest themselves in one’s life: awareness of the mystery, reverence, humility, silence, the sense of adoration, joy, and wonder.