In John 15:15, our Lord offers us something unique: His friendship. This is an astounding offer, for it is almost unthinkable—and it would be an act of extreme arrogance to assume—that we, as creatures, could rise to the level of being friends with our Creator. But Jesus’ offer is not something unattainable. He does not offer friendship and then turn His back and say to us, “Now you figure out how to achieve this.” On the contrary, He stays with us and provides us with the means of becoming His friends.
Foremost among these means are the sacraments, particularly the Mass. The Mass is Jesus’ gift of Himself to the Father on our behalf; it is the re-presentation of the sacrifice on Calvary. It is also one of the primary ways in which Christ continues to abide with us, to remain in our midst. Of course, this happens in a preeminent way when we receive the Eucharist and are united through grace to Christ in the Church; but it also happens when we pray before the Blessed Sacrament, either when it is reserved in the tabernacle or when it is exposed for adoration in a monstrance. In a very real way, our Lord stays with us and gives us the opportunity to remain with Him.
We know that every true human friendship is rooted in spending time together. This is how we get to know the other, and the more we know, the more we are able to love. In the same way, in order to foster a friendship with the Lord, we must spend time with Him. And this is why prayer in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament is so important. When we go to adore the Blessed Sacrament, we are building a friendship with God. Incredibly, He who created the heavens and the earth reveals Himself to us under the appearance of ordinary bread. In this most unassuming and non-threatening way, He invites us to visit with Him, and, if we do not accept this invitation, we miss the opportunity to know Him more deeply.
We also miss out on the fulfillment of our heart’s desires, the greatest of which is to be with God for all eternity. As St. Thomas Aquinas says in the concluding lines of his poem, Adoro Te Devote, “Jesus, whom now I see hidden, I ask you to grant that for which I so thirst: that, with face unveiled, I may see you, and be blessed with the vision of your glory.”
Let us always be mindful that Jesus desires a deeper friendship with each of us. If this were not so, He would never have offered Himself to us in the first place, nor would He go to such great lengths to remain with us in the Blessed Sacrament. Come, let us adore Him.
Image: Unknown, Christ and St. John the Evangelist