Reverence for the Lord

A profound reflection by Fr. Chris Findlay Wilson on Reverence, from the Newsletter of St. Joseph & St. Walburga and Our Lady of Fatima, Poole in Dorset

It was a Franciscan friar from Yorkshire, Fr Luke Gregory, who helped show Prince William around Jerusalem in June 2018. He remarked on the moving way the prince expressed his reverence for the holy sites, especially in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre. At one point Prince William knelt as he touched the stone traditionally standing for the place where Jesus’ body was anointed. 

Prince William visits the Holy Sepulchur, June 2018

Reverence still remains the way we express what is most valuable to us. And of course for us the Body of the Lord in Holy Communion is the most valuable thing we have!

At the millennium celebration at Buckfast Abbey last year, Cardinal Arinze spoke of the importance of reverence for Holy Communion, in particular that we should never receive if we have a serious sin on our conscience; this is a grave wrong in itself, a ‘sacrilege’. In this he was pointing to Christian teaching from the earliest times.

St Justin Martyr wrote to the Emperor in the century after Jesus’ death:

“We call this food Eucharist, and no one may take part in it unless he believes that what we teach is true, has received baptism for the forgiveness of sins and new birth, and lives in keeping with what Christ taught.”

After speaking about the Our Father on 14th March 2018, Pope Francis reminded pilgrims:

“We know that one who has committed a serious sin should not approach Holy Communion without having first obtained absolution in the sacrament of Reconciliation.”

We can all do with a reminder on this. If we are sloppy in approaching the Lord’s body what reverence will we show to those around us?

But to receive Holy Communion with a clear conscience, faith and love – that is a wonderful act of reverence for our God!