By: Rick Hernandez
During my teenage years, I was blessed with living very close to a chapel, which I regularly visited. The Chapel of Santa Ana, that small and humble building, was my refuge, my safe harbor.
Whenever I felt troubled, sad, lonely, or overwhelmed with life, I would try to go into the chapel. Without fail, I searched for the lighted sanctuary lamp that indicated our Eucharistic Lord’s Real Presence, there in the tabernacle. I felt great comfort, comfort from knowing that my Lord was there and watching over me. These visits with my one true friend, in that small building, were dear to me. We would have the best conversations in the silence. Most times, I would offer Him a song before departing, to the point that it became our little routine.
“Society will be restored and renewed when all its members group themselves around our Emmanuel.” -- Peter Julian Eymard
Here we are today, and we are mostly kept from our nourishing church buildings and chapels. Some lucky few still have access to visit Him directly in the many tabernacles of the world, but most of us do not. Yet, we are not kept from our conversations with Him, who loves us. It is not the same as a visit, but we still can talk to Him in prayer. The same way that a phone call cannot replace a live visit, our humble household prayer cannot fully replace the offering of our presence to the Lord. Yet it can hold us over until we can, once more, be together.
We pray and hope for that moment when we will be able to gather again, to be able to gift our presence to the Lord in all the altars and tabernacles of the world. Until then, let us keep up our offerings of prayer and mindful meditation. Let us love those near us and be aware of what we have to give and what we are missing.
At the end of these visits with my Lord in His temple, I would often proceed to sing this song, which always made His presence more tangible to me and truly soothed my heart. I gift you with this song’s lyrics, clumsily translated from Spanish, in the hope that it may bring you some comfort in these trying times.
Hold on to your faith in Him, who loves us. We will get there.
I AM... (Translated and adapted from the Spanish song "Soy")