Amazing Nearness
Meditations on the Eucharist 2
Contents
  • He Seeks Until He is Weary
  • The Gift of Forbearance
  • So Very Close
  • God’s Greatness
  • The Language of the Elements
  • Demolition of Hippo
  • In Weariness You Seek Me
  • Two Realities
  • Lord Jesus, Come in Glory
  • You Need My Silence
  • Jesus’s Tears
  • Only Say the Word…
  • Defenceless Love
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Listen to the first chapter of the book read by Halina Łabonarska

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Foreword by Archbishop Joseph Michalik
Metropolitan of Praemislia
and Chairman of the Polish Conference of Bishops

Love is a special gift; it is born in the heart; it embraces the whole man. Yet more, it penetrates one who is loved. It forgets hardship, sacrifice, suffering; it bears all things and never ends (1Cor 13,7-8); it gives meaning to and uniquely motivates our lives. It fears nothing; it inspires our goals; amazingly, it can realise them. That is how it is with human love; with God’s love, it is much more. St. John sums up: God is Love.

Yet we have to talk about Love, especially as there is so much to say. I suspect that the author of Amazing Nearness is unable not to talk about this Love. We are curious to know how he experiences It. We want to know what he is going to tell us. He experiences It as the amazing nearness of God’s Love in the Holy Eucharist; he strengthens us by saying that in seeking Him we are already finding Him.

The experienced mountaineering guide knows that climbing requires instructions and warnings; he shares his knowledge.

On the way to God we need silence, much quietening of imagination, desires, emotions, avoiding unnecessary words, the need to simplify everything, interior poverty, a purifying emptiness which can only be filled by infinite Love. This love is not found through knowledge but through contact with and nearness to the Eucharist.

Man only sees what he wants to see, the author warns; we may not notice that God loves us in an exceptional way, that He is moved in the face of man’s misfortunes and pains, that He sympathizes with him in every daily event. Yet compassion is not enough; we need God Himself. We find Him in the Holy Eucharist.

This book is an exceptional commentary on Benedict XVI’s Encyclical Deus Caritas Est. It explains and helps us understand love as agape and eros in our relationship with the Eucharist. Indeed, it is exactly here that we experience the affinity, communion and mutual love which can transform us into This One who has first loved us.

This book offers beautiful, praying theology. It inspires by revealing authentic experiences. It is a rapid current of dialogue revealing new pearls of living faith.

This experienced caring author also warns us of the power of Hatred; it is not to be disregarded. It shows that the final goal of my interior life is not sanctification in itself but my complete dedication to the Church because Christ lives here; here we serve others; here we receive the gift of the Eucharist which sustains us on the way, uniting the soul with God.

The book faces difficult questions; looking for answers, it praises God’s untiring love. He is close to man. He is actually in love with man. Our tragedy is that so often we do not discover, appreciate or effectively benefit from this for our ongoing development.

The Reverend Professor also wants to help draw the response from us which pines for Infinity. So he leads us to humility in recognising that we are far away from these extraordinary discoveries. We only sense this with faith and touch it with weak love. Yet we achieve much if we notice the value of and need for this way of heart in the pathways which long for God.

We thank the author for his warm optimism, for his faith in man that each of us can be better, can even be a saint; it suffices to discover Love as: God has a liking for men of violence, for these mad ones who conquer the Kingdom of Heaven (cf. Mt 11,12). They conquer not being worthy of this Kingdom. God does not call the decent to sanctity but sinners. We have a great need for this message; it is about everything that is really important. Let us help one another on this extraordinary road by prayer with Jesus in the Most Holy Eucharist.

Joseph Michalik
Metropolitan of Praemislia
and Chairman of the Polish Conference of Bishops

He Seeks Until He is Weary

In my daily life, I am constantly getting lost. Yet that means He can constantly find me. The more I need Him, the closer He is. I can ceaselessly discover that in weariness He sought me. This means loving until weary. Because of Original Sin He constantly searches for us to the point of weariness and exhaustion humanly speaking.

In the Eucharistic encounter, Jesus regularly finds me quite lost. Yet I am normally lost, needing to be found. So no need for regrets. If I am lost I can only be found in Eucharistic love. He can only find me when I am lost and beginning to search for Him. Love needs two. It is a grace always given to me to seek Him through faith, hope and love.

He never stops looking for me even though, humanly speaking, He is ‘wearily exhausted’. This search leads Him to the Cross. There is no defeat or end there; the Cross converts into the powerful glory of the Resurrection. That is my loving salvation. Our Eucharistic God always reveals Himself while hiding so that I can choose to reject Him.

He is wanting to find me at every moment. He can receive me; I may meet Him especially in the Eucharist rather like Mary Magdalene met Him after the Resurrection. Rejoice that all apparent loss keeps coming back with ever greater power. After all, if the One who had forgiven her everything died forever, then forgiveness ‘finished’ and no longer had any meaning. If He had been defeated by the Cross, then she would have lost too. The forgiveness would be over. The wonder of discovering the sought after Jesus restored every conceivable meaning to her daily life.

I am often quite lost at Mass. Although it seems like that with everything at times. Yet in Eucharistic love, everything comes back to me. It is like Mary Magdalene’s situation. Holy Communion should really be my being receptive to His redeeming love. As Pope Benedict XVI says it is both agape and eros. In the Eucharist, God both seeks and finds me.

When I feel lost at Mass it is a redeeming opportunity. He gives me His Body. He is shedding His Blood for me lost in earthly life. He restores me to closeness with Him. I shall be found more and more according to the strength of my desire and hope.

In these moments of utter helplessness, He attracts me by grace because He wants me to discover His pouring out of Eucharistic love. In every Mass You seek me out. It is You who are, not I. You are always the first to make the move. When I am lost, worrying that everything has already gone and I can’t get back, You find me and say: “Look I am here on the altar”.

He alone is looking for me. In times of crisis when I feel alone and unwanted, I need to hold on tightly to this puzzling truth. Although I am utterly lost, He is always searching for me. Finally I shall find everything in Him. Everything comes from Him. In this He wants to attract me more deeply to desire Him alone. He wants me to understand that my family and friends need me nothing like He does. After all we humans are limited in love; He is unlimited. Sooner or later I shall have to discover that only God wants me for myself.

Maybe I shall learn not to resent human limitations; I shall let Him need others in me; others will then benefit from being sought by Him. This is the law of Love: finally to gain most of the lost souls. We need to discover what it means to be longed for by God. He seems to say: You are not looking for me anywhere near enough. You need to fall in love with Me. You are still lacking faith.

I don’t live by faith very much. I often live as if He is not there. To live by faith is constantly to think of Him. What is He doing now? What is He doing when I am getting up, washing, when I am getting ready to go out? Is he resting? Is He looking? Is he far away? What is He doing when I am hurriedly having breakfast thinking more of my job than of Him and thereby getting lost even more?

When I am hurrying to Mass only out of a sense of duty, He is seeking me until He is worn out.

After all, by faith I can “touch” Him. I am more privileged than Mary Magdalene on Easter morning, She had not yet touched Him. He sent her with a mission to the Apostles. As if He wanted to tell her or rather to tell me: You will really “touch” me by faith when by the power of words I come to the Eucharistic altar completing my Redemption. It is only completed when you receive it totally in your constantly lost anxious condition. You will be able to “touch” Me when after the Eucharistic prayer I come to you in Holy Communion.

In this, I am more privileged than Mary Magdalene. Yet does receiving Communion bring me to be grateful? Do I hurry to tell Him: Master! It is so good it is You. You, the Resurrected One, present in Your incomprehensibly redemptive loving concern for me. When as I hope, You introduce me into Your glory, I shall see my whole life was Your constantly searching for me in Your redeeming, Eucharistic love.