By Fr. Ron Will, CPPS
Welcome to this tenth episode in a series entitled “Encounters of the Fourth Kind.”
I am Fr. Ron Will, a Missionary of the Precious Blood, serving at Precious Blood Renewal Center in Liberty, MO.
Just to refresh your memories, some years ago there was a science fiction movie called “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”
An encounter of the third kind is the sighting, in the distance of non-human beings.
An encounter of the fourth kind is not just the sighting in the distance, but the actual personal encounter of human beings and non-human beings.
I recently read about St. Manuel Gonzalez Garcia, who had a great love for Jesus in the Eucharist. He wrote about his experience of praying before the tabernacle: “My faith was looking at Jesus through the door of that tabernacle, so silent, so patient, so good, gazing right back at me … His gaze was telling me much and asking me for more.”
That’s an interesting description. In a minute, I am going to invite you to enter deeper into that image. But first, I invite you to place yourself in a meditative mood. Maybe light a candle if there is one close by.
Close your eyes and get comfortable. Relax your entire body.
Take a deep breath; hold it; then exhale deeply.
Do that a few times and relax. (pause)
Now look at the door of the tabernacle behind me.
You and I are also invited to gaze at the blessed bread and wine during Mass, or later in the tabernacle, and encounter Jesus the Son of God. Don’t pass up the opportunity.
Like St. Manuel did, gaze through the door of that tabernacle and see Jesus.
What does the face of Jesus look like?
What does his hair look like? Short? Long? Curly? Straight?
What color is his hair? (pause)
Look at his eyes; what do you see in his eyes? Patience, gentleness, compassion? (pause)
What do you see in his face? Are there wrinkles; is it beautiful smooth skin; weather-worn; sunburned? (pause)
Is he looking at you with love, concern, compassion? (pause)
You are having an encounter of the fourth kind; not just the sighting from a distance, but the actual personal encounter of a human being (yourself) and a non-human being (God).
Continue to sit in silence for a couple minutes and continue to experience that encounter. Savor it.
Then join me again next month, for another “Close Encounter of the Fourth Kind.”
In the meantime, may God bless you.
All of the videos in this series can be found here: Encounters of the Fourth Kind.
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[Fr. Ron Will, a Precious Blood priest and spiritual director, is a graduate of Catholic Theological Union and Creighton University’s School of Christian Spirituality. He has a special interest in helping form intentional disciples of Jesus, encouraging others to go spiritually deep-sea diving to explore a deeper relationship with God, and walking with people as they dive into the ocean of God’s mystery actually experiencing God rather than simply dipping one’s toe into the water.]
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