I love watching the sunrise. I remember how I would walk out to the campus on my way to Daily Mass and see the sun rising up in the east. When I was staying at my aunt’s lake house one summer, I slept on a sofa bed by a window facing east and I was treated to a beautiful late summer sunrise. And of course, anyone who grew up watching Disney will remember the iconic opening to The Lion King, which begins with a sunrise and a Zulu chant that nobody really knows the words to.
If you’re a fan of the musical Les Miserables, like I am, you may remember this lyric: “Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.” I should tell you right now that it takes a lot to make me cry. I can
count the movies that caused me to cry on one hand. Les Miserables was one of those movies. The finale of Les Miserables ends in a beautiful hopeful reprise of “Do You Hear the People Sing,” acting as a metaphorical sunrise to the end of the musical. The last line of the musical “Tomorrow comes” reminds me that no matter how bad things get, they will eventually get better. Advent is the perfect season to keep that optimism in mind.
Sometimes we lose hope for humanity when we see news about riots or shootings, or some other kind of violence or natural disaster. As dark and hopeless as it may seem, God is still working through all of it. His fingerprints can be seen in his creation, just like the tiny brushstrokes of a Monet painting. We can see His beauty in the flowers and butterflies, in the tiniest grains of sand and in the stars of the sky. We can see His light in a child’s eyes and hear Him in the laughter of children at play.
My favorite place to find God’s beauty, the Radiant Dawn that is our Lord Jesus Christ, is in the Eucharist. The Eucharist, especially when displayed in a monstrance for Adoration, has always been my “safe space.” When I am in the presence of the Eucharist, I lose myself in Him. One of my friends, who suffers from insomnia and restless sleep, says that she sleeps the soundest in His presence.
The Eucharist was once used as a powerful weapon. Way back in 1240, Saint Clare (whom you may remember as being Saint Francis of Assisi’s best friend and founder of the Poor Clares) showed the Sacred Host to a band of soldiers who were trying to raid the city of Assisi.
Jesus said to Saint Clare “I will always protect you!” “My Lord,” she added, “if it is Your wish, protect also this city which is sustained by Your love.” Christ replied, “It will have to undergo trials, but it will be defended by My protection.”
Through the power of the Eucharist, Saint Clare sent those soldiers packing!
What’s interesting to me is that Christ didn’t say it would be easy. He protected the city of Assisi, but said that it will still undergo trials. I think that this applies to all of us, really. If we ask for God’s protection, we will have it. However, we will still undergo trials. What’s important is that we still stay true to God throughout all of the trials and tribulations. The sacrament of the Eucharist can give us the strength to do that.
Reflect: Reflect on a terrifying, seemingly hopeless situation in your life. How do you think God helped you out of it or is still helping you now if you’re still in this situation? Where do you find God’s beauty?
Act: Spend an hour in Adoration, if possible. Be in the presence of God this Advent season.