God Hidden and Unknown

“I throw myself at the foot of the Tabernacle like a dog at the foot of his Master.” (St. John Vianney)




The Auction

Someone informed me, yesterday, of an auction being held this weekend at a farm not far from the priory. Among the old furniture and various objects being put up for sale, there were, I was told, a monstrance, a chalice, a ciborium, a tabernacle, and other ecclesiastical appointments. I thought it worth my while to investigate the situation more closely.

Entering the farm, I found myself in a kind of central yard surrounded by outbuildings or sheds filled with furniture and bric–a–brac. The public auction is scheduled to begin tomorrow. Entering a shed, I saw an array of statues of Our Lord, Our Lady, and the saints. One of them, a carved statue of Our Lady, was especially beautiful. Next to it I saw a monstrance (complete with the lunula), a ciborium, a couple of communion patens, and a tabernacle that looked as if it had been wrenched out of a stone altarpiece or wall. The key was in the tabernacle door.

The Discovery

Something moved me to open the tabernacle door. I was not prepared for what I saw. There, lying on the stained and mouldy floor of the tabernacle — once lined with immaculate white silk — were a dirty corporal and two Hosts. My sense was that these were consecrated Hosts: the adorable Body of Jesus Christ. Unconsecrated hosts would not have been left lying in a locked tabernacle.

The Price

I attempted to explain to the young attendant what I had just discovered in the tabernacle. He was unable to grasp what I was saying and seemed never to have heard the word “host” before. Moments later the gentleman conducting the auction arrived. I told him that among his wares were things belonging to God, sacred things, and that I wanted to rescue them so as to restore them to God’s house. Looking at the monstrance, the ciborium, and the tabernacle containing its priceless Treasure, I offered him a price for the lot of things. He accepted my offer, and allowed me to make my purchase in advance of the public auction. . The transaction completed, I returned to the priory with my acquisitions; I was sorrowful but grateful.


At the priory, I called the brethren together. We carried the tabernacle to the sacristy, where I opened it and transferred the Sacred Hosts to a pyx. Accompanied by a brother bearing a lighted candle and by the rest of the community, I went to the Oratory and placed the pyx in the tabernacle. Kneeling, we prayed the Collect of the Most Blessed Sacrament, and made an act of reparation. And then I wept. Would that I could, in some way, make reparation for the irreverence, coldness, and ignorance that surround Our Lord in the Sacrament of His Love! Would that I could preach the surpassing wonder of His Real Presence over the entire length and breadth of this island!

God Hidden and Unknown

Not only is Our Lord hidden — Vere tu es Deus absconditus — He is also unknown. Even among those who frequent their churches Sunday after Sunday, there are souls in darkness concerning the mystery of the Real Presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Two or three generations have come to understand the Blessed Sacrament as mere holy bread. Jesus the Host —meaning the Victim, the Lamb of Sacrifice — is forgotten. His adorable Body is treated as a thing, as an object of little worth apart from the subjective sentiments one chooses to attach to it. Once, in this very island, men shed their blood for the Host. Once, in this very island, men deemed Him their all, wanting nothing on earth apart from Him.

The Green Wood and the Dry

What can I pray? I ask Our Lord to reveal Himself. I ask Him to give words to His priests that they might proclaim the adorable Sacrament of the Altar and make known Its wonders at every opportunity. I ask Our Lord to inspire His priests to speak of Him and, even more, to give a worthy example of faith, of adoration, of reverence, and of burning love. “For if in the green wood they do these things, what shall be done in the dry?” (Luke 23:31)

Guardians, Sentinels, Friends

Who are the guardians of the Real Presence of Jesus Christ if not His priests? Who are the sentinels charged with keeping watch before Him? Who are His chosen friends, called to tarry in His presence and to prefer His company to all else? Who are the men set aside to handle His most pure Body and to touch the chalice of His Precious Blood? These are His priests, my own brothers.

Prayer for Eucharistic Light and Fire

Send, O Jesus, a penetrating light upon thy priests. Enkindle a fire of love in their hearts. Increase their faith and grace them with an angelic reverence in Thy presence, lest by treating Thee carelessly, or with indifference, they scandalize the little ones who look to them for an example of living faith and of humble adoration.

The light of the true faith that once illumined Ireland has grown dim; the hearts of the multitude have grown cold. Reveal, O Jesus, Thy Eucharistic Face! Let the flames that escape from Thy Eucharistic Heart enkindle a great body of adorers, especially among Thine own priests, lest Thy Church suffer too great a darkness, too piercing a cold. Amen.


Please do not forget the Benedictine Monks of Perpetual Adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar based at Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland.

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5 Responses to God Hidden and Unknown

  1. GEOFF KIERNAN says:

    Kathleen: I am almost lost for words. May God bless you… I now undertaken to say daily the prayer above for Priests. The Body and Blood of our lord left in those circumstances… He didn’t complain he sent one of his servants to rescue him . again God Bless you. I have rarely been moved to the extent that I have on reading your note… Again I ask God to Bless you.


  2. johnhenrycn says:

    I most heartily agree with you, Geoff. A beautiful testimony of love for the Blessed Sacrament.

    It reminds me of a countryman of mine, Jean-Paul-François Comtois, Lieutenant-Governor of Québec, who died in 1966 whilst trying to save the Body of Christ from a fire raging through his official residence:

    “Having been assured that all his family and guests had escaped the inferno, the seventy-year-old Paul Comtois returned to the private chapel in which he visited the Lord every evening before bed to save the Blessed Sacrament from the desecrating fire. He reached the chapel, already engulfed in flames, but managed to make it to the tabernacle and remove the pyx containing the Body of Christ. Leaving the chapel, he descended the staircase which collapsed about him, and…[he]…was burned alive in the inferno.”



  3. kathleen says:

    Thank you very much for your kind words Geoff. I was equally moved by this story… and also by your own words: “He didn’t complain he sent one of his servants to rescue him .” That is so beautiful! He did indeed, and as I also see from the comments on the Vultus Christi blog, many people have been touched to the core by this tale.

    So many abuses against the Most Precious Body and Blood of Our Lord and Saviour in the world… but also many faithful souls who devote their lives (like these holy monks) to doing reparation for the “sins of outrage, sacrilege and indifference by which He is so offended” [re the words of the Angel to the Fatima seers].

    God bless you too Geoff.

    @ johnhenry

    Thank you for this wonderful story of courage and heroism.


  4. GEOFF KIERNAN says:

    Kathleen : Who are these monks you speak of ? Can I help them in anyway


  5. kathleen says:

    Geoff, they are a group of Benedictine monks in County Meath (Ireland) dedicated to Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament . They are in a precarious and anxious situation at present, with the threat of being turned out of their monastery and land that they are still trying to pay off. Raven wrote a post on our blog about this and calling for benefactors to please help, but I can’t find it.

    This is their newsletter: http://cenacleosb.org/category/news/
    If you scroll down to the headings Survival and Risk it explains a bit more about their predicament and tells how one can help them.

    Surely contemplative orders are the very roots that give sustenance to the whole Catholic Church, bringing down enormous graces and blessings on all her endeavours. These faithful monks certainly deserve our support and prayers.

    P.S. Your family’s Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary was a very beautiful thing.


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