I was out all day; the first part of it at a fairly informal gathering of catechists and parents who want to promote Eucharistic adoration for children. Father Antoine Thomas of the Community of St. John gave a talk explaining the origins of his now 12 years of leading groups of children, even tiny children, in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. It all comes down to modeling prayer before the children: showing them how Catholics pray. I spoke for a few minutes, mostly telling the back story of my book "Come to Jesus!" and what this has to offer, especially for the 7-11 age group. Here in the Archdiocese of Chicago, Cardinal George has already responded to the December 8 request from the Vatican to appoint a priest full-time to promote Eucharistic adoration.
After the presentations, I ran some errands. As I was picking up a few staples for my community, an elderly gentleman approached me. Near his side was a younger man in an electric cart, his son. The older man, close to eighty, spoke only Spanish, which I struggled to understand. (I speak Italian, so it's close, but...) From what I gathered, the boy's mother abandoned the family, unable to parent a severely handicapped child. And now that the boy is an adult, his elderly father is finding it impossible to support him, but he does not know how to navigate the social service agencies that could help. All he wanted was for me to pray for him. (Please join me in this: for Pedro and "Pedrito.") Only later did I realize that the two were in the store to make a meal of the samples being offered there; their shopping cart was empty. Hopefully, a Spanish-speaking contact (God bless you, Juan) will be able to find someone who will be in a position to guide the two Pedros to address their needs.
Driving home (traffic!!!), I couldn't help but connect the two parts of the day: the earlier session, discussing what comes down to the Church's contemplative life, and the afternoon encounter, which expresses the need for an active commitment, as well. When Eucharistic spirituality really takes hold of people, they don't stay in Church all day. Jesus sends them out, as Teresa of Avila said, to be his hands. Our Founder used to say that St. Paul's heart blazed with a twofold flame: love of God and love of neighbor. But love of neighbor can quickly burn out if it is not part of the love of God. The Pedros of the world need us to be Eucharistic, contemplative people.