Before the Blessed Sacrament, we have nothing to do but adore.
The First Sunday in Lent is a marathon; it always is: 3 masses, the Great Litany in Procession, and finally Evensong and Benediction. All on a day with one less hour. It is work and, as we are often reminded, that’s what the word liturgy means. But prayer and work are not mutually exclusive. One can pray while remembering what to say and do and what comes next. What can adore Our Lord while keeping an eye on the acolyte who might be getting faint while kneeling; but it does take some mental and spiritual discipline.
Before the Blessed Sacrament, however, we have nothing to do but adore. I long for Sundays when Benediction ends the cycle of prayer. It is one of the few times where everyone is still. The choir is not looking at music. I am not looking at the missal. The congregation is not fumbling through a bulletin or Prayer Book. We are all on our knees gazing upon the mystery that is the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.
I used to be conscious about the duration of silence between O Salutaris and Tantum Ergo. Not anymore. I now collapse in it. I welcome the smoke to blur everything around me so my thoughts can be only on He who is before me.
Our minds are like computers. We can’t just pull the plug to shut it down. Well, we can, but it’s not wise. It takes a process to quiet the thoughts and the dialogue and the anxiety. I can fell the mental programs shut down. During Psalm 53, I feel the process beginning. Psalm 54 I’m starting to let go of my post-mortem of the morning. At Psalm 55, I am paying attention to the words. By the Magnificat, I am no longer looking at my watch. When we come to O Salutaris, there’s no other place I’d rather be. At the Divine Praises, I am truly praising the Divine.
Am I tired? Yes, but it the most satisfied way. Am I anxious? Not now. I have nothing to do but adore.