When my son was three he discovered the Tabernacle. He asked, “Mommy, what is that gold box?” To make it understandable to him, I answered, “That’s where Jesus goes night-night.” That seemed like a good choice of words until the next weekend when my son questioned, “Mommy, who stays with Jesus when He goes night-night?” Wow. That was not on my radar when I gave the night-night answer. I responded as best I could, “Well, Mary keeps Him company.” Answer one was a bust, “But Mommy, that’s just a statue. It’s not real.” So, I tried again, “Well, all the Saints and angels stay with Jesus and the Holy Spirit too.” Answer two was also a bust: “But Mommy, we can’t see them.” So, I pulled out the one answer that is said to satisfy even the greatest question—”It’s a mystery, son.” Answer three, to a three year-old, was probably the worst one yet. So, I deferred to the wisdom of the priest who shared an equally unsatisfactory answer with his audience, citing the fact that Jesus was accustomed to being alone since He had spent forty days in the desert alone and fasting.
After we left, I thought about this question, so innocent, but so full of meaning. My son’s question had special significance, because at the time he was afraid to go to sleep alone.. He must have projected his fears upon Jesus, thinking that Jesus wouldn’t want to be alone at night either.
And, in fact, He never really is. Who does keep Jesus company when He goes night-night? Well, we do. All across the world, in our universal Church, there are chapels open for Adoration. We kneel and sit in front of the Divine Presence of the Eucharist, and we keep Jesus company.
On Holy Thursday, with altars stripped bare and the Eucharist moved to a quiet place for Adoration, let us remember that Jesus, despite his forty days in the desert, still longs for us at “night-night time.” He wants us to keep Him company.
Many years ago Jesus appeared to Saint Margaret Mary, who described His appearance in these words:
Jesus Christ, my kind Master, appeared to me. He was a blaze of glory—his five wounds shining like five suns, flames issuing from all parts of his human form, especially from his divine breast which was like a furnace, and which he opened to disclose his utterly affectionate and lovable Heart, the living source of all those flames. It was at this moment that he revealed to me the indescribable wonders of his pure love for mankind: the extravagance to which he’d been led for those who had nothing for him but ingratitude and indifference. ‘This hurts me more,’ he told me, ‘than everything I suffered in my passion. Even a little love from them in return—and I should regard all that I have done for them as next to nothing, and look for a way of doing still move. But no; all my eager efforts for their welfare meet with nothing but coldness and dislike. Do me the kindness, then—you, at least—of making up for all their ingratitude, as far as you can.’
Fr. Michael Gaitley summarizes this, saying, “Behold this Heart which loves so much yet is so little loved. Do me the kindness of making up for all their ingratitude, as far as you can.” Yes, Jesus longs for us. His Heart longs to be kept company at “night-night time.” Let us all come to him as we can and keep Him company by loving Him as he loved and still loves us.