Have you ever seen a monstrance? No, not a monster, a monstrance. The monstrance is a beautifully decorated stand that holds a consecrated Host. It is usually placed on the altar so that people can come and pray to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. That kind of prayer is called adoration.
I like to tell kids that the monstrance is a “Jesus window.” If we want to see Jesus, all we have to do is look. Behind the glass is the real, present, and living Body of Christ. And while what we see may not look like Jesus (it doesn’t have eyes, a nose, or a beard!), the Eucharist actually is Jesus!
Monstrances are works of art, and each one is beautiful in its own way. Some are large, heavy, golden stands with metal rays surrounding the Host like the sun. Others are smaller and simpler, and make it look almost as if the Host is floating in glass. The important thing, though, is that every monstrance shows us Jesus.
Every Catholic Church has a tabernacle where Jesus in the Eucharist is kept hidden behind doors that are usually locked with a key. Often a red lamp is lit nearby as a sign that Jesus is there, present with us. But sometimes, we really need to see him.
The same can be said for our world. It’s great to carry Jesus quietly with us wherever we go. But the people we spend time with at home, at school, and at play need to see Jesus as much as we do—whether they know it, or not.
In this Year of Faith it’s important to ask ourselves if we are good monstrances. Are we the “Jesus windows” God created us to be? If we are, people who look at our lives will be able to see Jesus. The “glass” of how we treat others will be clear, not cloudy. We will add to the beauty of God alive in us, and not distract from it. And Jesus will be at the center of what we show to the world, not pushed to the side.
Go to your parish during Eucharistic adoration and take a good look at the monstrance. Or, ask your parish priest or deacon to show you the monstrance after Mass. Remember, Jesus is placed there for all to see, but he is also alive in your heart!
Design a monstrance that would help others to see and honor Christ in their lives.
Make a monstrance out of a paper plate or construction paper. Cut the center out, and hang it on your mirror. Remember, you can show Jesus to the world by the way you live.
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