St. Thomas on “Come and See”

“Teacher, where are you staying?”

When the aspiring disciples put their question to the Lord, they articulated it with penetrating subtlety. They were talking with a wanderer who had no place to rest his head. So they did not speak of a permanent residence. “Where are you staying?”

The Lord, of course, found a home under many roofs while He was making His pilgrim way on earth. At various times, He took His place as an honored guest in a number of homes in different parts of the Holy Land.

“What are you looking for?” The Lord Jesus had asked these followers of His, near the River Jordan. “What are you looking for?” He asks us the same. And we reply with the same question that the disciples put to Him.

Where are You staying? Where can we find the place where we might spend some time with You, O Lord? Can we while away the afternoon and evening in Your company? Maybe drink a coffee with You?

We know that the Lamb of God can have no fixed address on this earth. We have no delusions of domesticating You, Lord; of tying You down somehow.

No, on the contrary: We want to learn the mystery of Your true home. We want to dwell with the Father like You do.

…Where does the Son of God stay?

Well, praise Him! When we come to Mass, we come to the right place. The Lord dwells in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar like He dwells nowhere else on earth. He gave us this sacrament precisely in order to stay with us until the end of time.

If we were to ask Him, like Andrew did, ‘Teacher, where are you staying?’ He replies, ‘Didn’t you hear me when I said, This is My Body and Blood? I am right here!’

Can we find Him, though, in other places, too? After all, we love the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, but we cannot remain in church 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It seems like the Lord has other things in mind for us to do, in other places. But we want to be with Him then, too.

Indeed. God gives Himself to us in an edible sacrament for a reason. Not that we eat and run, so to speak. But that He goes with us when we go.

From the moment He brought the heavens and the earth into existence, God has dwelt everywhere in the world by virtue of His omnipotent power. But His power awes and frightens us, stupefies us, dwarfs us.

When He condescended to become man, God began to abide in the world in a new way, that is, by His grace: by His kindness, His loving mercy, His ineffable friendliness. The love of God incarnate extends to lengths, extends to depths, extends into us in ways that we can hardly bring ourselves to believe.

“Come and see,” Christ says. Come and see. St. Thomas Aquinas interprets this invitation as follows:

Christ says ‘come and see’ because the dwelling of God cannot be known except by experience, for it cannot be expressed in words. And so He says, come and see. COME by believing and working. SEE by experiencing and understanding.

St. Thomas breaks it down for us:

We can attain to this knowledge in four ways. First, by doing good works. Secondly, by rest and stillness of mind. Thirdly, by tasting the divine sweetness. Fourthly, by acts of devotion.

We commune with Christ in the Holy Mass, offering Him the sacrifice of an upright and pure conscience, receiving His Body and Blood.

We do our best to act always out of love for God and neighbor. We take time to allow a Sabbath to take root in our minds, resting them in the clear, pure, quiet truth of God. When joy in God comes, we savor it, hold onto it, and praise Him. And when the snares of the devil lay to the right and to the left, we stick to the tried-and-true, get down on our knees, and say the prayers that children know how to say.

Rabbi, where are you staying today? Come and see. Believe and know. “And they stayed that day.”

The Son of Man has no place on earth to rest His head. He does not ask us to build some kind of elaborate spiritual Empire State Building to accommodate Him in our souls. He humbly and unprepossessingly wants to dwell with us today. Tomorrow will take care of itself.

Let’s do good and avoid evil. Let’s find quiet time to pray and meditate. Let’s praise Him for His goodness and stick to the daily Catholic basics.

Before we know it, the days will become months, the months years, and four o’clock in the afternoon will give way to eternal evening rest in the glory of Christ’s many-mansioned house.

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