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Patrick O’Shea: Our heavenly home is where the heart is

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More than 13,000 people turned out to walk with Jesus through the streets of Sydney on the Feast of Corpus Christi - double the number who attended the last such procession. Photo: Giovanni Portelli
More than 13,000 people turned out to walk with Jesus through the streets of Sydney on the Feast of Corpus Christi – double the number who attended the last
such procession. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

Anyone who has watched Monty Python’s Life of Brian can hardly forget the classic scene where John Cleese’s centurion gives a Latin lesson to Graham Chapman’s Brian.

It took a bit of study, but I now know the proper translation for “Romans go home” is “Romani ite domum,” not “Romanes eunt domus,”

Thankfully my Latin teachers never drew a sword on me for confusing the dative case with the accusative, nor did I have to write it out a hundred times on the forum wall.

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At this time of the liturgical year, the idea of Romans going home seems to hit home a lot more for me.

As Catholics, we believe that Our Lord’s presence in the Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith.

So much so that God obliges us to receive him at least once a year during the Easter season and to attend Mass at least each Sunday and Holy Day.

But why does Cleese’s Latin lesson about Romans going home remind me of the Eucharist?

Home isn’t just the place to which you return to eat, drink, and rest. It’s not the sum of all these parts, as important as they were.

Home is where your family is: with your parents, you felt most safe, most secure, and most at home.

I remember a camping trip my family took when I was a child. While I was sleeping a storm came through, flipping our tent.

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP censes the Blessed Sacrament in front of an estimated 6000 Sydneysiders after the Walk With Christ 2019 on Sunday. Photo: G Portelli, The Catholic Weekly

Unbeknownst to me, mum and dad had foregone the tent and put us in the car during the night. I woke up thinking we had magically teleported.

I still felt at home because my parents kept me and my brothers safe. It is often said that “home is where the heart is” and, growing up, our hearts lie in the hands of our parents.

On Pentecost Sunday, a priest at my parish spoke about the need to realise that God is our father, to cry out “Abba! Father!” and the importance of our relationship with him as a father.

He spoke of the need to ask for the gifts of fear of the Lord and piety from the Holy Spirit, as they are the gifts that will help us most in our experience of God’s fatherhood and our relationship with him.

We are children of God and, as his children, we entrust our hearts into his hands, just as we entrusted our hearts into the hands of our parents when we were children. If home is where the heart is, then home is in the Lord.

It’s important to come home not just on Sundays, then, but to spend time with God, adoring him in the Sacrament.

St John, in the intimacy of the Last Supper, rested on the breast of Our Lord, close to his heart (Jn 13:23). St Augustine wrote that “our hearts are restless until they rest in thee”—so why don’t we rest in God in prayer?

Entrust your heart to him in prayer and learn to lean on Christ, as he is meek and humble of heart (Mt 11:29). As JRR Tolkien said of the Blessed Sacrament, there “you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves upon earth.”

On this solemnity of Corpus Christi, we need to recentre ourselves on our true home, on the source and summit of our love on earth. We need to give our hearts to the Eucharist: we need to go home to the Eucharist.

So, the next time anyone in the public square tells us Catholics to pack our bags and “go home”, we can all flock to the nearest church or adoration chapel and happily rest our hearts in that small home in Our Father’s house.

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