The Glare off the Monstrance

If you’re like me, when you go to an adoration chapel or some other exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, you tend to have places you like to sit. For some, you might like to sit close to Jesus. For others, you might just have a spot that you sat the first time you came, and you formed a habit of always taking that seat. For others, you might just sit in a certain seat because you can view the Blessed Sacrament without getting a glare off the monstrance from the overhead lighting.

Exposition Glare


How often have you found yourself leaning just a bit to the side, so that you have a clearer view of the host?

We Catholics reserve the Blessed Sacrament so that we may continue to adore our Lord outside of Mass. Sometimes we expose the Eucharist for visual adoration. Occasionally, however, even though exposed, the host remains hard to see because the glass protecting it is reflecting some sort of light.

Many time I have let this get to me. I could go to any Catholic tabernacle at any other time, but I’ve gone to the trouble of coming to worship God during exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, and I can’t even see Jesus! Well, this was the case yesterday. I was in my low-glare spot, sitting and reflecting. Then, I knelt to pray the Rosary and all I saw was a glass full of light.

This time, however, I must have been open to a few extra graces, because a few ideas came to me:

  1. While it is true that I can better focus on whom I am worshipping if there is no glare, I am really only able to see more clearly the accidents of bread. So while this clarity of view might help me to distinguish whether a white or whole wheat host was used, it won’t necessarily afford me a sight of Jesus Himself.
  2. One one hand, the fact that I am bothered by the glare is normal–clarity of sight is a good. On the other, it really pushes me to question if I am coming to God out of faith or if I’m just hoping He will bless me with some sort of miraculous apparition.
  3. Even if a miracle is my desire (let’s be honest, who wouldn’t like to see an apparition of Jesus?), why do I let reflections upset me? If God really wanted to manifest Himself to me, He wouldn’t let a glare impede my view.
  4. Not being able to clearly see the Eucharist is a reminder of the mystery of God and His transcendence. We are waiting for the next life to be able to see God as He is. “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face . . .” (1 Cor 13:12).
  5. The light shining in my eyes reminded me of the Gospel reading from that day: “I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness” (Jn 12:46). While I wanted to look at Jesus, I saw light, and I could “look” at that light as an annoyance or a reminder of the light that Jesus is.

What about you? Do you ever have the issue of monstrance glare? What do you do about it? Have you had any insights when “reflecting” on it?

2 thoughts on “The Glare off the Monstrance

  1. Roxanne

    Wow! So this is a great reflection! And the fact that you mentioned that the reflection off the monstance made you wonder why you are deterred by reflections, I was thinking “ah ha”, I know that I, myself, often have difficulty looking at reflections, especially my own. I am aware of my sinfulness, but looking into a reflection, while I am at my most vulnerable, in front of Jesus, is not something I am first in line to do. It’s such an insight into myself and my own lowliness. Thank you for your thoughts, this really showed me more about myself.


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