by Irene Gonzalez Hernandez
I am really thrilled to see that Eucharistic adoration is being offered at the St. Louise de Marillac Chapel this year! But what is Eucharistic adoration? I was not familiar with it even though I had been Catholic for a while. Some very good friends introduced me to it and now it has become one of my favorite moments in my week.
So here are a few things that might help you if you are new to Eucharistic adoration:
Understood simply, Eucharistic Adoration is adoring or honoring the Eucharistic Presence of Christ. In a deeper sense, it involves “the contemplation of the Mystery of Christ truly present before us”. And we can do this in front of the tabernacle or when the Eucharist is exposed in a monstrance.
Eucharistic adoration is a devotion, not a sacrament, but it is a devotion rooted firmly in the liturgy, which can strengthen our liturgical and spiritual life, deepening our faith and enhancing our participation in the Eucharist.
One dimension of adoration of the exposed Blessed Sacrament is reparation: for the outrages committed against the Eucharist, for the violence done to the poor, to women, to the unborn, and to the earth itself, and other harms. Popes Leo XIII and Pius XI emphasized reparation as a focus for adoration. More recently, Pius XII shifted the emphasis to prayer that the whole human family, settling their differences, might find peace and be united in mind and heart. All in all, it is our Communion with the Lord that is the climax of the liturgy and that is also the focus of eucharistic adoration.
We need to allow the Lord’s continual presence in the Eucharist to change us, we who have a hard time being truly present to others amid the clamor of multi-tasking and our fast-paced life. In adoration, we are changed by being present to the Presence.
As in any relationship with a person we love, informal visiting and conversation deepen our love and appreciation of the other. It is also helpful to remember the Gospel. When Martha and Mary were hosting Jesus and He was sitting in the living room, Mary was just sitting there, at the feet of our Lord, listening to Him, just being with Him in adoration. I guess we can say He really appreciates when we go and just want to sit with Him and spend time with Him, and that is the essence of Eucharistic adoration. I look at Him and He looks back at me.
Eucharistic adoration is an occasion to let the heart of Mass -encounter with the risen Christ in bread and wine- become the “continuing object of our thought and gaze” and invite us to deeper, more conscious participation in the meal.
Ultimately we pray and adore the Lord because we have accepted the invitation of God to relationship, to a communion of love. Let’s cherish the great gift of visiting Jesus as much as possible.
The Church and the world have a great need for Eucharistic worship. Jesus awaits us in this sacrament of love. Let us not refuse the time to go to meet Him in adoration, in contemplation full of faith, and open to making amends for the serious offenses and crimes of the world. Let our adoration never cease (Catechism Catholic Church; 1380).