Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
Weekly: Monday 9 am - 7 pm and Tuesday 9 am to Wednesday 6:30 pm
Monthly: 1st Friday 9:15 am to Saturday 4:30 pm
What is Adoration?
by Father John F. Donoghue
“What is adoration?” Such was the question a Catholic woman recently posed to her friend when asked if she would get involved in promotion of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament during this great Jubilee Year.
The woman’s reply prompts me to respond. I want to encourage Eucharistic Adoration in our Idaho Catholic Church. I want to reach out in this way to my fellow Catholics who might have similar questions. I want to state clearly the reasons for this very ancient kind of Catholic prayer, and the good that can come from it. I want to invite everyone to make Eucharistic Adoration a Permanent part of their Christian Life.
Adoration is worship given to God alone; to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Adoration is at the very heart of Christian prayer. As a man, Jesus adored His Father. He gave us the example to follow. Jesus adored His Father, Abba, in the power of the Holy Spirit. In the same Spirit, “who has been given to us,” we also adore God.
Adoration is our personal recognition of the reality of God’s presence. It is a deep desire of our mind and heart to respond to and to savor the every-nourishing presence of God. It is a realization of being loved by God and loving Him in return, a real exchange of love. It is love following upon love, and of this love we have all received (John 1).
Adoration is a celebration of presence, a prayer of presence. It is a marvelous, yet mysterious, grace filled way of being alone with God, intimately alone with Him who loves us so much. About God, not us.
Adoration is a silent way of loving and being loved. It is the best kind of prayer. It is about God, not us. Adoration takes no special talent, just desire and faith, along with God’s grace. Everyone can do this kind of worship. We have done it at Mass. God looks for adorers, those who worship him in spirit and in truth (John 4).
Jesus Christ is the perfect revelation of God, the perfect image of the invisible God (Col. 1). He was born, died and rose from the dead for “us and for our salvation” (Nicene Creed).
Our Catholic faith is that Jesus Christ left us the unique memorial of His sacrificial death and His glorious resurrection in the sacrifice and sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. There we have His Real Presence. We offer with Him His sacrifice to the Father, and we partake of this sacrifice by receiving communion. We receive “the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity” of our Crucified and Risen Lord. And we adore Him.
Pope Paul VI said that among the many ways Jesus is present among us, His Real Presence in the Eucharist is His greatest and most excellent presence.
Our faith is that Jesus Christ remains present in the consecrated hosts we reserve in the tabernacle. The Council of Trent teaches that “there is no room for doubt that all the faithful may give to the most Holy Sacrament the worship due to the True God.”
Liturgy of the Mass
Adoration begins in and flows from the celebration of the Liturgy of the Mass. It continues in our prayer of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament reserved in the tabernacle. Adoration comes from and leads to the liturgy.
Pope Pius XII, in his great Encyclical Letter Mediator Dei said, “There can be no wonder that the church from the beginning has adored the Body of Christ under the appearance of bread. This Blessed Sacrament permanently contains the Author of Grace Himself. When the church bids us to adore Christ…she shows her lively faith in the presence of the divine bridegroom by showing him gratitude and rejoicing in her intimate communion with Him.”
Nourish and refresh
Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II have restated the case for offering Adoration to the Sacrament of the Eucharist at Mass and in the reservation of it in the tabernacle. There is, then, a wholesome Catholic spirituality of adoration whenever we can contemplate the Real Presence of Christ allowing Him to fill us with His love, which radiates from His presence; allowing Him to nourish and refresh us and draw us ever closer to Himself; allowing Him to empower us to pray and act in His name as His witnesses.
Our Holy Father tells us that “this adoration of ours is thoroughly penetrated by the greatness of that human death in which…each of us has been loved to the fullest extent by Jesus Christ. This adoration of ours is thus a response that tries to repay that love immolated even to death on the Cross. It is our Eucharist, that is to say our giving thanks; our praise of Him for having redeemed us by His death and made us sharers in immortal life through His resurrection.
Soon the Holy Father will beatify the beloved Pope John XXIII. Pope John said, on one occasion, “Every time I hear anyone speak of the Sacred Heart of Jesus or of the Blessed Sacrament, I feel an indescribable joy…these are loving appeals from Jesus who wants me wholeheartedly there at the source of all goodness, his Sacred Heart throbbing mysteriously behind the Eucharistic veil.”
St. Peter Julian Eymard, a great apostle of Eucharistic Adoration invites us “to look at Mary Magdalene at the tomb of Jesus. Just one word from Jesus, ‘Mary’,’ and she recognized him. Jesus acts in the same way in the Blessed Sacrament. He speaks only one word, but a word that rings in our hearts: ‘It is I.’ And we sense His presence and believe more firmly than if we were to see Him.”
Restores our life
I want to close with words from the great parish priest of Ars, France, during the mid-nineteenth century, St. John Vianney. They say well what we can look forward to in our commitment to Eucharistic Adoration in this Jubilee Year.
He is there - He who loves us so much. Why should we not love Him? To pray well there is no need to talk a lot. One knows that the good Lord is there in the Holy Tabernacle. One opens one’s heart to Him. One rejoices in His presence. How is it possible not to rejoice in this merciful visit and not relish His gracious presence! He is there…an infinite ocean of kindness and goodness, inviting us to lose ourselves there, claiming our spirit and our heart. He is the light; He enlightens us.
He consoles us; He cures us, and restores our life. He is the way; He shows us the road. He is the truth; He banishes the darkness of error which surrounds us. He is the strength; He sustains us in our weakness. He makes all things work together for good for those who love Him. Happy are those who can live in His presence. Happy are we with whom God dwells, we who can visit him as often as we wish.”
Note: This article was published in the Idaho Catholic Register in January 2000 at the request of the ICR and the leadership of the Council of Catholic Women.