Tuesday, September 6, 2011

An Invitation to Adoration….

By Father Anthony J. Killian

Adoration at the main altar, St. Peter's Basilica.  P
At all Catholic parishes, but especially ours which is named Blessed Sacrament, the Eucharist is to be the center of parish life. Everything we do as the Church, as “the assembly which is called out” by God, must have as its source the Eucharist – which is Christ present with his people. Of course, we Catholics act on our faith in Jesus Christ present in the Eucharist when we go to Mass each Sunday.
Yet Jesus remains, imprisoned we could say, in the tabernacle of the church. The lighted lamp is the sign of Christ’s abiding presence in the tabernacle. He is there above all so that the Blessed Sacrament can be brought to the sick. Another reason why the Sacrament is reserved is for the adoration of the faithful. Adoration is an important aspect of our spiritual life.

Why Adoration?

To adore is to gaze lovingly.  Parents do so with their children.  Spouses do so with each other.  Blessed John Paul II, in his encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia, said “the gaze of the Church is constantly turned to her Lord, present in the Sacrament of the Altar, in which she discovers the full manifestation of his boundless love.”(Ecclesia de Eucharistia, No. 1.)  We gaze at the Lord in order to better understand what love truly is because God is Love and therefore the source of our love.  Pondering the words of Blessed John Paul it becomes clear that adoration of the Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament is not only a personal act, but an ecclesial one.  The members of the Mystical Body, as it were, unite mystically with their Head who in turn fills them with spiritual blessings.

We should have a natural desire to visit the Lord often in the Blessed Sacrament.  And our motivation is love.  Our love is nothing other than a desire for a deeper communion with God in Christ.  In his presence, we should thank him for the blessings God has given to us: our family, our friends, our talents, and above all our Catholic faith. From our hearts, we should speak honestly to the Lord about our needs, and ask him to help us to grow to be better disciples. Perhaps there is a particular fault or sin that one wants to root out of his life; or someone may be dealing with a particularly challenging situation, a particularly difficult person, or a decision that needs to be made. All of these can be topics of conversation with the Lord. We speak; but we also need to be quiet and listen to the Lord as he prompts us from within the quiet of our hearts. This is nothing other than friendship, real friendship, with the Lord!

The time spent in adoration allows God to shape us more and more into the image of his Son.  The graces Christ gives us make us into better lovers both of God and our brothers and sisters. Our devotion to the Holy Mass increases. 

Adoration and the Saints

Many saints have been devoted to adoring the Lord in the Eucharist.  One thinks especially of St. John Neumann who was the first to organize the Forty Hours devotion throughout a diocese.  St. Katherine Drexel founded a religious community of sisters named for the Blessed Sacrament.  St. Thomas Aquinas wrote the liturgy for Corpus Christi as well as the great Eucharistic hymns Pange Lingua and Adoro te Devote. An important influence for St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s conversion to Catholicism was the Eucharistic devotion of Catholics in her day.

Make an Appointment with Christ

Blessed Sacrament Church is open Monday through Friday from 5:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Thus, there is plenty of opportunity for anyone to visit the Blessed Sacrament.  There is Exposition every Friday after the 8:30 a.m. Mass with Benediction times varying according to the liturgical season.  We also have Exposition on the first Sunday of each month after the 2:00 p.m. Mass with Benediction beginning at 3:50 p.m.
Making adoration of the Blessed Sacrament a regular part of our devotional life can change our lives! Let us not pass up the opportunity to strengthen our friendship with the Lord and with one another by making visits to Christ in the tabernacle. What a joy to see spouses, parents and children, and laity praying in the Blessed Sacrament chapel! It is before the tabernacle or the monstrance that we find the answers to the challenges and or difficulties of life as well as the peace for which our hearts long. So, say yes to this invitation and let us become even more strongly and actively a Eucharistic parish – the parish of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

The author, Fr. Anthony Killian, is a Parochial Vicar at Blessed Sacrament Parish

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