Dear friends, peace and wellbeing to you all. Most of you may be familiar with the Eucharistic Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in our Catholic Tradition. As Catholic Christians we believe in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, with his Body, Soul and Divinity. Therefore, after the celebration of the Mass, in all our Catholic Churches we have a tabernacle to keep the Body of Jesus for adoration and also to bring Him to the sick and homebound. A red lamp or light is always placed nearby indicating the presence of Our Lord Jesus in the Tabernacle.
Eucharistic Adoration can be described as the prayer or meditation which takes place in the presence of the Holy Eucharist outside the Mass. Through the centuries, this devotion has become one of the most powerful prayers and I always encourage and recommend it for everybody. This beautiful devotion takes place either when the body of Jesus is exposed in the monstrance on the Altar with prayers and songs, incense and candles, but also when the Lord is not visible while in the Tabernacle. Many saints, old and young, have been in love with Eucharistic adoration: St. Jean Maria Vianney, St. Peter Julian Eymard, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John Paul II and younger people like Blessed Carlo Acutis and St. Jose Sanchez del Rio.
Many saints and other Catholic faithful such as Blessed Concepcion Cabrera de Armida and Maria Candida of the Eucharist have written volumes of beautiful mediations while doing Eucharistic Adoration. When the Eucharist is exposed for long periods of time, many hours or days, we call it Perpetual Adoration. This is practiced mainly by monks and religious sisters in monasteries and convents, but some popes like St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI have encouraged it for everybody in our parishes.
In the past, not long ago, it was a common practice for us Catholics, young and old, on our way to school, work, sports or even grocery shopping to stop in the church for a short visit to the Blessed Sacrament in their local church. I remember doing this with my mom when we went grocery shopping. Most of these times the Eucharist was not exposed, but we knew He was in the Tabernacle as we saw the red candle.
When we worship and adore the Eucharistic Lord Jesus, we become what God wants us to be, children of God; and the Lord calls us to Himself and transforms us. This has been emphasized since the Second Vatican Council, making exposition and benediction a liturgical service more officially around the Catholic Christian world. A priest or deacon removes the sacred host from the tabernacle and places it in the monstrance on the altar for adoration by the faithful; the monstrance is a sacred vessel we use to display the consecrated Eucharistic Host or Body of Jesus, during Eucharistic Adoration or Benediction.
The “Instruction on Eucharistic Worship,” issued by the Sacred Congregation of Rites on the Feast of Corpus Christi, May 25, 1967, reads in part, “The exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, for which either a monstrance or a ciborium may be used, stimulates the faithful to an awareness of the marvelous presence of Christ and is an invitation to spiritual communion with Him. It is therefore an excellent encouragement to offer Him that worship in spirit and truth which is His due.”
St. John Paul II once said, “The visit to the Blessed Sacrament is a great treasure of the Catholic faith. It nourishes social love and gives us opportunities for adoration and thanksgiving, for reparation and supplication. Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Holy Hours, and Eucharistic processions are likewise precious elements of our heritage – in full accord with the teaching of the Second Vatican Council.”
As we continue to meditate on the Synod on Synodality (Journeying Together) and get more immersed into the Eucharistic Revival, it is my hope that we become more available with Holy Hours in our parishes for all our faithful and encourage our young people to participate. It is believed that Holy Hours came from the inspiration in the Gospel of Matthew 26:40 when Jesus is in the garden of Gethsemane the night before his crucifixion and tells Peter: “So, could you not keep watch with me for one hour?”
Let us continue to keep watch with Jesus in Adoration of his Body and Blood in the Eucharist, so that we may be able to become and express Jesus’ love, which is really all we need.