Eucharistic Adoration

Catholics believe in the real presence of Christ in the Sacrament of Holy Communion (see Communion, like no other). Consecrated bread and wine become the true, literal body and blood of Christ preserving only their former appearance. This is what Jesus taught at the last supper and we do not doubt Him!

At Mass we are in the direct presence of our Lord and have the opportunity to speak to Him through prayer – or just to listen. His literal presence makes this distinctly different than when we pray elsewhere. For this reason parishioners come to Mass early, or stay after, for additional prayer in His presence in the tabernacle (where the undistributed Eucharist is reserved between Masses).

Many Catholic churches offer Eucharistic Adoration where the Eucharist is exposed in a monstrance — a special cross that holds and displays the Eucharist at its center. Many of those parishes have small chapels for this purpose, as does mine. Parishioners go there for quiet prayer, reflection or inspirational reading in Jesus’ direct presence.

It is highly fitting that Christ should have wanted to remain present to his Church in this unique way. Since Christ was about to take his departure from his own in his visible form, he wanted to give us his sacramental presence; since he was about to offer himself on the cross to save us, he wanted us to have the memorial of the love with which he loved us “to the end,” even to the giving of his life. In his Eucharistic presence he remains mysteriously in our midst as the one who loved us and gave himself up for us, and he remains under signs that express and communicate this love:

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. — John Paul II

CCC 1380

Parishes with Adoration go to significant effort to insure someone is always with our Lord. To that end parishioners sign-up as Adoration Guardians for specific hours at all times throughout the day and night. Some hours are committed by individuals while others may be covered by a group of people.

The guys at my Men’s Fellowship table have signed up for Thursday mornings from 3:00am to 4:00am. Some have the honor regularly while others may offer as needed. Since one of the Lenten suggestions is increased prayer, I signed up for yesterday morning (my first time).

I went to bed early but it was still a small struggle to wake up at 2:20am! There was a very light rain, but virtually no traffic so the trip took little time. Outside the adoration chapel is a large sign reminding passers-by of adoration and asking for silence. A table holds a log book for guardians which I signed.

Inside the door are holy water fonts and sufficient space to genuflect before taking a seat (the chapel seats up to 35). There were 3 other people there when I arrived. Two, including Trish whom I know, were covering the prior hour and left after a while. The chapel itself is small, very quiet, beautifully designed and appointed.

For a few minutes I just took it all in, rested and focused. It is very peaceful and easy to pray. Without rush or distractions, and in the close presence of our Lord, prayer felt deeper and more personal than usual. It was easier to both express myself and to discern guidance.

After praying, I read a short article on the Luminous Mysteries (The “Mysteries of Light” introduced by Pope John Paul II in 2002). Then, surprisingly, it was 4:00am. It is always amazing to me how fast time passes when praying and studying.

Tony had arrived for an hour he was covering by then, so I left and returned home. The clock read 4:30am when I turned the light off – about two hours after waking up. As I again laid in bed, in the darkness, I suddenly sensed a taste in my mouth. I recognized it as the faint taste of communion wine. Non-believers have all manner of ways to dismiss such, but I believe God speaks to, and encourages us, in many ways.

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Comments

  1. When my nonCatholic husband and I visited Rome, my husband was struck by the beautiful devotion of the Adoration, which is readily observed and made available there. It was the first time I could see the beauty through someone else's eyes. I didn't take Adoration for granted, but I had become accustomed to the fact that our Lord was waiting for us and longing for our presence. However, I was deeply moved by how much it deeply moved my husband. A man who wasn't raised in a faith, he saw immediately the intimacy and grace of the Adoration. Beautiful and powerful. Thank you for this terrific post.

  2. I was taught the distinction between adoration and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament does not require that the host be exposed. Our Lord is present in the tabernacle so it is fitting to offer silent adoration there. Exposition is when the host is in the monstrance. That, too, is an occasion for adoration. My point is that even if a parish doesn't offer exposition one can still adore our Lord and be in His presence in front of the tabernacle.

  3. I was in RCIA this past year and was baptized, confirmed, and received my first holy communion just this past Easter vigil. Today my church had a procession for the feast of Corpus Christi. After the procession during adoration I was suddenly unable to kneel and felt my body go limp like I was going to faint. I was trying to stay up and then I felt the taste of blood in my mouth. I kept feeling my mouth and looking at my saliva but I wasn’t bleeding. I was an adoration guardian before I was confirmed, so I am no stranger to Eucharistic Adoration, but this was insane! My first communion physically affected me, but nothing like this. After leaving the church I felt fine and the taste slowly faded away. I did a Google search to see if someone had any answers or if it was explainable by anything else, and I stumbled upon this. I love your site! I love hearing about other converts! Glad to see the Lord has revealed himself similarly to someone else :) God Bless you!

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