Thursday, July 25, 2013

Eucharistic Adoration

Why Eucharistic Adoration?
All the sacraments are blessed! All the sacraments give us the grace of Jesus but this sacrament gives us Jesus himself. This is what we Catholics believe.

Why do we believe this? Not because some theologians say so, not even because the Church says so. We believe this for only one reason, because Jesus Christ says so, and we believe Him.

Many who try to follow Jesus do not believe this, as we Catholics do. This fact should not surprise us any. Jesus had the same problem with some of His own disciples. When Jesus first told His own followers that He would give His body and blood as food and drink as spiritual nourishment for the soul, many of His followers – His disciples – would not accept that. They could not believe Him, so they left Him. Jesus did not try to call them back. He didn't say, "Now, wait a minute! You misunderstood me! I was only talking symbolically". No! He let them go. If they could not believe Him, they could not be His disciples. It was that simple.

Then Jesus asked His apostles if they wanted to leave Him too. He was ready to let His apostles go also. We know that Peter, speaking for the group said, "Lord, to whom should we go? We know that you only, have the words of eternal life".

The apostles took Jesus at His word, and we do too.

This sacrament of the Holy Eucharist comes to us through the sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist, the sacrifice of the Mass. This is evident because the Mass is the renewal of Jesus' death on the cross. In this sacrifice He gave up His human life, His physical body and blood, for our salvation. It was at the Last Supper that Jesus instituted the sacrament and sacrifice.

It was the night before He died. Jesus knew that He soon had to leave His friends. Friends He loved so much. He wanted to leave them something to remember Him by, but He did much better than that, He left Himself.

At the Last Supper, Jesus was looking ahead to the next day when He would die on the cross. This is why He said, "This is my body, which will be given up for you. This is my blood, which will be shed for you". Then He commanded "Do this in memory of me". We fulfill that command every day. As Jesus at the Last Supper was looking ahead to Calvary, so we in the sacrifice of the Mass, look back to Calvary.

This is why St. Paul could say: "When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim the death of the Lord". It's the same sacrifice on the cross and in the Mass – the same sacrifice.

Jesus chose this very special way to remain here with us. It was not just an empty promise when Jesus said, "I will be with you all days, even to the end of the world". He meant that! Jesus remains here with us today in the Mass as our Savior, in Holy Communion, as our spiritual food and in our tabernacle as our friend. Jesus died on the cross to give us this sacrament of His presence among us. This is the sacrament of Jesus' love for us.

I like the way Blessed Mother Teresa put it. She said, "When we look at the cross, we know how much Jesus loved us. When we look at the tabernacle, we know how much Jesus loves us now".

Some Catholics think, that we can share in the Eucharist and gain grace from the Eucharist only in the Mass by receiving Holy Communion. This idea limits the power and the love of Jesus too much. Certainly participation in the sacrifice of the Mass and receiving Holy Communion is the most powerful source of grace for us, but it is not the only source of Eucharistic grace. After the sacrifice is completed, the sacrament continues on. Jesus, in His sacramental body and blood remains here with us as our friend, just as He promised. This is why Eucharistic Adoration is so important.

This is why we should visit our friend, Jesus, in the Blessed Sacrament, to return His love for us and to draw spiritual strength and nourishment and encouragement from that love.

Some ask, "Can we really justify the luxury of spending time in private prayer? Wouldn't it be better to spend that time, say, visiting the sick"? To answer that question, let me turn again to Blessed Mother Teresa. You can see I'm a great fan of Blessed Mother Teresa, but then who isn't? The whole world knows that Blessed Mother Teresa's sisters devote their lives to seeking out and caring for the most helpless and abandoned of the poor, the sick and the homeless. Most of the world knows and admires the work of Mother Teresa's sisters, but I doubt that many know about the prayer life of their community. Each day, before they go out into the streets to find the sick and the dying, Blessed Mother Teresa's sisters spend two to three hours in prayer, assisting at Mass and in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Once a well-meaning critic asked Blessed Mother Teresa how she could justify her sisters' spending so much time in private prayer instead of using that time to serve the sick and the poor. Blessed Mother Teresa replied, "If my sisters did not spend so much time in prayer, they could not serve the sick and the poor at all". Their prayer before the Holy Eucharist is the source of the strength and all that is needed to carry out their extremely difficult apostolate.

The love of God must be expressed and strengthened so that love of neighbor might flow from it.

One time when Blessed Mother Teresa was visiting in our country, a group of American women asked her what they could do to help her in her work. Blessed Mother Teresa replied, "The greatest help they could give her would be to spend one hour each week in silent adoration before the Blessed Sacrament". That is good advice for us too.

Sometimes those who object to Eucharistic adoration complain that adoration is too much "Jesus and I". They charge that adoration intends to be selfish, turning our thoughts and attention inward instead of reaching out to others. Again, an obvious response is to look at Blessed Mother Teresa's sisters and just to mention the time they spend in private prayer and adoration. I doubt that anyone can match their concern for their neighbor, especially for the most desperate of the abandoned. Who would dare to call their work selfish? Any pastor who has Eucharistic Adoration in his parish will testify that the regular adorers are among the most active members of his parish. From my own experience, preaching in many parishes, I know that active adorers are very often, also the most active pro-lifers in the parish. If we could get adoration going in every Catholic parish, perhaps we could at least get Catholics out of the business of killing babies.

So finally we go back to our subject entitled: "Why Eucharistic Adoration"? Why should you spend time visiting with Jesus in the Eucharist, simply because Jesus himself, your best friend, invites you. He said it so warmly, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened. Come to me and I will refresh you". Who could refuse such an invitation from your very best friend? God Bless You.

Text adapted from

God Bless

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