Eucharistic Reflection: Looking for peace & love? Try adoration!
by Diocese of Des Moines | June 28, 2021
By: Msgr Frank Bognanno
Eucharistic adoration was at the heart of the spirituality of St. John Paul II. He once wrote: “Personally, I have experienced a need for silent adoration which gives me strength, consolation and support." When we place ourselves before the Blessed Sacrament in prayer the same spiritual blessings come into our hearts: Strength, consolation, and support. It is linked to our participation in the Mass itself. He noted that "we must contemplate the face of Christ... this is best accomplished by Eucharistic worship which prolongs and increases the fruits of Holy Communion." He loved to quote St. Alphonsus of Liguori who said..."of all devotions, that of adoring Jesus in The Blessed Sacrament is the greatest other than the sacraments."
This devotion is simple and accessible to everyone. In each parish church there is a tabernacle which houses the Blessed Sacrament, the Risen Body and Blood of Jesus under the appearance of bread (hosts). We simply enter, genuflect, or bow in reverence, and kneel or sit in silence before Him. Jesus is your best friend and mine. Before Jesus each of us is a unique person in that relationship. Our moods change often as our life changes from day to day. I simply bring myself as I am: joyful or perplexed, anxious, or relaxed, burdened, or grateful, just as I am! Jesus in the gospels always met people just as they were in that moment.
St John Vianney, the French patron saint of priests, once noticed a farmer in his parish church who would sit quietly each day before the Blessed Sacrament.
The saint asked him “what do you do before the Blessed Sacrament?"
The man answered, “I just look at Him and He looks at me."
It is said that silence is the language of God, much as two lovers gazing into each other's eyes silently. A retreat director once emphasized silence to me by saying, “You talk too much when you pray." St. Teresa of Avila taught “prayer is a loving conversation with the one who I know loves me." In this conversation how does Jesus speak? Maybe it is through the events of my life. Maybe in my conscience as I thank him for the graces and opportunities given me and ask for pardon for the times I have resisted His grace or chances to love others. At times I hear Him or am inspired by the Holy Spirit through the Scriptures I brought with me or a spiritual reading book.
St. Teresa herself once counseled "don't go to prayer without a book." It is said that spiritual reading is the wood on the fire of prayer. No doubt at times we will feel very close to Him, inspired, uplifted. There will also be times of spiritual dryness. But we persevere. Welcome to relationships! Sometimes we will be moved to engage in vocal or set prayers... prayers like the rosary, a novena, set prayers... beautiful! They are effective! They connect us to Him. I personally practice a combination of all the above. Adoration of our risen Lord before the Blessed Sacrament is very much like the story of the two sisters, Martha and Mary, in the gospel of St. Luke (10:25-37). Jesus was visiting their home. Martha was hurrying about trying to get everything ready for dinner, while Mary sat at the feet of Jesus and listen to his every word. Martha complained to Jesus that Mary was not helping her. Jesus said: “Martha, Martha you are busy and upset about many things... Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her."
A perfect lesson for us in adoration. Distracting thoughts buzz about us. Try to put those distractions calmly before the Lord, the only one who can really handle them. Be at peace! Do not be like Martha who forgot who was really in the room with her, “Son of God.” Be at peace! Why not? He knows all our challenges and problems and has power over them. Remember, He really cares! He is trustworthy! Our loving Father is always watching over us. Jesus once said: "Your Father knows what you need before you ever ask Him “ (Matthew 6:8). Jesus counsels us in prayer to "ask and you shall receive, seek and you will find ... knock and the door will be opened for you." (Luke 11:19-13) Trust! Trusting is big!!
In adoration we move through sentiments of faith, trust, and love. All are really connected... all are found in the perfect prayer that Jesus Himself gave us: The Our Father! I find much of this stated beautifully by St Charles de Faucauld in his Prayer of Abandonment, the prayer of total surrender, the prayer of trust:
“Father, I abandon myself into your hands. Do with me what you will. Whatever you may do I thank you. I am ready for all I accept all. Let only your will be done in me and in all your creatures. I wish no more than this O Lord....Into your hands I commend my life. I offer it to you with all the love of my heart. For I Love you Lord and I so need to give myself, to surrender myself into your hands without reserve and with boundless confidence for you are my Father."
St. Ignatius of Loyola expresses it beautifully, the goal of our Faith, the love of God. “Take Lord, receive all my freedom, my understanding and my entire memory. All I have and possess. You have given all to me. I return it to you. Do with it what you will. Grant me only to love you. Give me this grace. This truly is enough for me.” Enjoy adoration! People have told me of miracles in their lives because of their time of adoration. Do not be afraid to expect a miracle. Pray the way you pray best! Enjoy your "loving conversation with the one whom you know loves you."
- When is it easiest for me to enter into conversation with God? When is it the hardest?
- How well do I trust in God’s providential care, having confidence that “your Father knows what you need before you ever ask Him”?
- For all of us to grow in intimacy with Jesus, and that entering into conversation with our Lord we may draw “strength, consolation and support” for all we need, we pray…
- That in Eucharistic adoration we may more easily recognize Jesus’ great love for us, and that we might be more fully conformed to that love, we pray…
- For Eucharistic Renewal in our Diocese, that Eucharistic devotion may grow, and that the Holy Spirit can come and breathe Divine Life into our hearts and communities, we pray…