Eucharistic Reflection: Receiving the Call from the Heart of God
by Diocese of Des Moines | June 7, 2021
Adoration and Vocations: Receiving the Call from the Heart of God
By Nicholas Smith
To be ordained to the transitional diaconate June 11
On the Feast of the Sacred Heart
The Eucharist is a gift that springs from the heart of God. It is the expression of his great desire to remain with us, to continue to speak to us in the depths of our hearts, and to transform our souls so that only Christ radiates through us in our words and deeds. In other words, the Eucharist is the extension of God’s friendship with his people. I have called you friends, Christ told his apostles on the night of the Last Supper. The servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
We who have been baptized in Christ have also been called “friends” by the Lord. He continues to speak to us today if we would but listen for his voice. His voice is heard in the silence of adoration, where he reveals his heart to us in the Eucharist exposed. There he is vulnerable, poor, humble, desirous of those who would keep him company and with whom he can share everything he has heard from his Father. He wants to enflame missionary souls who will bring others to him and so transform the world. In the silence of His Eucharistic presence, Christ always issues a call. This call is simple; it is the same call that Andrew, Peter, James, John, and Matthew received in the gospel: Follow me.
Every Christian is called to this life of a disciple, following the Master in all things. But it is especially true for those called to a life of consecration to God alone. Christ has not ceased calling men and women whom he wants to follow him unreservedly, leaving behind the goods of this world in order to serve him and his Church as priests, religious, and consecrated persons.
We need people in the Church who, after hearing this call from Christ to follow him, are willing to leave everything for his sake. The presence of consecrated persons in the world reminds us of our supernatural vocation—this world is not our home, for we are destined for eternal happiness with God in heaven. A life consecrated to God witnesses to the absolute primacy of God in a world that has largely forgotten him.
What a sign it is to the world, then, when Christians spend time in silent heart-to-heart dialogue with the Lord in the hiddenness of the tabernacle! Ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Do not be afraid to approach the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, where he waits for you, and beg him for these laborers who will consecrate the Eucharist and keep watch over the Eucharist with their constant prayer. Bring your children to experience the silence of adoration. Encourage young people you know to make time in their day for a visit to the Blessed Sacrament.
Vocations in the Church arise from the heart of God, who chooses us before we can choose him. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you. But in order to hear the Lord’s call, we have to be able to listen. Young people: To listen we must have silence, which the Eucharistic Lord provides. To the lay faithful already established in their vocations: come to adoration to be renewed in the boldness needed to encourage young people to give their life to God. Vocations will flourish in the Church where the Heart of Jesus is loved and adored in the Blessed Sacrament, for there is where his heart is concretely made known, and his call to follow him is made clear.
This correlation between adoration and vocations is not a mere theory. I can testify that, as a boy and a teenager, my own call to the priesthood was slowly made clear through time spent in silence in adoration. This is not to say I knew completely how to pray or what to say to the Lord in those times. Rather, the plan of God for me was slowly unveiled in simply being near the Lord exposed on the altar. What gradually became clear was that the Lord was asking me to offer my life to the mysteries celebrated on that altar. A priest—by nature—is a man of the Eucharist. How will men of the Eucharist be able to rise up if we do not expose them to the Eucharist, both at Mass and in adoration? How can we boldly encourage young women to offer their lives for Christ alone if neither they nor we know the sweetness and joy that comes from experiencing his love and mercy for us personally? The source of this love and mercy is none other than the Most Holy Eucharist. Where the gift of the Eucharist is known and loved, there Christ will raise up new vocations for his Church, enriching the lives of new generations of believers.
- What word has Jesus spoken to me in adoration; a word of friendship, invitation, mission, or something else?
- Who can I invite with me to adoration, to accompany Jesus and listen to Him as He shares what He has heard from the Father?
- In thanksgiving for those who have said yes to the call of Jesus in our Diocese, and for an ever greater response to His call to the priesthood, religious life, the consecrated single life and marriage, we pray…
- For those who are established in their vocations, that they may be authentic witnesses to God’s transforming grace in the world, we pray…
- That Jesus will provide us with opportunities to invite others to adoration, to Mass and to consider God’s call in their lives we pray…