After Mass on Sunday where the parish priest announced that everyone should endevour to participate in the holy hour adoration in the evening of same day, someone met me and asked, “What is adoration? We both had a fruitful sharing. I feel it will be good to also share the fruits of our reflection here believing there are some others who may not fully understand what adoration – a way of showing reverence and communing intimately with Jesus Christ in the Eucharist means. When people are moved to admire the appearance of an individual, either because they have not seen the person in a long while or the person dresses gorgeously for an occasion, you hear comments like: “let me take a good look at you” or “You look good.” In either case, the desire is to look at the beauty of the other person. In a sense, the person who receives the warmth is adored. This brings to mind the Christmas song “O come all ye faithful” with the refrain: “O come let us adore him.” To adore someone is to desire or to devote one’s time and attention to the person. It means to think of that person as being above all others and to admire his/her beauty. When Catholics say “we are going for Adoration,” it simply means adoration of the Eucharist, the worship of the Eucharist outside the Holy Mass. The Eucharistic Host is displayed for all to see and pray in the real presence of Jesus Christ. In the Catholic Church, it is a practice of beholding or gazing upon the beauty and awesomeness of God. This is called Eucharistic adoration, a devotion in which we spend time before Jesus who is truly, and really present in the Most Blessed Sacrament, exposed in a beautiful vessel called a monstrance. It is an opportunity to devote all our attention to Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament and to place him above every other thing in our lives. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains to us that, “Adoration is the first attitude of man acknowledging that he is a creature before his Creator. It exalts the greatness of the Lord who made us and the almighty power of the Saviour who sets us free from evil. Adoration is homage of the spirit to the “King of Glory,” respectful silence in the presence of the “ever greater” God. Adoration of the thrice-holy and sovereign God of love blends with humility and gives assurance to our supplications.” (CCC 2628) Catholics usually have what is called a holy hour to adore and honour Jesus’ request to His close friends (the disciples) during the agony in the garden, “Could you not spend one hour with me”? (Mt. 26:40) This is an opportunity to adore and worship God in his presence, to be really connected with this person called Jesus. To get to know Jesus and build our faith in him, we need to make conscious and deliberate effort to spend time with him, to talk to him and listen to him. Just like any relationship, it takes time and effort, and it’s also a twoway thing. We should know that Jesus too wants to spend time with us and to be in a relationship with us. This period provides us an opportunity to take time out of our busy day to consciously sit in the presence of this person Jesus, whom we wish to get to know more and grow with in love. It is a special time of silence and stillness to experience the peace and joy of spending quiet time with the Lord, to experience a sense of sacredness. Many of the young ones are unfamiliar with Eucharistic adoration, but thanks to the Missionary Childhood Association, they have periodic adoration of the Blessed Sacrament as part of their program, we encourage parents to enroll their wards into this association so they learn in their early years how to revere Jesus’s presence in the Eucharist.
When can I go for Adoration?
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is happening in almost all parishes in the Archdiocese, thanks be to God. Parishes have Blessed Sacrament chapels and also have Jesus exposed during the day, this means you are free to visit and pray before the Lord at any time of the day (You may need to make enquiries in your parish to know when the chapel is open). Some parishes have specific day(s) set aside for adoration during the week. Also, during retreats and other spiritual activities in the parish, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is usually organized.
Attitude during Eucharistic Adoration
When you go for adoration, genuflect on both knees if the Blessed Sacrament is exposed. Try to maintain an attitude of respect and reverence, and when there other people, silence. Always remember you are in the presence of God. Whatever posture you take – sitting, Kneeling, standing, or even laying on the floor are all appropriate as long as you do not distract others; always take a posture that will help you worship God and pray well. Some of us may be wondering, “What will I be doing or say for an hour?” The truth is that you do not have to do so much or worry about what to say during adoration; simply be in His presence, just sit silently and gaze at Jesus. St. Catherine would say “…If you listen, God will also speak to you, for with the good Lord, you have to both speak and listen.” Take time to be in His presence, this is your personal time with the Lord Jesus. “The time you spend with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the best time that you will spend on earth. Each moment that you spend with Jesus will deepen your union with Him and make your soul everlastingly more glorious and beautiful in heaven, and will help bring about an everlasting peace on earth.” (St. Teresa of Calcutta) For our Reflection:
• How often do you create time to spend with Jesus?
• Do you find time for Eucharistic adoration with your family?
• How do you maintain your relationship with Jesus?
• Has your love for Jesus grown from spending time in his presence? We will continue in the next edition by sharing with us hints or guide on how to spend our time before the Blessed Sacrament. God bless.
• Rev. Sr. Mary Judith Madueke, EHJ, is the Director of Religious Education, Archdiocese of Lagos.