Introduction to Eucharistic Adoration
Why Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament?
If we can adore the Eucharistic presence of Christ when reposed in a tabernacle, why do we then need to expose the Blessed Sacrament on an altar? It is not essential for exposition to take place to have Eucharistic adoration, yet people report experiencing a greater sense of intimacy with Jesus and attentiveness of mind and heart to prayer when they are able to actually "see" our Eucharistic Lord. Moreover, according to Church regulations exposing the Blessed Sacrament for a period of time require the presence of a sufficient number of people to be there and therefore fosters the commitment needed to establish and sustain a meaningful parish Eucharistic adoration program. Nevertheless, the best reason for having exposition of the Blessed Sacrament is simply that God wills it. During His Eucharistic discourse, Jesus made this unmistakably clear: "Indeed, this is the will of My Heavenly Father, that everyone who looks upon the Son, and believes in Him, shall have eternal life. Him I will raise up on the last day" (John 6:40).
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Pope John Paul II - The Importance of Eucharistic Adoration and Prayer
The worship given to the Trinity of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit… must fill our churches also outside the timetable of Masses…This worship must be prominent in all our encounters with the Blessed Sacrament… Adoration of Christ in this sacrament of love must also find expression in various forms of Eucharistic devotion: personal prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, hours of adoration, periods of exposition - short, prolonged, and annual (Forty Hours) - Eucharistic benediction, Eucharistic processions, Eucharistic Congresses… Let us be generous with our time in going to meet him in adoration and in contemplation that is full of faith and ready to make reparation for the great faults and crimes of the world. May our adoration never cease.
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Charlie Hawkins - Personal Experience
On November 4 2008, I was at Adoration at the Immaculate Conception Parish. As I was saying the Our Father and came to the line, "forgive us our trespasses", six names came immediately and unexpectedly to mind. These are people that I had held grudges for, some for decades. Fortunately, I had a pen and paper available and I wrote the names down. I have added them to my daily prayer list and for those who are deceased I added to my prayers for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Also in prayer, I asked each of them for forgiveness.
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Has not Vatican II Forbidden Eucharistic Adoration?
Vatican II sought to highlight the centrality of the liturgical celebration of the Mass and foster the faithful's full participation in it. Some thought this meant doing away with Eucharistic adoration all together but the opposite is true. In his encyclical on the Eucharist, Mysterium Fidei, promulgated at the height of Vatican II on September 3, 1965, Pope Paul VI expresses his hope that "the restored sacred liturgy will bring forth abundant fruits of Eucharistic devotion, so that the Holy Church, under this saving sign of piety, may make daily progress toward perfect unity and may invite all Christians to unity of faith and of love, drawing them gently, thanks to the action of divine grace." Experience has proven this to be true, for parishes which have established a long-term Eucharistic adoration program have over time seen an increase not only in the attendance at Mass but also in the sacrament of Reconciliation as well. Moreover, even though non-Catholics cannot receive the Eucharist at Mass, they can spend time before the Lord in Eucharistic adoration and through His Eucharistic presence felt spiritually do oftentimes seek full communion with the Church so that they may also participate fully in the liturgical celebration of the Mass.
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To pray a holy hour, all you need is a tabernacle with a lit sanctuary lamp, a Bible (or Magnificat
), and a Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church
(available online or through Amazon or any Catholic bookseller). Three Rules
- Be attentive: Don't rattle prayers or silently review stresses. Be silent exteriorly and interiorly.
- Be alert: It's not a reading hour - readings should be brief intervals to jump-start your prayer.
- Be awake: Sit, stand, or kneel respectfully. Draping your body, or resting your head in your arms on the pew can put you to sleep!
(Vary any or all of this to suit your needs!) :00-:05
Pray to the Holy Spirit to help you (perhaps the "Come Holy Spirit" in the Compendium's prayers section
Make acts of faith, hope and charity. Tell God how much and why you believe in him, trust in him and love him. Or meditatively use the Acts of Faith, Hope and Charity in the Compendium's prayers section
Ask for more faith, hope and charity.:05-:15
Adore God (imagine sitting with Christ)
Pray: "Oh my God, I adore your divine greatness from the depths of my littleness, you are so great, and I am so small." or "Glory be ...," Repeat as long as necessary.
Or use the Te Deum (in the Compendium prayers
or read Scripture (try John 1:1-18; Colossians 1:15-20; Philippians 2:6-11) :15-:25
Contrition (imagine embracing Christ on the cross)
Pray: "Oh my Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner."
Examine your conscience using 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, Colossians 3:5-10, or any examination of conscience
Or pray one of the Penitential Psalms: 6, 32, 38, 51, 102 :25-:40
Pray: The Rosary or the Stations of the Cross.
Or read the Gospel of the day in your Magnificat, or a brief passage from Matthew, Mark, Luke or John.
Or meditate on a doctrine in the compendium (Perhaps: Sun., Resurrection; Mon., Incarnation; Tues., Mercy/confession; Wed., Holy Spirit; Thurs, Eucharist; Fri., Passion; Sat., Mary).
Or meditate on one of the Formulas of Christian Doctrine
(or one of the prayers) in the Compendium.:40-:50
Pray: "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, his mercy endures forever."
Thank him for (be specific): food, shelter, clothing, health, family, friends, coworkers, your job, car, material things, and most of all your spiritual gifts -- faith, hope, love, this time of prayer, the Catholic faith, and the "apostles" who reached you.
Thank God for answers to prayer and favorable circumstances. Thank him for crosses. Thank him for creating you and caring so much for you. :50-:55
Pray: "Our Father ..."
Ask him for: the Church, the pope's intentions, for those who are suffering, for priests and bishops, for religious, for vocations, for your country, your family, for what you need most in the spiritual life.
Pray for peace and the protection of the institution of the family.
Pray for those who have asked for prayers. :55-1:00
Make a resolution to act on a light of the Holy Spirit you received. Be specific and concrete.
Ask the Blessed Mother to help you, perhaps with Marian prayers from the Compendium.
-- Tom Hoopes
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Some Eucharistic Adoration History
The Saints and Eucharistic Adoration
St. Francis Xavier (1506-1552)
after preaching and baptizing all day would often spend the night in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.Sts. John Fisher (1469-1535) and Thomas More (1478-1535)
were strengthened in life and prepared themselves for martyrdom by fervent adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. In one of More's prayers, published after his death, we read, "O sweet Savior Christ, by the divers torments of Thy most bitter Passion, take from me, good Lord, this lukewarm fashion or rather key-cold meditation, and this dullness in praying to Thee. And give me Thy grace to long for Thy Holy Sacraments, and especially to rejoice in the Presence of Thy blessed Body, sweet Savior Christ, in the Holy Sacrament of the Altar, and duly to thank Thee for Thy gracious visitation therewith."St. Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi (1566-1607)
was a Carmelite nun from the age of seventeen. She recommended to busy people in the world to take time out each day for praying before the Holy Eucharist. "A friend," she wrote, "will visit a friend in the morning to wish him a good day, in the evening, a good night, taking also an opportunity to converse with him during the day. In like manner, make visits to Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, if your duties permit it. It is especially at the foot of the altar that one prays well. In all your visits to our Savior, frequently offer His precious Blood to the Eternal Father. You will find these visits very conducive to increase in you divine love."St. Margaret Mary (1647-1680)
, a Visitation nun, found before the Blessed Sacrament the strength she needed to endure what witnesses at her beatification process declared were "contempt, contradictions, rebukes, insults, reproaches, without complaining, and praying for those by whom she was ill-treated."St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)
, patron saint of confessors, wrote a whole book on visits to the Blessed Sacrament. He advised, "Withdraw yourself from people and spend at least a quarter of an hour, or a half-hour, in some church in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Taste and see how sweet is the Lord, and you will learn from your own experience how many graces this will bring you."St. John Vianney, the Cure of Ars (1786-1859)
, told his people, "Our Lord is hidden there in the tabernacle, waiting for us to come and visit Him, and make our requests to Him...In heaven, where we shall be glorious and triumphant, we shall see Him in all His glory. If He had presented Himself, before us in that glory now, we should not have dared to approach Him; but He hides Himself like a person in prison, who might say to us, 'You do not see Me, but that is no matter; ask of Me all you wish and I will grant it."' The Cure of Ars spent most of his long hours in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. During his homilies, he would often turn towards the tabernacle, saying with emotion, "He is there!"
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Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament. There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves on earth...J.R.R. Tolkien
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Relevant Excerpts from the Catechism of the Catholic Church
The most appropriate places for prayer are personal or family oratories, monasteries, places of pilgrimage, and above all the church, which is the proper place for liturgical prayer for the parish community and the privileged place for Eucharistic adoration.
The Liturgy of the Hours, which is like an extension of the Eucharistic celebration, does not exclude but rather in a complementary way calls forth the various devotions of the People of God, especially adoration and worship of the Blessed Sacrament.
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.
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