“One cannot know the Lord without being in the habit of adoring, of adoring in silence. I believe, if I am not mistaken, that this prayer of adoration is the least known among us; it is the one we engage in the least..
To adore, there in the silence, in the silence of adoration.
He is the Lord, and I adore Him.”
– Pope Francis
Whenever I am able, I slip into Church to spend a little while before the Tabernacle.
I am blessed that my parish Church remains open during the day; also, there is another Church reasonably nearby which is also open – and which has Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament all day every day. I am not able to attend daily Mass, but I am able to go to a mid-week Mass in that other Church, very early in the morning. These two things – Mass and Eucharistic Adoration – are my life-line and I depend on them very greatly indeed. Such that if, for any reason, I have not been before the Tabernacle for a few days, I am deeply aware that something is missing. The ‘pull’ to come before the Lord in the Tabernacle is irresistible; and there, I find a never-ending source of grace and of peace.
This one thing – the Eucharist – sets the Catholic Church apart from every other Christian denomination; there is no other place where we have the opportunity to spend time in the real Presence of the Lord, and where He fulfils sacramentally His promise to “be with you always, even to the end of time” (Mt.28:20). This is the same Lord who walked the Holy Land and whose words we read in the Gospels; the same Lord who healed the sick, made lepers whole, and raised the dead.
Indeed, the Eucharist is nothing less than the beating heart of the Catholic Church, her greatest treasure.
Throughout the history of the Church, the Saints and the Popes have continually recommended to us the centrality of the Eucharist – primarily in our reception of Holy Communion at Mass, but also in the practice of Eucharistic Adoration.
Writing in his beautiful encyclical letter ‘Ecclesia de Eucharista’, St John Paul says this –
“Let us take our place, dear brothers and sisters, at the school of the saints, who are the great interpreters of true Eucharistic piety. In them the theology of the Eucharist takes on all the splendour of a lived reality; it becomes ‘contagious’ and, in a manner of speaking, it ‘warms our hearts’.”
God knows, in this present age we need our hearts to be warmed; and once that heavenly fire fills them, it spreads out to other hearts – this is the contagiousness to which the Holy Father refers. It is when our hearts are permeated by this heavenly fire that we become true evangelists for the Lord, really living out the Faith and drawing other souls to the Lord who is that fire within us.
St John touches on this in his letter when he calls Eucharistic Adoration ‘an inexhaustible source of holiness’. Every grace we could possibly need flows from the Lord of the Tabernacle – His Eucharistic Heart is the fount of every grace and of all mercy. Pierced upon the Cross, that Heart remains open now, so that grace and mercy flow out like an infinite ocean, a balm to the misery of the world and of souls.
Our hope as Christians is to spend eternity in adoration of the Lord in Heaven, praising Him forever. Let us, then, begin that adoration now, here on earth. Let us go before the Lord in the Tabernacle whenever we can, adoring Him there as Pope Francis describes, so that we come to know Him.
“..The Church draws her life from the Eucharist. This truth does not simply express a daily experience of faith, but recapitulates the heart of the mystery of the Church..
..To contemplate the face of Christ, and to contemplate it with Mary, is the “programme” which I have set before the Church at the dawn of the third millennium..
..In many places, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is also an important daily practice and becomes an inexhaustible source of holiness.“
– St John Paul II, ‘Ecclesia de Eucharistia’