I read some reports earlier today that the Holy Father had been contacted by a Catholic group in Argentina, who had found a record of his participation as a ‘Eucharistic adorer’ in the Basilica there during the 1950s. This adoration had begun in the Basilica in 1917 and it was done in hourly turns. Pope Francis wrote back to them and in his letter, he recalled that –
“When it was your turn, the person before you would wake you up with the phrase, ‘Venite adoremus’ (‘Come, let us adore Him’), and from there you go for an hour of adoration.”
Reading this reminded me very much that throughout this pandemic, we have not had the opportunity for Eucharistic Adoration here in Scotland. It is something I have missed terribly – in fact, more than anything else.
Previously, the Jesuit church of Saint Aloysius in Garnethill, Glasgow, would often have ‘Nighfever’ evenings; the Church was opened up after the Saturday evening Mass and a team of volunters would go out into the streets of Glasgow and invite anyone they saw to come and spend a little time in adoration before the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, exposed upon the altar. I tried to go as often as I could and I would generally spend several hours there, kneeling quietly near the back of the Church in the darkness. The lights were off and the only illumination was from the candles which were buring; there would be music playing softly, whilst priests around the sides of the Church offered Confession – this was nearly always busy.
During those evenings, I was often surprised at just how many people accepted the invititations from those volunteers who had approached them in the street – presumably intending to have a night out in town, I don’t expect they had any inkling that they would precede it by a period of Eucharistic adoration. Some stayed only a couple of minutes while others stayed longer. Some went to Confession. I have no doubt whatsoever that the moments spent by those souls before the Eucharistic Lord were moments of particular grace and I often wondered what the longer-term benefits were for them afterwards.
Reading today what the Holy Father had written brought all this back to me, together with a prayerful hope that such days, such moments of divine grace, will return in the very near future.
We need Eucharistic Adoration – it is the closest we can come to Heaven whilst still in this world.