|The Blessed Sacrament
is exposed in a Monstrance
Understood simply, Eucharistic Adoration is adoring or honouring the Eucharistic Presence of Christ. In a deeper sense, it involves "the contemplation of the Mystery of Christ truly present before us".
During Eucharistic Adoration, we "watch and wait", we remain "silent" in His Presence and open ourselves to His Graces which flow from the Eucharist ... By worshiping the Eucharistic Jesus, we become what God wants us to be! Like a magnet, The Lord draws us to Himself and gently transforms us.
In its fullest essence ... Eucharistic Adoration is "God and Man reaching out for each other, at the same time!"
At the moment of Consecration, during the Mass, the "gifts" of bread and wine are transformed (transubstantiated) into the actual Body and Blood of Christ, at the Altar. This means that they are not only spiritually transformed, but rather are actually (substantially) transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ. The elements retain the appearance of bread and wine, but are indeed the actual Body and Blood of Christ. This is what is meant by Real Presence: the actual, physical presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
Christ instituted this Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist in order to remain with mankind until the end of time (Jn. 14:18).
Because, as Catholics, we believe that Christ is truly and substantially present in the Eucharist, the Blessed Sacrament is given the same adoration and devotion that is accorded to Christ.
At the beginning of the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, a priest or deacon removes the sacred host from the tabernacle and places it in the Monstrance on the Altar for adoration by the faithful. "Monstrance" is the vessel used in the Church to display the consecrated Eucharistic Host, during Eucharistic adoration or benediction. The word monstrance comes from the Latin word monstrare, meaning "to expose". It is known in Latin as an Ostensorium. When a consecrated host is placed in the monstrance, It is said to be a solemn exposition.
When the Monstrance contains the Sacred Host, the priest does not touch it with his bare hands, but instead, holds it with a humeral veil, a wide band of cloth that covers his shoulders (humera) and has pleats on the inside in which he places his hands.
At all other times, the reserved Sacrament is kept locked in the Tabernacle, so that the faithful may pray in the presence of the Sacrament.
"Perpetual Adoration" is Eucharistic Adoration round the clock (that is, twenty-four hours a day). A "Holy Hour" is "Eucharistic Adoration of Reparation" which lasts for about an hour.
Adoration ceremonies traditionally include Scripture readings, hymns, prayers and time for silent adoration.
Eucharistic exposition and benediction is a complete liturgical service in its own right and is to be celebrated as such. Eucharistic exposition and benediction are no longer considered devotions, but rather are a part of the Church's official liturgy.
This liturgy is designed to "acknowledge Christ's marvelous presence in the Sacrament and invites us to the spiritual union with Him that culminates in sacramental communion." (Order for Solemn Exposition of the Holy Eucharist, number 7). In the past, benediction was sometimes added on to the end of another service or devotion, this is no longer done.
The Most Holy Sacrament is kept in a
Jesus waits for us in the Blessed Sacrament. He waits for our little Acts of faith, adoration, love, thanksgiving, repentance, reparation and charity that we can offer Him as we contemplate -- His Divine Majesty -- in the Blessed Sacrament.
St. Alphonsus Liguori wrote: “Of all devotions, that of adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the greatest after the Sacraments, the one dearest to God and the one most helpful to us”. The Eucharist is a priceless treasure: By not only celebrating the Eucharist, but also by praying before It outside of Mass, we are enabled to make contact with the very wellsprings of Grace ..."
Pope John Paul II in one of his homilies said, “It is pleasant to spend time with Him, to lie close to His breast like the Beloved Disciple (cf. Jn 13:25) and to feel the infinite love present in His heart ... If, in our time Christians must be distinguished by the “art of prayer”, how can we not feel a renewed need to spend time in spiritual conversation, in silent adoration, in heartfelt love before Christ present in the Most Holy Sacrament?”
Day and night Jesus dwells in the Blessed Sacrament because of His Infinite love for us!
Jesus gives us His body (to eat) so that He can nourish us, strengthen us and give us His own life ..... and lest we be blinded by His glory, He humbles Himself to come to us in the humble species of bread... "Behold I will be with you always even to the end of the world," because "I have loved you with an everlasting love, and constant is My affection for you." (Mt 28:20; Jer 31:3)
How must we respond? ....Through our worship and recognition of Him in the Eucharist! He is calling us to faith, that we many come to Him in humility.
Are you tired because of the burden of your duties, because of frustration due to unsuccessful projects, because many misunderstand you? Are you heavy laden with guilt from past sins? Are you trying to find hope and meaning in life? Do not lose heart! Abandon yourself to Jesus in this "Sacrament of Love": He will refresh you!
The more time you spend with Jesus, the more you will come away feeling renewed and healed. Miracles of conversion, peace, discovery of vocations, answers to prayers, physical healings, and many other wonderful things happen where and when the Lord Jesus is adored in the Blessed Sacrament. They are the "gifts" that point to the Almighty Giver and testify to His Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament...
Let us love being with the Lord! There we can speak with Him about everything. We can offer Him our petitions, our concerns, our troubles, our joys, our gratitude, our disappointments, our needs and our aspirations. Above all we can remember to pray: 'Lord send laborers into Your harvest! Help me to be a good worker in Your vineyard!'
When asked, "What would save the world?" ... Mother Teresa replied: "My answer is prayer. What we need is for every parish to come before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament in holy hours of prayer."
We grow spiritually with each moment we spend with Jesus! Through our Adoration, Jesus calls us to a personal relationship (to become His friends and disciples), to "remain in Him" (Divine Intimacy), to "remain in His love" (Keep His commandments). He promises that all those who remain tightly bonded to Him, will bear much fruit and "their joy will be complete". For without Him, we can do nothing.
Through this "friendship", we are inspired and strengthened to take on life's challenges, to carry our daily cross with a new attitude, to become a "new creation" (more and more like Jesus).
Eucharistic Adoration is an affirmation of our faith. Through this vigil of prayer, we give witness to our belief that God is truly dwelling with His people.
The Eucharist is the Sacrament of unity, Jesus unifying His people. Through the personal love, that one shares with the Saviour, one is more able to grasp the reality that we are the whole Body of Christ.
Prayers as a community, especially intercessory prayers for the needs of the community and the World - help to build a "civilization of love" - to "transform the World". The prayers that we say can draw the World and everybody in the World closer to Christ and to God the Father for His blessing.
Let us take a closer look at the sacred vessel, the Monstrance, that houses the Body, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord. The Monstrance draws all eyes to the Sacred Host that is seemingly surrounded by rays, like the sun.
Similarly, we each are called to be a "Living Monstrance", radiating the presence of the Lord Who dwells in us.
The Monstrance is surmounted by a Cross ... what does this tell us?
Let us look at Jesus in the Monstrance, Who humbles Himself to come before us as a piece of bread. Let us reflect on our own life's situations that call us to humility. Are we humble, as God wants us to be, to bear our Crosses daily? Other virtues such as patience, temperance, self-control and piety will soon follow.
Indeed, Earth is joined to Heaven each time we are united with the Saints and Angels in extolling God, Who, in worship we see, if not with the sight of eyes, then with the eyes of faith.
We are called to abide in the Eucharistic Presence of our Lord, like the Saints and Angels do in Heaven, as they behold the glory of God and sing His praise! The Saints and Angels wait upon the Lord and do His Will in all things. Their presence magnifies the Lord. They also intercede (for us) before the Lord.
When we look upon the Sacred Host, we look at Jesus, the Son of God. Do we see Him in all His glory and majesty? Do our lips proclaim His praise? Do our souls magnify the Lord - making Him clearer, more in focus, and larger to others around us? Do we place the needs of others before Him? Are we open to the Will of God and strive for perfection in our spiritual lives so that we, too, may one day join the company of Saints in Heaven?
It is at this moment when we are most intimately in communion with God that we experience a taste of Heaven, a foreshadowing of what it will be like, when, by God's grace, we enter into everlasting life. "Indeed, this is the will of My 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." (Jn 6:40)
In John 21:16, Jesus asks Peter the question that will determine his whole life: "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Jesus is asking each of us the same question: do you love me? Those of us who have an experience of love, know, that true love sets no conditions; it simply loves and yet it must be nurtured and nourished by intimacy, closeness or regular contact.
It is the same with time spent in divine intimacy with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. How can our encounters with the Lord not cause us to fall more and more in love with Him? As we yield to such love, it will prompt hunger for Scripture and the Sacraments as we seek to know and experience Him on a deeper level. It will make us remember Him throughout the day, inspire us to do little things "just for Him" and try and make ourselves more attractive to Him by lives of purity and holiness. And yet, we should not feel discouraged if we cannot love Him fully because Jesus assures us that He will always love us with a love that surpasses all.
In Psalm 63, the Psalmist longs for divine life, which is based on a close relationship with God. The Psalm most beautifully expresses the intimate relationship between God and the one who worships Him in His holy Temple.
Such must be OUR love and total self-giving to Jesus, exposed on the Altar, for our sake!
"O God, You are my God -- for You I long! For You my body yearns; for You my soul thirsts, like a land parched, lifeless, and without water. So I look to You in the Sanctuary to see Your power and glory. For Your love is better than life; my lips offer You worship! I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands, calling on Your name. My soul shall savor the rich banquet of praise, with joyous lips my mouth shall honor You!"
"This - The Eucharist - the whole Christ" is His gift to all. Whether we are young or old, sick or healthy, poor or rich, only by regularly partaking in the sacrifice of the Holy Mass and Eucharistic Adoration, can we reap immense spiritual and temporal blessings in our lives!
The Blessed Sacrament is the LIVING FOUNTAIN OF LIFE where we drink in the love of Christ Who alone quenches our thirst.
Thus, our time spent with our Beloved Saviour in Adoration, can become the most profound, meaningful, joyful, peaceful and healing experience we could ever encounter!
May our adoration never cease!