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During Holy Mass we have very little time to meditate on what it is to receive Christ, the Son of God into ourselves. However, in some parishes, we are privileged to have Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, which provides us with a time to sit in His presence and reflect on all that Christ has done for us.

The Eucharist and its Immeasurable Fruits

During the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, at the moment of consecration, the gits of bread and wine offered by the people to God through the prayers of the priest, whilst retaining the appearance of bread and wine become the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, Son of God. God therefore becomes fully present in our midst.[1]

In following the command of Christ at the Last Supper, we are connected to the Jewish feast of the Passover[2] and the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ, so that “The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice.”[3]

The Second Vatican Council expressed it this way: “the Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life’”.[4]

The Eucharist is sublime[5] and we are encouraged by the Church to receive Holy Communion as often as possible.[6]

Receiving Holy Communion augments our union with Christ; provides spiritual food; separates us from sin; strengthens our charity and commits us to the poor; preserves us from future mortal sins and unites us to one another and to other Christians, strengthening that bond achieved by Baptism.[7]

We constantly hear the Church’s call for a New Evangelisation, a new way of announcing the Gospel. However, on 22 December 2005, Pope Benedict XVI addressed the Roman Curia in these terms:

‘Before any activity, before the world can change there must be adoration…The Latin word for adoration is ad-oratio – mouth to mouth contact, a kiss, an embrace, and hence, ultimately love’.[8]

Adoration in Scripture

There is also much scriptural basis for adoration. Jesus lying in the manger in Bethlehem was visited by shepherds who gazed upon the face of their Messiah and afterwards went away, ‘glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen.’[9] The Magi later visited a house in the same town where ‘they saw the child with his mother Mary, and falling to their knees they did him homage.’[10] Saint Mark recounts the episode known as the Transfiguration where Jesus took Peter, James and John up a mountain and ‘his clothes became brilliantly white, whiter than any earthly bleacher could make them.’[11] As Jesus died on the cross, ‘many women were there, watching from a distance, the same women who had followed Jesus from Galilee and looked after him.’[12]

Adoration and the New Evangelisation

Today, the practice of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is in great need of revival if our efforts towards the New Evangelisation are to have any hope of succeeding. We recall that Jesus called his disciples to be with him before sending them out.[13]

However, ‘The first condition for the New Evangelisation is adoration.’[14] Eucharistic Adoration ‘is a prayer that enlarges the heart’[15] and a ‘transforming force’.[16] Only when each one of us has been transformed can we go out and transform the world.

I therefore encourage each and every one of you to answer the call Jesus made to his disciples to spend one hour with him[17] before the Blessed Sacrament in adoration and prayer.

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Bibliography

Sacred Scripture

New Jerusalem Bible, Reader’s Edition: London, Darton, Longman and Todd (1990).

Church Documents

The Holy See: Catechism of the Catholic Church: Revised in Accordance with the Official Latin Text Promulgated by Pope John Paul II. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana (1997).

Books and texts

School of the Annunciation, Catechist Foundations Course for the New Evangelisation, Part I: Sources of the Faith, Unit III: The Sacraments and the mission of the Church.

Alcuin Reid (ed.) Adoratio 2011: From Eucharistic Adoration to Evangelisation, Burns and Oats, London 2012.

[1] School of the Annunciation, Catechist Foundations Course for the New Evangelisation, Part I: Sources of the Faith, Unit III: The Sacraments and the mission of the Church (Abbreviated hereafter as Unit 3), p.31.

[2] Exodus 12:1-14.

[3] The Holy See: Catechism of the Catholic Church: Revised in Accordance with the Official Latin Text Promulgated by Pope John Paul II. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana (1997). (Abbreviated hereafter as CCC). CCC 1367.

[4] Lumen Gentium 11 in CCC 1324. As the ‘source’, the Eucharist is the source of grace, we receive Christ himself in the sacrament (CCC1362-1367). As ‘summit’, the Eucharist brings God and man together and leads us to eternal life (John 14:6).

[5] The Eucharist is sublime as it is the most wonderful gift that God has given to us as it is of His Very Self, Unit 3 p. 26.

[6] CCC 1325 and Unit 3 p.26.

[7] CCC 1391 – 1396.

[8] Bishop Dominique Rey in Alcuin Reid (ed.) Adoratio 2011: From Eucharistic Adoration to Evangelisation, Burns and Oats, London 2012 (Hereafter referred to as Adoratio), p.16.

[9] Luke 2:8-20.

[10] Matthew 1-12.

[11] Mark 9:2-8. In the presence of the apostles, Jesus was transfigured and at this point human nature met heaven as depicted both by the brilliance of his shining body and the presence of Elijah and Moses. Then a cloud covered them with shadow and the voice of God came from on high saying, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour. Listen to him.’ Matthew 17:5.

[12] Matthew 27:55, also Mark 15:40. Note also that whilst at the crucifixion, the women looked on in sadness, we see after his resurrection that the body of Christ is transformed and ever since the third century when hermits are believed to have kept the Blessed Sacrament in their cells, and certainly since the Council of Nicea (325) we know that the Blessed Sacrament was reserved in monasteries, convents and churches. After St. Thomas touched Christ’s wounds he said “my Lord and my God” – he adored Jesus (John 20:28).

[13] Mark 3:14-15.

[14] Bishop Dominique Rey in Adoration, p.2.

[15] Father Florian Racine in Adoratio p.200.

[16] Pope St John Paul II Ecclesia de Eucharistica 62 in Adoratio p.13.

[17] Matthew 26:40.

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