There is no doubt that the mass is the source and summit of our faith. I attend daily mass because I need the mass to help me grow spiritually in my life, and I also enjoy the whole experience of mass. As Scott Hahn tells us, it is like heaven on earth at mass. I usually get to mass at least 20 minutes early to just sit in front of the tabernacle and have some quiet time with Jesus. This time is precious to me and enriches my prayer life. Once a week I preside at a Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction service at a local chapel inside the Saint Joseph Prayer Center. We expose the Blessed Sacrament from 1pm to 5pm every Tuesday so people can just stop in and spend time with Jesus. I bring the Blessed Sacrament out at 1pm and stay for about one hour in prayer. It is very powerful prayer. I then come back around 4:30 and just before 5pm do Benediction. When I bless the people with the monstrance, I can feel, and almost see, the power going out to them. It is a wonderful experience.
It seems to me that quite a few parishes have let Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction fall in to disuse. I find that sad because it is such a great way to grow spiritually in our relationship with Jesus. I have heard stories of parishes that have begun providing Adoration and Benediction and how it has helped their parishes. I am writing this short post to hopefully encourage you, and your parishes, to take advantage of this great form of prayer. Since not everyone is familiar with this, I will give a few definitions and some quotes from the Saints about it. If you haven’t done Adoration in a while, please try it. I believe that you will be glad that you did.
ADORATION – time spent in front of the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist. This could be as simple as going to church early and just sitting in prayer in front of the TABERNACLE (where the consecrated hosts are kept). It could also be a simple Adoration where a CIBORIUM (container with consecrated hosts are kept) is placed upon the altar for people to adore. A formal ADORATION is where a MONSTRANCE or OSTENSORIUM (ornate vessel that allows you to see the consecrated host) is put in a prominent place for adoration. During formal Adoration services there are usually songs and prayers and scripture readings and incense, along with silence.
BENEDICTION – This is usually done at the end of formal Adoration. The bishop, priest or deacon picks up the MONSTANCE and blesses the people with it drawing the sign of the cross over them. It usually ends with songs of praise being said or sung.
When Jesus gave us the gift of the Eucharist, His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, He told us that It would bring us life. I can attest that in receiving and adoring the Eucharist, I find the fullness of life. Many Saint have talked about this. Here are a few quotes from them (make sure you read the last quote):
“Christ held Himself in His hands when He gave His Body to His disciples saying: ‘This is My Body.’ No one partakes of this Flesh before he has adored it.” – St. Augustine
“If we but paused for a moment to consider attentively what takes place in this Sacrament, I am sure that the thought of Christ’s love for us would transform the coldness of our hearts into a fire of love and gratitude.” – St. Angela of Foligno
“What wonderful majesty! What stupendous condescension! O sublime humility! That the Lord of the whole universe, God and the Son of God, should humble Himself like this under the form of a little bread, for our salvation” and
“…In this world I cannot see the Most High Son of God with my own eyes, except for His Most Holy Body and Blood.” – St. Francis of Assisi
“How many of you say: I should like to see His face, His garments, His shoes. You do see Him, you touch Him, you eat Him. He gives Himself to you, not only that you may see Him, but also to be your food and nourishment.” – St. John Chrysostom
“I throw myself at the foot of the Tabernacle like a dog at the foot of his Master.” – St. John Vianney
“All the good works in the world are not equal to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass because they are the works of men; but the Mass is the work of God. Martyrdom is nothing in comparison for it is but the sacrifice of man to God; but the Mass is the sacrifice of God for man.” – St. John Vianney, Cure d’Ars
“God dwells in our midst, in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar” and
“If angels could be jealous of men, they would be so for one reason: Holy Communion.” – St. Maximilian Kolbe
“Do you realize that Jesus is there in the tabernacle expressly for you – for you alone? He burns with the desire to come into your heart…don’t listen to the demon, laugh at him, and go without fear to receive the Jesus of peace and love… and
“Receive Communion often, very often…there you have the sole remedy, if you want to be cured. Jesus has not put this attraction in your heart for nothing” – St. Therese of Lisieux
“How I loved the feasts!…. I especially loved the processions in honor of the Blessed Sacrament. What a joy it was for me to throw flowers beneath the feet of God!… I was never so happy as when I saw my roses touch the sacred Monstrance…” – from St. Therese’s Autobiography: Story of A Soul
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.” – Pope Saint John Paul II