Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
Many of our parishioners who were brought up prior to Vatican II have fond memories of time spent in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. Others of us might need a simple explanation of what 'Adoration" is about.
Eucharistic Adoration is recognizing and honoring the presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist, a devotion that dates back to 1246 A.D., at which time the feast of Corpus Christi (the Body of Christ) was instituted.
Jesus is no longer present to humankind in the same way He walked the roads of Palestine. His presence now is of another kind. He has made himself present to us through the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Every time we celebrate the Eucharist in the Church, we proclaim Christ's death and resurrection.
The Church also venerates this Blessed Sacrament outside of Mass. This custom is known as Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Usually a consecrated host is placed in a sacred vessel known as a 'monstrance'. The monstrance, containing the host, is placed on the altar, or some other appropriate location for all to see and adore. This formal practice is ordinarily preceded and ended by a hymn, incensing, and several prayers. (These hymns and prayers are usually found on the inside back cover of the Missalette in the pews.)
A person may also spend time alone before the Blessed Sacrament present in the tabernacle.
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is affirmation of our core belief in the true presence of Christ's body and blood, soul and divinity in the Eucharist.
"When we contemplate Him present in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar, Christ draws near to us and becomes more intimate to us than we are to ourselves. Remaining in silence before the Blessed Sacrament, it is Christ totally and really present whom we discover, whom we adore and with whom we are content."
Pope John Paul II
Simply put, Adoration is:
- sharing our lives, its hopes and struggles with the Lord
- being in His presence, recognizing His sovereignty over our lives
- listening to what the Lord has to say, and accepting His will in my life
- believing He is watching over me with His tremendous love and concern
- knowing He is my God who longs to open up the floodgates of His merciful love on a troubled world
The decree also reiterates the Pope's instruction for local churches to make their own special plans for veneration of the Blessed Sacrament during the Year of the Eucharist.