Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Eucharistic Adoration

Praised be Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!

The Feast of Corpus Christi gives us the occasion to express our faith in the real presence of the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament through Eucharistic Adoration. Unfortunately, in the liturgical reform following the 2nd Vatican Council, there has been a perceived waning of Eucharistic Adoration because of the over emphasis on the celebration aspect of the Eucharist. In his Corpus Christi homily for this year, the Holy Father acknowledged and expressed his sadness over this imbalance: “concentrating the whole relationship with the Eucharistic Jesus only at the moment of Holy Mass risks removing his presence from the rest of time and the existential space. And thus, perceived less is the sense of the constant presence of Jesus in our midst and with us, a concrete, close presence among our homes, as ‘beating Heart’ of the city, of the country, of the territory with its various expressions and activities.” 

There should be no conflict between Communion and Contemplation: “In reality, it is a mistake to oppose celebration and adoration, as if they were in competition with one another. It is precisely the contrary: the worship of the Most Blessed Sacrament is as the spiritual ‘environment’ in which the community can celebrate the Eucharist well and in truth. Only if it is preceded, accompanied and followed by this interior attitude of faith and adoration, can the liturgical action express its full meaning and value. The encounter with Jesus in the Holy Mass is truly and fully acted when the community is able to recognize that, in the Sacrament, He dwells in his house, waits for us, invites us to his table, then, after the assembly is dismissed, stays with us, with his discreet and silent presence, and accompanies us with his intercession, continuing to gather our spiritual sacrifices and offering them to the Father."

To really communicate with another person I must know him, I must be able to be in silence close to him, to hear him and to look at him with love. True love and true friendship always live of the reciprocity of looks, of intense, eloquent silences full of respect and veneration, so that the encounter is lived profoundly, in a personal not a superficial way. And, unfortunately, if this dimension is lacking, even sacramental communion itself can become, on our part, a superficial gesture.” 

We have to adore what we receive in Holy Communion: “As Saint Augustine put it: ‘nemo autem illam carnem manducat, nisi prius adoraverit; peccemus non adorando – no one eats that flesh without first adoring it; we should sin were we not to adore it.’ In the Eucharist, the Son of God comes to meet us and desires to become one with us; Eucharistic adoration is simply the natural consequence of the Eucharistic celebration, which is itself the Church's supreme act of adoration. Receiving the Eucharist means adoring him whom we receive. Only in this way do we become one with him, and are given, as it were, a foretaste of the beauty of the heavenly liturgy. The act of adoration outside Mass prolongs and intensifies all that takes place during the liturgical celebration itself. Indeed, "only in adoration can a profound and genuine reception mature. And it is precisely this personal encounter with the Lord that then strengthens the social mission contained in the Eucharist, which seeks to break down not only the walls that separate the Lord and ourselves, but also and especially the walls that separate us from one another." (Sacramentum Caritatis, 66.)

The Eucharist is not simply a matter of food and drink which we share in fellowship. We cannot and should not deny that what we eat and drink is Christ the Lord himself, the Holy One who offers himself to his Father to obtain our eternal redemption. “In this Sacrament are the true Body of Christ and his true Blood (which)…cannot be apprehended by the senses but only by faith which relies on divine authority.” (CCC, 1381.) Therefore, let us adore Christ in the Holy Eucharist. “Jesus awaits us in this sacrament of love. Let us not refuse the time to go and 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.” (CCC, 1380)

Jesus, I trust in you. O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

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