Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament a.k.a. Eucharistic Adoration is the Subject of this Big B File.
Let me begin this Big B File by addressing those of you who think that all Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, also known as Eucharistic Adoration, is just sitting in a church for an hour doing absolutely nothing by asking you all this question…When you are at mass and you go up for communion, what is that you receive…just a piece of bread or what? Let me repeat that . . . When you are at mass and you go up for communion, what is that you receive…just a piece of bread or what?
The answer is that it is much more than that. As Jesus Christ himself said at the Last Supper and as the priest says in the consecration at mass, he says the following: “Take this all of you and eat of it, for this is my body, which will be given up for you.” Let me repeat that…“Take this all of you and eat of it, for this is my body, which will be given up for you.” The high priest himself, Jesus Christ, said those very words at the Last Supper, which was the first Eucharist. The Eucharist is Jesus himself. Wherever the Eucharist is present, that Jesus is himself present.
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is where we come in to a chapel, a church, what have you, and come to the real presence of Christ himself…to have a conversation with him. Whether that conversation consists of just talking to him, just sitting there saying nothing for an hour or so, just praying to him, a combination of one or two, or doing all of the above. That is what Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament boils down to. I remember these words “be still and know that I am with you always…that I am there.”
What…is so special about Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament? Believe me when I tell you…I get asked that question more times that I can count. The answer to that question is simple. Jesus himself said in referring to the Eucharist, “This is my body.” Take the following examples that I found in the EWTN online library of why Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is so special . . .
St. Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi (1566-1607) was a Carmelite nun from the age of seventeen. She recommended to busy people in the world to take time out each day for praying before the Holy Eucharist. “A friend,” she wrote, “will visit a friend in the morning to wish him a good day, in the evening, a good night, taking also an opportunity to converse with him during the day. In like manner, make visits to Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, if your duties permit it. It is especially at the foot of the altar that one prays well. In all your visits to our Savior, frequently offer His precious Blood to the Eternal Father. You will find these visits very conducive to increase in you divine love.”
St. Margaret Mary (1647-1680), a Visitation nun, found before the Blessed Sacrament the strength she needed to endure what witnesses at her beatification process declared were “contempt, contradictions, rebukes, insults, reproaches, without complaining, and praying for those by whom she was ill-treated.”
St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787), patron saint of confessors, wrote a whole book on visits to the Blessed Sacrament. He advised, “withdraw yourself from people and spend at least a quarter of an hour, or a half-hour, in some church in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Taste and see how sweet is the Lord, and you will learn from your own experience how many graces this will bring you.”
St. John Vianney, the Cure of Ars (1786-1859), told his people, “Our Lord is hidden there in the tabernacle, waiting for us to come and visit Him, and make our requests to Him…In heaven, where we shall be glorious and triumphant, we shall see Him in all His glory. If He had presented Himself, before us in that glory now, we should not have dared to approach Him; but He hides Himself like a person in prison, who might say to us, ‘You do not see Me, but that is no matter; ask of Me all you wish and I will grant it.”‘ The Cure of Ars spent most of his long hours in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. During his homilies, he would often turn towards the tabernacle, saying with emotion, “He is there!”
– The History of Eucharistic Adoration: Development of Doctrine in the Catholic Church by John A. Hardon, S.J.
Another way to show you just how special Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is, Blessed Pope John Paul II (soon to be Canonized a saint) said in his very first encyclical letter Redemptor Hominis(Redeemer of Man) “Our communal worship at Mass must go together with our personal worship of Jesus in Eucharistic adoration in order that our love may be complete.”
As I have told other people over the years, a large number of the Big B Files that I have written were written while I did my hour of Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. For me, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament means an opportunity to be in the presence of our Lord . . . a sense of peace if you will . . . in such a way that you just cannot experience anywhere else, whether you’re in a run of the mill garden variety room in your own home by yourself or a small cubicle at work or whatever. After all, it was Jesus himself who said the he was the bread and the life. Keep in mind that Jesus himself said at the Last Supper “…..for this is my body, which will be given up for you.”
Let me leave you with the very same exact question that I asked at the beginning of this Big B File . . . When you are at mass and you go up for communion, what is that you receive…just a piece of bread or what? And that is the Big B Files. Click on the comments link below and let me know what you think . . . . I’m Bryan Hewing.