Lifestyle hectic? Kids, work, meetings, sports, school – it all adds up. How do you take a break, clear your head, and focus on what really centers your life? Learn how Eucharistic Adoration provides you the opportunity to get closer to your Lord and savior and focus on the things that really matter in life.
We Catholics as Christians hold many beliefs in common with the other Christian religions and that’s a wonderful bond that promotes peace, tolerance, and understanding. However we Catholics are different in that we take Jesus Christ at His word. We believe that Jesus gave His own body and blood in the special sacrament we call the Holy Eucharist. Why do we believe this? Not because some theologians say so, or even because the Church says so. We believe this because Jesus Christ says so, and we believe him. Jesus said “This is my body, which will be given up for you. This is my blood, which will be shed for you. Do this in memory of Me.”
The objective of this session is to explore the unique belief that Catholic’s have regarding the Blessed Sacrament of Holy Eucharist. What makes this special for us? How can we make Eucharistic Adoration a bigger part of our relationship with Christ through understanding, worship, and perhaps quiet time with him through the parish Eucharistic Adoration opportunity?
1. Matthew 26:26-28
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, 16 and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.
2. Mark 14:22-24
While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed 8 for many.
3. Luke 22:19-20
Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.
The above three Gospel passages record the Institution of the Holy Eucharist by Christ Himself at the Last Supper. Take note that He does not say “This resembles my body” or “This is symbolic of my body”. He says “This is my body.” His words in the passage below from the Gospel of John confirm this.
4. John 6:53-58
Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.”
1. Paragraph 1374
“The mode of Christ’s presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. It raises the EUCHARIST above all the sacraments as ‘the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend.'[St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 73, 3c.] In the most blessed sacrament of the EUCHARIST ‘the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.'[Council of Trent (1551): DS 1651.] ‘This presence is called ‘real’ – by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be ‘real’ too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present.'[Paul VI, MF 39.]”
2. Paragraph 1384
“The Lord addresses an invitation to us, urging us to receive him in the sacrament of the EUCHARIST: ‘Truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.'[Jn 6:53 .]”
Small Group Questions
1. How does the presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist effect your ability to feel a deeper relationship with God?
2. Do you understand the differences between the Catholic faith and beliefs versus other Christian religions like the Protestant, Methodist, or Baptist faiths? What is it that makes us unique?
3. How can you promote a greater understanding of the beliefs of the Catholic faith with your family? Your friends? The people that you meet.
4. Have you ever done Eucharistic Adoration as a practice? What did you feel? Are you still doing it?
1. http://ihom.org/GETINVOLVED/Ministries/PerpetualEucharisticAdoration.aspx – IHM’s Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration web page.
2. http://ihom.org/GETINVOLVED/Ministries/PerpetualEucharisticAdoration/Contacts/Adorers.aspx – IHM’s Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration schedule of Adorers.
3. http://blog.archny.org/?p=1363 – Blog by Archbishop Dolan on Eucharistic Adoration value
4. http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/pea/holyhour.html – How to pray the hour.
5. http://pope2008.typepad.com/weblog/2008/05/how-to-pray-a-h.html – More prescriptive how to pray the hour.
6. http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/pea/prayers.html – Eucharistic Adoration Prayers.
7. http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/pea/a2.html – much more included below from here.
8. http://www.medjugorje.org/adore.htm – has many things about Eucharistic Adoration.
1. Discuss with your family the gift of the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist that we have.
2. Focus on the Eucharistic prayer with special attention this week and feel the power of this part of the mass.
3. Consider filling a slot on the IHoM Eucharistic Adoration calendar. Could you do it as a team of Fathers?
It’s still good for us Catholics to know what beliefs we hold to in common with other Christians, but now, it has become more urgent that we Catholics know how we are different; to recognize the treasures of faith that we have; treasures rejected or abandoned by other Christians. Today, we will concentrate on the principal Catholic belief that makes us Catholics different – different from the great majority of other Christians. That, of course, is our belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist.
We Catholics are different because we take Jesus Christ at His word. We believe that Jesus gave us His own body and blood in the special sacrament we call the Holy Eucharist. We Catholics actually believe that Jesus is really present in this sacrament! For us Catholics, the Holy Eucharist is not just a symbol. It is not just a memory. It is not just a promise. It is really Jesus Christ. The Holy Eucharist is not some ‘thing’. It is some ‘one’. It is Jesus, our Lord and our God. This is what we mean by the Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. This is why we call the Holy Eucharist “the Blessed Sacrament”.
All the sacraments are blessed! All the sacraments give us the grace of Jesus but this sacrament gives us Jesus himself. This is what we Catholics believe.
Why do we believe this? Not because some theologians say so, not even because the Church says so. We believe this for only one reason, because Jesus Christ says so, and we believe Him.
Many who try to follow Jesus do not believe this, as we Catholics do. This fact should not surprise us any. Jesus had the same problem with some of His own disciples. When Jesus first told His own followers that He would give His body and blood as food and drink as spiritual nourishment for the soul, many of His followers – His disciples – would not accept that. They could not believe Him, so they left Him. Jesus did not try to call them back. He didn’t say, “Now, wait a minute! You misunderstood me! I was only talking symbolically”. No! He let them go. If they could not believe Him, they could not be His disciples. It was that simple.
Then Jesus asked His apostles if they wanted to leave Him too. He was ready to let His apostles go also. We know that Peter, speaking for the group said, “Lord, to whom should we go? We know that you only, have the words of eternal life”.
The apostles took Jesus at His word, and we do too.
This sacrament of the Holy Eucharist comes to us through the sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist, the sacrifice of the Mass. This is evident because the Mass is the renewal of Jesus’ death on the cross. In this sacrifice He gave up His human life, His physical body and blood, for our salvation. It was at the Last Supper that Jesus instituted the sacrament and sacrifice.
It was the night before He died. Jesus knew that He soon had to leave His friends. Friends He loved so much. He wanted to leave them something to remember Him by, but He did much better than that, He left Himself.
At the Last Supper, Jesus was looking ahead to the next day when He would die on the cross. This is why He said, “This is my body, which will be given up for you. This is my blood, which will be shed for you”. Then He commanded “Do this in memory of me”. We fulfill that command every day. As Jesus at the Last Supper was looking ahead to Calvary, so we in the sacrifice of the Mass, look back to Calvary.
This is why St. Paul could say: “When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim the death of the Lord”. It’s the same sacrifice on the cross and in the Mass – the same sacrifice.
Jesus chose this very special way to remain here with us. It was not just an empty promise when Jesus said, “I will be with you all days, even to the end of the world”. He meant that! Jesus remains here with us today in the Mass as our Savior, in Holy Communion, as our spiritual food and in our tabernacle as our friend. Jesus died on the cross to give us this sacrament of His presence among us. This is the sacrament of Jesus’ love for us.
A personal testimonial on the value of Eucharistic Adoration from a parishioner:
Back in 1997, I had a strong inspiration from the Holy Spirit to attend mass during the week. I did some research and started calling around to see who had a noon mass that was close to where I worked. I was led to Old St Mary’s church downtown. I started going to Noon mass every day at Old St. Mary during my lunch hour. Fr. Al Lauer was a very devout and holy priest who said mass there. His message was always very strong, and straight forward. In his homilies he urged us to practice holiness, and to visit the sacrament of confession often. After about a year of attending his daily mass, we had several conversations after mass. He mentioned he was starting Eucharistic adoration everyday downtown in the evening.
I agreed to commit to Eucharistic adoration every Wednesday evening from 6 to 7. I found this to be a very peaceful and quiet time to reflect on my life, to pray, and strengthen my relationship with God. At times my job tends to be very hectic, and adoration seemed to lift up my spirit no matter what the situation. This also gave me a chance to improve my relationship with God.
Since attending adoration it gave me a chance to pray for all members of my family, relatives, friends, workmates, and anyone who needed to be prayed for. About 8 years ago, I was asked to devote an hour for IHM also. I am blessed to be able to offer Eucharistic adoration twice a week.
I feel I have received many blessings, and answers to prayers since I’ve started adoration. Sometimes my prayers are not always answered the way I want, but I know that God gives me what I need, not what I want. I have learned over the years that I must follow God’s will, not my own will. I feel very blessed to be a part of adoration. I highly recommend you visit the blessed Sacrament whenever you have the chance, and maybe even commit for an hour. I promise if you spend an hour with the Lord every week, after prayerful discernment , Jesus will help you to understand His will for you.
Here is one quote of many by Mother Teresa of Calcutta on Eucharistic devotion:
“ Every holy hour deepens our union with Him and bears much fruit. “
A second personal testimonial on the value of Eucharistic Adoration from a parishioner:
With the renovations made and the new Chapel so visible on Beechmont, I would often think to say a prayer as I drove by on my many trips to and from McNick. On one such trip, I had picked up our boys from an afterschool activity, it was late in the evening, homework still needed to be completed and they were not in a good mood. I don’t know what came over me (well, maybe I do) but I swerved over and pulled into IHM’s parking lot. My sons looked at me in astonishment. What are you doing, we still have homework, it’s late, etc. I said we needed an attitude adjustment and were going to spend a few minutes in the chapel with Jesus. What peace we found there. After a short time, not wanting to keep them up too late, I motioned that we could leave. Now, to my surprise, one of the boys was motioning back that he wasn’t ready yet.
That was one of my earliest experiences with adoration. I became an infrequent visitor. There were always excuses and never enough time. In the fall of 2007, Jeff and I decided to make a commitment to adore once a week together. There was a need for Friday at 5:00 p.m. and we decided to give it a try. The time commitment has been a lot easier to keep than anticipated. It has become a peaceful start to our weekend. That one hour with Jesus has helped us to refocus our lives each week. It has made it easier for us to continually put our lives in God’s hands and to trust His direction – His will. It’s a great thing to share that hour with Jesus and with each other. When I first brought up the subject of committed adoration to Jeff his thought was what am I going to think or talk about for an hour with God. He finds himself reflecting about self, spouse, children (living and past), parents (living and past), saying the Rosary and before your know it the hour is up. We always find ourselves thanking God for the 60 minutes with Him one on one. It’s a great time to get out of the daily fast paced life and sit in a reflective environment where you have no one to impress but the Creator who knows you best.
The week after Easter, 2008, we drove our 19 year old son to New York for a co-op job. He would be living on his own, many hours from home, not knowing anyone for three months. We were scared to say the least. While there I looked up the local Catholic Church (Immaculate Heart of Mary!) and we drove there for a visit. I entered the chapel with all my fear and I felt it literally lift away. I realized that the Jesus I visited in our chapel was here for my son too. What peace! At that moment I knew he would be okay.
What a blessing we found in that Chapel and what a blessing we find in our Chapel. Our continued commitment to adoration has opened a constant dialog with God. He is with us every step of our lives. What a wonderful thing to not only know that but to feel it in our hearts.
http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/pea/define.htm – Definitions of different parts of Eucharistic Adoration to promote a better foundation and history.
A symbol of the Blessed Sacrament since the monstrance is the sacred vessel which contains the consecrated Host when exposed or carried in procession. It is a well-known emblem of St. Clare, who is reported to have repulsed unbelievers who assaulted her convent of nuns by presenting to their gaze Christ in the monstrance. St. Peter Julian Eymard, founder of the Blessed Sacrament Fathers, is symbolized carrying the monstrance and blessing the people with it. St.Thomas Aquinas has the monstrance among his many emblems as the author of the famous hymns Lauda Sion and Pange Lingua, written to honor the Eucharistic Lord. St. John Neumann, who first established the forty hours’ devotion in America, and St. Paschal Baylon, patron of Eucharistic Congresses, are both represented in art with the monstrance. (Etym. Latin monstrans from monstrare, to show, point out, indicate.) See also OSTENSORIUM.
A monstrance, a metal vessel usually gold- or silver-plated with a transparent section in which the Sacred Host is placed in its lunette when exposed for adoration or carried in procession. It varies in shape and ornamentation, popular models being tower-shaped or round; a metal circlet surrounded with rays or bars resting on a stem rising from a heavy base, many ornamented with jewels. The ostensorium in the Cathedral of Toledo took more than a hundred years to make and is reputed to be of gold brought by Columbus from America.
Prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, either reserved in the tabernacle or exposed in a monstrance, continued by successive worshipers day and night without intermission. The practice of perpetual adoration of God by psalm and prayer has been maintained by monks and nuns since early Christian times, e.g., by the akoimetoi in the East, and the monastery of Agaunum, founded by King Sigismund of Burgundy in A.D. 522. Similar practices were current elsewhere before the ninth century. It was in France that perpetual adoration of the Eucharist began. Mother Mechtilde of the Blessed Sacrament pioneered the custom on request of Pére Picotte. The Benedictine convent, founded for this purpose, opened on March 25, 1654. Since then many religious communities have made perpetual Eucharistic adoration either the main or an essential part of their rule of life. Confraternities of the faithful have also been organized to practice the devotion, along with the religious or, in some cases, in their parish churches.
A cupboard or boxlike receptacle for the exclusive reservation of the Blessed Sacrament. In early Christian times the sacred species was reserved in the home because of possible persecution. Later dove-shaped tabernacles were suspended by chains before the altar. Nowadays tabernacles may be round or rectangular and made of wood, stone, or metal. They are covered with a veil and lined with precious metal or silk, with a corporal beneath the ciboria or other sacred vessels. According to the directive of the Holy See, since the Second Vatican Council, tabernacles are always solid and inviolable and located in the middle of the main altar or on a side altar, but always in a truly prominent place (Eucharisticum Mysterium, May 25, 1967, II, C).