If you have a really good friend, or if you are married, then you know what it takes to be in a relationship with someone. Two of the most important things you can do to deepen your friendship is to spend time together, and to talk with each other frequently.
The best friend and the love of our souls is Jesus Christ. Yet many of us suffer from a feeling that we don’t really know who Jesus is, or we don’t feel like we have a personal relationship with Him. Jesus is more like a figure from a history book to us, or some mysterious God-man who we know we have obligations to, yet we don’t really feel anything in our hearts towards Him.
Adoration: The Answer to Deepening our Relationship With Christ
The solution to this personal struggle is to deepen your relationship with Jesus. Just as you would with any human friend or your spouse, you have to make a decided effort to get to know Him better. You have to spend time with Him, and speak with Him often. In other words, you need to spend time in prayer.
Eucharistic Adoration is the best way we have on this earth to spend a long time in quiet conversation with Jesus. You’ll recall that just before Jesus physically left the apostles and ascended to the Father, he reassured them, “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) This statement is fulfilled in the reality of Jesus’ Real Presence in the Eucharist, in the hands of the priest at Mass each day, reserved in the tabernacles in the heart of our churches, and right before our very eyes in Eucharistic Adoration.
“Feel the Love” in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
What sets Eucharistic Adoration apart from other forms of prayer is that we are able to be in the same room with Him present in the Blessed Sacrament, the Eucharist. Though veiled under the appearance of bread, in reality we are gazing on His Sacred Heart, and the love that radiates from the little white host in the monstrance (the beautiful stand which holds the host behind glass for the adorer to see) is transforming. Sitting or kneeling in the presence of Jesus in this way could be called “Son-bathing.” Like the rays of sunshine that warm our skin, the rays of His love touch our souls and provide healing, reassurance, comfort, strength… whatever it is we need in this life to help us live according to God’s will so we can one day live with Him forever in Heaven.
Get More Out of Mass – Adore the Blessed Sacrament Outside of Mass!
The ultimate highlight of our life as Catholics is when we receive the Eucharist at Mass. It is at that moment when we are most intimately in communion with God, experiencing a taste of Heaven, a foreshadowing of what it will be like when by God’s grace we one day enter into the life that never ends with the Holy Trinity. But is your experience at Mass a little chilly? Does it leave you with something to be desired? Are distractions getting between you and a true experience of communion?
St. Augustine said, “No one partakes of this Flesh before he has adored it.” The experience of receiving Communion is so brief. To make the most of that fleeting moment, prepare yourself to receive Him by spending time in Adoration. Adoring the Blessed Sacrament heightens our senses to perceive the Real Presence, the Real Jesus. After receiving Him at Mass, spend time in prayer in His Presence, reflecting on the gift you have received, asking Him to transform your life through the power of the Eucharist. He is waiting for you in the tabernacle, or in the monstrance in Perpetual Adoration chapels or at special times of Eucharistic Adoration.
Everyone’s Welcome at Eucharistic Adoration
For a non-Catholic who is attracted to the majesty and tradition of the Catholic Church, it is a form of suffering to not be able to receive Communion. Eucharistic Adoration can provide a great source of consolation if you are discerning about or are in the process of converting to Catholicism. In Eucharistic Adoration you can find a quiet and sacred place to pray. And though you are unable to receive the Eucharist , you can make a spiritual communion to unite yourself with our Eucharistic Lord. This is especially meaningful when you are praying in His Real Presence in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
The Eucharist Changes Hearts
As our current Holy Father wrote when he was still Cardinal Ratzinger,
The adoration of the Lord in the sacrament is also an education in sensitizing our conscience. ‘Christ comes into the hearts of our brothers and sisters and visits their consciences.’ When the conscience becomes dulled, this lets in the violence that lays waste the world. Anyone who gazes upon the face of the Lord, which the servants of the Sanhedrin and Pilate’s servants have spat upon, which they have slapped and covered with spittle, will see in his face the mirror of our violence, a reflection of what sin is, and their conscience will be purified in the way that is the precondition for every social reform, for every improvement in human affairs. For the reform of human relationships rests in the first place on a reinforcement of moral strength (God is Near Us: The Eucharist, the Heart of Life, p. 98).
All you have to do is turn on the news to discover why prayer before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is so desperately needed. Pope John Paul II said in a Eucharistic Congress in 1993, “the … surest and the most effective way of establishing peace on the face of the earth is through the great power of Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.” Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta said, “If people spent an hour a week in Eucharistic adoration, abortion would be ended.” The power of the Eucharist to change hearts is documented around the world in places where the Eucharist is adored.
Whatever reason brings you into the Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, rest assured that Jesus does want to meet you there. Have you ever been “asked out” on such an important date as the one you are called to by the Sacred Heart of Jesus?
Copyright 2006 Darcy Bunn, MTS for Saint Peter Catholic Church. Permission for non-profit use is granted. Please include this notice when you publish or print this article on Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.