Meeting with the physical presence of Jesus tops the wish list of many Christians. We ponder the possibility of sharing a cup of coffee and speaking with Jesus as we do with close friends.
And we can do just that, minus the coffee, in adoration, as well as when we near the tabernacle or receive communion. Catholics believe that the consecrated host truly is the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus. Unlike any other prayer time where we are with Jesus on the spiritual plane, when we are in the presence of the Eucharist we share physically as well as spiritually.
Hosts are consecrated during Eucharistic celebrations. The exact moment of transubstantiation occurs when the priest holds the host and repeats Jesus’ words, “Take this all of you, and eat it. This is my body which will be given up for you.”
When this consecrated host is prominently displayed for public homage on an altar in an ornate container called a monstrance, it is called Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Adoration chapels are sacred spaces dedicated to adoration. These chapels run the gamut from small, plain rooms with a few chairs to structures more magnificent and ornate than some churches. The focal point in all is the host within the monstrance.
Adorers enter by genuflecting and quietly taking a seat or place to kneel. The utmost reverence is due because you are in the presence of Jesus in a very special way. The chapels are silent, so if you are looking for a quiet, peaceful place, adoration chapels are the place to go.
During an adoration visit you may pray the rosary; read the Bible or other spiritual writings; remember and pray for the sick, needy, or deceased loved ones; pray for a special intention; ask for forgiveness or reparation; or sit in silence and openness to the Lord. But some time should be devoted to true adoration, which is the act of praising God and humbling ourselves. Following Mary’s example in her prayer, the Magnificat, at this time we acknowledge that “He has done great things for me and holy is his name.”
The first thing Saint Theodora and the sisters did upon arrival at St. Mary-of-the-Woods was to visit an adoration chapel. “We agreed among ourselves that our first visit would be made to the Blessed Sacrament and not speak to anyone before doing this,” wrote Saint Theodora.
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament was a very important form of devotion to Saint Theodora and the sisters. They did not have access to daily communion and encountered extended periods of time when they could not receive for weeks, such as when they journeyed across the Atlantic from France to America and when they or their chaplain were traveling. Perhaps this lack of opportunity to regularly receive the Eucharist prompted a more intense devotion to adoration.
Most likely, you may receive the Eucharist at least weekly, if not daily, at your parish church. But the incredibly rich spiritual experience of adoration offers a different way to grow closer to the Lord. As written in Scripture, “Glorify the Lord and exalt him as much as you can” (Sirach 43:30).
Visit your church’s chapel or the nearest one occasionally or regularly as a scheduled adorer. Like all relationships, the more time we spend with someone the closer we become to them. You will find this is true with adoration also.
“And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and inside. Day and night without ceasing they sing, ‘Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God the Almighty, who was and is and is to come.’
And whenever the living creatures give glory and honour and thanks to the one who is seated on the throne, who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall before the one who is seated on the throne and worship the one who lives for ever and ever; they cast their crowns before the throne, singing, ‘You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created’” (Revelations 4:8-11).
©Mary K. Doyle