Take it to eucharistic adoration

| Deacon Gordon Bird | February 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament warms, transforms and sustains the hearts of many a pilgrim people looking to rest in Jesus. This is sage counsel and sound spiritual direction of which I have often been a needy recipient. I’ve been searching not necessarily for answers, but for peace. I’ve turned to adoration to lift a personal burden, offer prayers of petitions for others, and pray a rosary or the Liturgy of the Hours while gazing at our Lord.

Whatever the reason, as a strophe in the penitential act reminds us: “Lord Jesus, you come in word and sacrament to strengthen us in holiness.”

Adoration provides the opportunity for healing, strengthening and a better understanding of how our Lord is speaking to each one of us. In his 2007 apostolic exhortation “Sacramentum Caritatis,” Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI explains the value of this devotion outside of the holy Mass, prolonging and intensifying our Communion experience which takes place during the liturgy of the Eucharist.

“Indeed, only in adoration can a profound and genuine reception mature,” he wrote. “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.”

Encountering Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament — by simply spending quiet time in prayer or taking purposeful, specific intentions to him — helps us develop and grow in holiness. And holiness is not, and should not be thought of, as exclusive or elusive. The sacred Scriptures remind all believers as children of God, “as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Pt 15-16).

The holiest people I know are mostly ordinary people who live a virtuous life. They witness to me with the utmost integrity — in all circumstances of their lives — the virtues of faith, hope and love. And they adore Jesus.

Trust in the direction the Lord takes you. Spending time effectively in eucharistic adoration does not require knowledge of any special way versus another. Reading the Bible, praying a rosary, journaling on spiritual thoughts, delving into the science of the saints or remaining in complete silence with your eyes fixed on the Blessed Sacrament — all work. Belonging to a parish with 24/7 adoration, I volunteered prayer time to a weekly, late-night holy hour — going solo with Jesus — in which I chant the Liturgy of the Hours. (Hint: Be cognizant of when the relief adorer enters the chapel!)

The key is to focus and ponder on the presence of Jesus. He directs your heart, mind and soul, and he can settle the unsettledness within you. Trust is liberating during adoration as the adorer encounters Jesus — the divine — whether alone or “where two or three are gathered” (Mt 18:20).

Yet, the efficacy of adoration places no limits on numbers, no limits on burdens, no limits on simply being thankful. Jesus told his followers, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden” (Mt 11:28) — placing no limits on giving rest to those who do indeed come to him. That is why each one of us should dedicate a part of our weekly routine in giving time and taking all we care about to the Blessed Sacrament.

Jesus wants us to come to him. Spending adoration time with your family, friends, at church fellowship activities, during retreats and in other holy hour opportunities will be instrumental for growth in your spiritual life and how you live out your faith. If you need to get more familiar with adoration, your pastor, deacon, director of worship — or probably the holiest person you know — can help. Garnering the Handbook of Prayers, the Magnificat or other worship aids can help guide you through the goodness, beauty and truth of eucharistic adoration and appreciate its antiquity.

Since the movement started, all Catholic Watchmen gatherings I have attended — whether parish- or archdiocesan-wide — have included eucharistic adoration. The archdiocesan Annual Men’s Conference March 23 — themed “Arming Men of Integrity” — will begin with Mass and will close with eucharistic adoration and Benediction.

The day’s dynamic speakers will include Catholic author, radio and television host and apologist Patrick Madrid. His keynote talk will help feed our intellect with relevant and compelling insights based on our theme. That theme aims to inspire us all to be men of virtue — heart, body, mind and soul — in a challenging culture, as well as to strengthen us in holiness as spiritual leaders, providers and protectors of the faith. And we will take this to Jesus — in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

Deacon Bird ministers at St. Joseph in Rosemount and assists the Catholic Watchmen movement of the archdiocese’s Office of Evangelization. As a permanent deacon ordained in December 2017, he and his wife, DiAnn, are also members of All Saints in Lakeville. They have two married children and four grandchildren. Reach him at gordonbird@rocketmail.com. Learn about the archdiocese’s Catholic Watchmen initiative at rediscover.archspm.org/the-catholic-watchmen or at facebook.com/thecatholicwatchmen.

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Category: Catholic Watchmen