Eucharistic adoration is special time of divine intimacy with the Lord, of loving the Lord, of being in His presence, communicating with Him, receiving His blessings and graces and so much more. As Blessed Pope John Paul II stated in his encyclical, Ecclesia De Eucharistia (Church of the Eucharist), “The Eucharist is a priceless treasure: by not only celebrating it but also by praying before it outside of Mass we are enabled to make contact with the very wellspring of grace” (25). Christ is truly present in the Blessed Sacrament, He desires for us to spend time with Him, to simply be with Him, to love Him, to grow in our love for Him.
Christ has given Himself to us with the gift of the Eucharist. As Catholics we believe that during Mass at the moment of consecration, when the priest holds the communion host and says, “…He took the bread and gave you thanks. He broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said: Take this all of you, and eat it. This is my body which will be given up for you.” It is at this point where the miracle of transubstantiation occurs, where the bread and wine become the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus. The Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly states that the Eucharistic presence of Christ, “The Eucharistic presence of Christ begins at the moment of the consecration and endures as long as the Eucharistic species subsist. Christ is present whole and entire in each of the species and whole and entire in each of their parts, in such a way that the breaking of the bread does not divide Christ.” (1377) As early as the Council of Nicea in the year of 325, we know that the Eucharist began to be reserved in churches, monasteries and convents primarily for the sick, the dying and the ceremony of fermentum. From the beginning of community life, the Blessed Sacrament became an integral part of the church structure and it was only by the eleventh century that Eucharistic adoration became more and more prevalent in the Catholic World. By the thirteenth century, Pope Urban IV instituted the feast of Corpus Christi reminding the faithful of Christ’s love for us and His desire to remain with us to the end of time.
Blessed Pope John Paul II has so emphasized and highlighted the importance of Eucharistic Adoration that he has come to be known as the “Pope of the Real Presence.” Early in his pontificate, during an open address in Ireland on September 29, 1979, he stated, “The Eucharist, in the Mass and outside of the Mass, is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, and is therefore deserving of the worship that is given to the living God, and to Him alone.” Building on the efforts of his predecessors the Servant of God Pope John Paul II continued teaching the faithful on great importance of Eucharist in an unambiguous way and today he has left us with a rich resource of documents to strengthen our understanding and encourage us to rediscover our Savior’s gift to us of always being in our presence.
In his apostolic letter, Mane Nobiscum Domine, Blessed Pope John Paul II further illustrates our Redeemer’s gift to us with the example of the two disciples journeying to Emmaus. “Stay with us, Lord, for it is almost evening” (Lk 24:29). This was the insistent invitation of the two disciples addressed to the Wayfarer who had accompanied them on their journey. Our Savior agreed to their request, but soon afterwards His face would disappear, yet He had not departed from them as He remained with them hidden in the “breaking of the bread,” which had opened their eyes to recognize Him.
Further in Mane Nobiscum Domine, Blessed Pope John Paul II states that all the dimensions of the Eucharist come together in one aspect which makes a demand on our faith: the mystery of the “real” presence. Quoting Pope Paul VI in Mysterium Fidei he explained this presence is called “real” not in an exclusive way as to suggest that other forms of Christ’s presence are not real, but par excellence, because “Christ thereby becomes substantially present, whole and entire, in the reality of his body and blood.” (16) The Servant of God Pope John Paul II further states, “Faith demands that we approach the Eucharist fully aware that we are approaching Christ himself…The Eucharist is a mystery of presence, the perfect fulfillment of Jesus’ promise to remain with us until the end of the world.” (16)
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “The Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life.’ The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.” (1324) Further in section 1381, the Catechism explains that this sacrament can not be apprehended by the senses, but quoting St. Thomas, “only by faith” which relies on divine authority.
Following the example of so many great saints in the history of the Church, let us make every effort to spend time with the Lord, frequently and daily if possible. Quoting St. Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi, a Carmelite nun from the age of 17 recommended to busy people in the world to take time out each day for praying before the Holy Eucharist. She stated:
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.
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque found, before the Blessed Sacrament, the strength she needed to endure the many contradictions, rebukes, insults, reproaches and over all general contempt she experienced, in which she responded without complaining and prayed for those by whom she was ill treated.
Saint Alphonsus Liguori wrote an entire book on visits to the Blessed Sacrament in which he advised the faithful to, “withdraw yourself from people and spend at least a quarter of a 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.”
Saint John Vianney, the Cure of Ars 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…”
We hope and pray that this page dedicated to Eucharistic Adoration will encourage you to adore Christ frequently and daily in front of the Blessed Sacrament. In addition to all that has been stated, there are several more reasons for including Eucharistic Adoration in your life, of which we would like to list a few: