Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 9, 2005
Spend time with God in Adoration
Archbishop Collins offers practical tips for Eucharistic Adoration
The Shepherd Speaks
By ARCHBISHOP THOMAS COLLINS
We all need to spend some time every day in prayer, and that can be done anywhere, for longer or shorter periods. The busier we are, the more we need this.
Eucharistic adoration is an exceptionally fruitful way of growing in the contemplative spirit that should be at the heart of our active lives. It can take many forms.
One way is simply to slip into a church, preferably our parish church, as occasion arises for a brief period of prayer before the tabernacle, or longer if possible. Just kneeling or sitting or standing before our Eucharistic Lord is a source of peace and spiritual strength. As St. Augustine wrote at the beginning of his Confessions: "You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you."
Our Lord's presence
Many of our parishes have times of Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, when the host is placed within a monstrance for adoration. This can help us to appreciate somewhat more intensely the reality of the presence of our Lord, though in fact our Lord is equally present whether the Eucharist is reserved in the tabernacle or monstrance.
After the 9 a.m. Mass at St. Andrew's parish on 111th Avenue on Sunday, May 29, the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament will begin in the chapel at the back of that church.
What this means is that the chapel will be available for Eucharistic adoration 24 hours a day, every day of the year, except from Holy Thursday until Easter Sunday, when we should all be participating in the events of those holy days. The chapel will be available for prayer for all who seek a haven of peace to watch with the Lord.
There will always be people spending time in adoration, and a schedule will be established so that people can sign up for particular hours. This will be carefully organized, and anyone who wishes will be given the chance to commit to a specific hour of prayer during the day or night. Some might wish to sign up for one hour a week; others for an hour a month, or really for any time, even daily. In addition, of course, anyone is most welcome to drop in for prayer at any time, without signing up.
There will be certain times when Mass will be celebrated, and when vocal prayers such as the Angelus and Morning and Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hour will be prayed before the Blessed Sacrament. But most of the time people will simply be present in silent prayer and adoration.
Particular devotions to this or that saint are helpful for many, as are also special prayers favoured by the many spiritual movements in our community, but they do not have a place in the chapel of perpetual adoration: it is for everyone, and is for adoration, not particular devotions.
Bibles will be available, or people may bring their own. One of the best approaches to Eucharistic Adoration is to prayerfully read the Word of God before our Eucharistic Lord, pausing often to let the Word touch our hearts, and illuminate our particular life situation.
One good way of praying the Bible is to meditate upon the Mass readings of the day, and that links us more closely to the celebration of the Eucharist. In all this, our prayer should be that of young Samuel: "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening" (1 Samuel 3).
Just be with the Lord
It is good to spend a large portion of the time simply being with the Lord, bringing before him the cares and joys of our life, and perhaps especially any problems or decisions we are facing. Some find it helpful to repeat in their hearts prayers such as "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner" or "Come, Lord Jesus." Or one might quietly pray the rosary, meditating on the mysteries of the Life of Christ. Or one might read a spiritual book, pausing to reflect on its application to life. Or, especially at the end of a period of prayer, one might want to write in a personal spiritual journal.
These are just a few suggestions - there are many ways of watching with the Lord, and each person will find what is best. We should devote some time during adoration simply to praying for other people.
I would ask that we also pray for all of the people of the archdiocese, especially those who have drifted away from the faith, for our families, and for those whom the Lord is calling to the priesthood and consecrated life. The important thing is to withdraw from the busy round of life to spend time with God, in Eucharistic Adoration in our parish church or in the perpetual adoration chapel (or both), so as to return to active and fruitful service of God and neighbour.
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