In the beatitudes Jesus reveals that those who are clean of heart will be able to see God. Purity is a requirement to behold God both in Heaven and on Earth. Yet what does it mean to be clean of heart? It means to strive more and more to see others as they truly are: beloved children of God who are made in His image and likeness. It means seeking to find Jesus hidden in our neighbor. Purity and faith go hand in hand. The pure recognize Jesus hidden in humanity. The faithful recognize Jesus hidden in the Eucharist. May we be granted the grace to recognize Jesus always and in everyone.
Winter brings darkness, cold, and sometimes a great deal of snow. The lack of sunlight and the monotony ofour days can cause many people to lose hope. Yet Jesus promises to be our light and our salvation. He promises to guide our paths and that the darkness will not overcome us. In Eucharistic Adoration we come before the Lord of Heaven and Earth, the Lord who was not afraid to stand as a light in the darkness. He remains with us to strengthen our hearts to persevere when all appears dark and we feel lost. He remains withHis children to remind them “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” —John1:5
St. Maximillian Kolbe once stated, “If angels could be jealous of men, they would be so for one reason: HolyCommunion." This is a profound reality to ponder. Angels who look upon the face of God, who are in Heaven,who cannot suffer, still do not possess the greatest gift which God has given to humanity: the Eucharist. It canoften be tempting to forget that the ordinary bread and wine are truly the body and blood of Jesus Christ, yetGod is with us. He remains with us and He gives Himself completely to us. Let us rejoice in the greatness andthe goodness of our God, acknowledging that while our time on earth may be filled with trials and sufferings,God never asks us to walk alone.
Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Epiphany—the manifestation of Jesus as the Christ or ‘Anointed one ofGod’ to all the world. The Magi teach us a great deal about how we ought to approach Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration.First they approached with faith, recognizing that this was no ordinary child but rather the Son of God. We too must lookupon the consecrated host, not as ordinary bread but as the hidden God. Secondly they presented the Lord with gifts, thebest of what they had to offer. When we approach the Lord Jesus we must present Him with all that we are and all thatwe have—our minds, and our hearts. In this way our Lord will continue to manifest His presence to us and through us toall the world.
Every New Year’s we make resolutions to quite bad habits and to live healthier lifestyles. At base these resolutions canbe good since they reveal a dissatisfaction with mediocrity and a desire to experience abundant life. But why not make aresolution which is not only good for you physically but also spiritually? Consider making Eucharistic Adoration part ofyour New Year’s resolutions. What we spend our time on reveals what we value. If you desire peace, healing, and fullness of joy then spending time with God will allow you to become fully alive. When we dedicate specific time toprayer we are able to receive the good things God desires to grant us.
In Advent the Church prepares for the three comings of Christ. She prepares for His coming as a little baby atChristmas. She prepares for His coming at the end of time, when He will come to judge the living and the dead.She also prepares for the coming of Christ in the Eucharist. Emmanuel means “God is with us” (Matthew 1:23). Inthe Eucharist Jesus is truly ‘God with us’. When Jesus came as a little baby He was vulnerable and weak; He hidhis divinity. In the Eucharist Jesus continues to make himself vulnerable and weak, and hides both his divinity andhis humanity. God came to save us from our sins 2000 years ago, yet He remains in the Eucharist to heal us fromthe effects of our sin.
Heaven is the place where we shall behold the face of God unveiled. On this Earth we canalso behold the face of God yet only the eyes of faith are able to recognize Him. St. Thomassays that on the cross Jesus hid His divinity but in the Eucharist He hides both His divinityand His humanity. It is only through faith that we can look upon the white host and recognize the Lord and giver of life, for “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen”—Hebrews 11:1. May we look upon our God with faith on thisEarth so that we may behold Him in His glory in Heaven.
There are many forms of prayer. We can offer praise to God for who He is. We canoffer thanksgiving for what He has done, but we can also pray for others and maketheir needs and concerns our own. This is called intercessory prayer. Often in timesof trial or difficulty the only thing we can say to someone who is struggling is thatwe will pray for them. We can place that person on our hearts and then go beforeJesus in the Blessed Sacrament and offer Him our hearts. He will hear our prayersand answer them according to what is truly good for us and for others.
Eucharist means thanksgiving. When we go to Mass we are offeringGod a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving for all that He has done forus and all that He continues to do. In a special way Eucharistic Adoration is also a prayer of thanksgiving. When you find it difficult topray or do not know what to say to God why not count your blessings?Try to think about the ways God has blessed you today, in this week, inthis year. Once you begin to recognize the many ways God is alreadyblessing you, your heart will overflow with praise.
The Christian journey takes perseverance. Scripture says that even “the just man falls seven times a day” (Proverbs 24:16). Despite the fact that we seekto avoid sin and to practice virtue, our human nature is prone to weakness.Often we can feel this weakness as a great burden, yet Jesus is there to console us. In Eucharistic Adoration we come into contact with a God whohas made Himself ‘small and weak’ in order to make us strong-- in Him. Wecan come to Jesus with our burdens and ask Him to heal us and to give us Hisgrace to persevere to the end. God does not ask us to be successful but to befaithful. Then we can say with St. Paul, “When I am weak, then I amstrong” (2 Cor 12:10).
Jesus desires to be near us. What an incredible thought. Not only does He allow Himself tobecome our food, He remains ever-present in the tabernacle. But why does He choose toremain so close to us? The only sufficient answer is love. When two people begin to courtthey like to spend time with one another and learn about the likes and dislikes of the other.Yet there comes a time when love has matured and there is no longer a need for words.There is something profoundly beautiful about a married couple who have said all there isto say and simply wish to abide in the presence of the other. Whether we are beginning inour relationship with Jesus or have walked with Him for a long time—the language of love is silence and the mode in which He communicates this love is in His presence.
In November the Church commemorates the souls of the faithful departed. We recall that while the Souls in Purgatory are suffering in anticipation of their entranceinto Heaven, they can no longer pray for themselves. We are each called to pray forthe dead. In Eucharistic Adoration, we bring our own needs but also the needs ofthose who have gone before us. Praying for the dead is a powerful reminder that thislife is not our final destination. One day we will also need the prayers of thosewhom we have left behind. May we recognize the value of human life and feel compassionate for our brothers and sisters in Purgatory.
Jesus frequently came into contact with people who were considered ‘unclean’; He met lepers, tax-collectors, and prostitutes. The incredible thing is that once these people encountered Jesus theycould never be the same again. Yet they still ha d to decide whether they wanted to remain in their state of isolation-- an isolation due to either physical or spiritual sickness (sin), or be healed. Thesame dilemma is presented to each of us in Eucharistic Adoration. We approach the holiness of God,and in so doing simultaneously come into contact with our own sinfulness. Like the leper, the taxcollector, and the prostitute we must ask ourselves if we are willing to be changed by Jesus, to seenot only what we are, but who God has created us to be. May the grace which gave the leper thecourage to cry out to Jesus also be ours; may we be reconciled with God our Father.