Why is Silence so uncomfortable? We have gone to greatpains in our modern world to replace silence with background noise; whether it be in the car, at the gym, oreven while standing in an elevator. Yet what makes silenceso difficult for us? In the silence, we are alone with ourselves and our thoughts. In our thoughts God speaks. Perhaps we fear to think about our unanswered questions, our unfulfilled desires, and our un-calmed fears. Yet, God’sprimary language is silence precisely because He uses suchquestions to draw us to Himself. In Eucharistic Adorationwe can come before God with our questions, our desires,and our fears and have no doubt that He will indeed speakto us. Reality is not always pleasant to look upon yet whenwe approach Jesus in the silence of prayer we are practicing the virtue of fortitude. If we come before Him toreceive His words of truth, He will set us free from all fearand anxiety.
Why do we go before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament to pray? We worship and adore Him because in justice, this is God’s due. The angels in Heaven are in constant adorationof God. To look upon Him face to face is a great privilegeand joy. On earth to look upon the face of those whom welove and to be with them is among our greatest joys—howmuch more so when that ‘loved one’ is the God who knowsand loves us completely. God deserves to be adored because He is God, because He is good, and because He isbeautiful. In adoration we come face to face with who Godis and who we are. In the light of that truth we find peace and happiness.
In prayer we allow Jesus to love us. Our desire to love Jesus is in direct proportion to our recognition of His great personal love for us. This is why looking at God’s action in our lives, both in the past and presently, is so important. If God continually reminded the Israelites of old to remember His works, it was to fortify them in the truth that He loved them and would always provide for their needs. When we look at our own lives we too can see how time and again God has provided for us superabundantly. The more we recognize how much God has loved us, protected us, and guided us, the more we will grow in our love for Him since gratitude is the beginning of love. May we continually go to prayer to receive love so as to make a return of love.
St. John Paul II recognized His great need for God andso made a holy hour every morning from 5am-6am.During that time He could be heard audibly‘groaning’. He knew well what St. Paul taught in hisletter to the Romans, “We do not know how to pray as we ought but the Spirit intercedes with inexpressible groanings” (Romans 8:26). Sometimes we are confused, conflicted, sometimes we simply cannotfind the words to express our great need for God. Inthese times we must rely upon the Holy Spirit to formulate the prayer within us, for us. A child doesnot know how to express itself perfectly but whenthey present themselves to a loving parent and signaltheir need for help, aid is offered. The same is truewith God. We may not know how to pray but we canplace our self in God’s presence and He will pray forus by praying in us.
Intercessory prayer consists of someone praying on behalf of another. We can ask others to pray for us when we need a job, whentragedy strikes, or even when we need a little bitof encouragement. We can and ought to go directly to God but there is also great power in numbers. Jesus said to His disciples, “Wheretwo or more are gathered in my name, there amI in their midst” (Matthew 18:20). We can approach Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration withour own needs but He has also entrusted certainpeople to our care; some for a time or a momentand others forever. We can intercede before thethrone of God for those whom we love andcommend them to the mercy of God. The heartof Christ is greatly moved by such prayers.
The apostles were fascinated by Jesus. They were often perplexed by His parables, stunnedby His wisdom and in awe of His power to heal. Yet perhaps the most touching appeal thedisciples ever made to Jesus was when they asked Him how to pray. The Gospel recordsthat, “He was praying in a certain place, and when He had finished, one of His disciplessaid to Him, Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). Jesus was perfectly one with the Father.He was able to be present to all those whom He ministered to because of His union withthe Father in prayer. In Eucharistic Adoration we too can pray as Jesus did, in silence andsolitude. We can present our needs before Him, as outlined in the Our Father, drawingstrength to fulfill our mission to love and to be a saint in the Church. Jesus’ beauty shinesforth in the Eucharist but it also shines forth in those who approach Adoration and seek tobe transformed into His apostles of love.
The book of Genesis describes how God worked for six days, creating the heavens and the earth and how on the seventhday He rested. Likewise, Jesus spent His days ministering to the crowds, feeding the hungry, and healing the sick, yetHe drew His strength by frequently taking time to be alone with His Father in prayer. Jesus teaches us that in order to befruitful in ministry, in order to “be” for others we must first receive love and strength from God our Father in prayer. InEucharistic Adoration we too can take time to be alone with God—to allow Him to fill us with His strength and Hislove. The love we give to others is only what we have first received from God. In Adoration we receive the grace necessary to be faithful and fruitful for the Kingdom of God.
We often go to God in prayer, not when things are seemingly going well but when a particular trial or struggle arises. We seek clarity and peace when we are unsure of how to act or what to do in a given situation. In those moments, hearing God speak can be difficult. How can we know that God hears us and that He truly cares? Faith. When we approach Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration we do not know beyond a doubt that all of our questions will be answered or that our problems will be solved. What God does assure us of, however, is that He is with us, He hears us, and He loves us. In faith we place our needs before God, knowing that simply being in His presence will bring healing and peace.
Prayer is conversation with God, but how can we converse with God who is pure spirit? How can we speak toGod or hear Him speaking? According to St. Ignatius of Loyola, we can know God is speaking when athought is good, it is consistent, and it brings peace. We learn to pray by learning to observe what takes placein our hearts and in our minds. God speaks to us constantly and He is always present to us. What changes isour awareness of His presence. When we come before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, we need not come upwith beautiful prayers to recite. To recognize that He is present before us and in our hearts is itself a prayer.The more we realize that Jesus is present, the more clearly we will hear Him speak.
The Bread of Life discourse in John 6 can be disturbing to some and puzzling to others. Why does Jesus commandus to eat His flesh and drink His blood? The answer can be found at the first Mass, which took place at the LastSupper. The Jews celebrated the feast of Passover every year to commemorate the moment in history when Goddelivered them from slavery in Egypt, but ultimately from the Angel of Death. To ‘ransom’ their first-born sonsthey had to slaughter an unblemished lamb, spread its blood on the doorpost, and eat its flesh. When Jesus and Hisapostles are celebrating the Last Supper, they are actually celebrating Passover, but if you read the text carefully,the only item missing from their feast is the lamb. Jesus is the new Passover lamb—He ransoms every baptizedChristian from the Angel of Death. He offers lasting freedom and ultimately eternal life.
Sometimes we feel closest to Jesus when we are on the Cross. We sense, even in our suffering, that if the Lordwere not sustaining us, we could not continue forward. Jesus is close to all those who call upon Him but He isparticularly close to those who suffer, both emotionally and physically. Those who suffer can identify withJesus who Himself suffered every kind of emotional and physical distress, from rejection and persecution, tocrucifixion and death. In Eucharistic Adoration we come before a God who suffered for love of us and continually sustain us with His grace. May we come before Him to receive the graces we need to preserve incarrying our cross. May we realize that He never abandons us, but rather carries the cross beside us.
Certain things naturally complement each other: peanut butter and jelly, sunshine and rain, men andwomen. This is also the case on the supernatural level. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is a natural complement to the Sacrament of Reconciliation because they are both means which God usesto heal us. In Confession, we give over to God our sin and brokenness; we are restored to new life.When we receive Jesus in Holy Communion, we are nourished and the supernatural life in us is sustained. Holy Communion is a remedy for sin and a means of deep healing. It is a great privilege toreceive Jesus in Holy Communion but He remains present in Adoration to further nourish, heal, andprovide for our needs.