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.
Taking care of a garden requires more than just rooting out weeds. Rather we must water the plants and provide for their general upkeep. The same is true in the spiritual life. We must not only repent of wrongdoing (weeds) but also seek to counter evil with good by practicing virtue (water). Everyone struggleswith temptations, weaknesses, and sin. Instead of trying to manage these struggles on our own, we ought toinvite Jesus to do battle beside us. When we approach Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration, asking for His help Hewill fortify our souls with peace. He will provide us with all the grace necessary to do battle for the sake ofthe Kingdom of God.
The Church is a very wise teacher. During each liturgical season, we can learn something about God andabout our connection to Him in the world. During Lent, we remember that we are creatures, dependent uponGod our Creator for everything. Sometimes dependence can be seen as a bad thing, but Jesus teaches us thatthe most privileged souls are those who become child-like and embrace their dependence upon God. DuringLent, we can foster a spirit of childlikeness through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. We pray, recalling thatGod is the giver of every good gift. We fast, recalling that only God can fulfill the deepest desires of ourhearts. We give alms, recalling that God is our safety and security. May this Lent be an opportunity for us tobecome more child-like towards God our Father.
Lent is a time for us to seek Jesus in the ‘desert’. Why the desert? The desert is a place of dryness and solitude. There we recognize our profound need for the ‘Living Water’, Jesus. Itwas in the desert that the Israelites wandered and sought the Promised Land for 40 years. Itwas in the desert that Jesus prayed and fasted for 40 days in preparation for His public ministry. So also, the Church asks us to enter into the silence and solitude of the internal desertof our hearts. Here God speaks to us. In the silence, we feel our need and our thirst, for not only earthly food, but also the “bread come down from Heaven.”
Lent is a time for each individual member of the Church to honestly evaluate his or her relationship with Jesus. To accomplish this, the Church proposes three practices: to pray, to fast, and to give alms.
Prayer: What I spend my time on reveals what I value
Q: How much time do you spend with God in prayer?
Fasting: Often we use food as more than just nourish ment but rather as an escape
Q: Do I allow Jesus to comfort me when I am in distress?
Almsgiving: What I spend my money on often reveals where I place my security
Q: Am I conscious and concerned for the needs of the Church and of my neighbor?
This Lent consider spending time with Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration. He will help you to evaluate and reorient your life towards your holiness and happiness.
Our life on earth could be compared to a tread-mill; it can be monotonous yet it never stands still. What is true on the physical level can also be said of the spiritual. If we do not ‘continue to go forward’ with Jesus we will ‘fall off the treadmill’. Therefore everyday we must honestly evaluate whether we are growing closer to Christ or making compromises and readjust from there. Further, just as our daily routine can become burdensome and monotonous, so also our prayer life can feel this way. Although it may seem like nothing is happening when we pray and nothing is changing in our circumstances yet in faith we know that God is providing for our deepest needs and is keeping us afloat ‘on the treadmill’. Our relationship with God is strengthened when we are faithful to His commandments and to prayer. May we embrace the invitation He offers us through Eucharistic Adoration.
Perhaps Adoration can seem counter-intuitive. All day long at work and in school we are expected to pay attention and to be productive. We can even begin to measure success by how much we are able to accomplish.Understandably then, coming into a silent chapel and sitting before God in the Eucharist can seem to goagainst everything within us. Yet, God teaches us that to receive we do not have to do or give anything, wesimply need to be open. God’s grace is not earned but it is not “cheap” either. He asks only for a heart ready toreceive the good things He has in store for us.
It is difficult to imagine how glorious Heaven will be. St. Paul says, “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, andwhat has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). We havesmall glimpses of the joys that await God’s faithful ones even on earth, but they are simply that—glimpses. We experience the joy of good food and this is a foreshadowing of Heaven as an eternal banquet. We experience the joy oflove in human relationships and this foreshadows the joy of communing with the Triune God. One of the greatest joys ofHeaven will be to behold the beauty of God, face to face. Yet even now, we have a glimpse of that glory when we praybefore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. The joys of Heaven will be truly amazing but God does not wait until Heaven tocommune with us, He does so now through the Eucharist.
There is a deep sense of peace in Jesus’ Eucharistic presence. This calm is perhaps most palpable when we feelstorm-battered and worn thin from the cares of the world, work, and our family obligations. Jesus calls us toHimself especially when we feel close to drowning, when we feel the waves of adversity going far above ourheads. In those moments, Christ addresses Himself to us in the same way that He addressed St. Peter, “Takeheart it is I; have no fear.” (Matthew 14: 27). Jesus takes us by the hand and provides the strength and courage we need to endure in trials. The peace of Christ brings healing and fortitude.