Prayer can be a mixed bag. Sometimes there is deep joy and peace, other times there is dryness and distraction. Yet God is always teaching us something even if His method ofteaching changes. God’s ways can seem, not only mysterious but also ironic. We see God’ssense of humor most poignantly in the lives of the saints. In Abraham we see a man whowas to be a great nation, yet is called to sacrifice His only son. In St. Therese we see ayoung woman who desired to be a missionary yet died in a cloister. Even in Our Lady, wesee a woman called to be both Virgin and Mother. God transforms us little by little. But often it is not in the way we would choose. God’s ways are not our ways.
God does nothing unnecessarily. While it is true that we can access God present inour hearts and through our prayer, there is something profoundly necessary aboutEucharistic Adoration. As creatures we need something tangible to ‘hold onto’. Godaccommodates this ‘need’ of the human heart by making Himself the Bread of Life.We gaze upon Him with our human eyes and He gazes back. We can take God intoour hands, into our mouths, and into our hearts. God allows us to interact with Himon our terms. He is truly with us.
God’s Grace is Enough
Every day we encounter inconvenience, temptation, and the painful recognition ofour own weakness. These struggles can often feel like more than we can bear, sohow can we stay afloat? In Eucharistic Adoration Jesus strengthens us to ‘do battle’and to view the difficulties of daily life as a participation in His Cross. Not only dowe receive the vision to see reality—but also the hope necessary to endure faithfullyto the end. God’s grace is sufficient.
Distractions: Preparing Fertile Ground for the Lord
It is part of our struggle on earth to experience distractions in prayer and even toquestion God’s presence, yet we must be gentle with ourselves. Going over grocery lists, to-do lists, and thinking about what happened the hour before ourprayer time, will happen. Don’t be discouraged, just ask Jesus to help you ‘tokeep your eyes on the road.’ It often happens that when we feel scattered, Godcan use this to ‘scatter the seeds of life’ meaning, He uses our sacrifice of notfeeling like our prayer is ‘working’ to help someone else who is struggling. Wereceive simply by being present, and not just us, but everyone in the world becomes the beneficiaries of our prayer.
Joy in Love
There are times when Adoration may be challenging: moments when you experience dryness, distraction, and even darkness—but there are also moments of abundant joy! The more we comebefore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, the more our hearts are expanded to receive Him and we willdesire more and more time in His presence. St. Teresa of Avila described prayer as “taking time frequently to be alone with Him who we know loves us.” Going to Adoration provides not onlypeace but pure joy—the joy that can only result when we know we are in the presences of someonewho sees us for who we are and who loves us completely.
Adoration can be compared to sun-bathing—we sit, receive, and are changedby simply being in God’s presence. But what if you are distracted and don’t feellike the Lord is doing anything for you? This experience of prayer could be compared to spending an overcast day at the beach. It may not seem like you aregetting any sun, but if you leave off your sun-screen, you will soon feel howwrong you have been.
God’s 'rays', just like those of the sun, still 'touch' us, even if we cannot perceive them. Our feelings are not always in conformity with reality. Even ifwe experience distraction and restlessness—God is still at work.
The recently canonized St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta had a great love for Jesus in the Eucharist, so much so that she spent two hours a day in adoration. One might think that she devoted this time to prayer because great joy and peace flooded her soul—but the opposite was actually true. She, like many other saints, experienced darkness and difficulty in her prayer. St. Mother Teresa recognized that deep prayer goes beyond simply making us feel good, asking God to help us, or even asking Him to grant favors for our loved ones. To pray, in the truest sense, means 'to be with Jesus'—to stay near Him who we know loves us and who we desire to love in return. This awareness produces joy. We may not always be sensibly aware of God's deep love for us, but our faith assures us that this is true.
The Lord seeks to love you. Come be with the Lord.
Does it seem scandalous to admit this-that you could find spending time withGod to be less than enthralling? Yet so it is. Boredom can often be a real stumbling block in attending Eucharistic Adoration. But have you ever askedyourself why silence, why not having something to do, why just being ‘withyourself’ is so uncomfortable?
God not only speaks to us in beautiful thoughts and poetic prayers but also inour discomfort and…even in our distractions. Let Him speak to you by askingyourself these questions. By asking Him to reveal His truth to you.
The Lord seeks to speak to you in your distractions. Come be with the Lord.
They say you become like the top five people whom you spend the most time with—but what if one of those top five people was Jesus, present in the Eucharist? Then we would seek to love what He loves and reject what He rejects (sin); we would begin to love our neighbor as Jesus loves them—for their own sake and not for what we can 'gain' from them. Jesus desires to make our hearts like His. In Adoration we pray to become like God, but the best way to love is to simply love.
We become like God by loving what He loves—He loves us, He loves every human being He has created. We become like God by loving how He loves—no strings attached, unconditionally, for their own sake. By doing so we will be able to look beyond ourselves and to behold the beauty of Christ in our neighbor.
If you desire it, He will give you His Heart. Come be with the Lord.
Peace is normally defined as an absence of war, violence, or disturbance. We experience a lack of peace not only in our world, but often within ourselves, yet Jesusoffers His peace to His followers—but what does the peace of Christ “look like”?
Jesus came, not only to take away anxiety, fear, and confusion in our hearts but also tofill us with His life. We experience peace in Adoration because there is an absence ofnoise and distraction but we experience the peace which Christ offers, because Jesus ispresent there. Our problems do not go away, but we recognize that Jesus is with us inour struggle.
What happens when you come before the Living God—hidden under the appearance of bread yet truly present, nonetheless? Wonder and Awe
Awe is an overwhelming feeling of reverence, or admiration produced by that which is grand, sublime, extremely powerful, or the like. This feeling usually overcomes us when we behold something outwardly majestic but when we experience wonder and awe in front of the Blessed Sacrament it is, not because we see outward grandeur but rather because we come face to face with the humility of God—because He has hidden this majesty from our eyes. We experience wonder at, not only the fact that He His present, but that He continually chooses to be so.
Prayer: Lord God help my heart to discern your presence in the ordinary—in the beauty of nature, in my neighbor, but most especially in the consecrated host. May this realization fill my heart with deep love and reverence for your presence everywhere. Amen.
The Litany of the Divine Praises are prayed once Benediction, the special blessing from Jesus Himself, has concluded. In many churches, once the Divine Praises are finished, the priest or deacon will also lead the worshipers in a prayer that honors the Sacred Heart of Jesus:
May the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in the most Blessed Sacrament be praised, adored, and loved with grateful affection, at every moment, in all the tabernacles of the world, even until the end of time. Amen
Holy Scripture reminds us that our Lord Jesus Christ is still among us. Listen to the words from John 1:14: "The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."