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.
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.