What better topic for my first column than the joys of participating in Eucharistic Adoration? After all, it’s something all Catholics can do on a regular basis to appreciate our faith and give thanks for all that God has given us. Besides, it was participating in the Eucharistic Adoration program at St. Veronica’s in Chantilly that directly led to this column—and the answer to a prayer.
Almost three years ago, when my wife first asked if I wanted to join St. Veronica’s program for 5 p.m. Adoration, I immediately agreed. An hour dedicated to that form of worship seemed like a perfect opportunity for quiet contemplation. Besides, surely I could reserve for our Lord an hour outside of weekly Mass—especially since I always manage to find time for social opportunities that come up.
Then she reminded me that the commitment was weekly. Oh. An hour outside of weekly Mass…every week. Could I really make that kind of commitment on a regular basis? Life gets busy, with work, family and friends. Besides, after work I’m often not exactly in the most meditative mood—definitely not in the best mental state for praying before the Holy Eucharist, anyway. All in all, it’s easy to get distracted by all the demands of life. Suddenly I realized that all the reasons I was mentally citing for not being able to participate were the exact reasons why I should. Funny how He works sometimes, isn’t it?
Since then, my wife and I have enjoyed our time every week giving thanks, meditating, silently praying and worshipping our Lord in the Eucharistic Chapel at St. Veronica’s. I’ve used the opportunity to make sure that I pray the Holy Rosary every week (still working up to praying the Rosary on a daily basis), pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet (which has long been a favorite) and learn some new prayers that have been incredibly helpful to me.
I also spend some time each week ensuring that my thoughts are focused where they should be. Reading works by Fulton Sheen, Thomas Merton and G.K. Chesterton, daily reflections by EWTN’s Mother Angelica, and the wonderful Temperament That God Gave You (by local authors Art and Laraine Bennett) has helped guide my reflection during and outside of Adoration. I’m sure I’ll have more to say about those authors and their incredible works in future columns.
I’ve also taken the opportunity to read the Holy Bible. I’ve attempted doing so many times in my life since early grade school but never found the discipline to stay with it past Exodus. Thanks to the time dedicated to Eucharistic Adoration, I am now halfway through 1 Samuel. I’ve found the Old Testament—though challenging in many ways—a tremendous context for the faith we live today. I have also enjoyed revisiting the stories I learned as a child but honestly never thought of again as an adult.
Perhaps the most valuable time to me each week is the time dedicated to simply adoring Christ—praising Him and loving Him…sort of prayers from the heart. It is possibly this time more than anything that has rekindled my joy and wonder in my faith. If you can spend time before the Holy Eucharist on a regular basis and not feel a sense of awe, you might just want to check your pulse, folks.
But I’ve gained far more from weekly Adoration than time dedicated to catching up on my reading and praying. I feel that I’ve obtained certain graces that have long seemed unobtainable otherwise. I’ve gained a deep level of peace that has led to enhanced patience—with others around me and with myself. I feel spiritually strengthened—better able to resist the temptations that life presents on a regular basis. Perhaps more than anything else, though, I have been able to experience in a real, direct way, the infinite, almost overwhelming love of the Lord and the sense that He will provide—perhaps not the answers we look for but most certainly the answers we need.
I’ve long wanted to write in support and celebration of my faith—my return to my faith and newfound sense of awe after a prolonged absence (more on that in a future column, as well). Although I could simply say that such a writing opportunity never arose, it’s probably closer to state that I ignored the opportunities that answered my prayer because they weren’t what I expected.
About a month ago, it occurred to me that St. Veronica’s committed Adorers might find it helpful to share their schedule and other resources in a single location online. St. Veronica’s office suggested that I look into its digital parish bulletin as an option. Only a week after joining the bulletin to explore the possibilities of an Adoration online community, I received an e-alert expressing a need by Catholic Online Virginia Edition for writers. Voila—the undeniable answer to a long-time prayer obtained directly by participating in regular Eucharistic Adoration.
I know that I am fortunate—that not every parish is able to offer perpetual adoration opportunities. Most parishes offer Eucharistic Adoration in some form, though—whether on a monthly or weekly basis, or on certain Holy Days. I encourage all Catholics to check their parish bulletin or to contact their parish office and learn what form of Eucharistic Adoration is available to you. If your parish offers regular, scheduled Adoration, I would ask you to prayerfully consider committing at least one hour per week to the Lord. Doing so will give you a chance to remove the distractions from what should be your priorities in life—and help you learn to recognize which is which.
Meditation of St. Francis of Assisi
Let everyone be struck with fear,
the whole world tremble,
and the heavens exult
when Christ, the Son of the living God,
is present on the altar in the hands of a priest!
O wonderful loftiness
and stupendous dignity!
O sublime humility!
O humble sublimity!
The Lord of the universe,
God and the Son of God,
so humbles Himself
that He hides Himself
for our salvation
under an ordinary piece of bread!
See the humility of God, brothers,
and pour out your hearts before Him!
Humble yourselves that you may be exalted by Him!
Hold back nothing of yourselves for yourselves,
that He Who gives Himself totally to you
may receive you totally!