'Do you realise that Jesus is there in the tabernacle expressly for you - for you alone? He burns with the desire to come into your heart...'
- St Therese of Lisieux
What is Adoration?
Adoration is the worship of Jesus - His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity being really, truly and substantially present in the Eucharist, that Blessed Sacrament of the altar. A Host which has already been consecrated during Mass is brought from the tabernacle and exposed in a vessel called a monstrance for us to adore.
None can describe the devotion as lucidly as St. Peter Julian Eymard, apostle of the Eucharist himself:
“The Object of Eucharistic adoration is the divine Person of our Lord Jesus Christ, present in the Blessed Sacrament. There is nothing greater or holier we can do on earth than this adoration. Eucharistic adoration is the greatest of actions. To adore is to share the life of the saints in heaven who never cease to praise, bless, and adore the goodness, the love, the glory, the power, and the divinity of the Lamb immolated for the love of men and the glory of God the Father. Eucharistic adoration is the holiest of actions…the perfect exercise of all the virtues [including Faith in the hidden Jesus veiled in the Sacred host, the Piety of self-annihilation before Jesus, Love of God, and Charity by praying for your neighbour in adoration]. To adore well we must, above all, talk to our Lord; He will answer us. Everybody can talk to our Lord” (pp. 177-78, 81, In the Light of the Monstrance, as edited).
“Every gift calls for Thanksgiving; and the greater the gift, the greater also gratitude should be. The Holy Eucharist is the Saviour’s Gift of gifts. It is the greatest of all His marvels, the sacramental glorification of all the mysteries of His life. In the presence of so much goodness on the part of Jesus Christ, what should not be the gratitude of the heart of man, who sees himself as the end of the Eucharist! What thanksgiving can measure up to such a gift? What love can repay so much love?” (Handbook, pp.158-59, as edited).
“[This] is first of all a reparation of honour made to Jesus Christ for the ingratitude and the outrages directed to Him in His Sacrament of love; it is also the satisfaction of mercy, pleading for the forgiveness of sinners. The soul should make an act of solemn reparation to this divine Victim; from a sentiment of joy your heart must turn to sadness, to the deepest sorrows on considering the ingratitude, the indifference, the impiety of most men towards the Eucharistic Saviour. This is your mission, adorers: to weep at the feet of Jesus despised by His own friends, crucified in many hearts, abandoned in so many places. Your mission is to beg forgiveness for the guilty, to ransom them from divine mercy, to become victims of propitiation with the Savior Jesus” (taken from Handbook, p. 160 and In the Light of the Monstrance, pp.188-89, as edited).
4. THE EUCHARISTIC APOSTOLATE OF PRAYER
“Not everybody can preach Jesus Christ by word of mouth, but every adorer has the mission of Mary at the feet of Jesus: the apostolic mission of prayer, of Eucharistic prayer at the foot of the throne of grace and mercy. Eucharistic prayer has a excellence all its own; it goes straight to the Heart of God like a flaming dart; the adorer prays through Jesus Christ and unites himself to our Lord’s role as Intercessor with the Father and divine Advocate for His redeemed brethren. Pray that the light of truth of Jesus Christ may enlighten all men. Pray for Jesus’ Kingdom of holiness in His faithful, His religious, His priests. Pray for the Sovereign Pontiff. Pray for the powers of the world. Pray for the poor souls that suffer in Purgatory. Thus adorers at the foot of the Most Blessed sacrament carry on a universal and perpetual mission of prayer, and thus render to God [along with their adoration, thanksgiving and reparation] the most perfect homage He can receive from a creature” (In the Light of the Monstrance, pp. 189-191).
Adoration is very much encouraged by the Church. Pope Paul VI, in his Credo of the People of God, said:
"If Jesus were actually visible in church, everyone would run to welcome him, but he remains hidden in the Sacred Host under the appearance of bread, because he is calling us to faith, that we many come to him in humility.
The Blessed Sacrament is the ‘Living Heart’ of each of our churches and it is our very sweet duty to honour and adore the Blessed Host, which our eyes see, the Incarnate Word, whom they cannot see."
Pope Francis is also devoted to the practice of Eucharistic Adoration, and makes a Holy Hour every evening:
"What I really prefer is adoration in the evening, even when I get distracted and think of other things, or even fall asleep praying. In the evening then, between seven and eight o’clock, I stay in front of the Blessed Sacrament for an hour in adoration."
A Holy Hour recalls how Jesus in the Gospel asked the disciples to wait one hour in prayer. Adoration is available in the Chaplaincy every Thursday at 6:15 -6:45 pm.
Whilst Adoration is particularly special when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed in the monstrance, you can also visit Jesus in the Eucharist at any time wherever the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in the tabernacle. The Chapel is open every weekday from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm; please do come in and spend some time with Jesus really, truly and substantially present in the tabernacle; even if it's only for a few minutes.
What happens at Adoration?
The Rite of Eucharistic Exposition and Benediction begins with the Host will be exposed in the monstrance on the altar. The congregation will kneel at this point in recognition that Jesus is really, truly and substantially present in His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity in that Host. The congregation then sings:
O saving Victim, opening wide,
The gate of heaven to man below!
Our foes press on from every side;
Thine aid supply, thy strength bestow.
To Thy great name by endless praise,
Immortal Godhead, one in Three;
Oh, grant us endless length of days,
In our true native land with Thee. Amen
There now follows between 30 minutes and an hour of silent Adoration. The congregation will continue to kneel in reverent prayer, but some may choose to sit, depending on one's personal preference in comfort.
St. Peter Julian Eymard, Apostle of the Eucharist, suggested that time before the Blessed Sacrament should be divided up between four ends: adoration, contrition, thanksgiving and supplication.
Some suggestions for this time of Adoration would be:
It can also be a good idea to bring a specific intention in your heart and to dedicate some of your time of Adoration in supplication for that request.
At the end of the period of Adoration, the priest will kneel in front of the altar again (the congregation also kneels at this point) and sing:
Down in adoration falling
This great Sacrament we hail,
Ancient types have long departed
Newer rites of grace prevail,
Faith for all defects supplying
Where the feeble senses fail.
Glory let us give and blessing
To the Father and the Son,
Honour might and praise addressing
While eternal ages run,
Equal praise to Thee confessing
Who proceeds from both as one. Amen.
Then, a concluding prayer is said. On a Thursday, this is usually a prayer for priestly vocations. The priest will then put on the humeral veil (a wide piece of cloth that goes over the shoulders and covers the hands) and go to the altar for Benediction.
Benediction is a very special moment, in which Jesus blesses us. The priest raises the monstrance, with the Host enthroned within, and makes the sign of the cross over the congregation.
The priest will then repose the Host, by removing it from the monstrance and replacing it in the tabernacle.
As the priest removes the Host from the monstrance, we begin to sing:
Let us adore for ever the most holy Sacrament.
O praise the Lord, all ye peoples: praise Him, all ye nations.
For His merciful kindness is ever more and more towards us: and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son: and to the Holy Spirit;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: world without end. Amen.
Let us adore for ever the most holy Sacrament.
Adoremus in aeternum sanctissimum Sacramentum