by the Benedictine Sisters of Sacre Coeur de Montmartre
Reviewed by Eileen Quinn Knight, Ph.D.
The first question the sisters deal with is ‘What is Adoration?” Adoration is defined as due to God alone. To adore the thrice-holy and supremely lovable God in the Blessed Sacrament exposed on the altar means that we offer ourselves to the ineffable love of God who has begun to manifest Himself in creation, who has been revealed to us since Abraham, who has laid in Jesus Christ the foundation of the Church through which he acts in the world.
To pray before the Blessed Sacrament exposed on the altar is to cast a glance of faith upon Jesus Christ, true God and true man, truly present in the Bread of the Eucharist. This prayer of adoration manifest God’s mercy and tenderness for humanity and calls each one of us to intercede for the needs of men. God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, Jesus, the source of salvation, is offered for our contemplation and adoration incessantly. From Him all who pray to him receive an abundance of grace to live in the world as beloved children; and through Him, in the Spirit, each of us returns to the Father, the God of tenderness and mercy, to bless and glorify Him. Moreover, regardless of our poverty or wealth, through prayer, we can draw from the unfathomable riches of the Heart of Christ, given to us in the Eucharist, for the good of all people. Let us ask the Lord to make us worshipers inspirit and truth, witnesses of the love of God before the men and women of our time.
There is one action whose effect is boundless: it is our confident and insistent prayer. Even the poorest of believers, when he does not have much to give, still has an unknown wealth: to draw through prayer from the infinite treasury of God’s mercy. In the Gospel, the Lord calls us to perseverance in prayer. Pray without ceasing. Watch and pray. While our world lacks hope, a powerful remedy is offered to us. In a society that suffers from loneliness and individualism, the Eucharistic adoration helps us discover the Real Presence of Christ at our side: I am with you always, until the end of the age. His love for us does not change. From him alone come the stability of our life. The prayer of adoration allows us to welcome this love, to take this time of reflection in silence, to root ourselves in Christ and to allow our inner freedom to grow. Furthermore, Eucharistic adoration has the power to transform our everyday relationships by giving them the true meaning of human love.
Let us rediscover our sense of the beauty of the sacred. Let us habituate our gaze to receive in adoration the pure light of the Lord. Patiently, let us allow him to fashion, in the Holy Spirit, our true face, in his image and likeness, until the day of our eternal face-to-face. Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. And in the Communion of Saints, let us find all those whom we have loved and who have preceded us before him. In the prayer of adoration, it is not a question, like the hypocritical Pharisee of the Gospel, of giving thanks for our own righteousness, and of praying only for others who are sinners (Luke 18:9-14). But before the infinite love of God, given for us in Jesus, exposed before our eyes in the Blessed Sacrament, it is a question of recognizing ourselves as poor and sinful, to see that without him we can do nothing (John 15:5), to let ourselves be saved by him, to let ourselves be healed, to let ourselves be converted. It is a question of offering ourselves to God the Father in the one and perfect offering of Jesus his Son, under the movement of the Holy Spirit, in order to fully accomplish his will. In this way, our prayer will be true: it will transform us, and in the Communion of Saints, it will shine forth as the grace of salvation for many men and women of our time who do not know God, who have distanced themselves from him or who refuse his love. This is about our God in His tender mercies!