Editor’s Note: On the Sunday after Trinity Sunday each year, the universal Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ. The day is also known by its Latin name, Corpus Christi. This feast is a celebration of Christ’s true presence in the consecrated bread and wine of the Eucharist. Catholics believe that Jesus, at the last Passover supper before His Crucifixion, instituted the Eucharist and keeps it until the end of time.One way to mark this day and acknowledge Jesus’ True Presence in the Eucharist is to spend time with Him in an Adoration chapel. For those who cannot be physically present in a church or chapel, trust that Jesus is spiritually with us everywhere. With a humble heart, any time of prayer can become adoration and will certainly nourish our souls.
What Adoration Is
“Adoration is the first attitude of man acknowledging that he is a creature before his Creator. It exalts the greatness of the Lord who made us and the almighty power of the Savior who sets us free from evil. Adoration is homage of the spirit to the ‘King of Glory,’ respectful silence in the presence of the ‘ever greater’ God. Adoration of the thrice-holy and sovereign God of love blends with humility and gives assurance to our supplications.” – Catechism of the Catholic Church #2628
These words from the above paragraph are particularly instructive for how to enter into a “Holy Hour of Adoration” (or even a Holy 10 Minutes!) Attitude of. . .acknowledging. Exalts. Homage of the spirit. Respectful silence. Humility. All of these phrases speak to the posture of our hearts before the Lord – on our end. And on God’s end – which of the titles for God mentioned above speaks to you right now? Make him the object of your adoration.
What to Do During Adoration
And so, whether you’re new to Eucharistic Adoration, a veteran adorer looking for new inspiration, or desiring to adore Jesus from home, here are 10 ideas for how to “sit at his feet.”
- Start with what helps you stop. Even if our lives aren’t particularly busy at present, our minds generally are. Make a conscious break from your routine mental trajectory (what I need to do, who I need to call, etc.) and give yourself a spiritual “shake”: acknowledge that you are in the presence of your Lord and God. A mindfully made sign of the cross or, if before the Eucharistic Jesus, a reverent genuflection can help awaken you to awe. Do an attitude “warm-up” by making simple acts of faith, hope, and love. “Jesus, I believe that you are here. I trust in your goodness. I love you. Increase my faith, my hope, my love.”
- Give thanks. Take some time to thank God for his blessings and his hand in your life right now. Fostering a sense of gratitude helps us recognize that we are creatures before our Creator, dependent on him for everything. This in itself is a kind of “homage of the spirit.”
- Talk to Jesus about what’s on your heart. Sometimes we feel that we should only be praying about elevated, “holy” things. But it’s the real stuff, the truth of who we are right now, that Jesus wants to hear about. . . and to talk to us about. This is part of humility. Just be careful not to slip into prayer that is wholly you-centric. The other part of humility is acknowledging the truth of who God is. Always reserve time to raise your eyes to contemplating and praising and thanking him!
- Read Scripture and let it sink into your soul. Re-read it. What do you want to ask the Father? How does this passage help you get to know Jesus? What is the Holy Spirit saying to you through this Scripture? This doesn’t have to be Scripture study – it is more about it being a dialogue between you and God. It is his Word. Gaze at him. Who is he? Marvel at him. Love him. From this exaltation, a desire to become like him will grow in your heart.
- Sit with silence. When with someone, silence can feel awkward or futile. We often listen through filters of what we’re going to say next, whether or not we agree, or how what was said fits into our own preformed categories. Adoration invites us to grow comfortable with “respectful silence in the presence of the ‘ever greater’ God,” who is also our dear friend; to listen as fertile soil awaiting the sower’s seed; to hold and ponder and relish and nurture the Word received. Once we’ve entered into peaceful, contemplative prayer, silently being with the Beloved can be easy and natural. Other times, it can require great effort to surrender the constant stream of internal distractions to the Lord. On these days, remember the very act of returning our wayward minds to the Lord is itself an act of love and is no less a humble prayer. Contemplation, spiritual writers tell us, is actually a gift – more about God’s action than ours. Our efforts at exterior and interior silence give God the chance. Maybe he’ll speak, maybe he won’t. But simply respectful, silent proximity to him can be profoundly transformative.
- Do some spiritual reading. Using a good book (or even your favorite spiritual blog on your phone) about some aspect of discipleship can be another useful means of letting God speak to your heart and form your interior. Again, we are creatures before our Creator seeking to know and love him and be re-created more and more like him.
- Journal. This can be a helpful way to focus your mind or process any of the above forms of prayer. Write your gratitude list. Tell Jesus what’s on your heart – letter style. Note the insights you’ve received in prayer and where you feel the Spirit leading in your life’s particulars.
- Pray the Rosary or Divine Mercy Chaplet. These are both powerful prayers that lend themselves to exalting “the greatness of the Lord” and the “power of the Savior.” If you often find your fingers on your beads but your mind far from exalting, consider: praying the Scriptural Rosary (a passage provided for each Hail Mary about the mystery), focusing on one virtue and how Jesus or Mary lived it in each mystery, contemplating an artistic representation of the mystery, centering on one aspect such as “how did Jesus feel?” or “how did Mary treat those around her?” or “how is God’s goodness revealed?” in each mystery.
- Sing. If you are alone (of course!) or adoring with a friend or family member, consider grabbing a hymnal or even playing your favorite Praise and Worship playlist on your phone and singing from your heart. There’s something very special about adoring the Lord by singing his praise.
- Place your petitions before the Lord and/or do a good Examination of Conscience. “Adoration . . . blends with humility and gives assurance to our supplications.” Confidently ask the Lord for what you need and don’t neglect to intercede for the many needs in our world. When you know you will be going to Confession soon, adoration can be a good time to prepare with a reflective examination of conscience. Properly done, this can be another means of exalting “the almighty power of the Savior who sets us free from evil.”
Please leave a comment below. What is one of your favorite ways to pray during adoration?
(Quotations above are taken from CCC #2628.)
Copyright 2020 Kristi Quinlan