Of all devotions, that of adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the greatest after the sacraments, the one dearest to God and the one most helpful to us.
(St. Alphonsus Liguori)
One of the devotional practices of the Church that was in danger of being lost for a while is the adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. But, thank God, it’s a practice that’s had an amazing comeback in our parishes, and has been welcomed by many, including lots of young people. And, by the way, it’s clearly one of the keys in discerning a priestly vocation, experience has shown.
Eucharistic adoration has a long and noble place in the life of the Church. Building on the quote of St. Alphonsus mentioned above, Pope John Paul II said: “The Eucharist is a priceless treasure. By praying before it outside of Mass we are enabled to make contact with the wellspring of grace.” And more recently, Pope Francis said that immersing oneself in silent Eucharist adoration is the secret in knowing the Lord. “One cannot know the Lord without the habit of adoring, of adoring in silence – to ‘waste time’ before the Lord,” the Holy Father said.
There are, I think, at least three reasons why Eucharistic adoration is so valuable for Catholics.
The first is that it encourages us to know Jesus in a personal, intimate sort of way. Jesus has called us to be his friends, and we need to spend time with Jesus, quality, personal time, if that friendship is to be nurtured and endure.
The second is that it helps us to grow in holiness. Much like an art student is influenced by studying under a great master, if we spend time with Jesus, the Master of Holiness, his goodness will certainly rub off on us. It’s the lesson of the “vine and the branches” of which Jesus spoke. (Jn 15: 1-5)
Finally, spending time with Jesus doesn’t end in sanctimonious isolation but motivates us to go forth to be living examples of faith and holiness in the world. Adoration of Jesus “allows the fire of love that Jesus brought to the earth to envelope our entire existence,” Pope Francis said.
Eucharistic adoration – the devotion “dearest to God and most helpful to us.”
Something to think about: Spending quality time with Jesus is one of the surest ways of growing in the Imitation of Christ.