The Blessed Sacrament
Eucharistic Adoration is a blessing that Jesus gave us to become closer to him in his physical form. We can bring our wants, needs, sacrifices, and thoughts to the Lord and give him a chance to talk to us in this intimate and beautiful time of prayer & reflection.
- Every Thursday following the 10:00am Daily Mass until midnight. (In the Baptismal Room)
- Every first Friday of the month from 7:00pm to 8:00pm with Mass to follow.
- Visit the St. Thomas Grotto for 24/7 adoration, 364 days a year.
Most churches are open even when Mass is not in progress. The familiar red lamp near the tabernacle assures us that Christ is still present there, in the consecrated Hosts reserved from the last Mass. It’s a common practice to stop in for a quick prayer. That genuflection you perform, perhaps from habit, is an acknowledgment of Christ’s presence in the tabernacle and the sanctity of the altar where we celebrate Mass.
At other times, the Blessed Sacrament is exposed for adoration. It is placed in a monstrance, a beautiful receptacle that holds the Host in glass so it can be seen. If you see a notice that your parish has Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament or Eucharistic Adoration at a certain time, this means that the consecrated Host is displayed for worship and prayer. In some churches, this happens at a fixed time each week—perhaps following a weekday Mass. Other parishes might do it on a less regular basis, during liturgical seasons such as Advent, Christmas, Lent, or Easter.
Where parishes have a regular period of Eucharistic Adoration, worshippers often follow a schedule for visiting the Sacrament, to ensure that the Eucharist is never without veneration. These schedules are typically divided into one-hour shifts. This is a convenient span of time for most people, but it was not chosen randomly. It recalls Christ’s Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. Though he asked his disciples to watch with him, he returned from prayer to find them fast asleep. Jesus said to Peter, “Could you not stay awake with me one hour?” (Matthew 26:40, NRSV).
Of course, if another parishioner is scheduled for a given hour, that doesn’t mean that you should feel excluded. Those schedules allow for a minimum number of worshippers—there is no maximum. Your church would love to have the problem of having to turn people away due to lack of space.
A good way to get familiar with the practice of Eucharistic Adoration is to stop in during a time that works for you. You don’t have to schedule ahead and you don’t have to spend an hour. You can pop in for a short visit or stay as long as you like.
If you are interested in Eucharistic Adoration, you might find yourself fitting in a visit here and there or even signing up for one of those vacant slots on the schedule. For those used to jam-packed days when lunch is eaten behind a steering wheel and bathroom breaks have to be scheduled, an hour of quiet might seem daunting. Just what are we supposed to do?
Everyone finds their own ways of spending time with Jesus. Some spend an hour on their knees, gazing adoringly at the monstrance. Say a rosary, read Scripture, write in a journal, read a spiritual book (there are dozens available specifically for Holy Hours) or do absolutely nothing at all. Whatever happens in that space and time is OK. The point is to make time for Jesus as you make time for your spouse, your kids, your friends—any important relationship.
The Franciscan tradition offers some ideas to get you started.
St. Clare of Assisi instructed her sisters to follow a four-step process for meditation.
• Gaze. Simply spend some time looking at the Host. Except for the Elevation at Mass and the few moments when we receive Communion, it’s not something we get to see. The profound reality of the Real Presence is so essential to our faith, it’s worth spending some time on.
• Consider. Is there a special concern weighing on your mind? Even complicated issues sometimes can untangle themselves when considered in the light of Christ’s presence. This is also a good time to simply consider Christ. You might start with pondering his Agony in the Garden, or the Passion and Death that followed. You might reflect on his sacrifice for you, and how the evidence of his presence in front of you confirms that even death did not exhaust his love.
• Contemplate. Pray. Whatever is on your mind, whatever thoughts can’t quite fit into the few minutes your day usually allows for prayer—you have time for them now. Pour out your heart to the One who is anxious to receive your worship, your praise, your pleas, even your anger.
• Imitate. Spending time in Eucharistic Adoration usually has a profound effect on a person’s life. Take whatever insights you have gained from your time in prayer, or whatever peace you have been granted, and bring it back to your daily life. With time, you may find that the hour you thought you could never fill is not long enough.
“When you look at the crucifix, you understand how much Jesus loved you. When you look at the Sacred Host, you understand how much Jesus loves you now,” Mother Teresa said.
“…The time you spend with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the best time you will spend on earth. Each moment that you spend with Jesus will deepen your union with him and make your soul everlastingly more glorious and beautiful in Heaven, and will help bring about everlasting peace on earth.”
In every case, the object of Eucharistic Adoration is to draw closer to Jesus and, then, to bring that presence of Christ to our needy world.