December 8, 2020 | Miles Christi
We would like to express our grateful love to the Lord truly present in the Most Blessed Sacrament. In his encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia our late Pope John Paul II wrote regarding Eucharistic adoration:
“The worship of the Eucharist outside of the Mass is of inestimable value for the life of the Church. This worship is strictly linked to the celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. The presence of Christ under the sacred species reserved after Mass — a presence which lasts as long as the species of bread and of wine remain — derives from the celebration of the sacrifice and is directed towards Communion, both sacramental and spiritual.
“It is the responsibility of pastors to encourage, also by their personal witness, the practice of Eucharistic adoration, and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in particular, as well as prayer of adoration before Christ present under the Eucharistic species… This practice, repeatedly praised and recommended by the Magisterium, is supported by the example of many saints. Particularly outstanding in this regard was Saint Alphonsus Liguori, who wrote: ‘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.’ The Eucharist is a priceless treasure: by not only celebrating it but also by praying before it outside of Mass, we are enabled to make contact with the very wellspring of grace” (Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia, no. 25).
In his apostolic letter Mane Nobiscum Domine written in October 2004, John Paul II tells us: “There is a particular need to cultivate a lively awareness of Christ’s real presence, both in the celebration of Mass and in the worship of the Eucharist outside Mass. Care should be taken to show that awareness through tone of voice, gestures, posture and bearing… The presence of Jesus in the tabernacle must be a kind of magnetic pole attracting an ever greater number of souls enamored of Him, ready to wait patiently to hear His voice and, as it were, to sense the beating of His Heart. ‘O taste and see that the Lord is good!’ (Ps 34 :8).
“Let us take the time to kneel before Jesus present in the Eucharist, in order to make reparation by our faith and love for the acts of carelessness and neglect, and even the insults which our Savior must endure in many parts of the world. Let us deepen through adoration our personal and communal contemplation, drawing upon aids to prayer inspired by the word of God and the experience of so many mystics, old and new.” (Mane Nobiscum Domine 18).
On September 4, 2006 our then Holy Father Benedict XVI introduced his recitation of the Angelus by making a reflection on John Paul II’s Eucharistic devotion. As Benedict XVI said: “How deep was the devotion with which he celebrated Holy Mass, the center of every one of his days! And how much time he used to spend in silent, adoring prayer before the tabernacle!”
Let us learn from John Paul II and Benedict XVI how to increase our Eucharistic devotion. The time we spend with Him will be abundantly rewarded now and, above all, in the glory of life eternal.