This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, commonly called Corpus Christi. This is a day to reflect on the gift of the Eucharist as the real, true, substantial Presence of Jesus at every Mass and in every Tabernacle in every Catholic and Orthodox Church around the world. Jesus is with us, as He promised, to be our spiritual nourishment and to remind us of the New Covenant He ratified by the shedding of His Precious Blood on the Cross. We commonly mark this feast with Eucharistic processions and special times of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is often overlooked or misunderstood, so I want to reflect a bit on this special devotion in our Catholic life. Adoration is simply time spent looking with love upon Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist. Formal Adoration usually takes place in a church or chapel with Jesus’ Precious Body suspended in a gold Monstrance or Ostensorium above the altar. The Monstrance extends in time that moment of the Mass where the priest holds up the consecrated Host before the people. We look upon the Body of Christ and we adore His Divinity present in the Eucharist. We place ourselves in solidarity with the apostles at the first Eucharist with Jesus, hearing Him say to us: “Take it; this is my body.”
Adoration increases our love and respect for Jesus in the Eucharist, which enriches our experience of receiving Jesus at Mass. The Mass itself cannot provide as much time as we truly need to spend in quiet conversation with Jesus, so we go to Adoration to have this quality time with Our Lord. Adoration may include the singing of devotional hymns or praise and worship music and readings from Sacred Scripture to prompt our meditations, but most often it is simply silent time for individual prayer. Though we can pray anywhere, it is good for us to go to a dedicated time and place for intimate time with Jesus. Just like a husband and wife can spend time together anywhere, it is their time alone in private that provides for the deepest intimacies.
To celebrate well the feast of Corpus Christi, I invite all of you to spend an hour in Eucharistic Adoration this week, either taking part in the devotions this Sunday, or at a local parish church or Adoration Chapel. In Perham, Minnesota, we have Adoration at St. Henry’s every Tuesday 8:00 am to Wednesday 8:00 am. It is my great hope that we will extend our hours of Adoration in the future with our own Adoration Chapel so that we may provide Adoration 24/7. Give our Lord a little extra time this week. Adore Him in the Eucharist and deepen your appreciation for the great gift He has given in making Himself available to us as our Heavenly Bread.