The Power of Eucharistic Adoration
BY SUSAN TASSONE
Like many Catholics around the world, I experience the power of Eucharistic Adoration. When I wrote one of my books about St. Faustina, I went to Adoration frequently. Actually, back then, the Adoration chapel was right down the hall from my office. (I had the privilege of working for the late Cardinal Francis George in Chicago.) I was able to stop by any time of the day to pray silently before the Blessed Sacrament.
After work hours I spent time in the Presence. I often said to myself: “I am tired. I could be home.” But there was never a time that I did stay and not feel refreshed after my visit. It was so palpable; it truly amazed me. Soon I was back in the chapel seeking God’s direction for my writings. Again, without fail, I was flooded with ideas. I felt directed. I knew what needed to be done.
Being in the presence of Our Lord, everything was clear, and this continued for many books to come. I just “showed up.” He blessed my life, my work, and my family. Praying in the Lord’s presence drew me closer to Christ, gave me strength to deal with the circumstances of my daily life, and provided me with opportunities to ask God to help my family and friends.
I was sitting with Jesus. Friend to friend. Little did I know that this was what St. Faustina experienced. I spoke to him more from my heart as I would to a friend. That’s why I’m so excited about Adoration! I encourage those of you who are already doing Adoration to invite others to consider devoting frequent time to the Lord.
The popes, saints, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church testify to the benefits of Adoration. Let’s start with the Catechism. It presents an inspiring picture:
Contemplation is a gaze of faith, fixed on Jesus. “I look at him and he looks at me”: this is what a certain peasant of Ars in the time of his holy curé [St. John Vianney] used to say while praying before the tabernacle.This focus on Jesus is a renunciation of self. His gaze purifies our heart; the light of the countenance of Jesus illumines the eyes of our heart and teaches us to see everything in the light of his truth and his compassion for all men. Contemplation also turns its gaze on the mysteries of the life of Christ. (CCC, 2715)
Recent popes have urged Catholics to take up the ancient practice of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. St. John Paul II depended on the Lord to give him wisdom. When he was developing his encyclicals, he placed a desk and chair before the tabernacle and listened while he wrote. There he drew strength, consolation, and support.
The Church and the world have a great need for Eucharistic worship. Jesus awaits us in this sacrament of love. Let us not refuse the time to go to meet him in adoration, in contemplation full of faith, and open to making amends for the serious offenses and crimes of the world. Let our adoration never cease. (CCC, 1380, quoting St. John Paul II’s letter Dominicae Cenae, The Mystery and Worship of the Eucharist)
Pope Francis has also promoted Adoration throughout his pontificate. In a homily from Feb. 5, 2018, he told priests that they must teach the faithful how to adore in order to prepare them for what they will do in heaven. He said: “We know how to teach [our people] how to pray, sing, and praise God … but to adore?”
THE SAINTS AND ADORATION
The saints and other holy people all had Adoration in common.
St. Teresa of Kolkata has said that without Eucharistic Adoration she would never have been able to do what she did to the level she did it. She even hinted that without it she would have burned out. Mother Teresa required her sisters to do a daily Holy Hour that gave them strength and peace to accomplish their extraordinary work among the poorest of the poor. She attributed the doubling of vocations to the Missionaries of Charity to the nuns’ faithful hour of Adoration.
Ven. Fulton J. Sheen began the practice of a daily Holy Hour when he was a seminarian. And he performed it without fail for 60 years. In his autobiography Treasure in Clay, he wrote: “The Holy Hour is not a devotion; it is a sharing in the work of redemption. In the garden … Our Lord asked, ‘Could you not watch one hour with me?’ He asked for an hour of reparation to combat the hour of evil, an hour of victim union with the cross to overcome the anti-love of sin” (Image, 1982).
Servant of God Dorothy Day interrupted her tireless works of mercy to spend many hours before the Blessed Sacrament. There she interceded for the homeless, broken, and mentally ill people she loved. Her time before the Real Presence gave her confidence that she lived and served in the Lord’s presence all the time.
Adoration helped Mother Angelica build the EWTN television network. For every hour she was on TV, she spent an extra hour in Adoration. When she was being challenged with great difficulties, St. John Paul II sent her a monstrance! His message was to stay focused on Jesus through Adoration and thanksgiving.
When Helena Kowalska became anun, she took the name of Sr. Faustina of the Blessed Sacrament to highlight the focus of her spirituality. Adoration was her life. “One hour spent at the foot of the altar in the greatest dryness of spirit is dearer to me than a hundred years of worldly pleasures. I prefer to be a lowly drudge in the convent than a queen in the world” (Diary, 254).
St. Faustina offered up her Adoration for her intentions — family, friends, priests, her country, the Church, the dying, in thanksgiving, and especially on behalf of the holy souls. She asked graces for them as a group. Jesus wanted her to know how much this pleased him. God loves in a special way those whom we love.
There is a Polish proverb that says,“You become the one you befriend.” St. Faustina wept in front of Jesus. She shared her joys with him. She acknowledged her weaknesses. She asked for healing, listened, thanked, and rested in Jesus. She immersed herself in the fire of his love and the depths of his mercy. It was Adoration that called her forth to go out and help others — and Adoration that empowered her to share Jesus’ compassion to everyone she encountered. As St. Faustina’s soul united with Jesus, the fruit of her Adoration was an image of Divine Mercy.
What if you can’t make it to a church or chapel for Adoration? St. Faustina would recommend “spiritual Adoration.” Her times of Adoration were both in the convent chapel and in private in her room and even on her sickbed. God knows we can have very good reasons for not visiting him in a church or chapel — family responsibilities, job, health, distance from a church, and so on. But we can do “spiritual Adoration” anywhere, anytime, including setting up our own Adoration chapel with a designated corner or chair at home!
The saints were no strangers to “spiritual Adoration.” Many religious would request a cell (bedroom) facing the chapel or a nearby church. From their window they would kneel and bow down in Adoration toward the Eucharistic Lord.
Throughout the day, it’s possible to follow St. Faustina’s example, which was not necessarily rushing to the chapel but slowing down to spend a moment in simple Adoration. You can join St. Faustina in one of her small, tender prayers of Adoration.
“Adore, my soul, the mercy of the Lord.”
“I adore you, O living Bread.”
“My only hope is in You.”
St. Faustina gave us an example of faithful prayer when circumstances prevent us from spending time before the tabernacle. I, too, try to find little moments — when I am waiting in line at the post office, or making tea or coffee — to pray these small prayers of Adoration.
Spending time in Adoration draws us into intimacy with Jesus. And as we get closer to him, he gives us the wisdom and strength to serve his Church and the people he has placed in our lives. Take a good look at your routine and find a way to include Adoration in your life. You will truly become the one you befriend.