By Father Kevin Bobbin, parochial administrator of St. John the Baptist Parish, Pottsville, and chaplain of Nativity BVM High School, Pottsville and the Diocesan Homeschool Community.
As we continue to observe this year dedicated to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, I thought I would offer a few observations about Eucharistic Adoration. It sounds simple enough. Spend time praying before the Eucharist, whether the Eucharist is in the tabernacle or exposed on the altar. What is there to say?
But for many people who are not accustomed to Adoration, it is not that simple. Apart from the challenge of making time to go to church for Adoration, many people are not quite sure what to “do” with that time.
Even before that, there is the challenge of being quiet. With attention spans shortened by our addiction to electronic devices and a million things to distract us, it is quite a challenge to sit quietly and think for any length of time.
There is also another challenge. Some of us may hesitate to spend time in prayer because we know there are things we would prefer not to face about ourselves. Prayer forces us to be honest.
Nevertheless, as many of us know from experience, the blessings of Adoration greatly outweigh the challenges. Chances are your parish or a neighboring parish is open for Adoration or private prayer on some kind of regular basis, so it should not be too hard to find the opportunity. You can check for adoration times near you.
Being quiet and dealing with distractions will always be a challenge, even for those of us who regularly spend time in prayer. But, even if your mind is wandering for a while, the prayer time is not a waste. Our Lord appreciates the sacrifice you make in coming to church to spend time in His presence.
There is no right or wrong way to pray during Adoration. It may be helpful to use a prayer book, or read Scripture, or another spiritual book, or pray the rosary. But, as many people would recommend, avoid filling the entire prayer time with these things.
Leave at least some time to just sit quietly, clear your mind and talk with our Lord in your own words about whatever you want. Sometimes we make the mistake of filling the entire prayer time with “stuff” so that it actually blocks out the dialogue our Lord truly wants to have with us.
This leads to the last thought. Adoration (or any prayer time) calls for an act of faith that Jesus Christ truly knows you, cares about you and wants to spend time with you. Sometimes we look at prayer as more of a duty than an encounter with a real Person, a loved one, who looks forward to spending time with us.
When we let it sink in that Jesus is truly present before us in the Eucharist, and that He loves us and wants to spend time with us, it draws us into prayer. It also helps remove any fear we might have about where He might lead us.
If you already spend time in prayer before the Eucharist, the Year of the Real Presence is an invitation to deepen this experience in some way.
If Eucharistic Adoration is not part of your experience, this year know that our Lord is waiting for you. He wants you to know the great peace and transforming power that comes from spending time with Him and sharing your life with Him.