"Adoration Belongs By Right to the Lamb..."

One of the great gifts the Catholic Church offers us – or has been allowed to offer us by the decree of Her Divine Head, Jesus Christ – is the opportunity for ‘exposition’ and ‘adoration’ of the Blessed Sacrament. Surprisingly to some, however, many Catholics (perhaps the reader included?) have never heard of such things. I guess the simple way to go about this would be to explain what I mean when I say “exposition” and “adoration.”

To start, both are pretty basic concepts: exposition is when the priest makes the Blessed Sacrament visible in the monstrance (a transparent vessel used to hold the consecrated Host), and adoration is the act of worship performed by the faithful once Christ is visible to them. Exposition cannot occur without adoration – that is it’s whole point! But, adoration can occur, and should occur even when the Host is not exposed in the monstrance. That’s pretty much the whole deal on that… now for the meat and potatoes of this post.

So what are we supposed to do once the Lord is present to us in such a profound yet simple way as in Eucharistic exposition? What does it mean to ‘adore’ Him? The answer might be much simpler than you’d think. Perhaps the best thing we could ever hope to do is simply sit there, gazing at Him and allowing Him to gaze back at us. In fact, this is exactly the answer given to St. John Vianney, the great Curé d’Ars, when he questioned one of his parishioners as to how he spent his time with the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.

But alas, we live in a fallen world, and simply gazing at Jesus under the species of ordinary bread hardly captivates our relentlessly functioning intellect. There are a lot of things that you can do to focus on the Lord, but one suggestion that I would make is this: spend at least 10 or 15 minutes in quiet adoration of Jesus, meditating as best you can on his love for you personally as he is there present to speak to you. Even though it can seem like a lifetime, just this short amount of quiet ‘mental prayer’ can be enough to propel us higher and higher in the spiritual life – but it has to start somewhere. Use this short time to approach Christ with your heart, not just your mind, and tell him the things that you would tell only to your most beloved friend. Show him the raw side of your heart, in need of love. We ravish the Lord’s heart with one glance from our eyes – by just being there and looking at Him! Allow Him to do the same to yours.