Understanding Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament

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B16 & Eucharist 2009.jpgPeriodically people ask about the practice of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. I typically find the questions interesting because it seems like we have forgotten the reasons why we adore the eucharistic Presence of Jesus Christ and this experience of eucharistic adoration is key for every Catholic and for every parish, school, hospital, convent, abbey, etc. 

When questions arise about the character of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament we should go to the liturgical book called Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass. While it does not provide details about what ought or ought not be done at Adoration, it does provide a liturgical theology by which we follow. There it says that 

Exposition of the Holy Eucharist is intended to acknowledge Christ's marvelous presence in the sacrament. Exposition invites us to the spiritual union with him that culminates in sacramental communion. Thus it fosters very well the worship which is due to Christ in spirit and in truth. This kind of exposition must clearly express the cult of the blessed sacrament in its relationship to the Mass.  The plan of the exposition should carefully avoid anything which might somehow obscure the principal desire of Christ in instituting the Eucharist, namely, to be with us as food, medicine, and comfort" (n.82).

Therefore, we can reason that devotions, songs, prayers, etc., ought to be consistent with what is given in this book. 

The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy: Principles and Guidelines does offer examples of what is consistent with the purposes of Eucharistic adoration. It says: 

The faithful should be encouraged to read the Scriptures during these periods of adoration, since they afford an unrivalled source of prayer.  Suitable hymns and canticles based on those of the Liturgy of the Hours and the liturgical seasons could also be encouraged, as well as periods of silent prayer and reflection.  Gradually, the faithful should be encouraged not to do other devotional exercises during exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.  Given the close relationship between Christ and Our Lady, the rosary can always be of assistance in giving prayer a Christological orientation, since it contains meditation of the Incarnation and the Redemption (n.165).

This list of practices is not exhaustive, and it is not meant to be but it does give a useful sense of how to evaluate our devotional practices during Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

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Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.



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This page contains a single entry by Paul Zalonski published on February 9, 2010 8:44 PM.

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