Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Down In Adoration Falling...

Eucharistic adoration is a truly beautiful Catholic practice. Since we believe that Christ is really and truly and fully present in every consecrated host, it has followed that we will take one of these consecrated hosts and set it in a monstrance for people to come and sit in the presence of Christ. Jesus, after all, asked his earliest disciples if they could not spend one hour with Him. Adoration is our way of saying "Yes!"

I was raised in the Catholic Church, but I first learned about the practice of Eucharistic Adoration in - of all things - a romance novel. The book was Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. The main heroine was not Catholic, she wasn't even sure she believed in God at all, but she fell in love with a man who was. At one point in the book that man was near death and was taken to a monastery for healing. There, as she agonized over the fate of her husband, the monks introduced her to Eucharistic Adoration. Even after she and her husband were separated by barriers that seemed impossible to cross, she continued to find her way to Eucharistic Adoration because in it she found a peace that she could find no where else. At that time in my life, I desperately needed peace and was willing to try anything that might give it to me.

It would be several years before I would attend Eucharistic Adoration for the first time, and I admit I didn't notice feeling any different when I walked out than I had when I walked in. In fact, it would take many times of me going before I noticed this special feeling that would come over me while sitting there in that silence. Eventually I realized that the special feeling was the presence of the Holy Spirit. It is hard to describe what it feels like, and it really isn't important because I have come to see that He makes Himself known to each of us in a different way.

In March of 2009, I became a committed Eucharistic Adorer, promising to show up once a week to Adore our Lord. That year I would also introduce my husband, who was at the time an avowed atheist who swore he would never become Catholic, to the practice. He didn't go often, but I remember him telling me at one point before his decision to convert that he wasn't sure why but he always felt better after coming out of adoration than he did when he went in, somehow more peaceful and relaxed.

Once we moved from Texas, though, I stopped going regularly. I didn't realize how much I missed it until two weeks ago during the services of Holy Thursday. Since then I haven't missed. Sometimes I get the reward of feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit while I'm there, as I did today. Sometimes, like last week, I get no feelings at all. Those are the times that are most important to go because it is when I feel like I am getting nothing at all that I am giving Jesus the most of myself.

To my atheist, agnostic, protestant, buddhist, muslim, or wiccan friends I invite you to spend an hour in adoration. It's such a simple action, and nothing will be required from you. Just sit in the presence of the Lord for an hour. You don't even have to believe that He's there. He's waiting for you.

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