Spend Time in Eucharistic Adoration
What we look at has the power to change us. Our eyes are like portals to our imagination. Seeing something has a unique ability to stimulate new thoughts, clarify former ideas and significantly alter our perception. To gaze upon the Grand Canyon, the face of a child or, more problematically, images of war or immoral acts, means we encounter it in a different way than simply hearing about it or reading a description. Our days are filled with a constant barrage of images, videos and other visual stimulants which threaten to overwhelm us and cause us to think only about the here and now, the immediate and, in many cases, the visually pleasurable. As an antidote to the visual storm of the world, the Church has always used imagery to tell the story of salvation history. That is the genesis of the beautiful stained glass windows in so many of our churches, and beautiful art such as the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Ultimately, though, no art, architecture or image can replace gazing upon the face of Christ in prayer, and eucharistic adoration offers us a unique opportunity to do just that.
St. Teresa of Calcutta was famous for inviting everyone to encounter Jesus in the “distressing disguise of the poor,” but she was also known for spending significant time, every day, adoring, imploring and loving Jesus in the Eucharist. “Spend as much time as possible in front of the Blessed Sacrament and he will fill you with his strength and power,” she said.
It requires God-given faith to believe that what looks like a little piece of unleavened bread contained in the gold monstrance is supremely worthy of our attention, honor, worship and time. In eucharistic adoration, we direct our vision toward Love himself, encounter a mystery beyond the world’s comprehension and, most importantly, find ourselves in his gaze. Pope Benedict once said, “Adoration is essentially an embrace with Jesus in which I say to him: ‘I am yours, and I ask you to stay with me always.” In a world full of competing attractions, constant stimulation and disorienting visual noise, time with the Blessed Sacrament can heal our wounds, calm our minds and redirect our gaze toward he who is the source of our joy, hope and ability to live in the world, but not of it. So spend some time adoring Jesus in the Eucharist because he never tires of looking lovingly upon you.
Pete Burak is the director of i.d.9:16, the young adult outreach of Renewal Ministries. He has a master’s degree in theology and is a frequent speaker on evangelization and discipleship.