Eucharistic Adoration Ink Slingers Michelle Hamel Parenting Prayer Vocations

Like Small Children, Run to Jesus

Like Small Children Run to Jesus

I have been blessed to raise eight children. These children have taught me to love and give as I never thought I could. They have brought me incredible joys, and at times, have brought me to the brink of despair. Life with my children has been a strong catalyst in strengthening my own relationship with God. Nothing brings me to my knees faster than their struggles. Nothing brings me to praise God quicker than their personal victories. They have taught me to run to Jesus in all things.

One of our sons, Peter, is profoundly Autistic. When Peter was around seven years old, he was still in the thick of the difficult years of parenting him. He was a very wiggly kid who still had a habit of bolting away from us. Peter needed to have constant…and I mean 24/7 kind of constant…supervision. He had the impulsivity of a young toddler and the physical coordination of a child his age. We had keyed locks on all our windows to keep him from escaping the house…put on after he escaped out of a window when I took my eyes off of him for a literal two minutes and didn’t find him until 10 minutes later halfway down the street of our neighborhood sitting on one of our neighbor’s lawn mower tractors in their driveway. Life with Peter at that point in time was extremely stressful.

Every Sunday, Peter sits next to my husband, Jay, at Mass. It was a challenging hour to get through for Peter…and us! One Sunday at Mass when he was around seven years old, Peter slid out of the pew and, before Jay even realized what was happening, he ran right up onto the altar and grabbed our Pastor’s vestments IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CONSECRATION! God bless Father Dan who didn’t even get distracted and only looked down at Peter and smiled. My husband, Jay, and I were both in shock for about 10 seconds, and then Jay made his way sheepishly up to altar, grabbed Peter’s hand, and escorted him to the ‘cry room’. I was so shocked and embarrassed that I started laughing. Then I started crying and just couldn’t stop. My 15 year old son was sitting next to me and was looking at me like I was a crazy person!

After Mass that day, we waited until the entire church had just about cleared out because we were so embarrassed. A friend came over to me and gave me a hug and told me to have a good day. I sat in the pew trying not to start crying again. My son’s friend’s grandmother was sitting a couple of rows behind us. She called my name, and the first time I actually ignored it because I was just so embarrassed. I wanted to be invisible. When she called my name a second time I turned around feeling just so sheepish. She said to me, with tears in her eyes, “Peter knew Who he was running to!” Tears filled my eyes and all I could do was nod. God used a very embarrassing situation to touch at least one person.

Peter took St. Therese’s words literally that day…“Since we see the way, let’s run together.”

Several months ago, our Parish’s Deacon (who we love) gave a homily that really inspired me. Deacon Pepin talked about how God was convicting him about spending time daily in His presence. He wasn’t just talking about doing a holy hour every day…although that’s amazing for anyone that is able to…but even just stopping in the Church for small amounts of time in front of Our Lord. Spending extra time in adoration will give us extra grace and peace….and we can certainly never have too much of either!

I am blessed to live just two miles from our parish. Our parish has an adoration chapel that is open Monday through Saturday afternoon perpetually. At the time of the homily, I was attending daily Mass on Mondays and Saturdays and I was also doing a holy hour Saturday before Mass and a “holy half hour” on Mondays before Mass.

Deacon Pepin’s homily really got me thinking. Tuesday through Thursday I could easily stop by the Adoration Chapel on my way home from work. I couldn’t do a whole holy hour those days, but I could definitely spend 10 or 15 minutes before the Blessed Sacrament.

What is one way you could spend more time with Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament?LikeSmallChildrenRuntoJesus

Eucharistic Adoration Ink Slingers Maurisa Prayer

The Beginner’s Guide to Eucharistic Adoration, Part 2

The Beginner's Guide to Eucharistic Adoration, Part 2.JPG


In part one of “The Beginner’s Guide to Eucharistic Adoration,” I laid out the fascinating history behind the practice of Adoration.  In this second part, we will delve into the practical aspects and application of Adoration.  

The Code Canon Law encourages the faithful to visit the Blessed Sacrament and lays out the prescription by which this should be carried out. (see Book IV: The Sanctifying Office of the Church Can. 897, 898, and 934-944). Visits may be as simple as making a quick trip to the sanctuary to say a short prayer before the Tabernacle to making a weekly commitment to spend an hour or more in prayer before the Sacrament of the Altar.

Opportunities for Adoration can be quite varied.  A key feature of most spiritual retreats is time spent in Eucharistic Adoration.  Many parishes offer 40-Hours Devotions and Benediction at least once a year.  Other parishes might have regularly scheduled Adoration every week, and still, others offer Perpetual Adoration.  If your own parish does not offer Adoration, a good resource for finding a parish that does is which has a tab for Adoration at the top of the webpage. 

In a retreat or Adoration and Benediction situation Adoration will often be guided and offer public prayer as well as hopefully have a length of time for silent prayer and meditation. Youth retreats, in particular, are likely to offer dynamic, and emotionally powerful experiences in Adoration; appealing to many youth.  Adoration in a group setting, such as a retreat can be a wonderful way to get started in the devotion and offers a sense of community as well as some direction in praying.

Many people, including yours truly, prefer the quiet solitude of private time in Adoration. Regular time spent in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament can be an incredibly enriching and rewarding endeavor.  In fact, the Saints have had much to say on the subject.

“Trust all things to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and to Mary Help of Christians and you will see what miracles are.” – St. John Bosco

“The Eucharist is connected with the Passion. ...To make sure that we do not forget, Jesus gave us the Eucharist as a memorial of his love … When you look at the Crucifix, you understand how much Jesus loved you then, when you look at the Sacred Host you understand how much Jesus loves you now.” – Mother Teresa of Calcutta

“Go and find Him when your patience and strength run out and you feel alone and helpless.  Jesus is waiting for you in the chapel.  Say to Him, ‘Jesus, you know exactly what is going on. You are all I have, and you know all things. Come to my help.’  And then go, and don’t worry about how you are going to manage.  That you have told God about it is enough.  He has a good memory.” -St. Jeanne Jugan

“Good friends find pleasure in one another’s company. Let us know pleasure in the company of our best Friend, a Friend who can do everything for us, a friend who loves us beyond measure. Here in the Blessed Sacrament, we can talk to him straight from the heart.” -St Alphonsus de Liguori  

“Gaze upon him, consider him, contemplate him, as you desire to imitate him.” -St Clare of Assisi

Once you’ve found a parish or Adoration Chapel to frequent you may wonder how does one spend an entire hour in silent prayer.  There are so many ways to spend the time wisely and each one of us can find a manner which best fits our needs and personalities.

Ideas and variations that will help 

First of all, let’s talk posture.  When we enter the presence of Christ our King upon the altar, we should kneel down on both knees, one knee, or bow as our bodies will allow us and pay homage to Him who created us.  After our greeting, one may sit in a pew, kneel, or walk about the sanctuary praying as one feels drawn to do.  When our time is at an end, we should once again enter a posture of homage before leaving Our Lord.

Obviously, prayer is the manner in which we converse with Christ while we are in Adoration.  This prayer can take many forms. I love this prayer written by Saint Alphonsus Liguori and I usually begin my holy hour with it:

“My Lord Jesus Christ, Who because of Your love for men remain night and day in the Blessed Sacrament, full of pity and of love, awaiting, calling and welcoming all who come to visit You, I believe that You are present here on the altar. I adore You, and I thank You for all the graces You have bestowed on me, especially for having given me Yourself in this Sacrament, for having given me Your most holy Mother Mary to plead for me, and for having called me to visit You in this church.

I now salute Your most loving Heart, and that for three ends: first, in thanksgiving for this great gift; secondly, to make amends to You for all the outrages committed against You in this Sacrament by Your enemies; thirdly, I intend by this visit to adore You in all the places on earth in which You are present in the Blessed Sacrament and in which You are least honored and most abandoned.

My Jesus, I love You with my whole heart. I am very sorry for having so many times offended Your infinite goodness. With the help of Your grace, I purpose never to offend You again. And now, unworthy though I am, I consecrate myself to You without reserve. I renounce and give entirely to You my will, my affection, my desires and all that I possess. For the future, dispose of me and all I have as You please.

All I ask of You is Your holy love, final perseverance and that I may carry out Your will perfectly. I recommend to You the souls in Purgatory, especially those who had the greatest devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and to the Blessed Virgin Mary. I also recommend to You all poor sinners.

Finally, my dear Savior, I unite all my desires with the desires of Your most loving Heart; and I offer them, thus united, to the Eternal Father, and beseech Him, in Your name and for love of You, to accept and grant them.”

Another method of prayer I find quite effective is to move purposefully through ACTS (Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving, and Supplication). Spend several minutes praising God and whispering words of adoration (here I picture the sweet little angel from one of my little guy’s books who bows his head and loves God as hard as he can).  Next, do an examination of your conscience and ask Him to show you areas in which you’ve sinned or that you need to work on and then ask Him for forgiveness and the grace to overcome.  Contemplate the many gifts you’ve been given and answers to prayer you’ve received and thank God for His goodness, graciousness, and providence. Finally, offer up any prayer intentions you might have including those intentions others have asked you to pray for.  This would also be a good time to pray for the Pope, bishops, priests, and the church as well as our civil leaders.

Another way in which to pray during your holy hour could be to use favorite formulaic prayers, such as the Rosary, The Chaplet of Divine Mercy, The Stations of the Cross (here you might walk about the Stations in your parish). Say these prayers slowly, deliberately, and try meditating upon a particular attribute of God or scene from the life of Christ.  You might also read a specific book of prayers.  My favorite is The Pieta.

Probably the most difficult type of prayer (at least it is for me) is meditative or contemplative prayer, but often it is the most rewarding. Pray for the grace to quiet your mind and wait for God to speak to you. Too often we are too busy doing all the talking, we miss out on the fact that this should be a two-way conversation. He wants to speak to us even more than we could ever desire to speak to Him. Let Him speak to you in this precious silence.

Spiritual reading can certainly effectively fill a portion of a holy hour.  One might read the Bible, possibly the Mass readings for the day and reflect upon those verses. Recently I wrote a post with a sizable list of books one might choose for spiritual reading.  You can find my recommendations here.  Catholic Sista contributor, Lynette Bryant, reviewed 100 Holy Hours for Women here.  This lovely book would be another great choice for taking to Adoration.

Journaling is something I’ve found to be quite helpful during my visits to the Sacrament of the Altar.  I purchased a blank bound journal and write in it for a good portion of my hour.  I do a weekly examen, write intentions, make a gratitude list, inscribe Bible verses I love, and copy prayers or writings of the Saints in my journal.  I also look back at past writing to remind myself of what I’ve written and to see if there have been patterns of sin in my life I was unaware of or particular answers to prayers.  If a blank journal is too daunting, you can find lovely journals which guide you in Lectio Divina or have pre-written scripture reflections.

We are blessed to belong to a parish which offers Adoration during the day three days a week.  Three years ago I made the commitment during Lent to attend Adoration during the 3 o’clock hour on Fridays. It has become a valued and indispensable part of my prayer life and I look forward to my hour every week. It has born some wonderful spiritual consolation and fruits in my personal walk with the Lord. I write this as encouragement to each of you, dear sisters, to make a commitment to Adoration as you are able.  Know He is there on the altar waiting for you, His beloved. Go to Him.

Eucharistic Adoration Ink Slingers Maurisa

The Beginner’s Guide to Eucharistic Adoration, Part I

The Beginner's Guide to Eucharistic Adoration, Part 1

23 years ago I sat in a pew with fellow RCIA candidates and listened as Father Timothy Fuller walked us through the Mass. He explained each aspect and answered our questions along the way.  As he described the Liturgy of the Eucharist and the meaning of the Real Presence, I boldly raised my hand and asked, “Do we have to believe that it is truly His body and blood to be Catholic?”

His answer was unhesitatingly direct, “If you do not believe don’t bother coming back to this class.  The Real Presence is an incredibly important, central tenet of the Faith and you must believe it to be Catholic.”

Right then and there I believed completely.  It was a singular, amazing gift of Grace I was given at that moment.

Over the years I’ve come to realize belief and understanding are not static things.  Once confirmed I did not stop learning about the Faith or our Traditions.  In fact, learning about the beautiful Traditions of the Church is something that has continued to fascinate me.  Most recently, I’ve become intrigued by the devotion of Adoration.  Its history and development is truly captivating and something we could all benefit from knowing.

The doctrine of the Real Presence developed over time.  In researching this topic, I read a fairly comprehensive paper entitled “The History of Eucharistic Adoration” by Father John A. Hardon, S.J.  It’s a lengthy document, but I found it to be very accessible and interesting to read.  I’ll touch on some of the highlights of the history, but you can read his entire paper here.

Historical devotion to the Eucharist begins first and foremost with the belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.  The early Church fathers taught: The Eucharist is Christ—Christ is worthy of worship and adoration—therefore the Eucharist is worthy of worship and adoration.

Saint Paul, who was not present at the institution of the Holy Eucharist, embraced the Real Presence completely. He wrote:

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.

1 Corinthians 11:23-27

The body of belief regarding the Eucharist progressed and was solidified over time in answer to heresies which sought to subvert belief in the Real Presence.  During the first century, the Gnostics denied the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.  In response to this denial, and as a sign of assent, hermits began reserving the Eucharist in their cells and carried it with them when they traveled.  Monasteries and convents also began to reserve the Eucharist, protected under lock and key near the altar for distribution to the sick and dying.  

Around 1047 the archdeacon of Angers, France began to teach against the Real Presence and the heresy spread leading to Pope Gregory the VII to issue a credo and ordering the errant archdeacon, Berengarius to sign it.  Gregory the VII’s declaration to the Real Presence led to increased public devotions to the Blessed Sacrament; most notably the reservation of the Sacrament for adoration outside of Mass.

In 1264, as devotion to the Eucharist spread throughout the Catholic world, Pope Urban IV instituted the feast of Corpus Christi and commissioned Thomas Aquinas to compose the Liturgy for the feast, from which three of the most well known and beautiful hymns devoted to Christ in the Blessed Sacrament were given to the Church: O Salutaris Hostia; Tantum Ergo Sacramentum; and Panis Angelicus.

As the Reformation in the 16th century took full effect, the Council of Trent addressed the True Presence in the Sacrament extensively, clarifying definitively Catholic teaching and belief on the subject as the Reformers spread their denial of the doctrine. The teaching from Trent was so strongly reiterated that the natural conclusion was for devotion and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament to be more widely spread and encouraged, including public exposition for even the laity.  Adoration practices bloomed and flourished including the establishment of 40 Hours Devotions (40 hours of continual prayer before the exposed Blessed Sacrament on the altar) and Perpetual Adoration (uninterrupted adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, as well as many other devotional practices.

Even Vatican II, with its emphasis on doctrinal development, contributed to the understanding and promulgation of Eucharistic Adoration. The worthiness of the Eucharist to be worshipped and adored is an essential article of the Catholic faith.

Yes, He is indeed, fully and truly present in the Sacrament of the Altar.  He is adorable and worthy of glory, praise, and honor. How does one go about it then? In the second part of this guide, I’ll explore ways in which we might participate in this richly rewarding devotion.