Categories
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 masstimes.org 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.

Categories
Faith Formation Ink Slingers Kerri Prayer

Lectio Divina: Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (2017)

This Sunday’s Gospel reading is one of those that has the option of a long form and a short form. I read the long form while spending time with this Gospel, although most of my reflection below ended up centering around the part that is encapsulated by the short form. I’m definitely curious to see what part of this Gospel passage speaks to you the most. So please share your thoughts or insights in the comments.

So let’s get ready. Be sure to have the Gospel passage in front of you, and here is an easy link: Third Sunday in Ordinary Time. If you need a brief review of the steps for lectio divina you can find a nice description from the Saint Meinrad Archabbey Oblates website. Remember to read the Gospel reading before each of the next four sections below and take some time to reflect on the questions before reading my responses.

Help me, Lord, to hear what you want me to hear and may your Holy Spirit guide me to share what you want me to share. Amen.

READ

A word or phrase (or more) that caught your attention during your first reading of the passage. Mine included:

  • Great light
  • Repent
  • Followed him

REFLECT: What is God saying to you?

The second half of Sunday’s Gospel (if you read the long form) is familiar and easy to focus your attention toward. But as I read this I kept going back to the first half. It seems simple: John is arrested, Jesus retreats to a different part of the country, and he begins his ministry there, in a somewhat backwoods, out of the way place. The prophecy from Isaiah kept drawing me in. I love the contrast of the darkness to the light. The people are in darkness, the land is overshadowed by death, and yet, they have seen a great light, light has arisen. The people here in Galilee seem to be in a wasteland, hopeless, surrounded by poverty. They are nothing but a tiny fishing village, unimportant in the eyes of most. Yet here is where Jesus comes to be the light that brings them hope. Jesus is the light. Are we surprised that he begins his ministry in a poor, unimportant place? You could say that he was just simply fulfilling the prophesy as told by Isaiah, but look back just a few weeks ago. What did we celebrate not too long ago in the Church calendar? Christmas! This King of Heaven and Earth was born in a lowly stable in the poorest of poor circumstances. It only makes sense that he would start his ministry in much the same way.

RESPOND: What do you want to say to God?

Thinking about Jesus beginning his ministry in a land that was poor and regarded as unimportant by most people, makes me think about those times when I am in a dark place. Sometimes when we are down about something or suffering from immense pain, whether physical or mental, or maybe grieving the loss of a loved one, we can often feel like we are trapped in darkness. Isaiah mentions the “people who sit in darkness,” and those people can be us at any time. When I think of Jesus beginning his ministry here it is a good reminder that he is always with us, even in the darkness. We may not always see it immediately, but he is there to be the light to bring us out of the darkness.

Thank you, Lord Jesus Christ, for always being the light in the darkness. Thank you for being the one who brought me out of the darkness during times of grief and suffering in my life. I pray that others will feel your presence and look to you when they face their own times of darkness.

REST

Read the passage one final time and spend a few moments in quiet contemplation, rest in the words of the Gospel.

YOUR TURN

What do you feel God is saying to you in this passage? How would you respond to him? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Categories
Amy M. Ink Slingers

Zacchaeus

Zacchaeus

At that time, Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town.
Now a man there named Zacchaeus,
who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man,
was seeking to see who Jesus was;
but he could not see him because of the crowd,
for he was short in stature.
So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus,
who was about to pass that way.
When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said,
“Zacchaeus, come down quickly,
for today I must stay at your house.”
And he came down quickly and received him with joy.
When they all saw this, they began to grumble, saying,
“He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.”
But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord,
“Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor,
and if I have extorted anything from anyone
I shall repay it four times over.”
And Jesus said to him,
“Today salvation has come to this house
because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.
For the Son of Man has come to seek
and to save what was lost.”
Luke 19:1-10

           How easy is it to say, “Oh this story.  I’ve heard this one” and begin tuning out, making a grocery list, thinking about what needs to be done for Monday?  How about if we look at it differently?
            Jesus goes to Jericho planning to pass through it.  Jericho was a place of sin.  We all have places of sin inside of us.  The chief tax collector, Zacchaeus, climbed a tree in order to see Jesus better.  Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector, which probably means he was middle-aged.  I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely getting too old to climb any trees.  Climbing a tree was probably a very difficult feat for him.  
            Who was Zacchaeus?  A chief tax collector, a sinner.  He could be any one of us.  We are all sinners, all bedeviled by something, some power other than God.  We can identify with Zacchaeus.
           Despite his wickedness, something lured Zacchaeus in Jesus’ direction.  Maybe it was dissatisfaction with his life; maybe it was a growing realization that while he was richer, he was not happier.
           So he climbs that tree.  How about me?  Am I willing to go out on a limb to get a better look at Jesus?  All Jesus needs is the smallest move on our part.  As soon as we do, He’s ready.  “Zacchaeus, come down quickly.  I must stay at your house.”
           Jesus wants to stay in our soul.  He wants to move into our lives, our souls, all of us, public and private, friendships, marriage, job, relationships.
           What happens after Jesus moves in? Zacchaeus says he will give away half of his possessions and pay back four times anybody.  
           When Grace pours in, love pours out.  This is the very definition of salvation.  “Today salvation has come to this house.”
           Are you ready to go out on that limb? This Advent, are you going to climb that tree to see Jesus?  Are you going to invite Him to not just visit but move in and stay?  All it takes is that first step.

Zacchaeus Tree

Categories
Domestic Church Ink Slingers Karen Motherhood Vocations

Do You Know Who You Are in the Father’s Eyes?

Recently, I attended a monthly diocesan women’s night where women from the area are invited to listen to a speaker on a topic related to our Catholic faith, as well as have a chance for confession and Eucharistic adoration. It is a wonderfully enriching time!

On this particular night, Father Prentice Tipton spoke to our group on the topic of Jesus and the Baptism of the Lord, and specifically the the moment when God speaks to Jesus saying, “This is my beloved son with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). -This is my beloved Sonwith whom I am well pleased.- When the Father said this to Jesus, it grounded Jesus. His identity was not wrapped up in how men viewed him, but in the love of His Father. His relationship with God and his identity as His Beloved Son came before ministry to others, and certainly took priority over the accolades of man. This carried him at every point of His ministry, both when crowds gathered to see him, and when the crowds called for His death on the Cross.

Just as Jesus found relationship and identity in the Father’s love for Him, we must also find the same validation through God the Father, Fr. Tipton went on to share.  We must believe that we are the beloved children of God and that He is well pleased with us too.

As God’s creation, He is pleased with what He has made. We did not have to earn that. We have His eternal Love regardless of our actions or self-perception. Whether we stay home with our children, work outside the home, get a PhD, are homeless, wealthy, a criminal, or a saint on Earth, we are loved by God. Certainly our actions impact whether we attain heaven– but those are choices we make, not measures of our Father’s love for us.

But how many of us truly rest in that fact? Satan would have us believe that we are never going to be worthy of God’s love; even that Heaven is unattainable entirely. Satan would have us believe that the whisperings of disapproval from others is the measure of our worth.

We need to instead trust God when He sends the message to us that we are loved and only need to follow Him and rest in Him to have a relationship and identity rooted in Him that gives us peace. It was this peace that pulled Mother Teresa through when she went through spiritual darkness. Even when she didn’t think she could hear God speaking to her, she knew her value was that of God’s daughter, doing His work. She might not have had constant exuberant joy, but she had peace in her role as God’s beloved daughter.

Fr. Tipton closed his talk by asking of us, “Do you know who you are in the Father’s eyes?”

Do you know

And so I ask of you, do you?

As mothers we are drawn, by the nature of our vocation, to sacrifice for our children. We sacrifice our bodies in pregnancy and nursing, and in sheer physical exertion in caring for kids and keeping them safe. We sacrifice our sleep when our children wake at night.  We sacrifice our selfish desires in those times where we comfort our crying child rather than taking that long shower we yearn for. We sacrifice our time when we play with PlayDoh with our child instead of reading a book we were interested in. We even sacrifice spiritual practices when we walk a crying baby in the narthex during Mass, missing the readings and homily. Some mothers had careers they sacrifice to stay at home. Other mothers have to work to help their family financially. We often sacrifice to the point of feeling exhausted and drained.

All this sacrifice is very sanctifying. It prepares us for heaven by allowing us to infect our selfish urges with a spirit of giving. It forces us to use our God-given abilities to help others, often without a second thought.

But much of the time, those tiny people never say thank you. That stranger at the grocery store gives you a thorough disgruntled once over with any number of reasons for their disapproval. Your extended family members tell you how you should parent your children. Moms at the playground give unwelcome advice or admonition about a perceived trouble, or brag about their child’s advancements in light of your child’s average skills.

Are you rattled when this happens? Rest in the Father’s love. You are doing His work. You do not raise your children the best you can so as to please your children, neighbor, spouse, friends, or family members. You are raising your children up because it is God’s will for you to do so. It is too easy to allow Satan to work in you with your doubts about your mothering when you experience the disapproval of others. All this sacrifice isn’t about them or for them. And your worth does not rest in them.

Focus on God. He is the One who laid out this vocation for you, and who gives this hard road to you in order that you may become sanctified and able to enter His Kingdom. He is calling out to you as his beloved child, and He is well pleased with you.

 

Do you know who you are in the Father’s eyes?

Categories
Ink Slingers Karen

August: The Month of the Blessed Sacrament

Last month, we discussed the July devotion to the Precious Blood. Today, we explore the August devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament.

August

We know, as Catholics, that we encounter Jesus whenever we go to Mass and experience the Consecration. When wine and bread are transformed into Body and Blood, and we receive Him, we are transformed. It grants a special grace to handle the trials of Christian living.

Consecrated hosts are kept in a sacred container called a ciborum that is housed inside the tabernacle. The tabernacle is what we are to face when we genuflect at Mass. Some parishes have designated times where the the tabernacle is opened and available for prayerful contemplation called Eucharistic Adoration. This is a wonderful exercise for your spiritual muscle. Take a devotional, your Bible, or simply a blank notebook with a pen and sit in quiet contemplation and take notes on what comes to you as you sit and pray. The Blessed Sacrament can teach you plenty.

 

Prayer

HERE is a prayer from EWTN that you can use when visiting the Blessed Sacrament in Adoration:

church-596933_1920Prayer While Visiting the Blessed Sacrament

My Lord Jesus Christ, for the love which You bear to men, You remain night and day in this Sacrament full of compassion and of love, awaiting, calling, and welcoming all who come to visit You. I believe that You are present in the Sacrament of the Altar: I adore You from the abyss of my nothingness, and I thank You for all the graces which You have bestowed upon me and in particular for having given me Yourself in this Sacrament, for having given me your holy Mother Mary for my advocate, and for having called me to visit You in this chapel. I now salute Your most loving Heart: and this for three ends:

  1. In thanksgiving for this great gift;
  2. To make amends to You for all the outrages which You receive in this Sacrament from all Your enemies;
  3. I intend by this visit to adore You in all the places on earth in which You are the least revered and the most abandoned.

My Jesus, I love You with all my heart. I grieve for having so many times offended Your infinite goodness. I promise with Your grace never more to offend You in the future.

Now, miserable and unworthy though I be, I consecrate myself to You without reserve;

I give You my entire will, my affections, my desires, and all that I possess. From now on dispose of me and of all that I have as You please. All that I ask of You and desire is Your holy love, final perseverance, and the perfect accomplishment of Your will. I recommend to You the souls in purgatory; but especially those who had the greatest devotion to the most Blessed Sacrament and to the Blessed Virgin Mary. I also recommend to You all poor sinners.

My dear Saviour, I unite all my affections with the affections of Your most loving Heart; and I offer them, thus united, to Your eternal Father, and beseech Him in Your name to vouchsafe, for Your love, to accept them.

Amen.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Craft

HERE is a wonderful craft you can do with your children to teach them more about the Blessed Sacrament, Adoration, and the tabernacle.