One way to surrender ourselves to Christ thereby acknowledging his supreme dominion is through adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. This devotion to Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist is a tangible way to acknowledge the Lordship of Christ. When we kneel before the Eucharist placed on the altar, notice that the Body of Christ is encased in what we call the “monstrance,” taken from the Latin “mostrare” which means “to show.” The purpose of this monstrance then is to show the Eucharist in its brilliance and majesty much like a crown on the head of a king, normally made up of gold and embedded precious stones. The monstrance, be it simple or ornate, serves then as both the crown and the throne on which our crowned Savior sits in majesty.
The posture of kneeling before our King is one of submission—that communicates without words that “Jesus, you are my Lord; my allegiance is to you.”
The fact that we are present before the eucharistic Lord underscores that we recognize our Lord in the sign order. What does this mean? Jesus is really and truly present, but not in the order of locomotion, that is, six feet, 180 pounds.
To the contrary, just as the disciples come to recognize Jesus after his resurrection as “changed,” as “different” [later theologians would describe this state of being as one of “glory”] similarly, when we kneel before our eucharistic Savior, we recognize [in what most of the world only sees as “bread” in an ornate holder], as really and truly the Body and Blood, soul and divinity of the glorified Christ. His appearance is not as we had imagined Jesus during his earthly ministry. Still, like disciples before us, we recognize the Lord Jesus, in this posture of submission for no other reason than to adore Jesus, the very same who unites us to our God and to each other who are the Church.On Ash Wednesday, Bishop James F. Checchio will offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at 9 a.m. in the chapel of the St. John Neumann Pastoral Center. Ashes will be distributed during the liturgy. After Mass, the bishop will place the monstrance containing the Blessed Sacramenton the altar, where it will remain until noon.Every weekday thereafter, the Blessed Sacrament will be on the altar
for adoration from 9 a.m. until 11:45 a.m., fol lowed by daily Mass. “Is there a prescribed time to adore?” No, one is welcome to participate in this pious practice of Catholics for as little as 15 minutes or two hours. “Must I stay for Mass afterwards?” No, but all are welcome.
When Bishop Checchio decided to initiate this practice, he did so with the intention of making the work of the diocese first and foremost one of prayer. If by “prayer,” we mean communicating with God, then whenever we participate in adoration, we are engaging in the highest form of communication with God, even though no words are exchanged. This, then, is the essence of what we mean by “contemplative prayer,” which is not conceptual.
While there will surely be some who will come to the chapel with books to read, rosaries, chaplets, journals, the genesis of this devotion begs us to come with nothing but ourselves. While at first, for some, this type of prayer may seem uncomfortable because as we gaze upon the Lord in the monstrance, it may appear that our mind goes blank. In secular circles this usually connotes a lack of attention. In the realm of the sacred, however, this mind void of distractions is the portal through which we pass into contemplation, a communication of mutual love void of images or words between Christ and the adorer. Christ is the center now. The “I” has taken a backseat to the Lord. The mind is not blank but enlightened. The soul has been lifted by elevating grace which allows it to recognize who is being revealed, namely, Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Even if we can only spend 15-30 minutes in adoration, it is an opportunity to receive grace from the God who has called us to communion with him, to be one with him, through freedom and love. What a blessing! What a gift! What a God!
If by prayer we mean communicating with God, then whenever we participate in adoration, we are engaging in the highest form of communication with God…