What is Eucharistic Adoration?
Eucharistic Adoration is the act of worshiping God as He is present in the consecrated Eucharist. Since the Last Supper, when Jesus broke the bread and distributed the wine, saying, "This is my Body" and "This is my Blood," Catholics have believed that the bread and wine are no longer merely baked wheat and fermented grape juice, but the actual living presence of the Second Person of the Trinity. Spending time before the Blessed Sacrament, in prayer and devotions, is exactly the same as spending time before the living God. Adoration occurs whenever someone kneels in front of a tabernacle that contains the Blessed Sacrament, genuflects toward a tabernacle, bows before receiving the Blessed Sacrament at Mass, or, in a more focused way, when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed for adoration.
Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament
The devotion begins with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. A priest or deacon removes the sacred host from the tabernacle and places it on the altar for adoration. The purpose of adoration is to highlight the presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist. When a consecrated host is placed in the monstrance, it is said to be a solemn exposition. Adoration ceremonies traditionally include Scripture readings, hymns, prayers, and time for silent adoration.
A monstrance is a sacred vessel used for the exposition and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
A luna is the glass enclosure that holds the Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance.
Things to Do During Eucharistic Adoration
1. Pray the Psalms or the Liturgy of the Hours: Whether you are praising, giving thanks, asking for forgiveness, or seeking an answer, you'll find an appropriate psalm. The ancient prayer of the Church called the Liturgy of the Hours presents and excellent way to pray through the Book of Psalms throughout the year.
2. Recite the "Jesus Prayer:" Say "Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner," repeatedly as you quiet your heart and mind.
3. Meditate Using Scripture: Choose a passage from the Bible. Read the words and ask God to let the passage speak to you. Pay special attention to anything that strikes you and ask God what He wishes for you to draw from that passage.
4. Read the Life of a Saint and Pray with Him or Her: Most holy men and women have had a great devotion to Our Lord in the Eucharist. Thérèse of Lisieux, Catherine of Siena, Francis of Assisi, Thomas Aquinas, Peter Julian Eymard, Dorothy Day, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and Baroness Catherine de Hueck are just a few. Read about them and pray their prayers before the Blessed Sacrament.
5. Pour out Your Heart to Christ and Adore Him: Speak to Jesus, aware that you are in His presence, and tell Him all that comes to your mind. Listen for His response. Pray the prayer that St. Francis instructed his brothers to pray whenever they were before the Blessed Sacrament: "I adore you, O Christ, present here and in all the churches of the world, for by your holy cross you have redeemed the world."
6. Ask for Forgiveness and Intercede for Others: Think of those who have hurt you and request a special blessing for them. Ask God to forgive you for all the times you have neglected or hurt someone else. Bring before the Blessed Sacrament all those who have asked you to pray for them. Ask the Lord to address their concerns.
7. Pray the Rosary: Pope John Paul II reminds us, "...is not the enraptured gaze of Mary as she contemplated the face of the newborn Christ and cradled him in her arms that unparalleled model of love which should inspire us every time we receive Eucharistic communion?" (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 55) Ask Mary to join you as you gaze on Christ in the Eucharist and as you pray the Rosary.
8. Sit Quietly and Just "Be" in the Presence of God: Think of a visit to the Blessed Sacrament as coming to see your best friend. Sit quietly and enjoy being in each other's company. Instead of talking to the Lord, try listening to what He wants to tell you.
Ways to Celebrate Eucharistic Adoration
Mass--The congregation kneels as the priest lifts the Sacrament, declaring: "This is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world." At Communion, each individual bows in front of the Blessed Sacrament before receiving Our Lord under the appearance of bread and wine.
Exposition--In some parishes, the Blessed Sacrament is exposed for adoration one day a week. People sign up for a specific hour or simply drop by whenever convenient for personal prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.
Forty Hours Devotion--Forty semi-continuous hours of adoration of the Eucharist, held annually in some parishes.
Perpetual Adoration--Continuous exposition of the Blessed Sacrament for the purpose of uninterrupted adoration, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
Church Visit--A short visit to a church for the purpose of greeting the Blessed Sacrament reserved in the tabernacle.
Benediction--After a period of exposition and adoration, the Blessed Sacrament is used to bless the congregation. Eucharistic hymns, most often O Salutaris Hostia and Tantum Ergo, are traditionally sung.
Procession--A sacred parade in which clergy and faithful walk from one place to another, giving praise, thanks, and worship to God, especially by adoring the Blessed Sacrament.