What is Eucharistic Adoration?

Eucharistic adoration is a powerful form of prayer. Many priests and religious have credited their time spent before Jesus in the Eucharist as the way they discerned their vocation. Other find it to be a place of great peace, joy, and clarity. But many have not heard of Eucharistic adoration at all. What is it and why should we participate in this form of prayer?

Bishop Joseph Perry, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago, stopped by The Inner Life® to discuss what Eucharistic adoration is, and the fruits that come from this powerful practice. Bishop Perry said:

“We have the Eucharist at Mass, and that is perhaps the first place where we adore the Lord. You notice that with the posture that we have during the course of the Mass – with our genuflections, our bows, in face of the Eucharist being raised up some people have annunciations of prayer upon that exposure. That is one form, and it is the first form of our Eucharistic adoration.

Most recently, Eucharistic adoration has been extended beyond the Mass, by way of popular exercise. Many parishes have chapels that are set aside for elongated prayer through the use of the monstrance. The monstrance is a big, huge sunburst, a golden or silver instrument that contains that large Host for exposure. It comes from the Latin word monstrare, meaning to show or to exhibit.

Here in the Archdiocese of Chicago we have about 350 parishes, and happily over 200 of those have some form or exercise of Eucharistic adoration, either through the course of the week or the month. About a dozen of them have 24/7, around the clock adoration.

This is a contemplative sort of prayer, where people beyond the Eucharistic assembly on Sunday can come and sit with Jesus, offer their lives to Him, and find answers to many things. Disciples of Jesus Christ, Christians, are formed and shaped through prayer. This is the source of our energy, that defined meaning in life. Our daily duties, decisions, and actions with one another are inspired by prayer.

When we enter a Church we genuflect, in acknowledgement of the Lord’s presence in the tabernacle … that is adoration. But when we get to the chapel when Jesus is exposed, we Catholics and other Orthodox Christians consider that a particular and  special moment, where Jesus is looking at us and we are looking at Him.

There is a famous story of St. John Vianney, the patron of parish priests, who spent hours in the Confessional hearing confessions in the wake of ravaged, torn France after the French Revolution. There was a gentleman sitting in the front pew, and he never would go to Confession, but he would sit in that pew just staring forward.

One day John Vianney had the courage to ask him, ‘Do you want to go to Confession?’ In case the guy needed an extra nudge to get him into the box. But the man said, ‘No. I look at Him and He looks at me. And that’s all that matters.’ It’s a beautiful little anecdote of what Eucharistic adoration is about.”

Listen to the full conversation below:

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