O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!
We sing these words at Christmas time, but the reality is that we have the opportunity to adore Christ the Lord year-round in Eucharistic adoration. If you aren’t familiar with what Eucharistic adoration is, Fr. Joseph Illo recently stopped by The Inner Life™ to share the blessing that it has been in his parish and in his own life.
Father Illo is the pastor of Star of the Sea Catholic Church in San Francisco, and among the many ministries he is involved in, Fr. Illo also leads retreats for the Missionaries of Charity all over the world. He told The Inner Life host Chuck Neff that he has seen the difference that having 24/7 Eucharistic adoration has made in his parish.
“We’ve had this my last two parishes and it has so blessed the communities and blessed individual lives,” he said. “You mentioned personally how it’s helped you with your career decisions. I’ve seen marriages saved, and people get through crises like unemployment, cancer, and death and just be able to radiate the peace and joy of knowing that Jesus is always with us.”
But if God is always with us, why would we need to spend time in Church, or before the Blessed Sacrament? Jesus said where two or three are gathered in my name, I am in their midst. Shouldn’t that be enough?
Fr. Illo answered, “We are flesh and blood. We want to see with our eyes, we want to hear the silence and peace with our ears. We want to feel the presence with our bodies as we sit or kneel. And so as the Eucharist is the incarnation, the enfleshment of the Word of God having taken on a body for us, so we are really blessed by putting our own bodies in the same space as His Eucharistic Body. It’s just a very human thing to do.”
“I see people in our Eucharistic chapel kneeling or sitting, standing or sitting on the floor. And they are so human. They just seem like children, it seems so at home, so at peace in those times of adoration. So that’s the blessing I think. To have a sanctuary, a place where we can be at home with Jesus.”
And while many people feel energized and restored after spending an hour in adoration, others find it difficult to focus. Fr. Illo acknowledged that it can take some time to feel comfortable in the silence of adoration, but that the key to growing closer to our Eucharistic Lord is consistency.
“There’s no question that adoration requires a sacrifice from us,” Fr. Illo said. “But the blessing that you receive greatly outweighs the small investment of time and focus. But it is hard. As Mother Teresa would say, it’s hard to pray if you don’t know how. We will pray better if we pray more.”
“It’s kind of like running or cycling or doing any kind of aerobics exercise,” he suggested. “You have to put in some energy. But then, as you get into this exercise, you get more energy than you give. There are times in our lives when it becomes very difficult to pray and I say then, if you can’t do a whole hour do 15 minutes. Even periodic visits to the Blessed Sacrament, just a few minutes of silence, is so beneficial to our our human lives in our emotional, psychological, and of course our spiritual lives. So I would just say, keep at it, be consistent. That’s that’s the whole spiritual life, it’s consistency.”