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By Fr. Nnamdi Moneme, OMV, Catholic Exchange, March 21, 2019
I was at a weekend retreat gathering of priests and religious some years ago. One of the elderly priest-attendees remarked how times had changed. He said that many years ago when priests and religious gathered in a place, the first thing that they would ask is where the chapel was located in the building so that they could spend some moments of Eucharistic adoration. But now, when priests and religious gather together in a place, they first ask for the Wi-Fi password and the place in the house with the strongest Wi-Fi connection!
His words reminded me of how we have lost the sense of the powerful effects of Eucharistic adoration today. Eucharistic adoration remains its potency today because what happens to the disciples on the Mt. Tabor during the Transfiguration of Jesus also happens to us whenever we approach the Eucharist for adoration.
The disciples followed Jesus up the high mountain unquestioningly. They did not ask, “Where are you leading us, Jesus?” In Eucharistic adoration, we approach Jesus too with that humble unquestioning faith that says, “Jesus I don’t completely understand but I believe that you are here present simply because of your word to me. I believe that you are the one drawing me into your presence. I have come to simply worship you. Please help my unbelief.”
The disciples also gazed on Christ’s humanity until the divinity of Christ pierced through that humanity for a brief moment, “His (Jesus’) face changed in appearance and His clothing became dazzling white.” Likewise, in Eucharistic adoration, we gaze with faith continuously on the visible element of bread until the divinity pierces through that bread and gives us an inner experience of Jesus’ divinity.
This breaking out of the divinity of Christ through the visible elements during Eucharistic adoration and our inner experience of the divinity of Christ affects us in so many ways.
First, we grasp deeply God’s graciousness to us in calling us to belong to Him. We become grateful for this priceless faith that allows us to worship Him in His utter abasement in the Eucharist. We are so grateful for His choosing us to follow and to serve Him. St. Peter put it this way, “Master, it is good that we are here.” Eucharistic adoration moves us to focus more on the goodness of God that calls us rather than on the difficulties and great demands of discipleship in our world today.
Second, we are blessed with a greater zeal in serving God. St. Peter is moved to do something that truly endures for Jesus, “Let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” Eucharistic adoration makes us want to serve God more faithfully no matter the cost.
Thirdly, we realize our nothingness and the awe that we should have for God, “They (disciples) became frightened when they entered the cloud.” Eucharistic adoration makes us humble before God, self and others and moves us to ongoing conversion in love for God.
Fourthly, Eucharistic adoration delivers us from slavery to the things of this world, inflames our desire for the eternal life of heaven, and fills us with the certainty of hope that we will receive from God all that we need to attain eternal life. We long for the fullness of communion with Christ for all eternity.
St. Paul’s words to the Philippians could rightly be addressed to us Christians living in this age of an aggressive secularism that makes us live for this world alone, “Many conduct themselves as enemies of the cross of Christ… Their glory is their stomach. Their minds are occupied with earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we also await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Like the imprisoned St. Paul, our waiting for the Savior can be painful, long, and difficult. We are not alone in this waiting because the Savior is here with us now – body, blood, soul and divinity – in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, hidden behind the veils of our Church tabernacles. He is the actually the one who waits for us and draws us there to give us a glimpse of His heavenly glory and to intensify our desire for the fullness of this glory in heaven.
This intense desire for heaven helps us to overcome all fear of suffering for the sake of Christ. We cease to be “enemies of the cross of Christ” i.e. people who live only for earthly pleasure and gain. We consciously choose to live selflessly like Christ who, “For the sake of the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross, despising its shame.”(Heb 12:2)
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, many of the pains and sufferings in our Church and world today are connected with this lack of authentic adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. We are living for the here and now without serious reflection or even desire for the life to come. The clergy sexual abuse scandals is a painful example of this loss of the heavenly vision among those who have been called and consecrated to proclaim and make present the kingdom of God. Losing that impetus for ongoing conversion that comes from Eucharistic adoration, we are now moved more by materialism, careerism, and consumerism than our desire to be conformed and united to Christ here and in the life to come.
In our crass individualism, we live exclusively for ourselves. We have little or no fear for God as we willingly break His Commandments and even justify and celebrate it. We become so uncaring towards others that we have no qualms denying the unborn infants even the chance to live. Ultimately, we become slaves of things and people, addicted to created things and pleasures and losing that glorious freedom and joy that should fill our hearts as God’s children.
There is hope for each of us. We are not just waiting for the Savior. In truth, the Savior is here with us now, waiting for us in every tabernacle and exposed monstrance in our Catholic Churches. There is no need for a password and the connection is strong in every place where He is sacramentally present! He only asks us to exercise that adoring faith that we received in holy baptism and adore Him here now so that we may adore Him eternally in heaven. He is truly waiting for us now and drawing us to Himself as He did with the disciples on Mt Tabor. Let us continuously gaze on Him in the Blessed Sacrament till His divinity breaks out and touches us so that we can exclaim here now, and forever in the life to come, “Master, it is indeed good that we are here!”
Glory to Jesus!!! Honor to Mary!!!