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Adoration: A Profound Expression of Love and Devotion

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Adoration is defined as "a deep love and respect." It derives from the Latin root "adoratio," meaning "to give homage or worship someone or something." When young lovers fall into passionate bliss, they crave and pour out adoration upon one another. The birds sing loudly, colors seem brighter, and we are in a state of extreme peace and happiness. One could describe this as a feeling of fulfillment or purpose. Infatuation, in its most intense form, is akin to an ideal state of heaven, where nothing is missing, and all feels complete. Adoration is the pathway to transitioning from never-ending infatuation to a deep, fulfilling love with God the Father.

As St. Paul of the Cross eloquently puts it:

"Let weak and frail man come here suppliantly to adore the Sacrament of Christ, not to discuss high things, or wish to penetrate difficulties, but to bow down to secret things in humble veneration, and to entrust God's mysteries to God, for Truth deceives no man—Almighty God can do all things. Amen."

In history, we see adoration's roots within the Church date back to 1226. Like many other practices and pillars of faith in the Church, adoration had been practiced long before it was formally named. Before the time of Jesus, we witness adoration taking place in the temple before the Ark of the Covenant, as described in the book of Joshua.

Adoration, as we know it, is a mystery born of a mystery. It is a dedicated time of prayer and reflection in the presence of the blessed Eucharist, which contains the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ. As the Church continued to "break bread" with the body of Christ, we receive the Lamb of God through communion, uniting our existence with His as He spiritually nourishes us. When we partake in the Eucharist, we briefly stand before Jesus, and a priest proclaims, "the body of Christ." We acknowledge this with an "Amen" before consuming Him entirely. In adoration, we extend this moment with our Lord, gazing upon the Eucharist as it is lifted overhead, inviting complete vulnerability. The Eucharist is displayed openly, and accessible to all, and in this sacred setting, we meet Him with exposed souls, gazing into His heart.

The Bible portrays the highest echelons of heaven as filled with angels in constant worship and adoration of the Father, as seen in Revelation 4:6-8.

Examples of adoration in history abound. Mary, the mother of Jesus, often gazed upon her son in complete adoration. Mary was the first to hold our Lord in her womb, serving as the perfect tabernacle and a model for how we, too, can become temples for our Lord. When Christ became a human, Mary cradled Him in her arms, adoring Him in His most vulnerable physical state. Even the shepherds and Wise Men came to worship and adore Him.

Throughout scripture, we encounter references to Mary adoring her son, Jesus. She stood by Him during His ministry, modeling adoration for humanity to the Son of Man. One final time, at the foot of the cross, scripture depicts her standing in John 19:25, adoring her son amidst His agony and crucifixion.

Angels and Seraphim in heaven praise the Father in constant and unending adoration. Mary, who spent time in adoration with our Lord while Martha busied herself with earthly matters, further exemplifies the significance of this practice. In scripture, we read about John laying his head against the breast of Jesus in complete surrender and adoration.

Adoration became a turning point in my faith journey. I had experienced deep worship as a Protestant in charismatic churches. These encounters often involved speaking in tongues, witnessing tongues, or experiencing beatific visions, filled with emotions, and public prayers. However, a friend introduced me to Adoration, and I watched a promotional video about this ministry offered in every parish. People spoke of peaceful encounters with Jesus, where they silently prayed or meditated on Him. I saw little difference between this and the Holy Spirit-filled encounters I had experienced until that point. Still, the descriptions of "peace" piqued my curiosity. Despite not being Catholic, I decided to explore what sitting in front of a small round wafer could provide.

I visited my local Church's chapel, sitting in the back. Despite my ignorance about proper Catholic rituals like genuflection, bowing or kneeling, I experienced a profound stillness. I felt as though I were in an anechoic chamber, hearing only the sounds of my own heartbeat and the soothing hum of my brain. I closed my eyes and prayed, leaving with a deep desire for more. I started visiting weekly, dedicating my lunch breaks to spending time with our Lord. This practice continued for a year before I returned to Catholicism. Regardless of my faith questions, I never doubted what I gained from adoration. When I rejoined the Church, adoration welcomed me. Every Thursday for three years, I've maintained this sacred practice, which purifies my week and resets my heart. In adoration, I am clothed in the armor of God, ready to face the fallen world.

Adoration has significantly transformed my life, enhancing my daily disposition and fostering a sense of calm and centeredness. Some of my most profound moments with Christ have occurred in adoration, where I could speak openly and candidly with our Lord. I have shared laughter, smiles, and tears with my Savior, and I've never felt alone since becoming involved in the adoration ministry.

Padre Pio encapsulates my thoughts about adoration with his words: "A thousand years of enjoying human glory is not worth even an hour spent in sweetly communing with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament." Adoration is one of the primary reasons I embrace Catholicism today. There is no other experience quite like it in the world, no other opportunity that allows us to connect with the divine in such a profound manner.

Cardinal Newman aptly describes the Blessed Sacrament: "The Blessed Sacrament is that Presence which makes a Catholic Church different from every other place in the world; which makes it, as no other place can be, holy."

Finally, adoration has led to a transfiguration within me when in the presence of the blessed sacrament. Just as Jesus revealed His divine nature on the mountain to His disciples, the body of Christ reveals itself in the Eucharist. Just as Jesus was seen in His true form and as the Son of God, the Holy Trinity is revealed when the monstrance displays the body, soul, and divinity of Christ atop an altar. By adoring this mystery, we come to understand the grace of receiving our Lord in communion, as we consume Jesus into our very beings and become living temples for our Lord. Earthly sustenance cannot bind us more powerfully to the glory of the Father in Heaven. Praise the Lord Jesus for providing these sacraments to His people. How can we not look upon them in total adoration?


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