In adoring the Blessed Sacrament, our hearts are enlarged and our minds receive the truth
In Lourdes, most miracles take place during the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Medjugorje is no different. Although so much power and grace radiate from the Blessed Sacrament during heartfelt and worthy Adoration, in the end this is not about getting “something”.
The Curé d’Ars referred to a parishioner who said that during Adoration, “I look at Him. And He looks at me.” It is about two people in love with each other – a creature and its God. The deeper our hunger, the more He gives us; indeed, He gives us this hunger for Him.
What does one do during Adoration? What do lovers do when they gaze with love at each other? We need silence first of all. When Pope Benedict XVI led Adoration in Hyde Park, about 80,000 young people kept silence with the Pope – to the consternation of media broadcasters. Silence apparently does not make for good television. Television requires continuous chatter. Adoration requires silence.
Secondly, Adoration requires attentiveness. It is heart-breaking to see couples sitting opposite each other in restaurants, both gazing avidly at their smartphone screens instead of each other. It doesn’t take much to see who or what dominates that relationship. We attend to that which we prize foremost. In Adoration we attend to the Lord.
And thirdly, Adoration needs receptivity. In our silence and attentiveness, we receive from God. We are stripped of the illusion that we can do God any favours. He longs to lavish Himself on us. Sitit sitiri, He thirsts to be thirsted for; He longs to be longed for. He will guide us and teach us but only if we let Him. In Adoration we receive from God the truth about God and about ourselves.
In my own experience it is powerful. Jesus waits for us with eager longing. And He longs to lavish Himself on us. It’s like a tower made of champagne glasses and when the top glass is filled it overflows and fills the glasses below. In Adoration, when we are open to receive, God enlarges our hearts to love and that love overflows to others, just like the champagne tower.
Sometimes people experience little change, often because of unconfessed sin or hiding ourselves from the Lord. If we are closed, if we keep our hurts and everything about us hidden from the Lord, then very little can change. Then Adoration will be experienced as a burden to be endured or avoided. But when we are open to the Lord, it is very powerful. God has so many graces He wants to give us and He leads and guides us in prayer through Adoration. Sometimes we keep vigil with the Lord during Adoration, and make acts of reparation and love – because the world needs this so much.
JRR Tolkien once said he did not return to fidelity to the Lord by being chased by Francis Thompson’s Hound of Heaven but through hunger for the Blessed Sacrament, as one starving for love. In a letter to his middle son during World War II (the context of the letter is marriage and sex), he wrote:
“Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament. . . . There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity and the true way of all your loves on earth… by the taste of which alone can what you seek in your earthly relationships… take on that complexion of reality, of eternal endurance, which every man’s heart desires.”
Get to the Tabernacle and let Heaven fall on you…for this is what is called “the totally Catholic devotion” (those who are Catholic to their roots, in their blood, whose way of life, whose food is being Catholic – in the words of St Edmund Campion – ‘To be a Catholic is my only glory.”) – we become what we love!
Partially taken from Fr Leon Pereira OP’s post. He is chaplain to the English-speaking pilgrims in Medjugorje, Bosnia & Herzegovina