Devotion for the Month of April – The Holy Eucharist
The Church has historically encouraged the month of April for increased devotion to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. “The Church in the course of the centuries has introduced various forms of this Eucharistic worship which are ever increasing in beauty and helpfulness; as, for example, visits of devotion to the tabernacles, even every day; Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament; solemn processions, especially at the time of Eucharistic Congresses, which pass through cities and villages; and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament publicly exposed . . . These exercises of piety have brought a wonderful increase in faith and supernatural life to the Church militant upon earth and they are re-echoed to a certain extent by the Church triumphant in heaven, which sings continually a hymn of praise to God and to the Lamb ‘Who was slain.'” -Venerable Pope Pius XII (1876-1958) Pope from 1939 to his death in 1958.
Prayer before Holy Communion
By St Peter Julian Eymard (1811-1868)
Oh! Yes, Lord Jesus, come and reign!
Let my body be Your temple,
my heart Your throne,
my will Your devoted servant;
let me be Yours forever,
living only in You and for You!
Eucharistic Adoration By: St Pope John Paul II
“I encourage Christians regularly to visit Christ present in the Blessed Sacrament, for we are all called to abide in the presence of God. In contemplation, Christians will perceive ever more profoundly the mystery at the heart of Christian life.
I urge priests, religious and lay people to continue and redouble their efforts to teach the younger generations the meaning and value of Eucharistic adoration and devotion. How will young people be able to know the Lord if they are not introduced to the mystery of His presence? Like the young Samuel, by learning the words of the prayer of the heart, they will be closer to the Lord, who will accompany them in their spiritual and human growth. The Eucharistic mystery is in fact the “summit of evangelisation” (Lumen Gentium) for it is the most eminent testimony to Christ’s resurrection.”
Private Eucharistic Adoration
Venerable Fr Benedict Groeschel points out in the book, “In the Presence of Our Lord : The History, Theology and Psychology of Eucharistic Devotion” that there are “four kinds of prayer most appropriate in the presence of the Eucharist, namely adoration and praise, thanksgiving, repentance and trusting intercession.” Accordingly, here are suggestions for what to do during private Eucharistic adoration.
1. Pray the Psalms or the Liturgy of the Hours
Whether you are praising, giving thanks, asking for forgiveness or seeking an answer, you’ll find an appropriate psalm. The ancient prayer of the Church called the Liturgy of the Hours presents an excellent way to pray through the Book of Psalms throughout the year.
2. Recite the “Jesus Prayer”
Say “Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner”, repeatedly as you quiet your heart and mind.
3. Meditate using Scripture
Choose a passage from the Bible. read the words and ask God to let the passage speak to you. Pay special attention to anything that strikes you and ask God what He wishes for you to draw from that message.
4. Read the life of a saint and pray with him or her
Most holy men and women have had a great devotion to Our Lord in the Eucharist. Therese of Lisieux, Catherine of Siena, Francis of Assisi, Thomas Aquinas, Peter Julian Eymard, Dorothy Day. Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Baroness Catherine de Hueck are just a few. Read about them and pray their prayers before the Blessed Sacrament.
5. Pour out your heart to Christ and adore Him
Speak to Jesus, aware that you are in His presence and tell Him all that comes to your mind. Listen for His response. Pray the prayer that St Francis instructed his brothers to pray whenever they were before the Blessed Sacrament: “I adore You, O Christ, present here and in all the churches of the world, for by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world.”
6. Ask for forgiveness and intercede for others
Think of those who have hurt you and request a special blessing for them. Ask God to forgive you for all the times you have neglected or hurt someone else. Bring before the Blessed Sacrament all those who have asked you to pray for them. Ask the Lord to address their concerns.
7. Pray the Rosary
St Pope John Paul II reminds us, “…is not the enraptured gaze of Mary as she contemplated the face of the newborn Chris and cradled him in her arms that unparalleled model of love which should inspire us every time we receive Eucharistic communion?” (The Church and the Eucharist, 55) Ask Mary to join you as you gaze on Christ in the Eucharist and as you pray the Rosary.
8. Sit quietly and just “be” in the presence of God
Think of a visit to the Blessed Sacrament as coming to see your best friend. Sit quietly and enjoy being in each other’s company. Instead of talking to the Lord, try listening to what He wants to tell you.
Prayer before the Eucharistic Presence
By Bl John Henry Newman (1801-1890)
I place myself in the presence of Him,
in whose Incarnate Presence I am,
before I place myself there.
I adore You, O my Saviour,
present here as God and man,
in soul and body,
in true flesh and blood.
I acknowledge and confess,
that I kneel before the Sacred Humanity,
which was conceived in Mary’s womb
and lay in Mary’s bosom;
which grew up to man’s estate
and by the Sea of Galilee, called the Twelve,
wrought miracles and spoke words of wisdom and peace;
Who in due season hung on the cross,
lay in the tomb, rose from the dead
and now reigns in heaven.
I praise and bless
and give myself wholly to Him,
Who is the true Bread of my soul
and my everlasting joy. Amen