Thursday, March 17, 2011


A few years ago, I mentioned something to a friend - a life-long Catholic - about Adoration, and she looked at me like I had two heads.  What's that?  But it hasn't been that many years that I've discovered the wonderful gift that it is.  I don't ever remember attending Adoration during my growing up years or Catholic school years.  I was a child of the 70's...maybe that explains it.

(This picture was taken while visiting the Monastery where my BFF lives.)

Somewhere along the line, though, I got an inkling of what Adoration was.  I think I even went once during our college days with my friend who is now a nun.  I remember sitting in a big room with the monstrance in front.  I got bored after a while.  There's only so much you can do while you're sitting there, right?

After that, it was years, maybe decades before I experienced Adoration again.  I knew that a church near me had a perpetual adoration chapel, but I was always scared to go.  I guess I figured everyone would turn around and look or I would do the wrong thing.  But my sister-in-law, after visiting the chapel with a friend, invited me along one day, and that was all it took.  (That evangelizing thing...) 

As Catholics, we believe that Christ is truly present in the Eucharist.  It's not a symbol.  He is really there.  And thus, when the Consecrated Host is present, Jesus is really there.  I am no longer bored in the presence of Jesus.  I am awed and humbled.  I am comforted and challenged.  I am thankful and sorrowful.  Confronted and affirmed.  But never bored.
No one gives anyone else a second glance at the Adoration Chapel.  You might get a smile or nod of the head, but most everyone is focused on their own conversation with the Lord.  There might be 4 or 5 or more other people, but you can spend an hour in utter, absolute sacred silence.   I sometimes substitute at this chapel when someone can't make "their" hour, but most often, I just drop in, when I've had one of "those" days or when I just want some time with the Lord.  The only bit of etiquette that I picked up, is that when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, it is proper to genuflect on both knees (think kneeling in the aisle). 

I've had some wonderful conversations with the Lord.  It is so quiet there that I can hear Him.  Or maybe, it is more that I can feel Him.  I often take my journal.  Sometimes I write, and He speaks to me through the written word.  This time, I was kind of unfocused, and in spite of my lack of artistic talent, I sketched.  Some pray the Rosary.  Some read.  Sometimes when I know that confession is in the near future, I will ask the Lord to help me find the things that need fixing.  It still amazes me how well this works when you listen.  Sometimes I just sit and listen.  
Sometimes Our Lord is exposed in a monstrance.  A priest friend told me that another word for a monstrance is "ostensorium."  It's rather ostentatious, isn't it?   

But some are simple.  This picture was taken at a retreat with Immaculee.  In this context, Adoration took place with us kneeling on the floor in the convention center.  A priest, blessed with the gift of healing, slowly processed the monstrance around the room, stopping every few feet and blessing those present with it.  One of those things that can only be described by experiencing it, I think.   You will notice his hands on his stole.  He used the stole to hold the monstrance - not touching it directly with his hands.  A way to show reverence and respect. 

But Jesus need not be in a monstrance for Adoration to take place.  He is also present in the Tabernacle, and I have found that when it is not convenient to go to the chapel, I can visit him at the church near my work.  It is open all day, and a couple of the doors have coded key pads, so that one who knows the code can also visit at night.  What a wonderful, wonderful thing!
 This is the tabernacle at the church that I visit before school.  I stay 20 minutes or so.  It is quality time.  I usually just sit or kneel in a pew at a distance, and usually I am alone.  One morning, though, a lady came in and marched right up to the tabernacle.  I thought maybe she was going to open it and remove a host to take to a homebound person, or some such thing.  But, no, she just stood in front of it, and spoke quietly to Jesus.  She says she comes every day. 
I once saw a youtube video (and I might have included it in this blog in the past).  It was a Catholic version using MercyMe's "I Can Only Imagine" 

Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel?....I can only imagine....

The bottom line was that you don't have to imagine.  Jesus waits for every hour of every day in the Blessed Sacrament in churches and chapels everywhere.  We can be in His Presence.  Give it a try!


  1. This post was perfect timing for me. I have just added Adoration to my life and I will admit it is a struggle. I don't feel bored but a tad restless. I am filling in for a friend this Saturday. I am looking forward to it and praying that I fall in love with this Tradition.

  2. This is a beautiful post. I wish the parish near us had regular adoration, but they don't. We used to go to a parish far away regularly for adoration, but now our health and finances prohibit it. Fortunately, we can pray often and long to be in His presence. Thanks for the lovely pictures of monstrances. I never get tired of seeing monstrances wherever I find them.