Eucharistic Adoration: The 30-Day Experiment
The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life” (CCC 1324). Although worthily receiving the Eucharist during the sacrifice of the Mass bestows the greatest graces, Jesus also blesses us in tremendous ways when we sit in His presence during Adoration.
I need healing. In truth, don’t we all? But for those of you who have followed my articles for a while, you’re aware that I’m a trauma survivor and still in the process of recovery and soul renewal. Healing from trauma takes time, dedication, education, and support. Yet it takes a lot more than that.
Healing from trauma requires Christ, our Divine Physician. There is no other way.
I have begun to awaken from the piercing, numbing pain caused by domestic abuse and betrayal trauma. Jesus has been calling to me: “Talitha cumi. Little girl, arise!” (Mark 5:41). However, this inner healing journey didn’t truly start to unfold until I began a daily practice of Eucharistic Adoration. It was there, sitting at His feet, enveloped in the warmth of His healing love, that I began to feel an inner peace that grew and strengthened with each passing day. As Pope Benedict XVI so beautifully put it, “In this place the Lord is always waiting for me, calling me, waiting to make me ‘eucharistic’. In this way, He prepares me for the Eucharist.”
Meditating in front of the Blessed Sacrament is meditating in the Real Presence of Christ. However, since Adoration isn’t locally available to me, I hadn’t been able to attend on a regular basis. Although I keenly felt the loss, online Adoration wasn’t something that occurred to me. It was only after speaking to a friend about how much I thirsted for Adoration, but couldn’t go, that the prospect of online Adoration was brought up.
“It may seem odd at first,” my friend said, echoing my own thoughts, “but trust me, Christ will still be present.”
I decided to take my friend’s advice. After all, it couldn’t hurt to at least try.
I’ve wanted to develop the good moral habit of a regular Adoration practice for quite some time. I long for healing, and for Christ. However, like any good habit, the most difficult part is getting started, and sticking with it for the first few days. That’s why I made a promise to Jesus that I’d pray with Him in Adoration for at least 30 days. I wanted to see how God’s promise of “grace builds upon grace” (John 1:16) would be fulfilled.
A promise made to Christ can’t be broken. Once made, I was locked in. Just where I wanted to be.
Full of anxiety and grief, I’ve felt heavily burdened in my life, and it’s only been through Adoration that I’ve found authentic peace. This peace is an accumulating peace, felt deep within the soul. After several weeks—when my Adoration practice had become a virtuous habit—this peace became all-pervasive. The moment I’m in front of the Blessed Sacrament (whether virtually or in person), this peace is like a blessed sigh, a release of tension from deep within the core of my beinghood. It is truly a peace the world cannot give, a peace that can come only from Him (John 14:27).
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28)
This is the fruit of Adoration; peace, rest in God’s graces and presence.
There were days, particularly at the beginning of my 30-day commitment, that I was tempted to skip Adoration. With a very busy schedule, I was sometimes afraid I wouldn’t have enough time to sit with Christ for an hour. On other days, dryness in prayer tempted me to cut my Holy Hour short.
Christ’s saints saved me from temptation. In particular, I find great comfort in what St. Francis de Sales said: when a person feels they’re too busy for prayer, they should pray longer.
He’s right! I found that on the days when I was “too busy” for Adoration, time somehow expanded. When I made the effort to pray, for the full hour, I discovered that not only did I have plenty of time in my day to accomplish all necessary tasks, but I actually had time left over.
I guess that’s God’s way of multiplying my loaves and fishes.
As for the frustration of spiritual dryness—which we’ll all experience, many times in our lives—St. Ignatius of Loyola warned us that the temptation to cut prayer short due to dryness comes from an evil influence, and therefore should be resisted.
The inspiration of our great Catholic saints helped me understand what was going on in my soul and to resist the temptation to give up my prayers.
“I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel, who even at night directs my heart” (Ps. 16:7). Through regular attendance at Adoration, I can feel God directing my heart in ever-increasing ways. This is due to His grace, and my growing willingness to open the door and invite Him inside my chambers. “I hear my Beloved knocking … The King has brought me into His chambers” (Song 5:2, 1:4).
“And so my heart rejoices, my soul is glad; even my body shall rest in safety” (Ps. 16:9). That is precisely how I feel during Adoration: secure beneath God’s protective wings, safely warm in His loving shadow (Ps. 36:7, 91:1).
Only Jesus can unbind us from the wounds of our life. Only Jesus can raise us up, give us hope, help weaken our inclination to sin. Only through His grace can we let pain go and allow ourselves to rest in His healing touch.
Catholics worship in Adoration for a variety of reasons. They may wish to dive deeper into their relationship with Christ, have a burning desire to “watch and pray” with Jesus (Mark 14:38, Matt. 36:38, Lk. 22:46), or may be in need of peace and healing. Any reason to sit with Jesus is a blessed reason; in fact, no specific reason is needed for desiring to rest with a Friend.
Eucharistic Adoration is a sure way to enhance, enrich, and enliven one’s spiritual life.
For those not able to attend in person, online Adoration confers the same graces and benefits. Christ simply desires us to give our time and will, to invite His presence into our lives, and to draw ever closer to Him.
What I discovered on my 30-day Adoration journey is that grace does indeed build upon grace (John 1:16), and through these graces we’re given the promises of His eternal life. “Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has made Him known” (John 1:17b-18).
Attending Adoration once is a blessed gift, but cultivating a habit of regular of Eucharistic devotion creates a binding relationship between Christ and self that enables the self to more fully open to the graces He so lovingly desires to bestow upon us.
My 30 days of Adoration have now become a lifetime of daily devotion.
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