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  • Writer's pictureMichaela A de Guire

What is Eucharistic Adoration and What do you do during it?

In order to answer this, we must first address the question, "what is the Eucharist?"

Priest entering into the church

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church it says, "The Eucharist is “the source and summit of Christian life.” 136. Thus, it is food for our soul. “The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.” 137 " (CCC 1324). Thus, the Holy Eucharist is Jesus Christ, fully present. The Eucharist is both Jesus' Body and Blood. It is not a symbol of Him, but actually Him.

Why is it called Eucharist? The term Eucharist originates from two Greek words, eucharistein and eulogein. It is an act of thanksgiving to God. When you hear the term Holy Communion, this is in reference to how we unite ourselves to Christ, when we receive, with a pure soul, the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ, thus forming a single body. The Holy Eucharist is quite literally food for the soul. Much like food you eat to nourish and give your body energy to continue doing physical good works, the Eucharist is the primary source of sustenance of the supernatural life.

Before one can receive the Holy Eucharist a “Eucharistic Fast” is necessary. This fast is an abstinence from food and drink for one hour before receiving Holy Communion. At one time it was a fast that started at midnight, and even included water and medicine, you were to abstain from everything. However, Pope Pius XII in 1953 changed the fast to a complete abstinence from solid foods from midnight forward, but allowed liquids up to one hour prior to the reception of Holy Communion, but no alcohol. It was once again altered in 1964 by Pope Paul VI to what we have now, which is fast and abstain from all foods and liquids (excluding water and medicine) one hour prior to the reception of Holy Communion.

So, what is Eucharistic Adoration?

In simple terms Eucharistic Adoration is the worship of the Holy Eucharist outside of Mass. It is when you spend time adoring, loving with your whole heart, soul and body, your whole being the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

Holy Eucharist Adoration

The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that, “Adoration is the first attitude of man acknowledging that he is a creature before his Creator. It exalts the greatness of the Lord who made us and the almighty power of the Savior who sets us free from evil. Adoration is homage of the spirit to the “King of Glory,” respectful silence in the presence of the “ever greater” God. Adoration of the thrice-holy and sovereign God of love blends with humility and gives assurance to our supplications.” (CCC 2628)

Thus, Eucharistic Adoration is you, spending time with Jesus Christ, within the walls of a church or chapel. It is you, spending time with Jesus, in the form of Adoring and loving Him above all else.

What do you do during Adoration?

Well, to start when you enter into the church, where the Lord is present, you should genuflect. I was taught to genuflect on both knees, almost as if you are kneeling for a second or two, when the Lord is exposed in this way. It is a way of showing reverence to the Lord. Many say genuflecting on a single knee is all that is required. I believe when Jesus is exposed to us, as He is during adoration, that kneeling for a brief moment, or genuflecting on two knees, is a good way to set yourself up for a beautiful time with Christ and remind you who it is you are here to be with.

Child praying the Rosery

I was also taught that we are to be silent during adoration. I believe this is a good practice to keep, as others are praying or working hard to simply be with Christ. Nowadays we can't seem to find enough silence around us. Thus, I believe it is important to set aside all distractions (including your phone). Being constantly bombarded with social media, people, etc.. I find it hard to be okay in the silence, I am sure you can understand. When we find it too unbearable we tend to fill it with music, podcasts, audiobooks, videos, etc. Therefore, I find adoration to be extraordinarily beneficial if only for being in the quiet presence of Christ without distraction.

What do I “do”?

As for what you actually “do” during Eucharistic Adoration, you may be happy to know that you do not really have to “do” anything. This is your time with Jesus. You can pray memorized prayers. Share your joys and sorrows. Or simply listen.

There are many proper forms of prayer with many different postures, do what feels right to you. Whether kneeling, sitting, standing, or prostrating yourself (lying face down on the floor).

I personally start by kneeling, at this time I say a Rosary asking for Our Lady’s intersection for whomever I am praying for. Sometimes I say the Divine Mercy Chaplet, other times I would say a few other memorized prayers, such as the Angelus. Once I have completed my prayer requests I then sit, at this point in my Adoration I would either breath, not really meditating, but just focus on my breathing and begin running through a list of things I am grateful for. Or, if I feel the urge to journal, I will pull out a journal I carry with me and begin writing whatever it is that is resting deep in my heart. After I have finished this I usually kneel once more, and thank God for giving me the opportunity to be with Him that day.

Unlike the Mass there is really no written rubric to what you are supposed to do during Adoration. There is a rubric for the opening and closing, but the in-between time is for you to fill with simply Adoring Christ in the most respectful and best way you can.

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