For nearly two thousand years the death and resurrection of Jesus has been at the center of the Christian life, placed in our hearts by the love of the Lord, and placed before our eyes and in our hands by the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. By this sacrament the totality of Christ – his body and his blood, his humanity and his divinity – is presented to us. It feeds us and teaches us, it strengthens and guides us. It is the medicine that heals, and the bread for our journey.
All this we know, and all this becomes a part of our Sunday celebration of the Eucharist, and of our daily mass as well at 7:30 a.m. in the rectory chapel. And now it will become a part of our parish prayer life in a monthly evening of Eucharistic adoration, which will begin in September in the parish hall. Starting in
September, on the first Friday of every month, the evening adoration will commence with the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at 7 p.m., and will continue until midnight, when the brief rite of benediction will be celebrated.
Between that opening prayer at 7 p.m. and the closing benediction five hours later, there is nothing but silence, silence and the opportunity to enter into the presence of the Lord and to spend some time in prayer with him. Although there will be a sign-up sheet covering all the hours, to make sure that at least a couple of people are there throughout the evening, people are basically free to come and go as they like and/or as the Spirit moves them.
This is a very different kind of Eucharistic prayer from the mass, but it remains connected with it, and always leads us back to it and deeper into it. For the purpose of the Eucharist, the purpose of all prayer, is to lead us into a deeper union with God. In that union of love, our hearts are opened to him and to our brothers and sisters for whom we pray, so that we are strengthened and better equipped for the life of active charity that is the life of every disciple of Christ. At mass this
happens in a prayer within which we are mostly guided by others: the priest and deacon at the altar, the music director and the choir, the readers and ushers and communion ministers. In Eucharistic adoration there is none of that, but only the prayers that we know by heart and the prayers that will be formed in our minds by the promptings of the Holy Spirit. We may in this feel a spiritual consolation or we may feel nothing at all – indeed, the more time one devotes to this quiet prayer, the more one realizes that our feelings during it are largely irrelevant. What matters is that we have set aside this time, his gloriously unstructured time, for God, and we simply leave it to him what he will do with it… and with us.
In the weeks ahead before Friday, September 4, there will be more announcements about this in the bulletin and from the pulpit. But we mention it now so that parishioners can know what is coming and begin to look forward to it. We all have many needs to pray for, for ourselves and for those we love. This will be one more place and time where that can happen.
Fr. Bob Sprott, O.F.M.