Adoration: Guess Who\’s in the Neighborhood?

Leila Miller - Neighborhood
\"LeilaAs I drive around town shuttling kids to and fro, I pass by one or more Catholic churches. On my good days, I remember Who is inside, and I make a quick head bow and the Sign of the Cross as I pass. Sometimes I think of all the cars whizzing by these churches, with occupants going about their business who have no idea that the Creator of the universe — the one Who thought them into existence — is only a few yards away. Most wouldn\’t believe me if I told them.Yet, the Church\’s best kept secret is no secret at all. The Second Person of the Holy Trinity, The Word Incarnate Jesus Christ, Who existed before the Creation of the world, through Whom all things were made, our Redeemer and Savior, dwells in the tabernacles of every Catholic Church on the planet.

And you can go visit Him. Even if you\’re not Catholic.

This personal encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist is no academic exercise, no theological theory, no mere symbol. Protestants worry that Catholics worship Mary, but their worry is misplaced. We don\’t worship Mary, but we do worship that \”piece of bread\” in the monstrance as God. Now that is something to worry about, if the wafer is just a wafer. Talk about idolatry!

But of course, that \”piece of bread\”, once consecrated, is no longer bread at all, but is the whole, living, resurrected Christ: Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. I know! It\’s crazy! Nothing could be more absurd. Well, except maybe an infinite, omniscient, omnipotent God who chose to become a man in the first place.

For those who seek God, for those who crave God, or for those who do not believe in God but secretly want to, go to the Lord hidden under the appearance of bread. Find a Catholic parish nearby that has regular hours of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. That is when the consecrated Host (Jesus in the Eucharist) is exposed in a monstrance and placed on the altar or in a special adoration chapel for all souls to come and adore Him in silence and prayer.

\”Be still, and know that I am God.\”

Some people visit Jesus daily, some weekly, some whenever they need the grace and peace that comes from even a few moments in the presence of the Lord. Going to adoration changes you.

The next time you drive by a Catholic church, think of Who is inside, think of the healing, comfort, peace and love He offers, and consider stopping in to see our God Who is right in the neighborhood, and Who is waiting for you.

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13 thoughts on “Adoration: Guess Who\’s in the Neighborhood?”

  1. Leila, thoroughly enjoyed this piece. There was Dominican sister at our school who once told a group of parents, “If you passed through a neighborhood where you had a best friend, you would stop to say “hi.” So why do you just pass by the church and never stop to see Jesus, except for Mass? Isn’t he your best friend? Isn’t he worthy of your time for an impromptu visit? He’s always there.” Sister Jane Francis just had a way of painting a clear picture. God bless you in our ministry efforts.

  2. What a lovely thought, Lelia. I always try to make the sign of the Cross when I pass by a Catholic Church out of repsect for our Lord. Hopefully, more will understand that He is always present. We simply need to stop into the Chapel, kneel down and ask Him for His comfort and blessings as we go through our day. Thank you for your article.

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  4. Also…it’s important to remember that the Real Presence in the neighborhood is incarnate in every hospice, every nursing home for the disabled, every institution for the mentally ill, every homeless shelter, every lonely, forgotten human, etc. It easier to spends moments before a monstrance than moments holding the hand of a dying cancer patient. Something to consider….faith without works means little.

    1. Phil, considering that we are talking about the actual, substantial, whole presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, your comment sounds a bit like the biblical Martha, no? Mother Teresa and her sisters spent hours in front of the Blessed Sacrament because, as Mother Teresa said, they are not merely “social workers”. They do all that they do for the poor and dying BECAUSE they love and adore Jesus first. Surely you are not implying that folks who spend time with Jesus in Adoration are unable or unwilling to help their fellow man? I have found it to be quite the opposite.

    2. Our experience is singularly opposite…I have found that people who spend much time in the comfort of Adoration (I do not dismiss nor diminish the practice at all) are the same people who never tolerate spending one minute with my disabled son…because they say it’s uncomfortable being around disabled people…the reasons for discomfort are legion. My own mother who was part of perpetual adoration group…refused to visit my son although separated by a short distance. MT is another discussion at another time and place…..

    3. That is terribly sad and I am sorry about that. It is not my experience. Perhaps it’s generational? Mother Teresa is relevant, because that is the very point: It’s not an either/or (either we adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament or we do good works). It seemed to me that you had set up a false dichotomy and I did not want to let that stand in people’s minds. I am not sure why your mother’s time in Adoration did not soften her heart and make her more loving and charitable. I wouldn’t want to speculate (maybe she has her own demons and wounds to address and is doing the best she can — maybe she would have been worse without Adoration), but normally the opposite occurs when people place themselves before the monstrance with an open, loving, and contrite heart.

    4. Of course, it’s not an either or situation; one should lead to an intense pursuit of the other. My position, and it’s only my experience, and others may have different experiences, but people get great comfort from Adoration, as they should, but believe that is sufficient in the face of human suffering around them. Institutions for the severely disabled are devoid of caring visitors, as one example. As for MT, it is well known I no fan….”The Missionary Position” by Hitchens is well documented and the miracle of curing the abdominal tumor in Monica Besra was disavowed by her doctor.

    5. Agreed, Leila. And I second your other comments on Adoration changing you and people coming to Adoration with a ton of demons of their own– including the fear that they aren’t doing enough, and so they pray that the Lord will show them how to be more generous; to have a better perspective on what He’s given them, and how to share it with others.

      Whereby those others include a homeless man who needs something to eat, whereby you discover that you’re far more moved than ever before to give him some money or to offer to buy a sandwich for him– and to actually look him in the eye when giving either or both to him, whereas before, you would’ve hemmed and hawed about the cost. Even as you know that you yourself don’t have much. Or do you? Praying, asking the Lord to see the much you have that you aren’t seeing helps.

      Or that you’ve got difficult relatives whom you’ve seen undermine everyone around them. Some of them are lonely and forgotten, but who you know would hurt your marriage and family if you’re not careful, so you ask Jesus to show you how to love that person and treat them with dignity, knowing that He calls you to do so, and you know that it’s hard. Opportunities for common ground will also come in ways that you might not see until after the fact.

      A lot of these things take time, and they require balance. In Him, the center holds. And if we want to give Love to others, it would help to know what it actually is. Often times, we think that it’s an emotion. But that can come with the territory of letting others abuse us when we should be standing our ground.

      I also don’t know that it’s “easier to spend moments before a monstrance than it is to spend moments in a hospice holding the hand of a dying man”: because if that truly IS Jesus, then spending time in front of the monstrance and doing it regularly will be some of the most deeply confrontational– gentle, but still confrontational– moments you could ever spend. …which is probably one of many reasons why a lot of us don’t do it. It also imparts the balance that we need to see everything God has given us with some perspective. Healing doesn’t just come through mostly fuzzy-wuzzy, therapeutic notions of comfort: healing involves drawing out poison from some very deep wounds that many people do in fact have. Moreover, the healing of those wounds through the Sacraments and Adoration does give one the detachment necessary.

      If we really want to go the other way, it can be far simpler to tell yourself that you’re a “good person” just because you help out at a soup kitchen, and are a “nice person” when you could be a fornicator (whereby essentially lying about sex and marriage does in fact hurt people, exhortations of “it’s not like it hurts anyone” to the contrary). I think that Pope Benedict, and also Pope Francis, too, remind us that prayer is important: we do not let good works, though good, take the place of prayer. Rather, we allow prayer to sanctify those good works and ourselves, reorienting, integrating, and knitting together the myriad aspects of a holy life– through, with, and in Jesus Christ.

  5. Great article Leila! I think many cradle Catholics don’t grasp the wonder and awe of the Eucharist because it’s just so familiar that it’s taken for granted. I was certainly guilty of this, and it wasn’t until a miscarriage and subsequent difficult pregnancy that I had my awakening. I spent my first trimester on bed rest, and when things finally improved and I was able to get up and out, I remember standing in the Communion line in church when the sudden realization hit me that I was actually going to receive Jesus Christ, the Great Healer, Son of God who created the entire universe… and the baby growing inside of me was going to receive Him too! I clearly remember thinking that this was all my baby would ever need. Happy ending, I went on to have 3 healthy children (all difficult pregnancies) but feel blessed beyond belief to have my children, and to have finally realized how marvelous the Eucharist really is!

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