Recently, a well-known, Catholic newspaper (well-known for it’s frequent distortions and refutations of the Catholicism it is reportedly a part of) printed an editorial by a priest. This man of the cloth ended his article with the assertion that Eucharistic Adoration is a is a “doctrinal, theological, and spiritual step backward, not forward.”
My reponse was disbelief. Disbelief that a priest would even say such a thing.
I’m blessed to live in an Archdiocese where Eucharistic Adoration chapels are prevalent; both perpetual and occasional. In some parishes, there are additional 40-hour devotions and/or periods of Eucharistic Adoration before or after Holy Mass. I have a scheduled hour of Adoration at my parish each week. I, also, do other random moments with Jesus. See a Eucharistic chapel: stop in.
I can get where Father is coming from. He’s coming from the same background I did. Prior to a few years ago, I’d never even heard of Eucharistic Adoration. I didn’t know what a Novena was. I’d never heard, read or participated in a Litany. I didn’t know the Rosary had Mysteries. I didn’t even know it was a requirement to go to Mass on Sunday. That’s ok though since I couldn’t have recited an Act of Contrition if my life depended upon it, right?
What I did know, and was told, was that the “old” “traditional” and “historic” rituals were all wrong, bad and somewhere in the documents of Vatican II outlawed.
I wonder, now, if there was a motivation behind the people perpetuating the idea that old was bad and irrelevent. Some of them should have known better. Maybe they honestly didn’t. Maybe they truly believed the ---- they were shoveling. In my angrier moments, I wonder if there were darker motivations at work.
Father also said: “Now that most Catholics are literate and even well-educated, the Mass is in the language of the people (i.e, the vernacular), and its rituals are relatively easy to understand and follow, there is little or no need for extraneous eucharistic devotions. The Mass itself provides all that a Catholic needs sacramentally and spiritually.”
Are we as Catholics literate and well-educated today? I wonder what he really means by that statement. Were my great-grandparents and forefathers stupid? I’d take the simple and uneducated faith, if what Father says is true, over the “enlightened” literacy of most Catholics today any day.
I used to think that I was so much better informed and educated than the Catholics of decades and centuries past who spent all day at Church in prayer. Who needs that? I’ve got things to do. Besides Father just told us the Mass is all we need. I used to think that too; just spend one hour a week with Jesus and then do whatever you want the other 39 hours of the week. Well, considering how many times I skipped Mass (remember, I didn’t even know it was required to attend on Sunday) and there are many weeks that the Mass alone was apparently not enough.
Let me brutally honest: the average Catholic today is stupid. The poorest Catholic peasant in the darkest of the so-called Dark Ages knew more than most modern Catholics about the Faith and what receiving Communion really meant.
That’s why, in my humble opinion, Eucharistic Adoration is more necessary than ever. So many Catholics have no idea what the Real Presence is or that they are consuming more than a wheat “wafer” at Mass. If that’s true, why not just go sit out in a wheat field and worship and pray over the grain stalks?
Eucharistic Adoration was critical to my reversion to the Faith. The critical piece of my reversion was the deepening of my understanding of the Real Presence. Once you wonder why anyone would spend one hour; much less five minutes, before a monstrance containing the Blessed Sacrament you start to wonder what the big deal is. Once you do it yourself, you are on your way to accepting the Real Presence. I challenge anyone to spend one hour before the Blessed Sacrament alone in a Chapel and feel nothing. You won’t.
Once you spend regular time before the Blessed Sacrament, you start to recognize the enormity of receiving the Eucharist at Holy Mass. Pretty soon you are examining your conscience, pretty soon you are at Confession, pretty soon you start wondering why wackiness at Liturgy is appropriate, before you know it you are praying every day. Before you know it, you realize just Mass, while important, is not enough to sustain you for 40 hours/week. You want to be with the Lord all the time. You want to learn more about Him. When you love someone, you want to be with them all the time; you want to learn all you can about them. Adoration will teach you that kind of love.
Pretty soon your whole life will change. Eucharistic Adoration is a doctrinal, theological, and spiritual step forward, not backward. If this is ignorance, than it's, truly, bliss.