As Catholics, we believe that, at the Mass, the bread and wine offered by the priest become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, which we receive in Holy Communion. After Mass has ended, however, the Body and Blood remain, and the Sacred Host is reserved in the tabernacle of every Catholic Church.
This octave of the Feast of Corpus Christi (the eight days following the feast, which is followed the next day by the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus) is a perfect time to turn our minds to the contemplation of this mystery. That is why Pope Benedict XVI used his Angelus message on Sunday, June 10, 2007, "to take the opportunity of today's Solemnity to recommend the practice of Eucharistic adoration to pastors and faithful." As the Vatican Information Service reported, the Holy Father pointed out that spending time in prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle is necessary for spiritual growth: "In modern life, so often noisy and dispersive, it is more than ever important to recover the capacity for inner silence and prayer. Eucharistic adoration enables this to happen . . . "
Why is it so important? Four years later, in his Angelus message on Sunday, June 26, 2011, Pope Benedict explained that "the Eucharist is like a beating heart giving life to the mystical Body of the Church, which is a social organisation entirely founded on its spiritual yet tangible bond with Christ. . . . Without the Eucharist the Church would simply cease to exist." The enemies of the Church understand this better, perhaps, than many Catholics. That is why atheists such as P.Z. Myers and Richard Dawkins, despite claiming to believe that the Eucharist is a mere "cracker," focus their fury on the Host. In their own twisted way, they acknowledge the power of the Eucharist to transform the lives of believers. Would that all Catholics were as certain of that power!
One way to become convinced of the transformative power of Christ's Body and Blood is to follow Pope Benedict's advice and try to spend some time in Eucharistic adoration. But even if we cannot drop into a church for a few minutes during the week, we can turn our thoughts to the Eucharist each day by making an Act of Spiritual Communion.
Prayers for Eucharistic Adoration:
- An Act of Adoration
- For the Peace of Christ
- Faith in the Eucharist
- Petition Before the Blessed Sacrament
- An Act of Love
- An Offering of Oneself to Christ in the Eucharist