This Sunday we celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi, the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. Since we are celebrating the Body and Blood of Christ, the Eucharist, I thought it would be a good opportunity to talk about Eucharistic Adoration. A booklet from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops titled “Thirty-One Questions on Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament” asks and answers the following question (along with many others):
5. Why is the Blessed Sacrament reserved in a tabernacle in
every Catholic Church?
The tabernacle was first intended for the reservation of the
Eucharist in a worthy place so that it could be brought to the sick
and those absent, outside of Mass. As faith in the real presence of
Christ in his Eucharist deepened, the Church became conscious of
the meaning of silent adoration of the Lord present under the
As stated, the mere existence of a tabernacle in a church demonstrates an understanding of the Eucharist that is different from other faiths. In most Christian denominations there would be no tabernacle since they do not have the same understanding of the Eucharist and the real presence of Christ that once He is present in the bread and wine remains.
With Christ present in the tabernacle, or exposed in a monstrance during Eucharistic Adoration, we realize we have the special opportunity to spend time with Him. We can pray anywhere and at any time (hopefully we do), but this is different. As an old phone commercial used to say, ‘it’s the next best thing to being there’, but of course that makes us respond, then why not go for the best thing and be there? That is what Eucharistic Adoration gives us, to be there in the real presence of Christ. Like those we may phone, we realize we cannot be with them all the time so this is another means of staying close and in touch, but it isn’t the same as being there. Hopefully like communicating with other people we have developed numerous ways for when we can’t be there, as we have the phone, letters, e-mail, texts, Skype, Facebook, messages through friends, … so we hopefully have numerous ways we keep in touch with God with different prayers, formal, unstructured, communal, intercessory (asking for other’s prayers), devotional, … but when we get the opportunity Eucharistic Adoration allows us to be there with Christ in a way we are not otherwise. We have our weekly Sunday meal together, but just as a parent might say, what a nice surprise that you stopped in during the week.