Father Richard McBrien notes that eucharistic adoration reaffirmed faith in the Real Presence in the 12th century during a time when it was rejected or misunderstood. Now that “most Catholics are literate and even well-educated . . . there is little or no need for extraneous devotions” and therefore adoration is a “step backwards.”
Commonweal, in its Oct. 12, 2001, issue, examined surveys of Catholic beliefs from 1994 to 2001 and found that there is a steady decline in those who believe that “Jesus Christ is really present in the bread and wine of the Eucharist.” Like the 12th century church, it appears that today the Real Presence is again misunderstood or rejected and we should be emphasizing rather than minimizing the practice of adoration!
“The Mass provides all that a Catholic needs sacramentally and spiritually,” says Fr. McBrien. True enough, but there is more. Meat and potatoes also provides us with what we need nutritionally, but is it a “step backwards” to enjoy watermelon or lasagna or pickles or many of the foods that enliven and enrich our diet? How can it be a “step backwards” to pray before the blessed sacrament, if we truly believe Jesus is present? Unlike eating, we can never overindulge in prayer as long as we pray as Jesus did in Gethsemane, “not my will, but thine, be done.”
Josuha 1:8 says, “This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; you shall meditate on it day and night.” Likewise, I Thessalonians 5:17 instructs us to “Pray without ceasing.” Listen to the words of the Bible and worship weekly at Mass, pray the rosary regularly and contemplate frequently the mystery of the Incarnation at adoration!
St. Mary’s, Grinnell