The Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament
At every Holy Mass – also known as the Holy Eucharist – at the moment of consecration, when the priest utters the same words that Jesus spoke at the Last Supper, “This is my Body…” and “This is my Blood…” the power of the Holy Spirit transforms the humble gifts of bread and wine which we offer in thanksgiving to God, into the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. From that moment we believe that the bread and wine, though they still have the appearance of bread and wine, are actually the Body and Blood of Christ, the very Bread of Life, the Blessed Sacrament, given to us to nourish us on our spiritual journey with God.
What is Eucharistic Adoration?
Eucharistic Adoration is the love we show to Jesus – the King of kings and Lord of lords – who is really, truly, and substantially present under the humble form of the consecrated host known as the Blessed Sacrament. Our love for Jesus is shown in the form of honour and reverence, veneration and adoration.
“Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the Name which is above every name, that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, in Heaven and on Earth and under the Earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
The Letter of St. Paul to the Philippians, Chapter 2, verses 9–11
It is important for us to show honour and reverence whenever we come into the Presence of Jesus. When we come before His Presence in the tabernacle of every Catholic Church we should genuflect reverently. When we come into His presence during Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, we meet Jesus in a sacred vessel called a monstrance which has a small glass window through which we are able to see the consecrated host. When Jesus was suffering His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked His apostles to “watch and pray” with Him, and He asks no less of us, His followers and friends today. And so, in Eucharistic Adoration, we spend time with Jesus in quiet devotion and silent prayer.
Adoration of Jesus in the Holy Bible
Can you think of times when Jesus was adored during His life on Earth? Here are just a few to ponder in your heart. When Jesus was born in the manger at Bethlehem, both Mary and Joseph adored Him; a host of angels appeared from Heaven to adore Him and urged the shepherds tending their sheep to go and do the same; and three kings travelled all the way from Arabia to adore Jesus, the King of kings, and offer him their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Prior to His journey to Jerusalem and His Passion, Jesus ascends a mountain and asks Peter, James, and John to accompany Him. There they saw Jesus transfigured so that the dazzling Light of His Divinity shone all around them. They knelt down and adored Jesus, just as Moses had adored God when He appeared to him in the Burning Bush atop Mount Sinai. Just as Jesus was adored during His earthly life, as attested in the Gospels, now we are able to adore Him in the Blessed Sacrament where He is truly present in the glory of His Resurrection and His Ascension.
Eucharistic Adoration in the parish of St. Bernadette’s
In May this year, in our parish church of St. Bernadette’s, we celebrated 25 years since the opening of our Adoration Chapel – 25 years during which countless numbers of parishioners have, on a daily basis, spent time in silent prayer and quiet contemplation in adoration of Jesus in His Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament.
Adoremus and the call to adore Jesus
This year also marks a special event in the life of the Catholic Church in this country with a Eucharistic Pilgrimage and Congress taking place for the first time in over one hundred years. Many people will gather from every parish in England and Wales, and it is hoped that through this event, the Holy Spirit will inspire us with a greater understanding and a greater love of our faith, and in particular of the great gift that Jesus gives us of Himself – Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity – in the Blessed Sacrament, made present to us in the Holy Eucharist and in Eucharistic Adoration.
As a sign of the importance we place on this national event and its relevance to the Catholic Life of our academy, we have invested in promotional materials, such as banners and posters, to raise awareness of the event. Additionally, an Adoremus prayer card will be given to each child, and another prayer card will be given to each family. These prayers will also be offered within the academy as we build towards this significant event for the Catholic Church in England and Wales.
Eucharistic Adoration in our Academy
With this in mind, and heeding the wish of Bishop Patrick to bring Eucharistic Adoration into schools, we were greatly honoured and delighted to be able to have Eucharistic Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament within the academy for the first time this May, and we hope to be able to devote one day each term to Eucharistic Adoration.
In the Spring Term, we watched an address given by Bishop Patrick, and learned that Bishop Patrick spends time in Adoration at the beginning of every day. After this, we listened to a talk given by the Headteacher explaining what Eucharistic Adoration is, and the honour, reverence, and love we must show Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. This concluded with a reflection on Eucharistic Adoration using the words of St. Pope John Paul II. Each class was then given their own special time for silent prayer and reverent devotion. It was a most moving experience.
Time spent with Jesus is always time well spent. Just as the sun bathes us in the warm rays of its sunlight, so time spent with Jesus in the Real Presence of the Blessed Sacrament bathes our heart, soul, and mind in the Light of Christ. Empowered by our time in the Presence of Jesus we are then called to reflect the Light of Christ to the world.
O Sacrament most Holy,
O Sacrament Divine,
All praise and all thanksgiving,
Be every moment Thine.
Adoration of Jesus by the three kings