Tag Archives: Adoration

Prayer, A Surge of the Heart

“Birds fly, fish swim and human beings pray.”

Saint Ephrem the Syrian of the fourth century speaks a word about prayer that invites us into a deeper relationship with the living God. The source and summit of Christian prayer is the celebration of the Mass and we are all encouraged to not only be faithful to the Sunday Mass, but make every effort to try to assist at daily Mass whenever possible. At the parish (www.saintbenedictparish.org, in Richmond, Virginia, USA) we offer many opportunities for formal prayer. From Monday to Friday at 7 am, a group of parishioners gather for Morning Prayer under the direction of Ed Owens. On Thursday’s after 5:30 Mass, we have Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and the public recitation of the Most Holy Rosary and Benediction. This religious exercise takes about 25 minutes, but that extra time is well worth it in light of the spiritual benefit. Our Thursday evening attendance is growing. Consider attending and inviting friends to spend some time with Our Lord in adoration.

The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ – Corpus Christi

On Sunday, June 22nd, after the 11 am Mass, there will be our annual Corpus Christi procession when we will process the Most Blessed Sacrament through the neighborhood to affirm the faith of the ancient Christian church, that is the real and substantial presence of the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. The procession with conclude with Solemn Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.  This is a wonderful opportunity to extend an invitation to those you know who would like to join us in this public manifestation of the faith.  The parish joins with Catholics throughout the world in a procession that affirms our ancient faith. On Thursday the Blessed Sacrament was carried in procession in Rome, and our Holy Father, Pope Francis held Mass and led in Adoration.

Although we affirm the ancient faith, our Solemnity is a gift from the 12th century.  Juliana of Reinnes (1192-1258) according to Adrian Nocent, “she saw a lunar disk surrounded by rays of dazzling light; on one side of the disk, however, there was a dark spot that spoiled the beauty of the whole. The Lord revealed to her that the dark spot meant the Church still lacked a solemn feast in honor of the Blessed Sacrament.”

Our procession will certainly not be of the magnitude of the procession in Rome, however our procession will be an expression of the  faith of a people who believed in the words of the Preface that “bathed in the sweetness of your grace, we may pass over to the heavenly realities here foreshadowed.”  As we prepare to celebrate this Sunday, may the words of the post communion prayer be on our lips:  Grant O Lord, we pray, that we may delight for all eternity in that share in your divine life, which is foreshadowed in the present age by reception of your precious Body and Blood Who live and reign forever.

Ecce panis Angelórum,
Factus cibus viatórum:
Vere panis fíliórum,
Non mittendus cánibus.
Corpus Christi Procession, July 2014. The monstrance is carried under the canopy, escorted by the Knights and Ladies of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre.

Corpus Christi Procession, June 2014. The monstrance is carried under the canopy, escorted by the Knights and Ladies of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre.

New Liturgical Movement included this photograph among its photoposts of Corpus Christi processions around the world, Part 1 and Part 2.

Ascending the Mountain of Easter through a Lenten Pilgrimage of Prayer

On Ash Wednesday we heard in solemn assembly the words proclaimed from the prophet Joel, “Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the people.”

There are many ways we gather for prayer during our Lenten pilgrimage. On Thursday, after 5:30 Mass, we have the public recitation of the Most Holy Rosary and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. A parishioner who attended this said, “You really know you’re praying!” Another parishioner and recent convert said, “Where has this been all my life? This is wonderful!”

When we gather for adoration of the Sacrament, Our Lord invites us into the inner room of his heart where his heart speaks to our heart. As the Psalmist chants, “Deep calls to deep.” (Ps. 42). This is the inner room of which the gospel of Matthew speaks: the inner room of his Sacred Heart.

What kind of assembly is the Lord speaking of in Joel, to which he calls us? Surely it is the kind of assembly that he speaks of as pleasing to him, in the Sermon on the Mount: an assembly of people gathered together to pray, to enter the inner room of his Sacred Heart. That is where our Lord invites us to hear his heart speak within the silence of our heart.

We also gather for Stations of the Cross on Friday night after Mass to follow in the footsteps of Jesus on his way to Golgotha. We walk with Him on a pilgrimage to the Cross where salvation has come into the world, and there we behold the face of the crucified Jesus in whom “God has proved his love for us in that while we were sinners Christ dies for us.” And walking the stations, we accompany Our Lord to Calvary, where he has opened his heart to reveal God’s love for us.

This ancient Roman tradition helps us understand that Lent is a pilgrimage inviting us to renew our spirit through continuous effort to purify our souls, leaving behind what clutters and clouds the mind. Lent is a gift we receive from God Himself who leads and invites us on a pilgrimage into a deeper communion with him through Jesus Christ.

What a wonderful thing it is to recognize that through our Lenten pilgrimage we lift our voices in prayer with those of 2000 years of faithful Christians. When we enter into the church and kneel down at the foot of the Cross, we gaze upon the face of the crucified Jesus and pray,

“Look down upon me, good and gentle Jesus, while before Your face I humbly kneel, and with burning soul pray and beseech You to fix deep in my heart lively sentiments of faith, hope, and charity, true contrition for my sins, and a firm purpose of amendment; while I contemplate with great love and tender pity Your five wounds, pondering over them within me, and calling to mind the words which, long ago, David the prophet spoke in Your own person concerning You, my Jesus: “They have pierced My hands and My feet; they have numbered all My bones.”