Adoration is the act of worshipping or giving homage to someone or something. For Christians, adoration is reserved to God. While we venerate the saints and Mary, we adore God alone. In Eucharistic adoration then, it is not the host we adore but the presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. This adoration can take place in formal, communal settings when the consecrated host is placed in a vessel called a monstrance. Yet we also practice Eucharistic adoration when we visit a church in order to pray and meditate in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament reserved in the tabernacle.
Adoration is different from prayer of thanksgiving or petition; it is about giving God glory or praise for who He is. We adore God when we honor Him simply for being God. There are many different ways of adoring God. However we offer worship, the central act of Eucharistic adoration is simply spending time with our Lord.
Here are eight ways to practice adoration:
1. As Pope Francis says, “Let Christ gaze on you.” He continues by asking, “Adoring the Christ truly present in the Eucharist: Do I let myself be transformed by Him? Do I let the Lord who gives Himself to me, guide me to come out more and more from my little fence, to get out and be not afraid to give, to share, to love Him and others?” When Christ gazes on us, we are seen as we really are and become more self-giving.
2. You are truly not alone during adoration, so imagine Jesus or our dear mother Mary sitting and praying with you. You are in their presence.
3. In the real presence, God is uniquely present to you. Share with God everything in your heart. Journal if it helps.
4. And then listen. Let your heart be still. Don’t worry if nothing comes or if your mind jumps from thought to thought like a mischievous monkey. Just be present to Christ. Just listen.
5. As you are being gazed upon, return the gift and gaze upon Christ. Using the word “exposition,” we realize our hearts are exposed. We are vulnerable and available to Christ.
6. When we pray, God is already there first. When we share our joys and sorrows and pray for friends and loved ones, we are not praying to let God know our concerns. God already knows! As the catechism says, we are praying so that God can change our hearts.
7. The rosary is an excellent way to pray anytime and anywhere. Together with Mary, we meditate deeply on Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, putting Jesus at the center of our thoughts.
8. We can read the Bible. Jesus truly is the word of God, and by opening the written word, we become closer to Him. It also can be helpful to read the Scripture of the day or of the upcoming Sunday Mass.