“The God of Hosts in slender host does dwell” – St. Robert Southwell (1562-1595)
At the celebration of Holy Mass, the bread and wine offered by the priest become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, which we receive in Holy Communion. After Mass has ended, however, the Body and Blood remain, and the Sacred Host is reserved in the tabernacle of every Catholic Church (while the Precious Blood is consumed rather than reserved).
There, hidden in the tabernacle, or exposed in the Monstrance on the altar, is the God of Hosts. Who would refuse to spend a while in adoration in His Presence – the King of Kings, Creator of Heaven and Earth? Our worldly eyes cannot see the choirs of angels hovering around the Sacred Host, nor hear their exquisite songs of praise. Nor could we even begin to imagine the fullness of the sublime beauty and light that emanate from this ‘Bread of Angels’ – for if we could, we would die from joy on the spot (as many great saints have affirmed).
“I will not leave you orphans”, Christ The very Truth did say; Love holds Him captive, still on earth, He comes to us each day. The snow-white host is but a veil That hides Him from our sight, For mortal eyes could not behold The splendour of His light.” (From a poem by St. Thérèse of Lisieux)
Yes, faith in the words of Our Saviour assures us, that this is really and truly His Sacred Body, under the form of simple bread, pouring out His Love and Grace upon us. What immense merits and graces one can achieve for oneself, our loved ones, and the many needs of the Church, by remaining for just one hour in prayer and contemplation in front of the Blessed Sacrament! Could we not organise our busy time-tables to do this?…. Perhaps just on some days during the week?…. Or for just half an hour occasionally, if our many responsibilities do not allow us to give more? How Heaven would rejoice!
This daily practice of Eucharistic Adoration was the driving force that produced the zeal and enthusiasm of the great Ven. Archbishop Fulton Sheen. In spite of an extremely busy schedule, Fulton Sheen fulfilled the promise he made to the Lord on the day of his priestly ordination – to give an uninterrupted hour of prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament every day of his life. He once said: “The only time Our Lord asked the Apostles for anything was the night He went into agony. [“Will you not watch an hour with Me?”] Not for activity did He plead but for an Hour of companionship.”
When someone seeing the abundance of work the Sisters of Charity had to carry out, they asked Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta whether the daily hour of Adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament the nuns made would not be put to better use in carrying on with their work. Mother Teresa replied with indignation: “You understand nothing! We would not be able to do such demanding and emotionally draining work at all, were it not for that hour of prayer with God each day; He gives us the strength.”
At Fatima, the ‘Angel of Portugal’ told the three little seers: “Pray, pray much…. Console your God, so greatly offended by the sins of men.” How fervently those simple children took these heavenly pleas to heart! In a most heroic way, they grabbed every opportunity to pray and make sacrifices for the conversion of sinners.
But it was nine year old Blessed Francisco, as Sister Lucia related years later, who understood most deeply the need to spend time in contemplation before the tabernacle to “console” the Sacred Heart of Jesus and make reparation for “the sacrileges, outrages and indifferences by which He is offended”. Thus, in the hours Francisco spends in silent prayer in front of the tabernacle, this little boy with no formal education, demonstrates the greatest wisdom and comprehension of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and how we should all respond to that call.
More quotations from the saints:
“When you approach the tabernacle remember that He has been waiting for you for twenty centuries.”- St. Josemaría Escriva
“Of all devotions, that of adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the greatest after the sacraments, the one dearest to God and the one most helpful to us.” – St. Alphonsus Liguori
“For whom is Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament? For me; because He loves me!” – St. Peter Julian Eymard
“The Lord is present in the tabernacle in his divinity and in his humanity. He is not present for his own sake but for ours: it is his delight to be with the ‘children of men.’ He knows, too, that, being what we are, we need his personal nearness. In consequence, every thoughtful and sensitive person will feel attracted and will be there as often and as long as possible.” – St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Original name, Edith Stein)
“If we really loved the good God, we should make it our joy and happiness to come and spend a few moments to adore Him, and ask Him for the grace of forgiveness; and we should regard those moments as the happiest of our lives.” – St. John Vianney
“We are to be icons of mercy, radiating love and mercy to others. There is no greater way to energise ourselves to this task than by spending time in the Presence of the Source of Love and Mercy, Our Lord in the Most Holy Eucharist.” – St. Sister Faustina
“The daily adoration or visit to the Blessed Sacrament is the practice which is the fountainhead of all devotional works.” – St. Pope Pius X
“A thousand years of enjoying human glory is not worth even an hour spent in sweetly communing with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.” – St. Padre Pio