If You Ever Have Trouble Focusing During Adoration, Read This

Isidoro Arredondo, “Santa Clara” (1693)
Isidoro Arredondo, “Santa Clara” (1693) (photo: Public Domain)

Usually when I go to Eucharistic Adoration, I plant myself in a spot from which I can clearly see the monstrance, not too close and not too far away from the altar and as close to the center of the chapel as I can get. I make myself comfortable, take a few deep breaths, make the Sign of the Cross, and… space out.

That’s right. I space out.

It’s not apathy or preoccupation that makes me do that. On the contrary, it’s because I become so overwhelmed by the Real Presence that I don’t know what to do, think or say. Thanks be to God that doesn’t happen every time I go to Adoration, but it does happen far more frequently than I’d like to admit.

I’m a public speaker. You’d think I could come up with something to say to our dear Lord as he rests upon the altar.

Instead, I end up in this kind of nowhere state, complacent and grateful—oh-so grateful—to be allowed to come that close to the Savior and to be able to sit quietly before him, knowing that he loves me beyond my understanding.

And yes, sometimes I fall asleep.

Well, now there’s hope. Hope for me, but also for you and anyone else who could use some guidance for Eucharistic Adoration.

The Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration have published a new book, Manual for Eucharistic Adoration, edited by Paul Thigpen, Ph.D. (Tan Books). It’s a classy-looking, sturdy leather-bound book that’s also small enough to take with you anywhere you go—especially to Eucharistic Adoration.

What the Poor Clares managed to fit into 366 pages is amazing!

Part One covers “Preparing for Eucharistic Adoration," and talks about the mystery and patterns of Adoration as well as its history and some guidelines.

Part Two is “Aids in Eucharistic Adoration” and traces what the Church teaches from the Catechism, Church councils, papal teaching, Scripture, saints and other spiritual leaders and founders of the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration.

The last section of Part Two offers meditations, devotions, prayers and hymns for use during Adoration.

Here’s a part that especially caught my eye, since I have a special Marian devotion. It’s in the section titled, “A Catechesis on Adoration.”

From the Cross, Jesus entrusted us to His mother in the person of St. John. We are her children; she is our true mother. So when we go to adoration, it is fitting that we should ask her to accompany us and to help us dispose our souls to the graces God wishes to give. We can do this in a simple heartfelt prayer in our own words, or we can pray a Hail Mary or a Rosary. Jesus chose to come to us through Mary, and we simply use the same pathway—we go through Mary to Jesus.

As soon as I read that, I knew it was onto something great.

The book just gets better and better as you go through the pages. Here’s another amazing thing from this section called, “The Fruits of Adoration”:

The most powerful thing we can do on this earth with our time is to spend it in Eucharistic adoration. Nothing can do more to change the world, to bring about peace, to convert hearts, to make reparation for the many evils committed. Spending time in prayer it may seem, on the outside, to be a passive thing; however, it is anything but! Our world is in desperate need of hope, of renewal, of a ‘turning back’ to the things of God. By visiting Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, we take up the best weapon for the battles of our age and contribute to the healing of our culture.

The meditations included are excellent. And they even have one for folks making a quick stop for Adoration: “Fifteen Minutes in the Company of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.”

I consider myself fairly well-versed in the Catholic Faith, but Manual for Eucharistic Adoration has some devotions that I had never heard of before. For example, the Chaplet of the Five Wounds and the Eucharistic Holy Face Chaplet. Then, of course, there are many beautiful litanies that lead deeper and deeper into the mystery of the Eucharist.

The manual also includes the devotions for Eucharistic Exposition and Benediction, with the words both in Latin and English. These are some of my favorite Eucharistic prayers ever, and it’s awesome to have them right along with me.

There’s so much packed into this one little volume that it’s impossible to cover it all in one blog post. I wish I could. More than that, I wish you would get a copy for yourself, and even one for someone you care about.

You probably won’t believe me when I tell you that I was attracted to this quote itself rather than author, but I tell the truth. I discovered it in the Spiritual Writers section. Let me leave you with the words of Archbishop Françoise Fenelon:

The Hidden God

Oh mystery worthy of the admiration of angels! Mystery, whose excellence is infinitely enhanced by the goal which the King of glory proposes to Himself in reducing Himself to so abject a condition! This truly hidden God has withdrawn into the obscurity of His tabernacle to console the afflicted, sustain the tempted, enrich the impoverished, protect the unfortunate, heal the sick, and load with benefits all those who visit Him.

For sure, my time of Eucharistic Adoration will never again be empty space. Rather, it will be filled with inspirations and divine blessings. I hope yours will be as well.

St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans.

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