One of the things I’m trying to do more of this Lent is Eucharistic Adoration. More correctly, I should say it’s one of the things I’m trying more to take advantage of this Lent. Really, it’s a privilege to be able to adore our Lord in his Real Presence.
Most of the time, I spend a moment or two greeting our Lord and then get out my list of petitions, rattling them off like he was a short order cook. Jesus certainly does give me – all of us – food, but it’s not the kind of food that comes from a diner kitchen (or any kitchen for that matter) but rather from his own Flesh.
So, I’m trying to be more of an adorer and less of a beggar when I’m before my Savior. It’s been a bit challenging, since, as always, I’ve had a lot on my shoulders for which to pray. But, my goal this Lent is to cut the noise, still the clatter, and subvert the rote-ness in my prayer life. Along those lines, I’ve taken to meditating on a few lines at a time from Scripture, letting them sink into my mind and heart and then sitting back and listening to what our Lord has to say to me.
There are six passages in particular that I think give meat to my meditation – to further the analogy – and I’d like to share them with you. Each of them is a foreshadowing of sorts of the devotion of Eucharistic Adoration, which makes them truly fruitful when I’m kneeling or sitting in the pew facing the Monstrance.
Here they are, in no exact order.
John was standing with two of his disciples; and he looked at Jesus as he walked, and said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. (Jn 1:35-37)
For Christ, our Paschal Lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us, therefore, celebrate the festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Cor 5:7-8)
Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven; my father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world.” They said to him “Lord, give us this bread always.” (Jn 6:32-34)
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst… All that the father gives me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out.” (Jn 6:35, 37)
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.” ( Jn 6:47-51)
The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living father sent me, and I live because of the father, so he who eats me will live because of me. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.” (Jn 6:52-58)
All these passages, I think, are excellent. But, the one that I love the most and is most spiritually energizing for me is the first one. I’m especially attached to just one line: “Behold, the Lamb of God!" I find it to be a great opener for my Adoration time, because it helps me to center on Christ and his Presence before me. It’s also very helpful for me – she who is perpetually distracted – in refocusing my attention to where it belongs when my mind begins to drift.
When you consider it, this line can mean many things to many people. And, it can even mean different things to the same person on different days. That’s because, when we adore the Eucharist, we bring with us countless impressions, burdens, and questions that accrue over time. That’s true even if the last time we adored was a few days before!
Behold, the Lamb of God!
What better way to spend Lent than before Jesus Christ himself, quieting yourself and simply taking in his magnificence, power, and enduring love and all that that means to you? Sometimes, you needn’t say a word in Adoration but instead, lovingly and devotedly, behold the Lamb of God.