By Mary Downey

Adoration is defined as “Man acknowledging that he is a creature before his Creator. It exalts the greatness of the Lord who made us and the almighty power of the Savior who sets us free from evil.” For Catholics in particular, a way to practice adoration is in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, a host that has become the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ through the Mass. Adoration can happen anywhere; adoration in the presence of a displayed consecrated host (i.e., during Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament) can be especially powerful. Sometimes called a Holy Hour, this special prayer time is an experience of the Scripture, “Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart” (Matt 11:29). Eucharistic Adoration goes far in revealing God’s heart for us.

God disguises Himself as broken, vulnerable bread to invite us to be broken and vulnerable with Him in return. He never takes us somewhere He has not already been. He doesn’t ask us to be His sheep before understanding what it means to be the Sacrificial Lamb. That is a truly meek love which we also experience in the Blessed Sacrament. St. Faustina referred to the Eucharistic Christ as a “Prisoner of Love.” He waits patiently within a Tabernacle, leaving behind His majesty and strength just for the chance to see us.

We become what we take in. Movies, music, news, books, and the information we consume change how we see the world, how we behave, and what we understand as “normal.” If we want to be healthy, we read or watch articles, videos, or programs that motivate us to make healthy choices. If we want to be like Christ – to be holy – we read, listen, and take in only what will direct our thoughts to Him.

Adoration most directly focuses us on Christ. Not only do we get to soak in God’s ways and mannerisms by spending time together, but He also models for us what the perfect heart looks like. The Perfect Heart? That’s a pretty audacious claim. Maybe. But look closely. The focus of the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament is the consecrated host. It is held by a golden stand, called a Monstrance, that often is modeled to look like a shining sun with the host at the center.

A Monstrance does two things by design. It extends outward around the host while also pulling attention inward to the host at its center. The human heart is a Monstrance to whatever is at its center, whether or not that is Christ. The ideal heart is centered on Christ, shining Him outward brightly enough that people look closer to see where the light comes from and their attention is drawn inward to Christ at the center. The perfect heart elevates Christ and points to Him.

The above is an excerpt from Little By Little: A Guide to Going Deeper in Prayer by Mary Downey. If you missed getting your free copy of this book for Lent, stop by the Parish Office.