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Eucharistic Adoration

Jesus Christ Never Changes!

 

Catholic speaker and author Gary Zimak reminds us that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever

Are you facing a difficult problem?

Are you losing hope?

Do you feel as if you have no place to turn?

Are you searching for peace?

Do you need a miracle?

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrew 13:8)

The same Jesus who cured the sick, changed the water into wine, walked on the water, raised the dead and ascended into Heaven two thousand years ago still exists today.

Saint Teresa of Avila once heard someone say: “If only I had lived at the time of Jesus… If only I had seen Jesus… If only I had talked with Jesus…”

She replied, “But do we not have in the Eucharist the living, true and real Jesus present before us? Why look for more?”

Not only can we turn to Him in prayer, but we can receive Him in the Eucharist. We can visit Him in churches and adoration chapels around the world. Best of all, we can allow Him to work miracles in our lives. The Lord may look a little different, but make no mistake that He’s still the same as the man we read about in the gospels.

The only person that can keep you from a close, personal relationship with Jesus Christ is YOU! Don’t let that happen. He is knocking on the door of your heart. Open the door and let Him in. You’ll never regret it!

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20)

Gary Zimak is the author of “Faith, Hope & Clarity: How To Know God’s Will”, “A Worrier’s Guide To The Bible”, “Listen To Your Blessed Mother”, and “From Fear To Faith”. He is a frequent speaker at parishes and conferences across the United States and Canada, has an international radio following and is recognized as the leading Catholic speaker on the topic of overcoming anxiety. In addition to hosting his own daily radio show on BlogTalkRadio, Gary is a regular guest on EWTN television and radio.

Confused About Eucharistic Adoration? Vinny Flynn Can Help!


 

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Eucharistic Adoration. I greatly look forward to the time that I spend before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. When I’m with Him, I feel at peace and the time seems to fly. That wasn’t always the case with me, however. I used to be very confused about the idea of praying before the Blessed Sacrament. I had trouble understanding the point. Isn’t Jesus everywhere? Why do I need to go to the adoration chapel to speak with Him?

Fortunately for me, I was influenced by some very holy people, including my late Mother-In-Law, Betty. She would faithfully pay visits to the chapel to spend time with Jesus. After listening to her speak about the experience, I decided that I needed to give it a try. Although I’d been to adoration in the past and found it to be rather dry , I thought that things would now be different. I heard Betty speak about how great it is to spend time with Jesus, so I was all ready to experience the same thing. I signed up for a regular holy hour and when I got to the chapel, I sat down and thought to myself, “Now what”? I’ve got an hour…do I pray? Do I talk? Do I listen? Do I just sit here? I was completely frozen!

It took me a long time and a lot of research to answer those questions and, to be honest, I still wonder about these things sometimes. That’s why I was so pleased when I was asked to host the initial stop on Vinny Flynn’s blog tour for his new book, 21 Ways To Worship (A Guide To Eucharistic Adoration). I was even more pleased as I read the book and discovered that he answered ALL of my questions – past and present!

In an easy to read and entertaining way, Vinny Flynn gives us 21 different suggestions for what to do while we’re adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. More importantly, he makes a strong case for WHY we should adore Our Lord in this manner. I know it’s a well used cliche, but this is one book “you won’t be able to put down”! Once I started reading, I kept saying, “I’ll read one more chapter” and, before you know it, I was finished the book. I’m also looking forward to my next visit with Jesus so I can put some of these suggestions into practice.

Whether you’re struggling to understand why to visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament or simply looking for suggestions on how to worship Him once you’re there, this book will satisfy your needs in a BIG way. I highly recommend it and urge you to not only buy a copy, but to move it to the top of your “reading stack” as soon as you do!

Want to win a free copy of 21 Ways To Worship? Just comment on this post and I’ll randomly select one winner, who will receive a copy. The contest closes at 12 Midnight (Eastern Time) on Saturday, May 25, 2013.

Mary And The Eucharist

 

“If we wish to discover in all its richness the profound relationship between the Church and the Eucharist, we cannot neglect Mary, Mother and model of the Church…Mary can guide us toward this most holy sacrament because she herself has a profound relationship with it.” (Blessed Pope John Paul II, Ecclesia de Eucharistia)

At the center of our Catholic Faith is the belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Unfortunately, we often lose sight of or don’t appreciate the profound blessing that we have been granted. If we desire to become better Catholics and improve our relationship with the Lord, we must deepen our love for the Eucharist. How can we do so? One of the best and most underutilized ways is to turn to the Mother of Jesus, Mary. By getting to know her and studying her life, we can grow closer to Our Lord who is fully present in the Eucharist. In his encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, Blessed Pope John Paul II devotes an entire chapter to Mary, “Woman of the Eucharist”. Let’s examine some of his thoughts on how Our Lady can help us better understand the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament
Sometimes referred to as Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Mary can take us by the hand and lead us to a closer relationship with the Eucharistic Christ. While observing that “at first glance”, the Gospel is silent on the subject of Mary and the Eucharist, the late Holy Father makes an interesting observation. We know that Mary was present with the apostles who prayed “with one accord” (Acts 1:14) for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, it follows that Mary was most certainly present at the Eucharistic celebrations of the early Christians who were devoted to “the breaking of bread” (Acts 2:42). Blessed John Paul II then points to Mary’s interior disposition and observes that Mary is a “woman of the Eucharist” in her whole life.

A Mystery of Faith
Scripture tells us that faith is “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). The Eucharist is certainly a mystery of faith and cannot be grasped by our limited human understanding. Accepting Jesus’ command to “Do this in memory of me”, requires us to deny our senses and humbly submit to His instruction. What better advice can we be given than the words of Mary at the wedding feast of Cana when she stated, “Do whatever He tells you” (John 2:5)? Just as He changed water into wine, He can turn ordinary bread and wine into His Body and Blood. By listening to Mary’s advice, we can accept (without fully understanding) the miracle that occurs on the altar and embrace Our Lord’s words, “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life” (John 6:54).

The Fiat and the Amen
By offering her womb for the Incarnation of God’s Word, Mary lived her Eucharistic faith even before the institution of the Eucharist. At the Annunciation, when Mary conceived the Son of God, she foreshadowed what happens to us when we receive Holy Communion. As a result, according to Blessed John Paul II, “there is a profound analogy between the Fiat which Mary said in reply to the angel, and the Amen which every believer says when receiving the Body of the Lord”. Although we sometimes forget the significance of our response to the words “The Body of Christ”, by replying “Amen” we are expressing our belief that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist. Mary’s belief in the mystery of the Annunciation (“Blessed is she who believed”) anticipates the Church’s belief in the Eucharist.

Sacrifice
It is impossible to deny that there is a sacrificial dimension to the Eucharist. The Body and Blood of He whom we receive in this great sacrament was sacrificed for our redemption. Just as suffering was a major part of Our Lord’s life, it was a constant theme in the life of Mary. Beginning with Simeon’s crucifixion prophecy at the Lord’s Presentation (“a sword will pierce your soul”) and culminating with Our Lord’s death on the Cross, Mary had a very real share in the suffering of Christ. In this encyclical, the Holy Father made the following profound observation:

In her daily preparation for Calvary, Mary experienced a kind of “anticipated Eucharist” – one might say a “spiritual communion” – of desire and of oblation, which would culminate in her union with her Son in his passion, and then find expression after Easter by her partaking in the Eucharist which the Apostles celebrated as the memorial of that passion.

The Magnificat
According to Blessed Pope John Paul II, “in the Eucharist the Church is completely united to Christ and His sacrifice and makes her own the spirit of Mary. This truth can be understood more deeply by re-reading the Magnificat in a Eucharistic key”. He points out that when Mary proclaims “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior”, she is praising God “through” Jesus (who is in her womb), “in” Jesus and “with” Jesus. This, he observes, is the true “Eucharistic attitude” and that “the Eucharist has been given to us so that our life, like that of Mary, may become completely a Magnificat”. Saint Louis de Montfort, who greatly inspired John Paul II, recommended that the Magnificat be recited after the reception of Holy Communion. In doing so, we unite our voice with that of Mary and allow our often weak faith to be infused by her perfect and unfailing faith!

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever.

During this month devoted to Mary, why not take some time and meditate on her role as Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament? There is no better person to help us increase our appreciation for the Eucharist than the Mother of Our Lord. She knows Him better than any other human. Ask her to help you believe the “unbelievable”!

“Mary is present, with the Church and as the Mother of the Church, at each of our celebrations of the Eucharist. If the Church and the Eucharist are inseparably united, the same ought to be said of Mary and the Eucharist.” (Blessed Pope John Paul II, Ecclesia de Eucharistia)

Recognizing Jesus In The Eucharist

 

And it happened that, while He was with them at table, He took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized Him… (Luke 24:30-31)

For the second consecutive day, the gospel reading from daily Mass presents a story of someone who was dejected…and shouldn’t have been! Just as we saw yesterday with Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb, the 2 disciples on the road to Emmaus were sad about the Lord’s death and didn’t realize that He was right beside them! As He did with Mary, Jesus reached out to the men and they finally recognized Him after He “took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them”. Do those actions sound familiar?

They should, because that’s exactly what happens at Mass! One of the biggest mistakes that we make is to walk around sad and gloomy, forgetting that the Lord makes Himself available EVERY DAY in the Holy Eucharist. As Catholics, we are blessed with a privilege that seems too good to be true. Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, is present to us, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

Instead of suffering and struggling to carry your cross by yourself, turn to Jesus in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. He is reaching out to us, just as He did to Mary Magdalene and the disciples traveling to Emmaus. In addition to your Sunday obligation, try to attend daily Mass a few extra times each week and receive Our Lord in Holy Communion. By doing so, you’ll receive the graces that will help you experience peace and deal with your problems. And if you can’t attend daily Mass, make it a point to stop by your adoration chapel or church and spend some time with Jesus, who is FULLY present in the Blessed Sacrament…

the only thing you have to lose is your gloom and misery!

“Without the Holy Eucharist, there would be no happiness in this world, and life wouldn’t be bearable.” (Saint John Vianney)

Prayer To Jesus Abandoned

 

Here’s a nice way to end your day…

Prayer To Jesus Abandoned

With Mary Immaculate, let us adore, thank, implore and console the Most Beloved and Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

O Divine Jesus, lonely tonight in so many Tabernacles, without visitor or worshiper, I offer Thee my poor heart.
May its every throb be an act of love for Thee.

Thou art always watching beneath the Sacramental Veils; in Thy Love Thou dost never sleep and Thou art never weary of Thy vigil for sinners. O lonely Jesus, may the flame of my heart burn and beam always in company with Thee.

O Sacrament Most holy, O Sacrament Divine! All praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine!

(From Holy Hour of Reparation prayer book)

Why Everyone Should Be Catholic!

Disclaimer: If you’re expecting a long, detailed theological dissertation, let me apologize in advance.  Being somewhat of a simple minded person, I’m going to present a basic reason why I believe everyone should be Catholic.   On a very broad level, everyone should be Catholic because the Catholic Church contains the fullness of truth.  However, since this can be a little abstract, I’m going to offer a reason that is a little easier to grasp. 

One of the great things about being a Catholic is our belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.  Just to make sure that everyone understands me, let me elaborate a bit.  In the Eucharist, what looks like a round piece of bread (or a wafer) and what appears to be wine is actually Jesus.  You got it, it’s REALLY Him – Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity!  It’s not a representation, it’s not some sort of spiritual presence, but it is actually Jesus Christ.  As a member of the Catholic Church, I get to pray before Him and receive Him every day!  If your “fluff meter” is going off, I suggest you back up and read this last paragraph again.  I wasn’t speaking figuratively and I wasn’t referring to anything abstract.  As a Catholic, I take Jesus at His word (John 6:22-71) and believe that He is fully present in the Eucharist.  It’s Him!

This past Saturday night, as I do each week, I visited the local adoration chapel and prayed before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.  Before doing so, I put out a notice on Facebook asking for prayer requests.  As usual, I got a few responses, but most ignored the offer (By the way, don’t tell anyone,  but even though many of my Facebook friends ignore the invitation, I pray for them anyway.  After all, what kind of friend would I be if I saw Jesus face to face and didn’t put in a good word for them?).  Interestingly enough, one person replied with a “thanks, but no thanks” indicating that he’ll talk to Jesus Himself.  While that is strongly encouraged and definitely possible, I replied that unless you’re Catholic and believe in the Real Presence, you’re passing up meeting the Lord in person and settling for a “phone call” or “email”  instead.  As expected, he disagreed and made a comment about tolerance and love.  We did agree to pray for each other, but I got the feeling that I should write some more.

As baptized Catholics, we are all called to evangelize (sorry, fellow Catholics, but it’s true!) and that means sharing the “Good News” of our Faith with others.  Unfortunately, some people don’t want to hear what we have to say.  There’s no getting around this.  It happened to the prophets and it even happened to Jesus.  As Catholics, we believe that we have the fullness of truth and that our Church was founded by Christ (Matthew 16:18).  Why wouldn’t we want to share that truth with others, especially if it gives them a chance to TRULY meet Jesus?  Again, no “phone calls”, “letters” or “emails”, I’m talking about a chance to REALLY meet HIM!  I would have to be a real jerk to keep that to myself! 

My statement that “everyone should be Catholic” doesn’t mean that I think I’m better than anyone or part of an exclusive club.  Rather, it means that I’ve found the “pearl of great price” and I want to share it with others.  In other words,  I’d like to invite everyone to become a member of the Church founded by Christ.  In the meantime, if you’re not a Catholic and you don’t want to be, you better believe that I’ll be tolerant of your beliefs.  In fact, I’ll be happy to pray for you and ask you to pray for me. We can even discuss the beliefs that we share in common.  And when I visit Jesus each week, I’m still going to put in a good word for you. 

If you decide that you want to meet the Lord in person, contact your local Catholic parish or send me an email (gary@followingthetruth.com).

So, You Just Received Jesus…Now What?

I’m sad to admit that, over the course of my life as a cradle Catholic, I have received Our Lord in Holy Communion many times and didn’t have too much to say to Him.  It’s understandable, isn’t it?  There are lots of important things to do after receiving Communion: we have to look around the church and see how many people we know, we have to plan what we’re going to do after Mass and let’s not forget that we have to read the parish bulletin to see if we’re having coffee and donuts after Mass.  With all of these distractions, it’s easy to forget that we received the Lord and Savior of the Universe into our very bodies in a foretaste of the Heavenly banquet! 

While I’m obviously using sarcasm to make a point, it really can be difficult to keep our focus after receiving Holy Communion.  Since the Church teaches that there are infinite graces available after we receive Jesus, however, this isn’t the best time to become distracted.  But what can we do?  In reality, there is a simple acronym that help you to better focus on speaking to Our Lord after receiving Him in Holy Communion.  The acronym?

A.C.T.S.

Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving, Supplication.  Generally accepted as the four types of prayer, this acronym is hardly a secret.  What is not well known, however, is the effectiveness of  using this method immediately after receiving Holy Communion.  My wife, Eileen, has used it for years and finds it very helpful for collecting her thoughts after receiving the Eucharist.  After trying it myself, I can see why she likes it …it works!  Here’s an example of just how simple this method of prayer can be:

Adoration – Lord Jesus, I bow down before You and give you glory.  I adore and love You and acknowledge Your power over all areas of my life.  I ask my Blessed Mother, Mary, to supplement my feeble prayers and give You the proper adoration and praise of which You are so deserving.

Contrition – I am sorry that MY sins caused You to die a painful death on the cross.  Please forgive me, Jesus, for the times that I’ve failed to “do the right thing”.  Have mercy on me, a poor sinner.

Thanksgiving – Lord, I give You thanks for the many blessings in my life: my family, my job, my house, my friends.  I thank You for the gift of the Catholic Church and her clear and infallible teachings.  I thank You for the Sacraments which give me the grace that I need to lead a good and holy life, especially for the gift of Your Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist.

Supplication– Please help me, Lord.  I am a sinner who is struggling to be good.  I know that I can’t do it alone and I ask for your help.  Allow me to receive all of the graces possible from this reception of the Eucharist.  Help me to love You more and grant me an increase in faith, hope and charity.  I ask You to pour out Your blessing on my family and friends and those who have asked for my prayers.

Why not try it for yourself and see what happens?  The next time you receive Jesus in Holy Communion, close your eyes (the first step in avoiding distractions) and think of “A.C.T.S”.  Go through the letters, one by one, and speak from your heart.  I predict that you’ll find yourself getting closer to Jesus than you ever thought possible!

Mary: The Key To Unlocking The Eucharist!

Let’s face it, what Christian doesn’t want to get closer to Jesus?  Those of us who are Catholic are especially blessed because we get to encounter the Lord in most intimate way possible – by receiving Him in Holy Communion.  Because we are human, however, we often take this miraculous encounter for granted.  How many times do we receive Our Lord into our very body, while are minds are a thousand miles away?  Oh sure, we may mutter a few quick prayers after Communion, but are we really treating Jesus with the respect He deserves?  Do we pay Him the homage and adoration fiiting for the King of King and Lord of Lords?  Do we ask to receive all of the graces possible from this powerful sacrament?  If you’re like me, you could probably do a better job – at least some of the time.   

The good news is that there is an answer to this dilemma.  There is a person that can help you to get closer to Jesus at every moment, especially after receiving Him in Holy Communion.  The “even better” news is that this person is ready to help you TODAY and all you have to do is ask.  As you’ve probably determined, that person is Our Blessed Mother Mary and she is standing by, waiting to take you by the hand and lead you closer to Jesus!

Not sure what to say?  It can be as simple as, “Mary, please  lead me closer to Jesus” or “Mother, magnify and perfect my prayers so that they are pleasing to your Son”.  If you’d prefer something more formal, you can try this prayer composed by St. Bernard of Clairvaux:

Powerful, sovereign Queen, come to our aid.  Speak for us to Our Lord Jesus Christ.  Who can do it better than you who conversed with Him so intimately here on earth, and now so fully possesses Him in heaven?  Speak to your Son for us.  He cannot refuse you anything.  Ask for us a great love of God, perseverance in His holy grace, and the happiness of dying in His friendship that we may see you and thank you with Him eternally.  Amen.

Will asking for Mary’s intercession suddenly make all of your distractions go away?  Not necessarily, but they will decrease.  And on those days when you still find yourself empty and at a loss for words, Mary can fill in the gaps and perfect your feeble prayers, making them worthy for the Savior of the world.  Let’s look at a prayer from an old prayer book (Mary My Hope, Catholic Book Publishing Company) that can be recited before receiving Our Lord in Holy Communion.  It ackowleges the fact that we are imperfect and often don’t receive Jesus with the respect He deserves.  Instead of simply making us feel guilty, this prayer asks Mary for her assistance and acknowledge the fact that we can only get so far on our own.  We need help in order to get as close to Jesus as possible. 

Mary, my Mother, I am now about to become the sanctuary of Jesus.  But what a poor dwelling that I offer to the King of heaven!  Receive Him in me and be to Him a dwelling place.  He finds His pleasure and delight wherever you are; even the stable of Bethlehem was delightful to Him because of your presence.  Then He will also be pleased to take up His abode in my soul, if He finds His dear Mother there.

Come, dearest Mother, give me your pure, loving heart in place of mine, so cold and guilty.  Adorn me with your virtues and merits, and Jesus will find in my soul the perfect preparation which your soul offered Him at the moment of His incarnation, and which He found there also after His ascension, when you received Him in Holy Communion.  What happiness for me to be able to give you Jesus, the same gift the Heavenly Father gave you on the day of the incarnation.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you Jesus, your Son, the King of angels and of men.  Through Jesus and in Jesus I wish to honor, love and thank you worthily for the many graces you have shown me during life.  Mary, lend me your heart, help me to love my God.  Help me to prepare my poor heart to receive Jesus.  Amen.

Ad Jesum per Mariam! (To Jesus through Mary)

The Power of Eucharistic Adoration

While there’s no doubt that we can pray anywhere, there are special graces that can be received by praying before the Blessed Sacrament.  If you’re skeptical (as I once was), I encourage you to try it for yourself.  Try spending some time each week with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and see what happens.  If you can do it for an hour, that would be ideal.  If you can only spend 15 minutes, you will still receive many graces.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen made a holy hour every day of his life and wrote his homilies in Our Lord’s presence.  Numerous Saints and popes throughout the ages spoke of the importance of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.  The time I spend in adoration is my refuge from the craziness of my daily life and a tremendous source of blessing.  Why not try it and see what happens in your own life?

Archbishop Timothy Dolan recently wrote an excellent piece about the relationship between Eucharistic adoration and parish vibrancy.  I’d highly recommend that you read it and think about how the power of the Eucharist can transform your life. 

If you have any stories about how Eucharistic adoration has affected your life, I’d love to hear them!