When I was attending NDSU, I became involved at the Newman Center near campus. A Newman Center is a Catholic parish that is specifies its ministries around college-age students. It was at the Newman Center where my faith came alive and I truly built a living relationship with Jesus Christ. One of the ways that my faith grew was through adoration of the Eucharist.
I recall one evening at about 9:30pm, I went over to St. Paul’s Newman Center to pray the rosary. Normally, the Newman Center would have been dimly lit. However, this time, the entire church was illuminated. As I walked in, my nose immediately caught the smell of incense. And there, on the altar, was a large round vessel made of brass and in the center was one of the larger hosts used at mass. Immediately, my engineering brain began the logical sequence: Catholics believe that the host at mass becomes truly Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is God. Catholics worship God. We should logically have time to worship the Eucharist!
I climbed into the first pew available and spent the next hour in front of the Eucharist realizing that it is a beautiful thing to spend time with Jesus in the Eucharist. Jesus gave himself in the Eucharist to fulfill his promise from the very last sentence of the Gospel of Matthew: “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matt 28:20) So it makes sense that not only would we keep the Eucharist in the tabernacle, but that Catholics throughout the world would have times to bring out the Eucharist to adore our Lord and Savior.
Our parish has had Eucharistic adoration on Fridays from 8:30am until noon for some time now. People from our parish take time out of their Friday mornings to spend time with Jesus. We have also, recently begun having an hour of adoration before daily mass on Tuesday through Friday from 7am until 7:55am. At the end of the time of adoration, the priest picks up the Monstrance with the Eucharist and blesses the people with the Eucharist itself.
I encourage all of you to make time to attend adoration at our parish or at any of the perpetual adoration chapels across the Twin Cities (yes, perpetual, meaning that there is someone at every hour of the day and night praying). In this time of adoration, you can pray in any way you choose: rosary, reading Sacred Scripture, Divine Office, spiritual reading, quiet meditation, even just sitting with Jesus as two good friends. A friend of mine once said, “I go to adoration, I look at Jesus and He looks at me...and we smile at each other.”
The Lord Jesus Christ gave us the Eucharist so that he can be with all of us for eternity. And now, in our Church, we have these great opportunities to adore him in the Eucharist.
May the Lord bless all of you through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
These are the last words of Jesus Christ in the Gospel of Matthew. They are, if you will, the mission of the entire Church. It is the very nature of the Catholic Church to evangelize, which means to spread the Good News of the mercy and love of God, extending an invitation to become a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Very often, however, Catholics will think that it is a the duty of programs within the Church to share the faith. Or perhaps the mission of the priests who preach and the nuns who teach. While these programs or “professionals” are important, who can best share the faith with your friends whom you know personally? It is you!
When we think of faith, too often, we think of it as a list of moral teachings. While the teachings are important, the fullness of the faith is found in a living relationship with Jesus Christ. We all have friends and people whom we know well. We keep these friendships alive through our regular interaction with these people. Then, if we want to introduce someone to our friends, what do we do? First we tell the new person about our friend, but rarely does this help them become friends. The best thing is to do is to introduce the new person and your friend. Convince the new person to spend time with your friend and they will get to know each other...and the same applies for Jesus.
Faith is a living relationship that you have with Jesus and we want to introduce people to Jesus, not just tell people facts about Jesus. So how do we introduce people to Jesus? The same way we were introduced to Jesus...through the life of the Church. We got to know Jesus through the Sacraments, through the prayers, through the community gathered, through the Holy Scriptures with the guidance of Holy Tradition. And if that is not enough, there are so many writings from Saints and people alive today that help us to introduce Jesus to others. But the greatest tool to help faith come alive in the heart of others is you. You have the privilege and you are the most effective means of sharing the faith of Jesus with others...to share not just “the faith” but to share “your faith.”