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By Prof. Michael Ogunu

Introduction

Section 1323 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states as follows: “At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Saviour instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. This he did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved Spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a Paschal banquet ‘in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us’”.

The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life”. “The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch”. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Section 1324)

The Great Benefits of Frequent Devout Participation in the Celebration of Holy Mass

Great are the saving effects which every Sacrifice of the Mass produces in the souls of those who devoutly participate in its celebration. Among these favours or benefits as summarised by a spiritual writer, are the following:

  • The Holy Mass is the most powerful atonement for your sins.
  • At the hour of death, the Masses you have participated in will be your greatest consolation.
  • Every Mass will go with you to judgement and plead for pardon.
  • At Mass you can diminish more or less temporal punishment due to your sins, according to your fervour.
  • By participating devoutly at Holy Mass you render to the sacred humanity of our Lord the greatest homage.
  • He supplies for many of your negligences and omissions.
  • He forgives the venial sins which you have not confessed. The power of Satan over you is diminished.
  • You afford the souls in Purgatory the greatest possible relief.
  • One Mass you personally participate in its celebration during life will be of more benefit to you than many “heard for you” after your death.
  • You are preserved from dangers and misfortunes which otherwise might have befallen you.
  • You shorten your Purgatory each time you devoutly participate in the celebration of Holy Mass.
  • Every Mass wins for you a higher degree of glory in Heaven.
  • You receive the priest’s blessing which our Lord ratifies in Heaven.
  • You are blessed in your temporal goods and affairs.

No human tongue, says St. Lawrence Justinian, can enumerate the benefits derivable from devout participation in the sacrifice of the Mass. “The sinner is reconciled with God, the just man becomes more upright, sins are wiped away, vices eliminated, virtue and merit gain growth and the devil’s schemes are frustrated”.

Our Lord told St. Gertrude, “You may be sure that regarding one who devoutly assists at Holy Mass, I will send him as many of my Saints to comfort him and protect him during the last moments of his life as there will have been Masses which he has heard well”.

And St. Peter Julian Eymard exhorted us as follows: “Know, O Christian, that the Mass is the holiest act of Religion. You cannot do anything to glorify God more nor profit your soul more than devoutly assisting at it, and assisting as often as possible”.

In our daily lives, we ought to rank the Holy Mass ahead of any other good, for as St. Bernard says, “One merits more by devoutly assisting at a Holy Mass than by distributing all of his goods to the poor and travelling all over the world on pilgrimage”. And it cannot be otherwise because nothing in the world can have the infinite value of one Holy Mass.

Benefits of Adoring Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament

Among the innumerable benefits of adoring Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament are the following:

  • Our Lord hears our prayers anywhere, but He has revealed to His servants that those who visit Him in the Eucharist will obtain a more abundant measure of grace. (St. AlphonsusLiguori)
  • Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament has His Hands full of graces and He is ready to bestow them on anyone who asks for them. (St. Peter Alcantara)
  • Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament consoles a soul far beyond what the world can offer. (St. AlphonsusLiguori)
  • If souls but understood the Treasure they possess in the Divine Eucharistic Adoration the churches would overflow with adorers no less by night than by day (Blessed Dina Belanger)
  • “I have a burning thirst to be honoured by men in the Blessed Sacrament”. (Jesus speaking to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque)
  • Even a quarter of an hour’s prayer in front of the Eucharist perhaps gains more graces than all the other spiritual exercises of the day [outside the Mass]. (St. AlphonsusLiguori)
  • Devotion to the Eucharist is the most noble, because it has God as its object; it is the most profitable for salvation, it gives us the Author of Grace. (St. Pope Pius X)
  • A plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful who visit the Blessed Sacrament, for the purpose of adoration, for at least 30 minutes under the usual conditions! (Handbook Of Indulgences – Norms & Grants)
  • I encourage Christians regularly to visit Christ present in the Blessed Sacrament, for we are all called to abide in the presence of God! (Pope John Paul II)
  • Our Lord is hidden there in the Blessed Sacrament, waiting for us to come and visit Him, and make our requests to Him! (St. John Vianney)
  • In the course of the day the faithful should not omit to visit the Blessed Sacrament! (Pope Paul VI)
  • The daily adoration or visit to the Blessed Sacrament is the practice which is the fountainhead of all devotional works! (St. Pope Pius X)
  • Eucharistic Adoration will make your soul everlastingly more glorious and beautiful in Heaven! (St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta)
  • Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament has His Hands full of graces and He is ready to bestow them on anyone who asks for them. (St. Peter Alcantara)
  • Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament consoles a soul far beyond what the world can offer. (St. AlphonsusLiguori)
  • Even a quarter of an hour’s prayer in front of the Eucharist perhaps gains more graces than all the other spiritual exercises of the day [outside the Mass]. (St. AlphonsusLiguori)
  • “I have a burning thirst to be honoured by men in the Blessed Sacrament”. (Jesus speaking to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque)
  • Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is the best time you will spend on earth! (St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta)
  • Eucharistic Adoration will make your soul everlastingly more glorious and beautiful in Heaven! (St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta)

Things to Do During Private Eucharistic Adoration

Fr. Benedict Groeschel points out in the book, “In the Presence of Our Lord: The History, Theology and Psychology of Eucharistic Devotion” that there are “four kinds of prayer most appropriate in the presence of the Eucharist, namely adoration and praise, thanksgiving, repentance and trusting intercession”. Accordingly, here are suggestions for what to do during private Eucharistic adoration (*Very necessary for each visit).

  1. Recite the “Jesus Prayer” *

Say “Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner”, repeatedly as you quiet your heart and mind.

  1. Ask for forgiveness and intercede for others *

Think of those who have hurt you and request a special blessing for them. Ask God to forgive you for all the times you have neglected or hurt someone else. Bring before the Blessed Sacrament all those who have asked you to pray for them. Ask the Lord to address their concerns.

  1. Sit quietly and just “be” in the presence of God *

Think of a visit to the Blessed Sacrament as coming to see your best friend. Sit quietly and enjoy being in each other’s company. Instead of talking to the Lord (throughout the visit), try to listen to what He wants to tell you.

  1. Pour out your heart to Christ and adore Him *

Speak to Jesus, aware that you are in His presence, and tell Him all that comes to your mind. Listen for His response. Pray the prayer that St. Francis instructed his brothers to pray whenever they were before the Blessed Sacrament: “I adore You, O Christ, present here and in all the churches of the world, for by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world”.

In addition to the four things listed above, one can also do any of the following:

  1. Pray the Psalms or the Liturgy of the Hours

Whether you are praising, giving thanks, asking for forgiveness or seeking an answer, you’ll find an appropriate psalm. The ancient prayer of the Church called the Liturgy of the Hours presents an excellent way to pray through the Book of Psalms throughout the year.

  1. Meditate using Scripture

Choose a passage from the Bible. Read the words and ask God to let the passage speak to you. Pay special attention to anything that strikes you and ask God what He wishes for you to draw from that message.

  1. Pray the Rosary

Pray the Rosary, meditating on the mysteries.

  1. Read the life of a saint and pray with him or her

Most holy men and women have had a great devotion to Our Lord in the Eucharist. Therese of Lisieux, Catherine of Siena, Francis of Assisi, Thomas Aquinas, Peter Julian Eymard, Dorothy Day. Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Baroness Catherine de Hueck are just a few. Read about them and pray their prayers before the Blessed Sacrament.

Conclusion

Devotion to the Holy Eucharist is an age long tradition in the Church that awakens a deeper awareness of the incredible gift that God has given us in His Presence in the Eucharist. In his first message to the Church after his election, Pope Benedict XVI said that the Eucharist is “the heart of Christian life and the source of the Church’s evangelising mission”. In his encyclical letter, MysteriumFidei(September 3, 1965), Pope Paul VI describes the graces and blessings which await those who manage to find time to visit our Divine Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

May God grant us so to venerate the sacred mysteries of His Body and Blood that we may ever continue to feel within us the blessed fruits of His redemption.

By Prof. Michael Ogunu is President of the Executive Board of the World Apostolate of Fatima in Africa


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