Homily of Bishop Dermot Farrell

Mass for the Commissioning of the members of Eucharistic Adoration Committee in the Diocese of Ossory:  8th June 2019

 

Introduction

Welcome and thanks for the commitment of time and dedication to this apostolate of Eucharistic Adoration in the Diocese of Ossory.  It is very important to have a group of people in the parish who give their time to this ministry of prayer.  Pray for the needs of the parish and its people. Pray for vocations.

The place and value of Eucharistic worship were never more important in the Church than they are today, when the whole fabric of Christian faith is being subjected to so many strains and uncertainties. You are not only following a proved and venerable tradition in Christian devotion, but you are also witnessing and responding to the needs of today in affirming the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist which is the most precious source of Christian spirituality.

 

Why have Eucharistic Adoration?

The key thing about prayer is that is a gift to those who pray. We cannot force ourselves into a relationship with God. Prayer is God’s gift to us. It is God’s power working through us, which “can do more that we can ever ask or imagine” (Eph 3:20). In Eucharistic adoration we open ourselves up to the working of the Holy Spirit so that the Body of Christ which is received by us, can become the Body of Christ in and through us. “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me” (see Gal 2:20).

Life-giving adoration involves a loving, calm, reflective, and personal engagement returning to the Bread of Life. The tradition of our Church and more recent church documents [see Eucharisticum Mysterium §38] insist upon the necessity of personal thanksgiving.  This permits the soul to open itself to the spiritual presence of Christ and to Christ’s action, as He penetrates all our senses and fills our lives. In this way the divine life, which we have received—in a new way—by means of the sacrament, takes root in our lives and establishes itself in the depth of the person. In short, we need time to take and receive the gift that is given to us. Just because the gift is given to us by the Lord, it does not mean that it is received by us. 

As we begin the appreciate the richness of the Eucharist, as we begin to see its many, many dimensions, we begin to see that it is not enough to “receive” the Eucharistic bread, one has to make it one’s own; the saints of old speak of “ruminating.” Christ himself speaks of chewing, savouring, tasting (see John 6). Therefore Eucharistic Contemplation can be seen as the natural complement of the liturgical celebration of the Eucharist. In Eucharistic Adoration, as we contemplate the Bread of Life, as we welcome the one who gave himself for the life of the world, the person of faith enters more and more deeply into the riches of a mystery and a gift which shows itself to be inexhaustible (see Mariano Magrassi, Bibbia e Preghiera[10th edition; Milan: Áncora, 2016], 19 ).

 

Essential link between Eucharistic adoration outside Mass and Mass itself

Eucharistic Adoration must be seen in relation to the celebration of the Eucharist. The Mass itself is the origin and purpose of the worship given to the blessed Eucharist outside Mass. Adoration follows from the celebration of the Eucharist, and directs us to the Mass itself. In worshipping Christ present in the Eucharist, therefore, we should keep in mind that this presence derives from the sacrifice of the Eucharist and is directed towards sacramental and spiritual communion. 

 

“Adorers in spirit and in truth”

When we participate in Eucharistic adoration we meet Christ; we are shaped by Christ to become like him in the world.  In other words, when we spend time with Lord, he is making us into his own image. “Those who worship the Father must worship in spirit and in truth” (see Jn 4:24).  It is unthinkable to be identified with Jesus only on the level of adoration. Those who spend time adoring Jesus and then during the ensuing week forget who they have identified themselves with are acting irrationally. 

Adoration does not turn us away from the world, but towards the world.  Adoration is not a chapel which we enter in order to divest ourselves of the messiness and grime of secular life; they are landmarks, signs that the entire world has been permeated with God’s real presence and belongs to God.

We cannot retreat into some precinct distant from the world.  All the hungers of world, physical and spiritual become the concern of the community that adores the Blessed Sacrament just as they become God’s concern in the life and ministry of Jesus.

Once Christ makes his home in us we can never be the same again. He can prove to be an awkward guest who tends to take over everything, invading our privacy, disrupting our plans. He can upset our relationships, introduces us to unwanted people and disturbing ideas, and puts our property, our jobs and even our lives at risk — martyrs.

When we are silent and still we can hear the voice Lord’s voice speaking to us through our weakness and inadequacy, coaxing our minds to look for the one who will bring order into that inner chaos, but most of all to bring forgiveness, healing and encouragement.

I entrust everyone associated with the Apostolate of Eucharistic Adoration in Ossory to the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, that she may guide them always towards his Son, Jesus, the Bread of Life.

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