Sunday, November 19, 2006

Adoration: An act of worship - purely for God's sake

From the Nov 10-12, 2006 Forty-Hours Devotion

All quotes below are taken from New Advent on Adoration. I'm only taking excerpts from a lenghty article on Adoration and putting it into Q&A format.

What is adoration?
In the strict sense, an act of religion offered to God in acknowledgment of His supreme perfection and dominion, and of the creature's dependence upon Him......The rational creature, looking up to God, who reason and revelation show to be infinitely perfect, cannot in right and justice maintain an attitude of indifference. That perfection which is infinite in itself and the source and fulfilment of all the good that we possess or shall possess, we must worship, acknowledging its immensity, and submiting to its supremacy.

How is adoration different from other forms of worship?
Adoration differs from other acts of worship, such as supplication, confession of sin, etc., inasmuch as it formally consists in self-abasement before the Infinite, and in devout recognition of His transcendent excellence.

Where can we see examples of adoration in the Scriptures?
An admirable example of adoration is given in the Apocalypse vii 11, 12: "And all the angels stood rouud about the throne, and about the ancients, and about the living creatures; and they fell before the throne upon their faces, and adored God, saying: Amen. Beneditiction and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, honour, and power, and strength to our God. forever and ever. Amen." The revealed precept to adore god was spoken to Moses upon Sinai and reaffirmed in the words of Christ: "The Lord thy God thou shalt adore, and Him only shalt thou serve" (Matthew 4:10).

Is adoration of God internal or external?
The primary and fundamental element in adoration is an interior act of mind and will; the mind perceiving that God's perfection is infinite, the will bidding us to extol and worship this perfection. Without some measure of this interior adoration "in spirit and in truth" it is evident that any outward show of divine worship would be mere pantomime and falsehood. But equally evident is that the adoration felt within will seek outward expression............Human nature demands physical utterance of some sort for its spiritual and emotional moods; and it is to this instinct for self-expression that our whole apparatus of speech and gesture is due. To Suppress this instinct in religion would be as unreasonable as to repress it in any other province of our experience. Moreover, it would do religious grievous harm to check its tendency to outward manifestation, since the external expression reacts upon the interior sentiment, quickening, strengthening, and sustaining it.

Are there offenses which conflict with adoration of God?
A few words may be added in conclusion on the offences which conflict with the adoration of God. They may be summed up under three categories:
  • worship offered to false gods;
  • worship offered to the true God, but in a false, unworthy and scandalous manner; and
  • blasphemy.
The first class comprises sins of idolatry. The second class embraces sins of superstition. These may take manifold forms, to be treated under separate titles. Suffice it to say that vain observances which neglect the essential thing in the worship of God and make much of purely accidental features or which bring it into contempt through fantastic and puerile excesses, are emphatically repudiated in Catholic theology. Honouring, or pretending to honour, God by mystic numbers or magical phrases, as though adoration consisted chiefly in the number or the physical utterance of the phrases, belongs to the Jewish Cabbala or pagan mythology, not to the worship of the Most High

One last quote - from the CCC

1378 Worship of the Eucharist. In the liturgy of the Mass we express our faith in the real presence of Christ under the species of bread and wine by, among other ways, genuflecting or bowing deeply as a sign of adoration of the Lord. "The Catholic Church has always offered and still offers to the sacrament of the Eucharist the cult of adoration, not only during Mass, but also outside of it, reserving the consecrated hosts with the utmost care, exposing them to the solemn veneration of the faithful, and carrying them in procession."208

At Assumption Grotto we are among a small, but ever growing percentage of parishes which have adoration available. There are people in parishes throughout the world that would give an awful lot to be able to have exposition of the Blessed Sacrament for adoration even for an hour following a given Sunday Mass. Hopefully, pastors and vicars hear their requests, but the first step is for the faithful to ask, then to participate.

Very often we find ourselves rushing to church when we are in the midst of a crisis. This is good. It is even better when we follow that with a visit of thanksgiving. However, it is best if we make the same level of committment to go before the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle, or in adoration, when we have nothing more to offer than our praise and worship to God. This is the purest form of prayer when it comes with no petition and we spend time with the Lord simply for His sake, not ours.

When we have no more TV programs, internet/computer time, hobby time or other time to give up in order to give one hour per week to the One who provided us with the means to have these things, then there is yet another option: Adoration in the heart. When we receive the Eucharist worthily, we carry Him with us. If we find ourselves waiting in an office, sitting through a meeting in which only a small segment pertains to us, or stuck in traffic - just think of the opportunity the Lord has just created for us to adore Him in our hearts. Next time you are driving and listening to the radio, the thought may enter your mind to shut the radio off - even if it is something good, such as Catholic radio or sacred music. If that happens, just do it. God dwells everywhere, but it is in silence that we discover Him the best, and it is where we learn much about ourselves and how to please Him.

If you want a real midday spiritual retreat, spend one or more lunch hours alone, in silence, with Him. Spend that time not talking, unless prompted to do so out of charity for someone else. Imagine that - lunch with God and no appointment is necessary!

I recently asked Fr. Perrone about how we can adore God when we cannot be in Church or in an adoration chapel. He had this to say:
Yes, one can have mental prayer with our Lord in the tabernacle of His Presence in the church or chapel nearest to oneself at the moment, even if that location is unknown to the one praying.

More, one can use a picture of our Lord and make a "holy hour" even though the real physical Presence is lacking.
Adoration at Assumption Grotto takes place from 9-6:45 Monday through Saturday in the Chapel adjoining the convent where the sisters reside. There is benediction each evening around 6:30/6:40. From the Grotto bulletin:

We need more people to be Adorers. If you can commit to one hour per week or be a sub when someone is absent, please call Sr. Gemma at the Convent (527-1739) or Phyllis at the Rectory (372-0762)

Of course, nothing stops you from just dropping in any time when the chapel is open.

Excellent Resources on the Web for Eucharistic Adoration

The Real Presence (a Fr. John A. Hardon Site)
Opus Angelorum: The Holiness of God and Adoration
Pope John Paul II Eucharistic Adoration Association
League of Eucharistic Guardians for Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration (Asia/Philipines)
Scott Hahn on Eucharistic in General and on Adoration (Good background for non-Catholics)
Fr. Hardon: What is prayer before the Blessed Sacrament?