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A Eucharistic Retreat
Motivation for Promoting Eucharistic Adoration
by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
As we come to the end of our Eucharistic Retreat, we still have one more important area to prayerfully consider: the motivation for promoting Eucharistic Adoration. Here we ask ourselves, How do we convince people that Eucharistic Adoration is desirable? I use the word desirable advisedly because I believe Eucharistic Adoration is necessary.
In order to place this meditation in context we need to look honestly at the world situation in our day and ask, How can the global problems of the modern world be resolved or even coped with? Then we will join with St. Peter and answer: Lord, to whom shall we go we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ the Son of God.
The World Situation in Modern Times
As an objective viewer looks at the modern world, especially the Western world in countries once strongly Christian and even devotedly Catholic, the picture is clear. Speaking at the end of the special Synod called by Pope John Paul II in Rome this year, the bishops drew up a statement in reference to Europe, but it also applies to America:
In various parts of the Continent, particularly among the young, the Christian Faith is almost unknown because of the spread of atheism or wherever the process of secularization has gone so far that evangelization has to be begun almost from the start. But even where the presence of the Church has previously been strong, only a small number take a full part in the life of the Church. (L.O.R. 23-30, December 1991)
The widespread de-Christianization of large parts of the Western world can be seen in many aspects of life:
So the record of our times goes on, and the end is not in sight.
Inadequacy of a Natural Solution
The more clearly we see what is going on, the more convinced we become that no natural, earthly or human means can solve the problem. And whats the answer? It is the answer St. Paul gave the Roman converts in the first century: Where sin has abounded, the grace has even more abounded. (Romans 5:20) He knew the chaotic condition of the world of the first century of Christianity. Only with the coming of Christ could the chaos of the ancient world even be lived with, not to say resolved.
Surely in our day, sin has abounded full measure and flowing over. But faith tells us that in Gods Providence, grace will even more abound. Remember our question: how do we motivate people to take themselves to Christs Presence on earth today? Remind them that Jesus Christ transformed the ancient world, the world not only before Christ, but the world previously without Christ. Christ transformed the ancient unbelief of the Roman Empirean Empire so ungodly that by law, no woman could give birth to a child without immediately bringing the child to the father and asking him, Do you want this child to live or die? That was the law. And most of the female children were killed.
Christ did it in the past; He can do it in the present. That is why I like to quote the statement of our present Holy Father, given the massive evil of the twentieth century beyond human description. Despite the ungodliness in our day, Pope John Paul II believes the twenty-first century promises to be a great renaissance in Christian history. But he keeps adding, Provided we who have the faith live it. We believing Catholics are the hope of the world. Thats what the early Church Fathers told the believing Christians of their day: You are the anima mundi (the soul of the world). You are the one hope for the world coming back to life again. Needless to say, the hope is in our faith in Jesus Christ. As St. Paul tells us, the grace has even more abounded. The grace is available, and the miracles of conversion can be expected. How? From the same Jesus Christ whose Gospel transformed the Roman Empire from the days of pagan idolatry and moral decadence into martyrs and believing Christians.
Christ the Miracle Worker on Earth
We are liable to overlook or minimize the signs and wonders Christ performed during His visible stay on earth. He performed physical miracles of healing and even raising the dead. But the greatest miracles He performed were the intellectual and moral miracles of belief and faith in the mind. Remember the stubborn murderer named Saul? Remember him present at Stephens martyrdom? He enjoyed the spectacle. But we know the miracle Christ worked in Him and many of his contemporaries for whom to become Christian meant becoming a martyr.
Christ promised to work even greater miracles in the future, to be done by Him, through those who would believe in Him. Todays world needs miracles in one secularized and de-Christianized culture after another. Who is to work these miracles? The same Jesus who performed them at the dawn of Christianity. That is why Christ is on earth: to work miracles for those who believe. To continue doing what He had done then, especially in performing the miracles of converting stubborn, willful, proud, selfish, sex-maniacal human beings into humble, patient, chaste, obedient creatures of God.
All we have been saying about the Real Presence in the Eucharistic Retreat culminates right here. We who believe in Christs abiding presence in the Holy Eucharist are to become apostles of the Real Presence to our generation. We are to convince them that the almighty power of Christ to work miracles is available in our day on one premisethat we come to Him in the Eucharist and confidently beg Him to give us what we so desperately need.
Where Eucharistic Adoration is practiced and promoted, the results are phenomenal, especially in the graces of conversion. Over the years, I have seen how true this is, especially ever since I was called to Rome to be told that the Holy Father desperately wants Eucharistic Adoration promoted throughout the world. I have spoken to those who have seen the wonders Eucharistic Adoration produces. Bishops tell me they have seen miracles, and I have no doubt. How then are we to motivate people to come to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and adore Him present in our midst? The strongest motivation will be our own experience in knowing what the Real Presence has done in our own lives.
Lord Jesus, I believe that You are here on earth; the same Incarnate God Who performed countless miracles in Palestine. I know what miracles of conversion are needed in the world at large, and Dear Jesus, even among people who are nearest and dearest to me. I know that You are ready to work these marvels of Your mercy if only I come to beg You with a humble and believing heart. Above all, Dear Lord, I know what graces I need to make me patient, humble, chaste, obedient, poor in spirit and above all, absolutely selfless in my love of those whom You have placed into my life. I am confident, my Savior, that You will make me an apostle of Your Real Presence if only I am faithful to the graces You, my Eucharistic Lord, are giving me. Amen.
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