Eucharistic adoration is the act of adoring the eucharistic presence of Christ. The Church believes that because "Christ himself, living and glorious, is present in a true, real, and substantial manner: his Body and his Blood, with his soul and his divinity" (CCC: 1413), the Most Blessed Sacrament is worthy of our adoration. To adore God is to acknowledge God "as God, as the Creator and Saviour, the Lord and Master of everything that exists, as infinite and merciful Love" (CCC: 2096-2097). "We can pray anywhere," Cardinal Collins writes, "but there is no more fitting place to pray on earth than in the sacramental presence of the Lord. There we are profoundly struck with the awesome mystery of God's grace."
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I read during Adoration?
Yes, and we highly recommend the Sacred Scripture and by extension the lectionary readings as well as the Office of Readings from the Liturgy of the Hours.
2. How long must I stay?
Seneca once said: "As is a tale so is life: Not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters." "[E]ucharistic adoration is simply the natural consequence of the eucharistic celebration" (Sacramentaum Caritatis, 66). We should therefore measure our time at Eucharistic adoration in terms of its quality, and not merely in terms of its quantity. More essentially we should consider who we become, not only what we do, for through the Mass we become active participants in Eucharistic adoration. "The act of adoration outside Mass prolongs and intensifies all that takes place during the liturgical celebration itself" (Sacramentum Caritatis, 66). Let us be generous with our time in quality and in quantity, as Pope St. John Paul II said:
The Church and the world have a great need of eucharistic worship. Jesus waits for us in this sacrament of love. Let us be generous with our time in going to meet Him in adoration and in contemplation … (Domincae Cenae, 3)
3. What do I do at Eucharistic adoration?
Eucharistic adoration is a time that many Catholics set apart for deep prayer and devotion to Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament. For any particular practice or arrangement at your parish please speak to your priest.
To learn more about Eucharistic adoration, these resources may help:
Catechism of the Catholic Church: Eucharistic Adoration (1322-1419)
Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (271-294)
Code of Canon Law (cc. 934-944)
Sacramentum Caritatis: On the Eucharist As the Source and Summit of the Church's life and Mission