Wednesday, April 7, 2010
April's Devotion: The Blessed Sacrament
It is the tradition of the Catholic Church to dedicate each month to a particular devotion. The month of April is dedicated to devotion to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.
As Catholics, we believe in Jesus' Real Presence; the bread and wine become His Body and Blood. The term the Church gives to this is transubstantiation. Prayer before the Blessed Sacrament was for a time seen as something only clergy and consecrated religious practiced. For many years it was not encouraged among the faithful. In recent years, it has become once again a devotion practiced by many of the faithful. This in large part is due to Pope John Paul II. In April 2003 he wrote Ecclesia de Eucharista, an entire encyclical dedicated to the Holy Eucharist. If you haven't read, I encourage you to so.
More and more parishes are starting chapels of Perpetual Adoration. My own parish of St John the Apostle has had this devotion for over 12 years now, the longest in the Archdiocese of Newark, NJ. I am convinced that it is the driving force behind this large and very active parish community.
I believe we need this devotion now more than ever. The Church, Christ's Mystical Body, is once again under attack. We as its members need to go and pray before its head, Our Lord Jesus Christ who humbles Himself to remain with us in our tabernacles.
While it is a wonderful and awesome privilege to pray before Our Lord exposed in a monstrance, it is not necessary. He is there in our churches in the tabernacle. There He waits for us.
I have committed to making a holy hour once a week on Sunday at midnight in my parish's Perpetual Adoration Chapel. I began this hour on Divine Mercy Sunday 7 years ago this month. It is truly one of the best hours of my week, second only to Holy Mass. It isn't always easy staying awake to make that hour, but Our Lord has a way of reviving me once I arrive in the chapel. My flesh may be weak and crying out for my comfy bed, but my soul and spirit know better.
There is so much we need to be praying for: our country whose moral fiber is coming apart at the very seams, our Church and its priesthood. We are still in the Year for Priests, they need our prayers and encouragement. Remember, no priests no Jesus in the Eucharist. We need to pray for our young people and for vocations to come from our families. All of these things need to be brought before Our Lord. We need to beg for His mercy and make reparation for the outrages and blasphemies committed against Him in this sacrament. He is there waiting to hear and answer us. Time spent with Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is never wasted, in fact it may be some of the most productive time you spend.
Spend 15 or 20 minutes, I promise you, you will be back and those 15 or 20 minutes may soon turn into an hour on a regular basis.
While Jesus was here on this earth, Mary Magdalene spent many hours at His feet. She had the "better part". While we may not be able to see and hear Jesus physically, our Holy Hours are no different than Mary Magdalene's. He may be veiled, but He is no less real and truly present.
So take the better part; no one can take it from you...
You can find the devotion for each month on my sidebar. Clicking the image will lead you to a site for that month's particular devotion.
Psalm 45: Canticle of Love to the King
My heart overflows with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.
Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One,
In Your splendor and Your majesty!
And in Your majesty ride on victoriously,
For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
Let Your right hand teach You awesome things.
Your arrows are sharp;
The peoples fall under You;
Your arrows are in the heart of the King’s enemies.
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of joy above Your fellows.
All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad.
Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.