October 20, 2019 – Ruminations by Fr. Pat

For our thoughts today, I thought I would like to focus on Eucharistic Adoration. Suffice it to say, the Church has always believed in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, so I am not going to delve into that topic. What I would like us to think about is how Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament started.

Like many things, Adoration began with the Medieval Monks. Originally, they would carry the Eucharist on their person. However, over time, the Eucharist was reserved for the Sick and Dying at the monastery it-self. The Council of Nicea, in 325, confirmed this practice.

Adoration as we think of it was not practiced, but the understanding that Jesus was in the Eucharist was. Things were going on smoothly until the 11th century. Because of the Barbarian Invasions the Church lost a great deal of understanding from the Early Church Fathers People were now trying to understand what has always been taught, and the words that they used would cause dissention and disagreements.

One of these disagreements dealt with the notion of how Jesus was present in the Eucharist. One of these thoughts was that Jesus was only Spiritually in the Eucharist. This thought was taught by a Deacon named Berengar. He was arguing against all the extremes and superstitions of the day, which were common.

The Church Officials of the day were trying very hard to understand concepts that we take for granted to-day. Language at that time could get very technical. It was the language that Berengar used that got him in trouble. He was using language in a way that was not used before. Because of the incorrect use of language, he went into areas that would become heretical.

If there was anything that was positive about this time, it is that it focused on understanding. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament took off, so to speak, at this time. In the Thirteenth Century Pope Urban IV instituted the Feast of Corpus Christi. When establishing the feast, the Pope stressed the love of Christ who wished to remain physically with us until the end of time. Before the end of the sixteenth century, Pope Clement VIII started the practice of what we would call Forty Hours. The devotion consisted of forty hours of continual prayer before the Blessed Sacrament exposed.

When we Adore the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, that message of Pope Urban should be paramount. Ad-oration doesn’t replace Mass; it compliments it. Jesus is always with us.

Comments are closed.