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Among Women Espresso Shot #13: My Adoration Story

Among Women Espresso Shot #13: My Adoration Story

Let me invite you to listen to Episode 13 of the Among Women “Espresso Shot”
– a short strong coffee break of faith sharing and teaching from Pat Gohn.

This episode’s topic: My Adoration Story

This 15-minute show is a short discussion of my Adoration roots and my developing a more intimate relationship with Jesus  back in my late 20s. Get ready for Lent, and the coming of Easter by making a weekly appointment with Jesus – by praying a holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament. It’s another  way to contemplate Christ.Espresso shot

Links for this episode:

An interesting additional link from my podcast archives on this same topic is AW 93. It is a longer message on Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament with a great panel of women. (If you just want to hear the panel discussion, skip to 26:30.)

I’m over at the WINE Blog… talking about the fantastic… the infinite…

I’m over at the WINE Blog… talking about the fantastic… the infinite…

Women In the New Evangelization = that’s WINE!

I’m happy to be contributing to their blog this week!

Catholics believe in the fantastic, the miraculous, and the infinite!

God. Love. Forgiveness. Friendship. Heaven.

Friendship with God of the universe! Joy for eternity!

Truly, this is the stuff of celebration!

I’m a wine drinker – and a wine lover! One of my favorite sounds is the hearing the pop signaling the release of a cork from a bottle. It’s a cue for celebration – sometimes lavish and sometimes simple! Our earthly celebrations bring meaning to life.

All of our family’s most important celebratory moments happen in the context of good meals with wine – sacraments, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, job promotions, engagements, marriages, victories large and small. And there is a prayer of blessing for each occasion! Besides the food and drink, we also discover the blessing in the love of the people gathered there. In these simple earthly rituals we find nourishment and refreshment, and the presence of hope and love.

It is no wonder that Jesus desired to bring us his love in a way that would be a daily reminder of the reality of his true presence – a way to miraculously make his sacrificial love accessible and experiential.

With his friends, at the Last Supper, Jesus offered his very self through the ancient Jewish blessings of bread and wine…

Read it all. 

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In Napa CA, last fall.

Saints and their love of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament (Some quotes to keep!)

Saints and their love of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament (Some quotes to keep!)

This post is created for my Among Women listeners, with whom I’ve discussed these quotes on the most recent podcast. However, all readers may enjoy it too. Since Among Women profiles the faith of women, only women saints listed below. These are saints whose bios I’ve profiled on previous episodes, linked below.

“Go and find Him when your patience and strength run out and you feel alone and helpless.  Jesus is waiting for you in the chapel.  Say to Him, ‘Jesus, you know exactly what is going on. You are all I have, and you know all things. Come to my help.’  And then go, and don’t worry about how you are going to manage.  That you have told God about it is enough.  He has a good memory.”

St. Jeanne Jugan
Hear my profile of this saint on Among Women 29.

  “How sweet, the presence of Jesus to the longing and harassed soul! He is instant peace and balm to every wound.”


also…

“There is a mystery, the greatest of all mysteries—not that my adored Lord is in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar—His word has said it, and what so simple as to take that word which is truth itself?—but that souls of His own creation, whom He gave His life to save, who are endowed with His choicest gifts in all things else, should remain blind, insensible, and deprived of that light without which every other blessing is unavailing!”

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
Hear my profile on this saint on Among Women 39.

 “Come to the foot of the altar. Graces will be shed on all, great and little, especially upon those who seek for them.”


 and…

“Whenever I go to the chapel, I put myself in the presence of our good Lord, and I say to him, ‘Lord, I am here.  Tell me what you would have me to do’ . . . And then, I tell God everything that is in my heart.  I tell him about my pains and my joys, and then I listen.  If you listen, God will also speak to you, for with the good Lord, you have to both speak and listen.  God always speaks to you when you approach him plainly and simply.”

St. Catherine Laboure
Hear my profile on this saint on Among Women 138.

“The Eucharist bathes the tormented soul in light and love. Then the soul appreciates these words, ‘Come all you who are sick, I will restore your health’.”

St. Bernadette Soubirous
Hear my profile on this saint on Among Women 53.

 

“Do you realize that Jesus is there in the Blessed Sacrament expressly for you, for you alone? He burns with the desire to come into your heart.”


and

“Frequently, only silence can express my prayer.  However, this Divine Guest of the tabernacle understands all, even the silence of a child’s soul filled with gratitude.  When I am before the tabernacle, I can say only one thing to Our Lord: ‘My God, you know that I love you’ and I feel my prayer does not tire Jesus.”


St Therese of Lisieux
Listen to my profiles on this saint on Among Women 9Among Women 86, and Among Women 165.

“When you look at the Crucifix, you understand how much Jesus loved you then. When you look at the Sacred Host you understand how much Jesus loves you now.”

Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta
Listen to my profile on this saint on Among Women 15, Among Women 26, and Among Women 126.

“This is my body, which is given for you”: reflecting on the Eucharistic parallel in motherhood – a book excerpt

“This is my body, which is given for you” (Lk 22:19).

These words of Jesus captured the heart of his mission. His life on earth would be given in sacrifice on the Cross for the sake of our redemption from the sins that separated us from God. For Catholics, these precious words also capture the institution of the Eucharist, the great sacrifice and sacrament considered to be the source and summit of their faith.

In these holy words, uttered in prayer by a priest at Mass, we cannot escape the “bodiliness” of God––the truly superlative way that Jesus continues to be present in the world today––that his flesh and blood would be miraculously concealed under the auspices of consecrated bread and wine that we consume in the Eucharist.

“This is my body, which is given for you.”

These words reveal the significant value and sacredness of our own bodies. And if you’ll forgive the informality—the bod—which God created for us is bodacious! Everything God does, he does for a reason. Our bodies have as much meaning in the eyes of God as our souls, to which they are remarkably joined.

Dictionaries list meanings for the word bodacious as “most excellent” or “remarkable,” or “audacious in a way that is considered admirable.” Some consider the word bodacious a portmanteau, a word that is a linguistic blend of two meanings, such as “bold” and “audacious.” How bold that our God would come to earth as a human person in a body, and how audacious that our bodies might somehow image the divine God who made us, and one day be glorified in heaven.

Our Creator creates the body; our Baptism consecrates the body. Through Baptism, the body is baptized and anointed, as the soul is marked with the sign of faith. A woman’s body is part of the Body of Christ. So, too, is a man’s body. We are grafted in our entirety into the Body of Christ.
Just as the body of Jesus exemplified his mission as the Christ, so, too, the mission of the Christian is lived in and through the body. We do all things—we carry out our mission—in our bodies and through our bodies. Indeed, our bodies belong to the Body of Christ.

Catholic churches have depictions of the body of Christ on the Cross—the crucifix—a man’s broken body hanging on a cross. We are confronted with the bodiliness of God. In his suffering and broken body, we can see our own wounds of body and soul. Through our sin and ignorance, we defile the body, revile the body, ignore the body, and denigrate the body. Yet in the crucifix, we also are confronted with the godliness of grace. Through Christ’s sacrifice, the deepest graces are found in the Body of Christ––graces to restore and heal the brokenness we find in ourselves.

“This is my body, which is given for you.”

The body of a woman signifies her mission; she is designed to mother.

Our female bodies point to the bodacious life-giving mission of women. The mission of the eye is to see. The mission of the tongue is to speak. The mission of the skin is to feel and protect. The mission of the uterus is to house new life. The mission of the breast is to nourish.

“This is my body, which is given for you.”

With all due reverence, these could be the same words that a mother might say to a child growing in her womb. A pregnancy is a concrete way to lay one’s life and body down for another person. (Now imagine the reality of the mother of multiples carrying more than one baby!) Recall the generosity and beauty of mutual self-giving, self-donating love between spouses. In pregnancy, a woman builds on this self-donating love. She makes a minute-by-minute gift of self to her unborn child.

I’ve mentioned my own pregnancy struggles. My third trimesters for my three pregnancies were as unpredictable as my first trimesters and filled with medical testing. I was poked and prodded and checked for blood-pressure issues, gestational diabetes, large-gestational-age issues, and more. These, plus the returning nausea and heartburn that I began each pregnancy with, brought bouts of worry and uncertainty for me.

Yet the Christian is called to rely on God: “Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you” (1 Pt 5:7). Despite my temperament’s bent toward worry, I did something each Sunday that brought me great peace: I attended Mass and received the Lord in the Eucharist.
I lived to hear those words: “This is my body, which is given for you.” And I tried to join myself to the words as Christ joined himself to me through that sacrament.

As I received the nourishing host and the precious Blood at the altar, I imagined the Lord’s Body and Blood pumping through my veins, reaching through the umbilical cord where my unborn baby received nourishment. My heart was consoled that my baby “received” Christ in some miraculous way that was unknown to me from a scientific or biological standpoint, but in some kind of supernatural way, very much known to Jesus. As I was being touched by and nourished by Christ, so was my child. And with each Communion I made a deeper connection with the baby that was yet to be born.

Philosopher Alice von Hildebrand captures the immense privilege women have as they participate in the biological and spiritual processes of maternity. In The Privilege of Being a Woman, she explains:

The special role granted to women in procreation . . . is highlighted by the fact that as soon as she has conceived (and conception takes place hours after the marital embrace), God creates the soul of the new child in her body. This implies a direct “contact” between Him and the mother-to-be, a contact in which the father plays no role whatever. This contact gives the female body a note of sacredness, for any closeness between God and one of His creatures is stamped by His Holy Seal. This divine “touch” is . . . a special female privilege that every pregnant woman should gratefully acknowledge. (86.)

While pregnant, a woman has the unique privilege of carrying two souls in her body: hers and her child’s. My sense of this was magnified every time I received the Eucharist during pregnancy. Before I ever got to teach my children about Jesus or the faith, God had already visited my womb in creating the souls of my sons and daughter, and “touched” them in their creation and via the Eucharistic miracle. This armed me with confidence that I was never alone in caring for this tiny child in utero. It also indicated my growth as a spiritual mother, as praying for this child was a totally natural thing to do. Spiritual mothering was something I did not have the words for when I was young, though I was slowly intuiting the reality that physical and spiritual mothering was the way my body and soul were designed.

As a parent, my spiritual maternity was found in this longing in my heart that my children might know and receive the Lord and live in his will. With each successive pregnancy, this desire grew, and it motivated me to act in ways that would teach and lead my children to know Christ.

Motherhood involves a special communion with the mystery of life, as it develops in the woman’s womb. The mother is filled with wonder at this mystery of life, and “understands” with unique intuition what is happening inside her. In the light of the “beginning,” the mother accepts and loves as a person the child she is carrying in her womb. This unique contact with the new human being developing within her gives rise to an attitude towards human beings—not only towards her own child, but every human being—which profoundly marks the woman’s personality. (On the Dignity and Vocation of Women, 18)

:::

The preceding post was an excerpt from Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious: Celebrating the Gift of Catholic Womanhood. 

Know the Catechism: The Eucharist is the Pledge of the Glory to Come

Know the Catechism: The Eucharist is the Pledge of the Glory to Come

Grant, almighty God,
that, just as we are renewed
by the Supper of your Son in this present age,
so we may enjoy his banquet for all eternity.
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

-Prayer after communion, Mass of the Lord’s Supper-

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THE EUCHARIST – “PLEDGE OF THE GLORY TO COME”

1402 In an ancient prayer the Church acclaims the mystery of the Eucharist: “O sacred banquet in which Christ is received as food, the memory of his Passion is renewed, the soul is filled with grace and a pledge of the life to come is given to us.” If the Eucharist is the memorial of the Passover of the Lord Jesus, if by our communion at the altar we are filled “with every heavenly blessing and grace,”242 then the Eucharist is also an anticipation of the heavenly glory.

1403 At the Last Supper the Lord himself directed his disciples’ attention toward the fulfillment of the Passover in the kingdom of God: “I tell you I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”243 Whenever the Church celebrates the Eucharist she remembers this promise and turns her gaze “to him who is to come.” In her prayer she calls for his coming: “Marana tha!” “Come, Lord Jesus!”244 “May your grace come and this world pass away!”245

1404 Church knows that the Lord comes even now in his Eucharist and that he is there in our midst. However, his presence is veiled. Therefore we celebrate the Eucharist “awaiting the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ,”246 asking “to share in your glory when every tear will be wiped away. On that day we shall see you, our God, as you are. We shall become like you and praise you for ever through Christ our Lord.”247

1405  There is no surer pledge or dearer sign of this great hope in the new heavens and new earth “in which righteousness dwells,”248 than the Eucharist. Every time this mystery is celebrated, “the work of our redemption is carried on” and we “break the one bread that provides the medicine of immortality, the antidote for death, and the food that makes us live for ever in Jesus Christ.”249

 

 

footnotes:

242 Roman Missal, EP I (Roman Canon) 96: Supplices te rogamus.
243 Mt 26:29; cf. Lk 22:18; Mk 14:25.
244 Rev 1:4; 22 20; 1 Cor 16:22.
245 Didache 10,6:SCh 248,180.
246 Roman Missal 126, embolism after the Our Father: expectantes beatam spem et adventum Salvatoris nostri Jesu Christi; cf. Titus 2:13.
247 EP III 116: prayer for the dead.
248 2 Pet 3:13.
249 LG 3; St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Eph. 20,2:SCh 10,76.

 photo

First Time in History… a world-wide holy hour with the Pope (It’s short notice for some, but maybe you can join in!)

A few days ago, Pope Francis announced he would lead a world-wide holy hour in honor of Corpus Christi Sunday. And while other Popes have offered holy hours regularly with large audiences on television, (such as at World Youth Day), a unified effort to invite all Catholics to a global holy hour is a first.

It is happening at 5pm Rome time at the Vatican. So that places it at 11am Eastern, 10am Central, 9am Mountain, 8am Pacific here in most of the United States.

You can watch it from the Vatican online and pray along. You might check your local Catholic television listings to see if they are covering it.

For some dioceses, parishes, etc, its a little bit of short notice to get the word out planning-wise, but many are responding. If there is nothing going on in your locale, you can make your own holy hour wherever you can find an open church with a tabernacle. For many of us in the United States, we will already be at a Sunday morning Mass. Of course you can always just pray along with the Pope in that hour, adoring Jesus in your heart.

For now, let’s see what we can do.

Bob and I are going to a noon Mass and we’re going to check into our little parish adoration chapel at 11am with whomever can make it.

Happy Corpus Christi!

 

 

Update: 2:30pm. So Bob and I went to the church for 11am to participate in the simultaneous holy hour, before our parish noon Mass. Our parish has an adoration chapel with about 2o seats in it. There were about 17 people in there including the pastor! We had to separate and sit apart because there were so few seats. This is a good thing.

photo: CNS photo/Paul Haring

It’s all about Jesus. His presence in the Host is the door to the infinite… my latest column at Patheos

IMG_0617Today the optional memorial in the Church calendar is the Holy Name of Jesus. It’s not only the name for Our Lord and Savior, it makes a perfect prayer… “Jesus”.  Here’s my own little homage to Jesus for today… a sampling from my column at Patheos…

When I consider the proximity of Jesus to me personally in the Mass, and in particular when I sit in front of the Blessed Sacrament, that’s what warms my heart toward his; to know that his heart is first turned toward me, that his heart burns for mine.

When I humbly kneel or sit in front of the Blessed Sacrament elevated in the monstrance, I’m looking into a holy portal to the other side of all we can hope and imagine. The host in the monstrance is, out of its element, in suspended animation. Its bread was consecrated so that it might be consumed and receive by a communicant—to strengthen them with the very body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. It is destined, still, to be Holy Communion that nourishes and becomes part of its recipient. Yet, for the moment, that purpose is delayed, as the Church in her wisdom “exposes” the Incarnate One on the Altar that we might draw near to the very love that beats for us, from the heart that gave all.

This is why it’s called Adoration.

When we come face to face with heart of this love, we learn what it means to adore. True adoration brings an intimate knowledge we cannot find on our own. In adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, we get a foretaste of the infinite, a prolonged visitation of the True Presence outside of the Mass. Within that thin opaque portal, the Host holds all we need to know and can imagine.

I admit I cannot often describe what goes on in those moments of prayer. But in my finite knowledge of the ways of love I fathom it as my heart “seeing” the face of Jesus, the heart of Jesus, the hands of Jesus—all the infinite Good that my heart can hold. And I can almost imagine passing through the veil between heaven and earth.

The rest is here.

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Here’s a little bonus for the feast day in honor of the Most Holy Name of Jesus… (I’ve long loved this simple song from Margaret Becker.)

 

This makes me think… and it makes me slow down and concentrate on the consecration…

It is by the conversion of the bread and wine into Christ’s body and blood that Christ becomes present in this sacrament. The Church Fathers strongly affirmed the faith of the Church in the efficacy of the Word of Christ and of the action of the Holy Spirit to bring about this conversion. Thus St. John Chrysostom declares:

It is not man that causes the things offered to become the Body and Blood of Christ, but he who was crucified for us, Christ himself. The priest, in the role of Christ, pronounces these words, but their power and grace are God’s. This is my body, he says. This word transforms the things offered.

And St. Ambrose says about this conversion:

Be convinced that this is not what nature has formed, but what the blessing has consecrated. The power of the blessing prevails over that of nature, because by the blessing nature itself is changed. . . . Could not Christ’s word, which can make from nothing what did not exist, change existing things into what they were not before? It is no less a feat to give things their original nature than to change their nature.
~Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1375.