Evangelii Gaudium and Eucharistic Adoration
April 2, 2014 The 9th Anniversary of the Death of John Paul II
The purpose of this document is to show how Eucharistic Adoration—specifically Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, as hoped for by John Paul II to take place in every parish in the world—is the key to the successful establishment of the many “exhortations” of Pope Francis as he declared in his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium.
This document has been written in obedience to the invitation and encouragement of Pope Francis by Steven Lovison, founder of Adoration Servants (www.adorationservant.org), an organization dedicated to assisting in the growth and sustainment of Eucharistic Adoration for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.
In Evangelii Gaudium Pope Francis writes that “It is my duty, as the Bishop of Rome, to be open to suggestions which can help make the exercise of my ministry more faithful to the meaning which Jesus Christ wished to give it and to the present needs of evangelization” (p32). He also states that “episcopal conferences are in a position to contribute in many and fruitful ways to the concrete realization of the collegial spirit (p32). I invite everyone to be bold and creative in this task of rethinking the goals, structures, style, and methods of evangelization in their respective communities. A proposal of goals without an adequate communal search for the means of achieving them will inevitably prove illusionary” (p33).
Pope Francis continues: “I encourage everyone to apply the guidelines found in this document generously and courageously, without inhibitions or fear. The important thing is to not walk alone, but to rely on each other as brothers and sisters, especially under the leadership of bishops, in a wise and realistic pastoral discernment” (p33).
The most favorite bible verse of Adoration Servants: “Without me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). We can do nothing without Jesus and Jesus is in every Catholic tabernacle in the world. When we make Him available in Exposition more souls are drawn to visit him and the more people that visit Him the more fruits Pope Francis hopes for will be obtained. This is in effect the crux of this document tying Evangelii Gaudium to Eucharistic Adoration.
In 1993 at the 45th International Eucharistic Congress in Seville Spain, Pope John Paul II said: “I hope that … perpetual adoration, with permanent exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, will continue into the future. Specifically, I hope that the fruit of this Congress results in the establishment of perpetual Eucharistic Adoration in all parishes and Christian communities throughout the world.” A number of dioceses took him to heart, including three dioceses which Adoration Servants has supported in their Eucharistic Adoration efforts namely Chicago, New Orleans, and San Antonio. Each of these dioceses has over a dozen 24/7 Adoration Chapels and numerous other chapels with at least several days per week of Exposition.
Please note this document applies the term “Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration” as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has defined it, as any regularly recurring, scheduled Eucharistic Adoration, not necessary 24/7.
In Evangelii Gaudium Pope Francis has many, many “exhortations” contained in statements with words like “we must”, “we need to”, “it is imperative”, “let us”, “it is essential”, etc. These exhortations are a plea from the Holy Father for the Catholic world to live the Gospel message and evangelize the world. To do so, Pope Francis tells of many things we need to do. An extraction of these “exhortations” is available at https://blog.adorationservants.org/2014/03/09/a-summary-of-the-exhortations-of-evangelii-Gaudium/
This document has considered these “exhortations” but more specifically groups many Evangelii Gaudium statements into a number of themes and goals that Eucharistic Adoration can help bring to fruition. If you have not read Evangelii Gaudium in its entirety, it would be beneficial for you to do so.
Direct quotations from Evangelii Gaudium are grouped later in this document under the following themes and goals: Evangelizing, the Big Picture, Unity, Global/Local Perspective, Who to Reach, Open Doors, Innovative Space, Robbed, Adoration, Obstacles and Excuses, Popular Piety. Before commenting on the direct quotes grouped by these themes and goals just stated, the next eight sections will discuss areas related to one or more of the themes and goals, but in a more summary manner.
1. Popular Piety Will Build Missionary Zeal
Pope Francis clearly states that Popular Piety must be fostered and encouraged in order that the missionary and charitable efforts he urges us to do will be successful. Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration is Popular Piety extraordinaire. It is God Himself. It is the Source and Summit of our faith.
When people participate in Eucharistic Adoration our Lord points those people to other ministries and other actions. They will come to love the poor, to help the poor. They will be drawn to the priesthood and religious life. They will go to Mass more.
In his 1938 book “The Eucharistic and Life”, Martin Jenneskens discusses the “Eucharistic Crusade” movement began by Pope St. Pius X. He writes “To make this union of the soul with Christ more close and intimate is the very purpose of the Eucharistic Crusade. The Crusade is thus not just a devotion; it is much more. It is a movement to lead souls to the Eucharist, the source of all devotion and sanctity. . . The name of the movement may be new, but the movement itself is as old as Christianity.” Eucharistic Adoration is often lumped together with all other devotions, all other ministries. It is not! It is the Source and Summit of all other devotions, all other ministries!
2. Outside of Mass Nothing Can be Better than Eucharistic Adoration
The Church agrees which is why just thirty minutes of Eucharistic Adoration can gain a plenary indulgence each day. What is the purpose of indulgences? Is it not Mother Church trying to get her children to eat just a little bit of their vegetables so that they become big and strong?
Scripture reading as Spiritual Reading will also gain that same daily plenary indulgence as will praying the rosary alone in a Church or with a family or religious community. Doing these in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament will be all the more efficacious and the fact the Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration with Exposition is taking place will draw souls to these practices thereby gaining the benefits Pope Francis credits to Popular Piety.
3. Pope John Paul II & Mother Teresa Advocated Perpetual Adoration
As already stated Pope John Paul II expressed hope, and likely this was the theological virtue of Hope, that Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament would be established in every parish and community in the world. What better way to honor John Paul II in his beginning years of sainthood than to resurrect this mission. Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration is arguably in decline from the decade immediately following Pope John Paul II’s call for Perpetual Adoration.
As for Blessed Mother Teresa her words are often misquoted and can be hard to verify. Regarding Eucharistic Adoration what can be verified is she said abortion would end if every Catholic parish spent several hours a week in Eucharistic Adoration. What does that mean? Did Mother Teresa mean one or two parishioners or every parishioner? This is not known but Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration goes a long way if not beyond her requirement.
As far as her own life and religious Order Mother Teresa said that without the Eucharistic she would never have been able to do what she did to the level she did it. In fact, she insinuates she would have burned out in much the way Pope Francis prognosticates throughout Evangelii Gaudium. She also credits the growth of her Order with making a daily holy hour of Eucharistic Adoration the normal practice for her nuns instead of only a once a week holy hour.
4. The Danger of Making Excuses and Losing Our Fervor and the Need for Places of Refuge
Throughout Evangelii Gaudium Pope Francis warns of us losing our fervor, of being robbed of it. Over and over he states this and calls for ways to prevent it from happening. He also gives many examples of excuses that must be overcome. Being in the regular presence of God via Eucharistic Adoration will revive us and motivate us to overcome obstacles.
Pope Francis calls us all to be missionaries and speaks many times of the need to provide a place where missionaries can find refuge, comfort, and support. Where better place than with our Eucharistic Lord? When our Lord is exposed in the Blessed Sacrament there is silence, peace, and the visible presence of God. Here the missionary can rest, talk with the Lord, hear God’s personal message, be comforted, not just during a scheduled hour but any hour of any night or any day.
5. Churches Should be Open 24/7
In order to be “welcoming” Pope Francis suggests leaving Churches open twenty-four hours a day seven days a week. Outside of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Chapels this is certainly not the norm and has little chance of becoming reality. In Rome and in Assisi for example the Churches close very early in the evening. In major cities Churches are closed outside of Mass times for security reasons. There is the threat of crime if unattended Churches are left open.
Even many Perpetual Adoration chapels have security doors such that in the middle of the night only registered adorers can enter. Chapels often experience pan-handling in the chapels.
Pope Francis, much like his namesake, is suggesting something that seems impossible to the ordinary person. But if we try to take his example and make this a reality Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration is indeed the perfect way to implement a 24/7 open Church policy. By the nature of Perpetual Adoration rules, someone will always be in the Church, often more than one person. These persons are already serving as Eucharistic Honor Guards protecting our Lord exposed in the Blessed Sacrament. All that is left is to remove the locks and swing the doors open and train the scheduled adorers that there may be times of uncomfortableness due to souls with less than the best intentions entering the Church but this is also a time to act Christ-like and embrace them.
As far as being welcoming to those who wander into the Church as Pope Francis anticipates, what could be more welcoming than seeing God Himself visible and waiting? The visitor will be drawn to God Himself exposed in the Blessed Sacrament.
6. There is a Unity and Teamwork Involved with Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration
Organizing and maintaining Perpetual Adoration requires a team like no other devotion. People meet other adorers; communicate as a team, and keep the adoration going. It is a ministry because when our Lord is exposed in the Blessed Sacrament it is a fact, obvious to those who have experienced it, that more people come to visit our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament when He is exposed in the monstrance than when He is hidden in the tabernacle. The mission of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration can unite your parish, unite your diocese, and unite your world.
7. Vocations Result from Eucharistic Adoration
The dioceses of Chicago and San Antonio, both of whom took Pope John Paul II’s call for perpetual Eucharistic Adoration to heart, grew vocations to the priesthood over the last twenty years. Both dioceses had major support and encouragement from their bishops that every parish establish Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration. Not all were 24/7, but both dioceses have around fifteen 24/7 parishes and numerous other parishes have extended periods of weekly Exposition.
In Chicago, a “Holy Hour for Priests” devotion was implemented, where throughout the diocese there was one or more Churches formally praying in Eucharistic Adoration for vocations.
A recent study found that 65% of new diocesan seminarians practiced regular Eucharistic Adoration. How can we get youth into Eucharistic Adoration if the practice is not emphasized and available to fit everybody’s schedule?
Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration fits everybody’s schedule. A few specific hours here or there scattered around an entire diocese will miss far too many souls.
8. All Night Vigil Society and Other Formally Scheduled Events
Certainly scheduled prayer events within the Exposition schedule can draw souls to God. Liturgy of the Hours events, Holy Hours for Vocations, for Life, for Families, for Priests are all intentions greatly in need of united prayer. The St Therese All Night Vigil Society www.vigilsociety.org is an example of a focused, intense effort to pray for a “circle of life” for priests and religious which includes praying for families and the culture of life
Eucharistic Adoration will expedite all the efforts Pope Francis sees as critical to our world. Pope Francis suggests that Evangelii Gaudium, like many other papal documents, will soon be forgotten. That would be a tragedy because it is the answer to bringing the world to Jesus Christ.
Anybody can take up the mission of starting Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration or increasing what has already been established. You can take up this mission. Adoration Servants is waiting to help you. Jesus Himself is waiting for you to bring souls into His Eucharistic Physical Presence where He will transform them with the Holy Spirit.
Evangelii Gaudium Direct Quotes
The following are direct quotes from Evangelii Gaudium organized into the “themes and goals” previously identified. Every quote whether commented upon or not, can be looked at in a way that justifies establishing Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration as John Paul II hoped for. Underlining represents statements that struck a chord while studying Evangelii Gaudium in preparation for writing this document. Since there are more direct quotes than actual commentary the commentary will be bold for easier identification.
“This way of thinking [spiritual worldliness] also feeds the vainglory of those who are content to have a modicum of power and would rather be the general of a defeated army than a mere private in a unit which continues to fight. How often we dream up vast apostolic projects, meticulously planned, just like defeated generals! But this is to deny our history as church, which is glorious precisely because it is a history of sacrifice, of hopes, and daily struggles, of lives spent in service and fidelity to work, tiring as it may be, for all work is ‘the sweat of our brow.’ Instead, we waste time talking about ‘what needs to be done’—in Spanish we call this the sin of ‘habriaquesimo’—like spiritual masters and pastoral experts who give instructions from on high” (p96). Establishing and coordinating Eucharistic Adoration will certainly take sacrifice, have struggles and require the sweat of our brows, but the reward in souls is worth it all.
Pope Francis mentions “Eucharistic Adoration” along with other manners of Christian Spirituality but he purposely does not go into detail. As already mentioned, Eucharistic Adoration is not just like any other devotion.
“Whenever we say that something is ‘spirited,’ it usually refers to some interior impulse which encourages, motivates, nourishes, and gives meaning to our individual and communal activity. . . . How I long to find the right words to stir up enthusiasm for a new chapter of evangelization full of fervor, generosity, courage, boundless love, and attraction!” (p262) Two words: “Eucharistic Adoration.”
“Spirit-filled evangelizers are evangelizers who pray and work. Mystical notions without a solid social and missionary outreach are of no help to evangelization. . . . They curtail the Gospel . . . What is needed is the ability to cultivate an interior space which can give a Christian meaning to commitment and activity. Without prolong moments of adoration, of prayerful encounter with the word, of sincere conversation with the Lord, our work easily becomes meaningless; we lose energy as a result of weariness and difficulties, and our fervor dies out. The Church urgently needs the deep breath of prayer, and to my great joy groups devoted to prayer and intercession, the prayerful reading of God’s word, and the perpetual adoration of the Eucharistic are growing at every level of ecclesial life [Eucharistic Adoration is arguably in decline]. Even so ‘we must reject the temptation to offer a privatized and individualistic spirituality which ill accords with the demands of charity, to say nothing of the implications of the incarnation. ‘ There is always the risk that some moments of prayer can become an excuse for not offering one’s life in mission; a privatized lifestyle can lead Christians to take refuge in some false forms of spirituality” (p262)
While is it possible that some may “privatize” Eucharistic Adoration certainly Jesus Himself can be trusted to correct this issue on a soul by soul level. Mother Teresa gave credit to the Mass and Eucharistic Adoration as what kept her going and her Order growing. During sincere adoration Jesus motivates!
“But let us learn also from the saints who have gone before us” (p263). Likely all saints were devoted to the Eucharistic many incredibly so.
In section two of the Introductory Section “The Delightful and Comforting Joy of Evangelizing” Pope Francis writes: “Jesus is the first and greatest evangelizer. In every activity of evangelization, the primacy always belongs to God, who has called us to cooperate with him and who leads us on by the power of His Spirit” (p12). A few lines later he writes “God takes the initiative, that ‘he has loved us first’ (1 Jn 4:19). and that he alone ‘gives the growth’ (1 Cor 3:7). Jesus will evangelize from the Monstrance. People entering His Presence made available and desirable via Exposition will experience God, conversion, and transformation.
He writes “Jesus leaves us the Eucharist as the Church’s daily remembrance of, and deeper sharing in, the event of his Passover (cf. Lk 22:19). The joy of evangelizing always arises from grateful remembrance it is a grace which we constantly need to implore” (p13). How better to feed our constant need to implore than Eucharistic Adoration, face to face with God Himself, our hope and salvation?
“The primary reason for evangelizing is the love of Jesus . . . If we do not feel an intense desire to share this love, we need to pray insistently that he will once more touch our hearts. We need to implore his grace daily, asking him to open our cold hearts and shake up our lukewarm and superficial existence. Standing before him with open hearts, letting him look at us, we see that gaze of love which Nathanial glimpsed on the day Jesus said to him: ‘I saw you under the fig tree’ (Jn 1:48). How good it is to stand before a crucifix, or on our knees before the Blessed Sacrament, and simply to be in his presence! How much good it does us when he once more touches our lives and impels us to share his new life!” (p264). Adoration is by far the best fulfillment of this need.
“Whenever we encounter this [divine life of Christ] anew, we become convinced that it is exactly what other need, even though they may not recognize it” (p265). Being in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament grows one’s love for Christ and will make people want to share that love with others.
“If I can have one person to have a better life, that already justifies the offering of my life” (p274). This is your personal justification for taking the initiative and growing Eucharistic Adoration.
Paragraph 63 talks about the threats to our culture. With Eucharistic Adoration we can pray back our culture. Mother Teresa proposed it as how to end abortion.
“It is imperative to evangelize cultures in order to inculturate the Gospel. In countries of Catholic tradition, this means encouraging, fostering, and reinforcing a richness which already exists. In countries of other religious traditions, or profoundly secularized countries, it will mean sparking new processes for evangelizing culture, even though these will demand long-term planning. We must keep in mind, however, that we are constantly being called to grow” (p69). Pope Francis goes on citing various examples of sinful cultures in need of purification. He propose that “Popular piety itself can be the starting point for healing and liberation from these deficiencies” (p69). There is NOTHING better than Eucharistic Adoration to “encourage, foster, and reinforce” and what it will do is aid all the other methods put into place to “encourage, foster, and reinforce.”
“This criterion also applies to evangelization, which calls for attention to the bigger picture, openness to suitable processes, and concern for the long run” (p225). Let us have Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration until the Lord returns! That is taking the long term into consideration.
“Because we do not always see these seeds growing, we need an interior certainty, a conviction that God is able to act in every situation, even amid apparent setbacks. . . .It involves knowing with certitude that all those who entrust themselves to God in love will bear good fruit (cf. Jn 15:5). The fruitfulness is often invisible, elusive, and unquantifiable” (p279). Short term outlooks will sometimes reject Eucharistic Adoration as a solution. How can we doubt the power of Jesus to work on a soul who comes into His physical presence? How can we doubt the power of a Catholic Church united in ongoing petition before God Himself?
”It is true that this trust in the unseen can cause us to feel disoriented… Yet there is no greater feeling that that of allowing oneself to be guided by the Holy Spirit, renouncing the attempt to plan and control everything to the last detail, and instead letting him enlighten guide, and direct us, leading us wherever he will. The Holy Spirit knows well what is needed in every time and place. This is what it means to be mysteriously fruitful!” (p280). Jesus will send the Holy Spirit upon those who come into His presence!
“It is only in unity, through conversions of hearts and reconciliation that we will be able to help our country to develop on all levels” (p230). Perpetual Adoration is tangible, sustained unity.
“The new evangelization calls on every baptized person to be a peacemaker and a credible witness to a reconciled life. In a culture which privileges dialogue as a form of encounter, it is time to devise a means for building consensus and agreement while seeking the goal of a just, responsive, and inclusive society. The principle author, the historic subject of this process, is the people as a whole and their culture, and not a single class, minority group, or elite” (p239)
“Let us call upon him today, firmly rooted in prayer for without prayer all our activity risks being fruitless and our message empty. Jesus wants evangelizers who proclaim the good news not only with words, but above all by a life transfigured by God’s presence” (p259). The unity of Perpetual Adoration is not only incredible it is tangibly incredible. We can see it. We can unite the world in Adoration. It will transfigure us.
“We need to pay attention to the global so as to avoid narrowness and banality. Yet we also need to look to the local, which keeps our feet on the ground” (p234). Adoration unites globally and locally. We can pray back our lost cultures as we adore and petition God.
“We constantly have to broaden our horizons and see the greater good which will benefit us all. But this has to be done without evasion or uprooting. We need to sink our roots deeper into the fertile soil and history of our native place, which is a gift of God. We can work on a small scale, in our own neighborhood, but with a larger perspective. Nor do people who wholeheartedly enter into the life of a community need to lose their individualism or hide their identity; instead, they receive new impulses to personal growth. The global need not stifle, nor the particular prove barren” (p235). How can we “see the greater good” without the gifts of Wisdom and Understanding from the Holy Spirit? Prolonged exposure to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament means increased gifts from the Holy Spirit which will allow us to see the greater good and act towards implementing it on both local and global scales.
Regarding this principle that the whole is greater than the parts “its fullness and richness embrace scholars and workers, businessmen and artists, in a word, everyone. . . . The Gospel is the leaven which causes the dough to rise” (p237). Everyone from all walks of life can benefit from spending time in Eucharistic Adoration.
Who to Reach
In Section Three of the Introduction “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Faith” Francis mentions “the area of ordinary pastoral ministry, which is animated by the fire of the Spirit, so as to inflame the hearts of the faithful who regularly take part in community worship and gather on the Lord’s Day to be nourished by his word and by the bread of eternal life. In this category we can also include those members of the faithful who preserve a deep and sincere faith, expressing it in different ways, but seldom taking part in worship. Ordinary pastoral ministry seeks to help believers to grow spiritually so that they can respond to God’s love ever more fully in their lives.” Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration can reach these people by encouraging them to participate in a scheduled hour of adoration or just by having Exposition available they will be more drawn to visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament who will then move them in grace.
“The second area is that of the baptized whose lives do not reflect the demands of Baptism, who lack a meaningful relationship to the Church and no longer experience the consolation born of faith. The Church, in her maternal concern, tries to help them experience a conversion which will restore the joy of faith to their hearts and inspire a commitment to the Gospel.” Adoration can help fill this lacking.
Lastly, we cannot forget that evangelization is first and foremost about preaching the Gospel to those who do not know Jesus Christ or who have always rejected him. . . . Christians have the duty to proclaim the Gospel without excluding anyone. Instead of seeming to impose new obligations, they should appear as people who wish to share their joy, who point to a horizon of beauty, and who invite others to a delicious banquet. It is not by proselytizing that the Church grows, but by attraction” (p14). Jesus exposed in the Blessed Sacrament is very attractive. Having Him exposed and waiting for souls to come to him at any hour of the day or night can be a first miraculous step in conversions.
Regarding the whole church taking up the missionary impulse Pope Francis asks “to whom should she go first” (p48). We should go first to those who will be drawn to visiting Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Matthew Kelly writes that only 7% of Catholics are “engaged.” Imagine if we can double that? Eucharistic Adoration can inflame the lukewarm and this is a great place to start.
“We need to distinguish clearly what might be a fruit of the kingdom and what might run counter to God’s plan”(p51). Adoration, God Himself, can never run counter to His plan. The Eucharist is His plan!
Speaking of youth ministry Pope Francis mentions youth and “their search for a deep spirituality and more real sense of belonging. There remains a need however, to ensure that these [youth] associations actively participate in the Church’s overall pastoral efforts” (p105). How can the young evangelize the old?
The pope speaks of “the urgent need for the young to exercise greater leadership” (p73). He goes on to state that already young people are taking on leadership roles in many ways. If you look to a youth organization like Lifeteen—already so Eucharistic oriented—to coordinate adoration at a parish the youth will participate like they never have before. They will get their parents to participate like they never have before and the youth rather than being in their own little world will engage the whole Church to holiness.
“Universities are outstanding environments… Catholic schools” (p134). An outstanding example is the Oratory in Pittsburgh surrounded by three major universities. It has many Masses per day and 24/7 Exposition. If environments like this were setup, and Eucharist Adoration made a priority, these youth would likely take the practice with them wherever life, and age, takes them. I would be remiss not to mention my recent alma mater (although I am old already), the Franciscan University of Steubenville where Eucharistic Adoration is a staple on the campus and 24/7 Adoration Chapels are available in two Steubenville Churches to the right and left of the campus.
“Today more than ever we need men and women who on the basis of their experience of accompanying others, are familiar with processes which call for prudence, understanding, patience, and docility to the Spirit, so that they can protect the sheep from wolves who would scatter the flock. We need to practice the art of listening, which is more than simply hearing. Listening, in communication, is an openness of heart which makes possible that closeness without which genuine spiritual encounter cannot occur. . . . Saint Thomas Aquinas tells us that anyone can have grace and charity, and yet falter in the exercise of the virtues because of persistent ‘contrary inclinations.’ . . . Hence the need for a pedagogy which will introduce people step by step to the full appropriation of the mystery.”(p171). All these needs and skillsets can be obtained and fostered within Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration.
“At times we have to be like the father of the prodigal son, who always keeps his door open so that when the son returns, he can readily pass through it. The Church is called to be the house of the Father, with doors always wide open. One concrete sign of such openness is that our church doors should always be open, so that if someone, moved by the Spirit, comes looking for God, he or she will not find a closed door”(p46,47). Perpetual 24/7 Eucharistic Adoration is the most tangible way to make this open door policy call from Pope Francis a reality.
“We need to avoid it [spiritual worldliness] by making the Church constantly go out from herself, keeping her mission focuses on Jesus Christ, and her commitment to the poor. God save us from a worldly Church with superficial spiritual and pastoral trappings! This stifling worldliness can only be healed by breathing in the pure air of the Holy Spirit who frees us from self-centeredness cloaked in outward religiosity bereft of God. Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of the Gospel!” (p97).
“The great majority of the poor have a special openness to the faith; they need God and we must not fail to offer them his friendship, his blessing, his word, the celebration of the sacraments, and a journey of growth and maturity in the faith Our preferential option for the poor must mainly translate into a privileged and preferential religious care” (p200).
“Even people who can be considered dubious on account of their errors have something to offer which must not be overlooked. It is the convergence of peoples who within the universal order, maintain their own individuality; it is the sum total of persons within a society which pursues the common good, which truly has a place for everyone” (p236).
Pope Francis says the changes taking place in our culture provide “a privileged locus for the new evangelization” and that “this challenges us to imagine innovative spaces and possibilities for prayer and communion which are more attractive and meaningful for city dwellers” (p73). Anyone who has been to Rome, for example, knows how on almost every block one can step into a church and find peace and opportunity for prayer, when the doors of those churches in Rome are open that is, and not locked as they often are.
“The unified and complete sense of human life that the Gospel proposes is the best remedy for the ills of our cities, even though we have to realize that a uniform and rigid program of evangelization is not suited to the complex reality”(p75). A uniformed rigid program of evangelization may not be suited but Perpetual Adoration certainly is.
Speaking of temptations faced by pastoral workers Pope Francis describes a place where pastoral workers can go to be refreshed, healed, encouraged. “I am aware that we need to create spaces where pastoral workers can be helped and healed, places where faith itself in the crucified and risen Jesus is renewed, where the most profound questions and daily concerns are shared, where deeper discernment about our experiences and life itself is undertaken in the light of the Gospel, for the purpose of directing individual and social decision toward the good and beautiful.”(p77). C’mon already!!!!!! Start Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration!
“We can count on lay persons, although still not nearly enough, who have a deeply rooted sense of community, and great fidelity to the tasks of charity, catechesis, and the celebration of faith. At the same time, a clear awareness of this responsibility of the laity, grounded in their baptism and confirmation, does not appear in the same way in all places. In some cases, it is because lay persons have not been given the formation needed to take on important responsibilities. In others, it is because in their particular Churches room has not been made for them to spend and to act, due to an excessive clericalism which keeps them away from decision making. Even if many are now involved in the lay ministries, this involvement is not reflected in a greater penetration of Christian values in the social, political, and economic sectors. It often remains tied to tasks within the Church, without a real commitment to applying the Gospel to the transformation of society. The formation of the laity and the evangelization of professional and intellectual life represent a significant pastoral challenge” (p102). First of all Perpetual Adoration is not something for the Pastor to take on and manage. It is for the laity to take on and manage with the support of the Pastor and the Bishop and the Pope. The establishment of Perpetual Adoration takes a “real commitment” from the laity and it will result in more involvement in other lay ministries and in a greater penetration of Christian values in the social, political, and economic sectors.
“The Church must be a place of mercy freely given, where everyone can feel welcomed, loved, forgiven, and encouraged to live the good life of the Gospel” (p114). So let’s open the doors and when people walk in let them see our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament greeting them!
“Here and now, especially where we are a ‘little flock’ (Lk 12:32), the Lord’s disciples are called to live as a community which is the salt of the earth and the light of the world (cf Mt 5:13-16). We are called to bear witness to a constantly new way of living together in fidelity to the Gospel. Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of community!” (p92).
“Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of the joy of evangelization!” (p83)
There are so many places in Evangelii Gaudium where Pope Francis warns us of being “robbed.” With Adoration Jesus Himself will defend us from the robbers.
“Each Christian and every community must discern the path that the Lord points out, but all of us are asked to obey his call to go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the ‘peripheries’ in need of the light of the Gospel” (p20). This fits perfectly with Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration where first of all people are asked to get out of their comfort zone of not wanting to commit to a specific hour each and every week. It also reaches the peripheries because by establishing Eucharistic Adoration our Lord is open for anyone who comes whenever, wherever, and why ever they come. This is certainly better than one or two hours of limited availability.
This “Adoration” quote section is quite long and would be especially redundant to have a comment after each quote saying “Eucharistic Adoration this, Eucharistic Adoration that.” Every single quote is relatable to Eucharistic Adoration. Every single one. Comments will be minimal in this section which is still to be followed by the “Obstacles and Excuses” section and the very important “Popular Piety” section.
“The message has to concentrate on the essentials, on what is the most beautiful, most grand, most appealing and at the same time most necessary” (p 35).
Speaking of some revealed truths being more important via a “hierarchy of truths” Pope Francis writes “what shines forth is the beauty of the saving love of God made manifest in Jesus Christ who died and rose from the dead” (p36).
“At the same time, today’s vast and rapid cultural changes demand that we constantly seek ways of expressing unchanging truths in a language which brings out their abiding newness”(p41).
“In her ongoing discernment the Church can also come to see that certain customs not directly connected to the heart of the Gospel, even some which have deep historical roots, are no longer properly understood and appreciated. Some of these customs may be beautiful but the no longer serve as a means of communicating the Gospel” (p43). This can never be Eucharistic Adoration.
“The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak” (p48).
“We need to look at our cities with a contemplative gaze, a gaze of faith which sees God dwelling in their homes, in their streets and square. God’s presence accompanies the sincere efforts of individuals and groups to find encouragement and meaning in their lives. He dwells among them, fostering solidarity, fraternity, and the desire for goodness, truth and justice. This presence must not be contrived but found, uncovered. God does not hide himself from those who seek him with a sincere heart, even though they do so tentatively, in a vague and haphazard manner”(p71).
“Our Lord gave himself to us as a source of living water” (p86).
“The return to the sacred and the quest for spirituality which mark our own time are ambiguous phenomena. Today, our challenge is not so much atheism as the need to respond adequately to many people’s thirst for God, lest they try and satisfy if with alienating solutions or with a disembodied Jesus who demands nothing of us with regard to others. Unless these people find in the Church a spirituality which can offer healing and liberation, and fill them with life and peace, while at the same time summoning them to fraternal communion and missionary fruitfulness, they will end up by being taken in by solutions which neither make life truly human nor give glory to God” (p89).
“Many places are experiencing a dearth of vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. This is often due to a lack of contagious apostolic fervor in communities, which results in a cooling of enthusiasm and attractiveness. Wherever there is life, fervor, and a desire to bring Christ to others, genuine vocations will arise. Even in parishes where priests are not particularly committed or joyful, the fraternal life and fervor of the community can awaken in the young a desire to consecrate themselves completely to God and to the preaching of the Gospel. This is particularly true if such a living community prays insistently for vocations and courageously proposes to its young people the path of special consecration. On the other hand, despite the scarcity of vocations, today we are increasingly aware of the need for a better process of selecting candidates to the priesthood” (p107)
“It would be insufficient to envisage a plan of evangelization to be carried out by professionals while the rest of the faithful would simply be passive recipients. The new evangelization calls for personal involvement on the part of each of the baptized. . . . Anyone who has truly experienced Gods saving love does not need much time or lengthy training to go out and proclaim that love. . . . Look at those first disciples who, immediately after encountering the gaze of Jesus, went forth to proclaim him joyfully” (p120).
“Charisms at the service of a communion which evangelizes. The Holy Spirit also enriches the entire evangelizing Church with different charisms. . . . To the extent that a charism is better directed to the heart of the Gospel its exercise will be more ecclesial. It is in communion, even when this proves painful that a charism is seen to be authentic and mysteriously fruitful” (p130).
“We should appear as joyful messengers of challenging proposals” (p168). How? Adoration can bring us this joy.
“The Church will have to initiate everyone—priests, religious, and laity—into this ‘art of accompaniment’ which teaches us to remove our sandals before the sacred ground of the other (cf Ex 3:5)” (p169).
“It is indispensable that the word of God ‘be ever more at the heart of every ecclesial activity. God’s word, listened to and celebrated, above all in the Eucharist, nourishes and inwardly strengthens Christians, enabling them to offer an authentic witness to the Gospel in daily life. We have long since moved beyond that old contraposition between work and sacrament. That preaching of the word, living and effective, prepares for the reception of the sacrament, and in the sacrament that word attains its maximum efficacy” (p174).
“I am firmly convinced that openness to the transcendent can bring about a new political and economic mindset which would help to break down the wall of separation between the economy and the common good of society” (p205).
“But this conviction [that Christ is responding to our enthusiasm to proclaim him] has to be sustained by our own constantly renewed experience of savoring Christ’s friendship and his message. It is impossible to persevere in a fervent evangelization unless we are convinced from personal experience that it is not the same to have known Jesus as not to have known him, not the same thing to walk with him as to walk blindly, not the same thing to hear his word as not to know it, and not the same thing to contemplate him, to worship him, to find our peace in him, as not to. It is not the same thing to try to build the world with his Gospel as to try to do so by your own lights. We know well that with Jesus life becomes richer and that with him it is easier to find meaning in everything. This is why we evangelize… A true missionary who never ceases to be a disciple, knows that Jesus walks with him, speaks to him, breathes with him, and works with him. He senses Jesus alive with him in the midst of the missionary enterprise. Unless we see him present at the heart of our missionary commitment, our enthusiasm wanes and we are no longer sure of what it is that we are handing on; we lack vigor and passion” (p265). Adoration makes this a visible reality.
“Intercessory prayer does not divert us from true contemplation, since authentic contemplation always has a place for other” (p281). We can pray back our culture via united Eucharistic Adoration!
“When evangelizers rise from prayer, their hearts are more open; freed of self-absorption, they are desirous of doing good and sharing their lives with others” (p282)
Obstacles and Excuses
This is aanother big section of quotes. There are so many areas that can thwart the Gospel. Eucharistic Adoration can overcome the obstacles and prevent the excuses.
“In the prevailing culture, priority is given to the outward, the immediate, the visible, the quick, the superficial, and the provisional” (p62).
‘Today we are seeing in many pastoral workers, including consecrated men and women, an inordinate concern for their personal freedom as a mere appendage to their life, as if it were not part of their very identity. At the same time, the spiritual life comes to be identified with a few religious exercises which can offer a certain comfort but which do not encourage encounter with others, engagement with the world, or a passion for evangelization. As a result, one can observe in many agents of evangelization, even though they pray, a heightened individualism, a crisis of identity, and a cooling of fervor. These are three evils which fuel one another.”(p78). With Adoration the presence of God will change that! Getting people to commit to the same hour every week can be a challenge but it takes place. Getting them going to visit our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament when it is convenient for them can change them to giving more time for the Lord.
“At times our media culture and some intellectual circles convey a marked skepticism with regard to the Church’s message, along with a certain cynicism. As a consequence, many pastoral workers, although they pray, develop a sort of inferiority complex which leads them to relativize or conceal their Christian identity and convictions. This produces a vicious circle. They end up being unhappy with who they are and what they do; they do not identify with their mission of evangelization, and this weakens their commitment. They end up stifling the joy of mission with a kind of obsession about being like everybody else and possessing what everyone else possesses. Their work of evangelization then becomes forced, and they devote little energy and very limited time to it”(p79).
“At a time when we most need a missionary dynamism which will bring salt and light to the world, many lay people fear that they may be asked to undertake some apostolic work and they seek to avoid any responsibility that may take away from their free time. . . . an overbearing need to guard their personal freedom, as though the task of evangelization was a dangerous poison rather that a joyful response to God’s love which summons us to mission and makes us fulfilled and productive”(p81). Our Eucharistic Lord will help us conquer the fear.
“The problem is not always an excess of activity, but rather activity undertaken badly, without adequate motivations, without a spirituality which would permeate it [Eucharistic Adoration is THE spirituality that will permeate it] and make it pleasurable. As a result work becomes more tiring that necessary, events leading at times to illness. Far from a content and happy tiredness, this is a tense, burdensome, dissatisfying and, in the end, unbearable fatigue. This pastoral acedia can be caused by a number of things. Some fall into it because they throw themselves into unrealistic project and are not satisfied simply to do what they reasonably can. Other, because they lack the patience to allow processes to mature; they want everything to fall from heaven. Others, because they are attached to a few projects or vain dreams of success. Others, because they have lost real contact with people and so depersonalize their work that they are more concerned with the road map than with the journey itself. Other fall into acedia because they are unable to wait; they want to dominate the rhythm of life. Today’s obsession with immediate results makes it hard for pastoral workers to tolerate anything that smacks of disagreement, possible failure, criticism, the cross” (p82). These problems are certainly of the type that Bl Mother Teresa would have encountered and succumbed to without the Mass and Eucharistic Adoration which, as previously stated, she credits her perseverance to.
“The evils of the world—and those of the Church—must not be excuses for diminishing our commitment and our fervor. . . With the eyes of faith, we can see the light which the Holy Spirit always radiates in the midst of darkness” (p84).
“Particular Churches should actively promote at least preliminary forms of inculturation . . . if we allow doubts and fears to dampen our courage, instead of being creative we will remain comfortable and make no progress whatsoever” (p130). Do not make this mistake about Adoration. Plenty of parishes have gone 24/7 Perpetual Adoration. With the support of the bishop the guidelines can make this feasible in most parishes.
“No one must say that they cannot be close to the poor because their own lifestyle demands more attention to other areas”(p201). Just like He did for Mother Teresa, Jesus in the Eucharistic will help us see Jesus in the poor.
“Society needs to be cured of sickness which is weakening and frustrating it, and which can only lead to new crises. Welfare projects, which meet certain urgent needs, should be considered merely temporary responses” (p202). With Eucharistic Adoration we can heal and strengthen our culture.
“Here we see the first principle for progress in building a people: time is greater than space.” (p222)
“This principle enables us to work slowly but surely, without being obsessed with immediate results. It helps us to patiently endure difficult and adverse situations, or inevitable changes in our plans. It invites us to accept the tension between fullness and limitation, and to give a priority to time” (p223).
“Sometimes I wonder if there are people in today’s world who are really concerned about generating a process of people-building, as opposed to obtaining immediate results which yield easy, quick, short-term political gains, but do not enhance human fullness”(p224).
“In the second chapter we reflected on that lack of deep spirituality which turns into pessimism, fatalism, and mistrust. Some people do not commit themselves to mission because they think that nothing will change and that it is useless to make the effort. They think ‘Why should I deny myself my comforts and pleasures if I won’t see any significant result?’ This attitude makes it impossible to be a missionary. It is only a malicious excuse for remaining caught up in comfort, laziness, vague dissatisfaction, and empty selfishness. It is a self-destructive attitude, for ‘man cannot live without hope: life would become meaningless and unbearable.’ If we think that things are not going to change, we need to recall that Jesus Christ triumphed over sin and death and is now almighty” (p275).
“In the midst of darkness something new always springs to life and sooner or later produces fruit” (p276). St Maximillian Kolbe started Perpetual Adoration at the beginning of World War II. His father coordinated Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration when Max was a child.
“We all know from experience that sometimes a task does not bring the satisfaction we seek; results are few and changes are slow, and we are tempted to grow weary. . . . In case like these the most beautiful message that this world can offered is buried under a pile of excuses” (p277). Adoration can keep the “beautiful message” on top.
Pope Francis is absolutely endorsing “popular piety” as the means of inculturating Jesus in our societies, of giving people missionary zeal, love for the poor, and a desire for God. As already stated nothing can be a more efficacious popular piety than making Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration engrained in our societies.
“Genuine forms of popular religiosity are incarnate [most especially Eucharistic Adoration], since they are born of the incarnation of Christian faith in popular culture. For this reason they entail a personal relationship, not with vague spiritual energies or powers, but with God, with Christ, with Mary, with the saints” (p90).
In warning of spiritual worldliness Pope Francis compares it to the piety of the Pharisees, “which hides behind the appearance of piety and even love for the Church, consists in seeking not the Lord’s glory but human glory and personal well-being” (p93).
“Each of us should find ways to communicate Jesus wherever we are. All of us are called to offer other an explicit witness to the saving love of the Lord, who despite imperfections offers us his closeness, his word, and his strength, and gives meaning to our lives. In your heart you know that it is not the same to live without him; what you have come to realize, what has helped you to live and given you hop, is what you also need to communicate to others” (p121).
The Evangelizing Power of Popular Piety. “Herein lies the importance of popular piety, a true expression of the spontaneous missionary activity of the people of God” (p123).
“Popular piety enables us to see how the faith, once received, becomes embodied in a culture and is constantly passed on. . . . Popular piety ‘manifests a thirst for God which only the poor and the simple know’ and that ‘it makes people capable of generosity and sacrifice even to the point of heroism, which itself is a question of bearing witness to belief. Closer to our own time, Benedict XVI, speaking about Latin American, pointed out that popular piety is ‘a precious treasure of the Catholic Church’ in which ‘we see the soul of the Latin America peoples” (p124).
“The bishops also refer to ‘popular spirituality’ or ‘the people’s mysticism.’ It is truly a ‘spirituality incarnated in the culture of the lowly.’ Nor is it devoid of content; rather it discovers and expresses that content more by way of symbols than by discursive reasoning , and in the act of faith greater accent is placed on Credere in Deum than on Credere Deum. It is a ‘a legitimate way of living the faith, a way of feeling part of the Church and a manner of being missionaries;’ it brings with itself the grace of being a missionary, of coming out of oneself and setting out on pilgrimage: ‘Journeying together to shrines and taking part in other manifestations of popular piety, also by taking one’s children or inviting others, is in itself an evangelizing gesture.” Let us not stifle or presume to control this missionary power!” (p124)
“To understand this reality we need to approach it with the gaze of the Good Shepherd [who will gaze on us in the Eucharist] . . . or in the gaze of tender love directed to Christ crucified. No one who loves God’s holy people will view these actions as the expression of a purely human search for the divine. They are the manifestation of a theological life nourished by the working of the Holy Spirit who has been poured into our hearts (Rom 5:5)” (p125). Or Adoration.
“Underlying popular piety, as a fruit of the inculturated Gospel, is an active evangelizing power which we must not underestimate: to do so would be to fail to recognize the work of the Holy Spirit. Instead we are called to promote and strengthen it, in order to deepen the never-ending process of inculturation. Expressions of popular piety have much to teach us, for those who are capable of reading them, they are a locus theologicus which demands our attention, especially at a time when we are looking to the new evangelization” (p127). This where Pope John Paul II’s call for Perpetual Adoration in every parish and community in the world should be resurrected by the laity, by pastors, by bishops, and especially by the Holy Father Pope Francis himself. What better gift to Pope John Paul II for his canonization than to reverse the decline in Eucharistic Adoration that is currently going on and grow Perpetual Adoration exponentially more than when it peaked some years back?
“I thank you Father, Lord of heaven and earth that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes” (Lk 10:21). (p141).
“We only devote periods of quiet time to the things or the people who we love” (p146). I love this sentiment.
“Encountering such beauty, he will often feel that his life does not glorify God as it should, and he will sincerely desire to respond more fully to so great a love” (p151). THIS SUMS UP THE NEED FOR ESTABLISHING PERPETUAL ADORATION IN ONE SENTENCE.
“There is one particular way of listening to what the Lord wishes to tell us in his word and of letting ourselves be transformed by the Spirit. It is what we call Lectio Divina” (p152). The best place to practice Lectio Divina is in the presence of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.
“Another aspect of catechesis which has developed in recent decades is mystagogic initiation. This basically has to do with two things: a progressive experience of formation involving the entire community and a renewed appreciation of the liturgical signs of Christi initiation. Many manuals and programs have not yet taken sufficiently into account the need for a mystagogical renewal, one which would assume very different forms based on each educational community’s discernment. Catechesis is a proclamation of the word and is always centered on that word, yet it also demands a suitable environment and attractive presentation, the use of eloquent symbols, insertion into a broader growth process, and the integration of every dimension of the person within a communal journey of hearing and response” (p166). Eucharistic Adoration should be mandatory in any mystagogic initiation program.
“Every form of catechesis would do well to attend to the ‘way of beauty’. Proclaiming Christ means showing that to believe in and to follow him is not only something right and true, but also something beautiful, capable of filling life with new splendor and profound joy, even in the midst of difficulties. . . . A renewed esteem for beauty as a means of touching the human heart and enabling the truth and goodness of the Risen Christ to radiate within it. If, as Saint Augustine says, we love only that which is beautiful, the incarnate Son, as the revelation of infinite beauty, is supremely lovable and draws us to himself with bonds of love”(p167). Enough said.
Ask Jesus if He wants you to take the lead in Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration. Then listen. If today you hear His voice harden not your heart.