In light of current events, the faithful should be flocking to prayer — particularly prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The single most identifying experience we share as Catholics is the Eucharist. In it, we are truly alive in Christ, and he is alive in us. In trying times, the Eucharist is our shelter, our retreat, where we strengthen the very essence of our faith. Adoring the Blessed Sacrament gives us the opportunity to quiet our restless souls, to unite with one another and to focus on the reason we are Catholic.
From the horrifying details of McCarrick’s alleged double life to the disturbing Viganò letter, Catholics are shaken to our collective core. We’re disheartened hearing words like “factions” and “civil war” being used to describe the Body of Christ and confounded watching clergy attempt to discredit one another in the media. While we wait for the truth about who knew what and just how deeply this sword will pierce the heart of the Church, we sit in pews, weary and dazed as letters from bishops are read from the pulpits.
In this moment in time, adoration is exactly what we and our Church desperately need. We shouldn’t worry about facing Christ in this pain and confusion. He already knows it and is feeling it to an extent we can’t even imagine. Yet, he is there, patiently waiting for us to simply bear it with him. He wants to console, comfort and assure us that he has it all under control. But we have to go to him in order to be changed, in order to feel a connection to his care for us and his Church.
Of course, we should be praying all the time, but there is something different when we pray before the Blessed Sacrament. The personal, direct access allows us to be more open to the Spirit of God. The quiet, which is so often missing in our lives, allows his love to permeate us. Since I became a regular at the adoration chapel, I’ve experienced a deeper peace and stronger faith. I’ve gained a clarity about Jesus that I wasn’t aware I lacked, just by being there with him. I’ve felt his real presence and guidance in a more profound way. Many Catholics don’t participate in adoration because they feel unsure about what to do, or they believe they are not in the right state of mind to spend time with Jesus. But he wants us there, and we need to be there, especially right now, regardless of what mood we’re in.
In adoration, we can contemplate Jesus’ Passion, which shows us how to weather this storm in the Church. Before his arrest, as Jesus saw the reality of the terrible plot unfolding, he prayed. We too should pray as we read one devastating headline after another. As Jesus endured the unfathomable pain of the cross, he received strength from his mother, who stood by his side. We need to follow his example and seek Our Lady’s intercession to fortify us in this trial.
After Jesus died, his followers thought all was lost. Scared and unsure, they huddled and hid. But Jesus knew the resurrection was coming and there would be great joy as death itself was defeated. As followers of Christ, we can and must wait in hope for the resurrection of his holy Church, which is as sure and as promised as his own rising from the dead. Faced with the current crisis in our Church, there is simply no better place to pray for the Body of Christ than in the adoration chapel. There, we are in close proximity to the fulfillment of God’s promise.
Now is the time to cling to the Eucharist and join our prayers to the prayers of the faithful around the world, in his living presence. I encourage every Catholic to devote an hour this week to adoration. Bring the Lord everything in your heart so he can share the divine mercy and love in his heart with you.
Michelle Schroeder writes from Louisiana and is author of “The Handy Little Guide to Adoration” (OSV, $4.95).