Catholicism 101: Adoration

Down in adoration falling
This great sacrament we hail
Over ancient forms departing
Newer rites of grace prevail
Faith for all defects supplying
Where the feeble senses fail
— Adoration by Matt Hammit from Sanctus Real. Based off of Tantum Ergo.

Adoration (ad·o·ra·tion): the act of paying honor, as to a divine being; worship. 2. reverent homage. 3. fervent and devoted love

Adoration was one of the harder parts of the Catholic faith for me to understand when I first converted. To me, it was people gathered around a golden sun-like thing staring at a cracker. Blame the Baptist upbringing. Yes, I believed in the Real Presence, but I didn’t understand it, not yet.

I went anyway, when friends would go and they’d invite me along. Or if we had adoration after mass or at the CSO, I’d go for a little bit. I’d sit there and pray the rosary, fidgeting the whole time. It’s already hard for this ADD child to sit still, but adoration took it to a whole new level. I remember fervently praying at times for God to help me understand adoration better, and to be better able to worship and praise Him like I wanted to yet couldn’t. But nothing changed until last November, on a weekend retreat.

The retreat had already been intense, full of a spiritual awakening for me, but Saturday night adoration completely flipped my world around. I’ll never understand what changed how I viewed it. Maybe it was the music, us singing Tantum Ergo, or the sight of everyone kneeling and praising the Lord. Whatever it was, all of a sudden things just clicked for me. I just knew that even though it may look like a cracker, it wasn’t. That was my Jesus in front of me, having given His life for me, and I could feel the holiness emanating from the monstrance (Yes, I found out what the sun thing is called!).

I sat there in awe, not quite sure I wasn’t dreaming. Adoration had never been this real to me, so I was a little unsure of what to do. I was so afraid that I’d wake up, or that I’d blink and He’d be gone again. Jesus had finally revealed His presence to me in the Sacrament, and I wanted to never leave. I understand better how Mary Magdalene felt when she met Jesus outside of the tomb. It’s almost indescribable. I’ve tried and words just don’t fit.

You
Is it You?
Standing here before my eyes
Every part of my heart cries
Alive.
— “Alive (Mary Magdalene)” by Natalie Grant

I felt the strongest urge to fall down and worship. Y’all, I couldn’t get low enough fast enough. I ended up almost flat on my face (wasn’t quite enough room for me to fully stretch out flat without kicking someone else), with hands raised high in praise and worship. It was the most amazing experience ever.

It was over all too soon for my taste. I felt like I could stay there forever, as long as He was present. I haven’t had the chance to go to Adoration since, but I’m hoping to get to soon. And Jesus will be there, waiting for me, waiting to reveal Himself in all His Glory.

I can’t wait.

What was your best Adoration experience? Have you ever had a personal revelation like this? Share in the comments!

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