Come, let us adore Him!
On the last Sunday of each month, there is Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the parish church (Mariukirkjan) between three and six o´clock in the afternoon, followed by Evening Prayer (Vespers) in Faroese. When the Wise Men followed the star to Bethlehem after the birth of Jesus, they fell down on their knees when they saw the child with his mother and adored him. Every time we hear about people in the Bible meeting God, we are told that they fall on their faces and adore God. Adoration is the reaction of a believer in an encounter with the almighty God.
Once, many years ago, a mother told me that she came into a Catholic church with her seven or eight-year-old son. They went to the tabernacle, where the Real Presence of Jesus under the form of consecrated Bread is kept. The boy threw himself down spontaneously in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The mother got embarrassed and looked around her to see if anyone had seen it. I asked her: “What did you feel?”. She replied: “I wanted to do the same, but didn´t dare!”
Jesus shows us his great love by making his dwelling amongst us under the form of bread, which is reserved in the tabernacle in the Catholic church: “And look, I am with you always; yes, to the end of time” (Matthew 28:20).
“And look, I am with you always; yes, to the end of time”.
“And look, I am with you always;
yes, to the end of time”
The Real Presence of Jesus Christ
Why is Jesus really present in our Catholic churches in this way? In order to draw everyone to himself in a very “earthly” way. It is a place where we can go and meet Jesus today. The church is his dwelling, not just when we gather for Mass or prayer services, but all the time. The church is a holy place, because it is God´s house on earth.
We, Catholics, believe with all our heart, that the bread and wine really change during Mass to the Body and Blood of Jesus. The Bread is therefore the sign of Jesus´ real presence also after Mass. Faith in Jesus´ Sacramental and Real Presence has been deeply anchored in the hearts of Catholics for hundreds of years, with the result that we not only gather around him during Mass, but also have Adoration in front of the exposed Sacrament or privately seek him in the church for our personal prayer in front of the tabernacle.
There is a story about a priest who once came into a country church and saw an old man sitting quietly before the tabernacle at the altar. The priest had noticed him before. He asked him: What are you doing?” He answered. “I look at him and he looks at me, and then we ´re happy”. That is faith!
“I am the living bread which has come down from heaven.
Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever;
and the bread that I shall give is my flesh,
for the life of the world”
The individual and communal adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is a continuation of the Mass. It is as if we can never stop being together with Jesus whom we meet during Mass.
Just as it is Jesus himself (and not the priest) who invites us to come to Mass and to his table, it is also he who invites us to pay him a visit in the church during the day or during the course of the week.
The monthly adoration in our church is an invitation from the Lord to be together with him in order to receive his love and to adore him as our God. Come, therefore, as often as possible, even if it´s only for part of the time. Non-Catholics are also welcome!
It is the Church´s ancient tradition to close each day with Evening Prayer (Vespers), which is the liturgical evening prayer service. It is prayed daily in convents, but many parish churches also pray, for example, on Sunday, just as there are many lay people who pray it privately and unite themselves with the whole church in the daily praise of our Triune God. Therefore, we end Adoration with Evening prayer, so that our parish can also be united in this worldwide fellowship of prayer.
Lars Messerschmidt, priest