…What was that idea I had for my ethics paper?…
…Man, my knees really hurt right now…”
During the final minutes of a Holy Hour, it’s pretty normal to find the mind wandering a bit. The act itself of adoring the Lord Jesus in the Eucharist takes energy, so we can become a little mentally fatigued by the hour’s end. In this mental fog, we can easily tune out this little prayer often prayed by the priest or deacon right before benediction.
O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament,
have left us a memorial of your Passion,
grant us, we pray,
so to revere the sacred mysteries of your Body and Blood
that we may always experience in ourselves
the fruits of your redemption.
We all want to experience the fruits of Christ’s redemption. In this prayer the Church teaches us how to receive these fruits: by revering or reverencing his Body and Blood. Here, the Church exposes a causal connection which at first is not altogether obvious. Reverencing Jesus in the Eucharist is the cause that leads to experiencing the effects of Jesus’ redemption.
Perhaps this seems simple enough. Of course, when we are adoring the Lord, we are thinking about his love for us, and in this way we experience the effects of his redemption. But the prayer says more than that. It asks, by revering the Lord now present on the altar, that the adorer may always experience the fruits of Christ’s redemption. The adorer begs that by his adoration he be able to experience the effects of redemption, not just now while adoring, but always throughout his life.
The adorer is asking Jesus that his whole life be transformed by his adoration. And this is exactly what adoration does! Adoring the Body of the Lord, we become more united with that Body. This is not principally our doing, but God’s. God uses the time we offer him in adoration as the time he works on our heart, such that the adorer is gradually and gently changed to be more like the object of his adoration.
In our own day, we are often very focused on trying to bring the fruits of Christ’s redemption to the world through so many different human activities and initiatives. For these activities to really bear fruit, however, they must find their birth at the source of this fruit: the adoration of Jesus Christ. In this way, the adorer, filled with the grace of the one he adores, works not just on his own. Rather, his work becomes more fundamentally God’s work, whose works never fail to bear abundant fruit.
Photo by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P. (used with permission)