The lights were dimmed, the music inspiring. I could hear a few teens laughing hysterically while others were being carried out of the room. Never had I seen adoration get this extreme.
It was the first night I felt the spirit move me when the gold monstrance passed down the middle aisle to the altar. I knew He was there.
Sometimes it takes an extreme experience to see what is right in front of our eyes. Seeing others experience something passionately can inspire us to join the experience.
Before my experience at the Steubenville west conference in 2006, I was indifferent to adoration. I enjoy communion because we consume the Host and become a walking tabernacle. It’s something I can taste, touch, and feel when Christ’s presence enters me. Adoration is different, but similar.
Adoration starts with the body of Christ being inserted into a monstrance, a gold or silver receptacle with a transparent container that exposes the consecrated Host. Like a tabernacle, a monstrance holds the body of Christ, but instead of containing it, it shares it. The Latin word mōnstrāre means to show.
So instead of enjoying Christ’s presence within us, we adore his presence outside of ourselves. We can kneel on holy ground in the presence of God, just like Moses did on Mt. Sinai. When Moses was on holy ground, it was then that God called him and spoke to him. If God is willing to humble Himself and dwell in bread or even a burning bush, we should embrace the opportunity like Moses did.
The catechism says that the basic movement of Christian prayer is an encounter between God and man (CCC 2626). When we place ourselves in the presence of God, we can encounter him through prayer in a deeper way.
So the next time your church has adoration, try diving deeper into the experience. Here are 4 ways to make adoration more meaningful:
- Ask God if there’s anything He wants to tell you as you kneel in His presence.
- Make the sign of the cross to acknowledge Christ’s presence when He passes down the aisle and when the priest gives the blessing, moving the monstrance in the sign of the cross.
- Go to an adoration chapel once a week. Attend events with adoration every chance you get. The more you spend in God’s presence, the easier it will be to hear him speak to your heart.
- When the world is noisy, escape to kneel in his presence… it’s amazing what a little bit of holy silence can do.
The same summer I encountered Christ through the mystery of adoration, Darla Hickman told me to be a monstrance for Christ. It was then that I learned that this experience calls us to action beyond the warm feeling we get when we kneel in front of Christ. As a monstrance, we don’t merely hold the body of Christ; we show His light to the world.
Let me be a monstrance,
Let me glow for Christ.
Let Him shine through me
Within my eyes.
Help me reflect His beauty
In all that I do.
Remake me pure as Gold
So I can hold the consecrated You
In the bosom of my soul
Where only You can go
And You fit me perfectly
You are my Prince of Peace
Let the cloak that holds Him high
Touch and heal my sinful life.
Bind away any evil bringing me down
Lift me up and heal me from the ground.
Make me anew, let me shine for You.
Build me as a monstrance
Containing a hole, pure and clean
That can only be filled by You.