- Eucharistic adoration
Eucharistic adoration is a practice in the
Roman CatholicChurch and in some Anglicanchurches, in which the Blessed Sacramentis exposed to and adored by the faithful. When this exposure and adoration is constant (that is, twenty-four hours a day), it is called perpetual adoration. In a parish, this is usually done by volunteer parishioners; in a monasteryor convent, it is done by the resident monks or nuns.
The practice of adoration traces its roots to the fact that in
monasteriesand conventsthe Blessed Sacrament was an integral part of the structure of cloistered life. From the beginning of community life the unconsecrated bread and wine were originally kept in a special room, just off the sanctuary but separated from the church where the Divine Liturgy or Mass was offered, stemming from the standard practice of having a skeuophylakion which was found in cathedral and parish churches, an architecturally separate building or room where the deacons prepared the bread and wine before the liturgy in a service developed in the East called the proskomedia.
One of the first possible references to reserving the Blessed Sacrament for adoration is found in a life of
St. Basil(who died in 379). Basil is said to have divided the Eucharistic Bread into three parts when he celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the monastery. One part he consumed, the second part he gave to the monks, and the third he placed in a golden dove suspended over the altar [http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/manual/section1/sec1_12a.pdf] . It is more likely, however, that this separate portion was simply for the purpose of reserving the sacrament for distribution in contexts in which a communicant could not attend the Divine Liturgy, which is a standard practice throughout the ancient churches, even those who do not practice extra-liturgical Eucharistic adoration. The sort of extra-liturgical adoration which developed in the West has never been part of the Eastern liturgy which St. Basil celebrated.
However, a liturgy for adoration does exist, involving psalms and placing a covered diskos with the Sacred Species on the altar. This is befitting the Eastern custom of veiling those things deemed sacred from human eyes. ['Byzantine Daily Worship'; Archbishop Joseph Raya, Baron Jose de Vinck]
Franciscanarchives credit Saint Francis of Assisi(who died in 1226) for starting Eucharistic Adoration in Italy [Franciscan Archives: http://www.franciscan-archive.org/patriarcha/opera/fwintro.html] . The lay practice of adoration formally began in Avignon, Franceon September 11, 1226. To celebrate and give thanks for the victory over the Albigensiansin the later battles of the Albigensian Crusade, King Louis VII asked that the sacrament be placed on display at the Chapel of the Holy Cross. [CathEncy|author=McMahon, Joseph H.|title=Perpetual adoration|url=http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01152a.htm] The overwhelming number of adorers brought the local bishop, Pierre de Corbie, to suggest that the exposition be continued indefinitely. With the permission of Pope Honorius III, the idea was ratified and the adoration continued there practically uninterrupted until the chaos of the French Revolutionhalted it from 1792until the efforts of the Confraternity of Penitents-Grisbrought it back in 1829. [http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/manual/section1/sec1_12a.pdf] Twenty years later, the Venerable Leo Dupontinitiated the nightly adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in Toursin 1849, from where it spread within France[Dorthy Scalan. "The Holy Man of Tours." (1990) ISBN 0895553902] .
The adoration of the
Eucharistwithin France grew in this period and there were interactions between Catholic figures who were enthusiastic about spreading the Eucharist e.g. Leo Dupontand Saint Peter Julian Eymard, who formed the Congregation of the Blessed Sacramentin 1858 [ Joan Carroll Cruz, OCDS, "Saintly Men of Modern Times." (2003) ISBN 1931709777] . The same year, Eyemard (also known as the Apostle of the Eucharist) and sister Marguerite Guillotformed the Servants of the Blessed Sacramentwhich now maintains houses on several continents where continuous Eucharistic adoration takes place [Catholic encyclopedia http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13731b.htm] . Interestingly, this time period in France saw the growth of a parallel Catholic devotion, namely the Devotion to the Holy Face of Jesuswhich was started in 1844in Toursby Sister Marie of St Peter, was promoted by Leo Dupontand was approved by Pope Leo XIIIin 1885.
Mother Mechtilde of the Blessed Sacrament pioneered perpetual adoration of the Eucharist on request of Père Picotte. The Benedictine convent, founded for this purpose, opened in France on March 25, 1654. [ [http://www.therealpresence.org/cgi-bin/getdefinition.pl Pocket Catholic Dictionary - Bad Filename - Access Denied ] ]
Another common early practice of adoration is Quarantore an exercise of devotion in which continuous prayer is made for forty hours before the exposed Blessed Sacrament. This is said to have started in Milan in May 1537
At years ago|1878 years and counting, the
Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adorationhave been praying nonstop longer than anyone in the United States. The practice began on August 1, 1878, at 11 a.m. and continues to this date. [ [http://www.fspa.org/spirituality/history.asp History of Our Adoration ] ]
The World's largest Monstrance can be found in Chicago where an adoration
chapelin under construction which will be the focus of 24-hour Eucharistic Adorationwhere there will be no liturgies or vocal prayers, either by individuals or groups as the space will be strictly meant for private meditation and contemplation. This Sanctuarydevoted to the The Divine Mercy is being constructed adjacent to Church of St. Stanislaus Kostka, one of the city's famed Polish Cathedrals [http://news.yahoo.com/s/usnw/20080523/pl_usnw/world___s_largest_monstrance_to_be_unveiled] .
Purpose of adoration
Adoration is a sign of devotion to and worship of
Jesus Christ, who is believed by many Christians to be present Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, under the appearance of the consecrated host, represented by hosts or bread.
Roman Catholic belief
In the Roman Catholic tradition, at the moment of
Consecrationthe elements (or "gifts" as they are termed for liturgical purposes) are transformed ( Transubstantiation) into the actual Body and Blood of Christ. Catholic doctrine holds that the elements are not only spiritually transformed, but rather are actually (substantially) transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ. It is held that although the elements retain the appearance or "accidents" of bread and wine, they are indeed the actual Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ. This is one form of the doctrine of Real Presence—the actual, substantive presence of Jesusin the Eucharist. At the point of Consecration, the act that takes place is a double miracle: 1) that Christ is present in a physical form and 2) that the bread and wine have truly, substantially become Jesus' Body and Blood. Because Roman Catholics believe that Christ is truly present (Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity) in the Eucharist, the reserved sacrament serves as a focal point of adoration.
Opinions on the nature of the Eucharist and thus on the propriety of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament vary in the Anglican tradition ("see
Anglican Eucharistic theology"), but many Anglo Catholics practice adoration in the manner of the Roman Catholic Church. Others celebrate Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, which is not unlike Eucharistic adoration. [ [http://www.ascensionchicago.org/custom.asp?id=73539&page=33&shopperid= Ascension Chicago ] ]
LutheranEucharistic adoration is almost always limited in duration to the communion service because Lutheran tradition does not include reservation of the Sacrament. However, at this time, in North America, the Evangelical Community Church-Lutheranand some other small Churches in the Lutheran Evangelical Catholic Tradition ( High Church Lutheran), do reserve the Sacrament, and strongly encourage Eucharistic adoration without requiring it.
Historically in Lutheranism there have been two parties regarding Eucharistic adoration:
Gnesio-Lutherans, who followed Martin Luther's view in favor of adoration and Philippistswho followed Philipp Melanchthon's view against it. Although Luther did not approve of the Feast of Corpus Christi [ [http://www.lcms.org/ca/www/cyclopedia/02/display.asp?t1=C&word=CORPUSCHRISTI/ Corpus Christi] article in Christian Cyclopedia] , he wrote a treatise " The Adoration of the Sacrament" (Von anbeten des sakraments des heyligen leychnahms Christi, 1523)" where he defended adoration but desired that the issue not be forced. After the death of Martin Luther, further controversies developed including Crypto-Calvinismand the second Sacramentariancontroversy, started by Gnesio-Lutheran Joachim Westphal. Philippist understanding of the Real Presencewithout adoration through time became dominant in Lutheranism, although it is not in accordance with Luther's teaching. German theologian Andreas Musculuscan be regarded as one of the warmest defenders of Eucharistic adoration in early Lutheranism [ [http://users.aol.com/SemperRef/venerable.html "The Sacrament of the Altar. A Book on the Lutheran Doctrine of the Lord's Supper" by Tom G A Hardt] ] .
The practice of adoration
The host is displayed in a
monstrance, typically placed on an altar. The Blessed Sacrament may not actually be exposed, but left in a ciborium, which is likewise placed on an altar. This exposition usually occurs in the context of a service of Benedictionor similar service of devotions to the Blessed Sacrament. In services of perpetual adoration, parishioners volunteer to attend for a certain period of time, typically an hour, around the clock. Because of the difficulty of maintaining twenty-four hour attendance, many parishes no longer provide perpetual adoration. In many parishes, the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in an enclosed tabernacle so that the faithful may pray in its presence without the need for volunteers to be in constant attendance (as must be the case when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed).
Adoration is also done through two practices recommended by the Popes, saints and Doctors of the Church:
Thanksgiving after Communionand Visit to the Blessed Sacrament.
Criticisms of adoration
Many ChristiansFact|date=April 2008 throughout history have criticized Eucharistic adoration, some considering it a form of
idolatry. Adoration may be seen as the abrogation of the command to adore God alone, as commanded in Leviticus. They see the adoration of any other objects, including the sacred instruments of His Grace, such as the Body and Blood as idolatry.
CriticsFact|date=April 2008 draw a distinction between the irreducible risen physical Jesus, and the reducible elements of his body. They point as an example to the third day after the
Crucifixion. Although Christ's Precious Blood still drenched the cross and the tomb clothesFact|date=April 2008, the angelstates: "He is not here, for He has risen..." Gospel of Matthew28:6. Similarly the Eucharistic Blood and Body are elements proceeding from Christ, not the irreducible Person Himself.Fact|date=April 2008 Roman Catholics draw much the same distinction between the irreducible personhoodof a man, and the parts of his body. Destruction of a body part (e.g., amputation) is not destruction of the person himself. Similarly, blood used in a blood transfusionderives from its donor, but is not the donor himself. The Catholic Church, however, asserts that the Eucharist contains the fullness of Christ's body, blood, and divinity, not just the proceeding elements from Christ. [ [http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/para/1374.htm 'Catechism of the Catholic Church 1374'] ; ]
Perhaps the most common criticism of the practice of Eucharistic adoration is that it isolates the Eucharist from its desired purposeFact|date=April 2008, namely, communion. The Eucharist is removed from its context as the communion of the Church with Christ and places Him at a distance, objectifying the Eucharist in a manner not consistent with the rites during which it is consecrated.
As reported by Roman Catholic priest,
Father Al Kimelin his blog Pontifications, historian and writer Michael McGuckiandiscusses this problem in his book “The Eucharist in the West.” "During the first millenniumof the Church, East and West shared a common understanding of Eucharistic devotion. “During this period,” McGuckian notes, “the Eucharist was understood dynamically and, in common with all the other sacraments, the focus was on its effect in the sanctificationof the people.” But in the eleventh centurywe see a change of attitude within the Western Church. Devotion began to be focused on the Eucharistic gifts as the objective presence of the risen Christ. The Host began to be elevated during the liturgy for the purpose of adoration. In the thirteenth century the Feast of Corpus Christiwas instituted. From this point devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, both within and outside the Mass, became central in the piety of Latin Christians. Seeing Christ rather than feeding upon Christ became the norm. Adoration replaced communionFact|date=June 2008.
The adoration of the
Blessed Sacramentoutside of Mass has been associated with a large amount of Catholic writings and inspirations, e.g. significant portions of the writings of the Venerable Concepcion Cabrera de Armidawere reported as having been based on her adorations of the Blessed Sacrament [Concepción Cabrera de Armida. "I Am: Eucharistic Meditations on the Gospel" ISBN 0818908904] . Cabrera de Armida did not represent her writings as interior locutions or visions of Jesus and Marybut as her meditations and inspirations during Eucharistic adoration.
* [http://www.netzwerk-eucharistie.de.vu "Network of Eucharistic Adoration"]
* [http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P3C.HTM The Reservation and Veneration of the Most Holy Eucharist] from the Catholic Code of Canon law
* [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01152a.htm New Advent on Perpetual Adoration]
* [http://www.therealpresence.org/chap_fr.htm Location of Eucharistic Adoration sites]
* [http://www.understandthetimes.org/commentary/c47_pf.shtml Roger Oakland - The New Evangelization and the Coming Eucharistic Reign of Jesus]
* [http://www.ewtn.com/library/HOMELIBR/HISTOREA.TXT The History of Eucharistic Adoration by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.] [http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/manual/section1/sec1_12a.pdf in PDF format]
* [http://louisville-catholic.net/WebCameras/AdorationChapel/tabid/825/Default.aspx St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Church, Louisville, Kentucky's online perpetual adoration.]
* [http://www.savior.org/ Savior.org Online Eucharistic Adoration]
* [http://westernorthodox.blogspot.com/2006/06/byzantines-demand-eucharistic.html Western Rite Orthodox (unofficial) perspectives]
* [http://westernorthodox.blogspot.com/2006/06/melkite-rite-of-benediction-of-most.html Melkite Greek Catholic Rite of Benediction]
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