Part I: Who? What? Where? When? How? Why?
Adoration is simply appreciation that the Blessed Sacrament is really Jesus. This appreciation is expressed when a parish has a chapel that is open 7 days a week. 24 hours a day with permanent exposition of the Blessed Sacrament for adoration by the faithful.
You are blessed here at St. Mark parish to have such a chapel. And the Lord is very pleased with the many sacrifices that you make to keep your holy hours of adoration.
But to sustain a strong and lasting program of adoration here we could always use more adorers. What is needed is for each one in the parish to be willing to spend just one hour once a week with Jesus so that every hour is covered, with at least one person present in the chapel at all times, so that Jesus is never left alone. That the chapel can always be open, and together as a people of God the people of the parish express their faith and their love in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
Because our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, says that our communal love for Jesus at Mass must go together with our personal love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament in order for our love to be complete.
The Lord calls us to communal worship today. We come as a parish family to give glory to the Father and to express our unity in Christ.
The Jesus stays with us in the Blessed Sacrament day and night to call us back to Himself sometime during the week, that we may spend some quiet time with Him in prayer in order to deepen our unity, our friendship, and our personal relationships with Jesus our Savior who says: Come to me: It is really I.
In other words: Come to where He is - Where He is in Person - Jesus dwelling with us here on earth today in the Blessed Sacrament.
We all know that when you love someone you want to be with the one you love. And the more you love someone, the more you want to be with that special person.
This explains the very mystery of our Catholic faith: why it is that Jesus stays with us day and night in the Blessed Sacrament. It’s simply because He loves us so much that He never wants to leave us. For He says: Behold, I am with you always, for I have loved you with an everlasting love, and constant is my affection for you.
This is why the Pope tells us that the same Jesus born 2000 years ago in Bethlehem, the same Jesus who died on the Cross for our sins, and who rose again on Easter Sunday “waits for us in this Sacrament of Love.” where He appeals to each one of us: Could you not watch one hour with me?
This hour that Jesus wants you to spend with Him is spent any way you want - with your own favorite prayer book, reading the Holy Bible, praying the Holy Rosary, speaking to Jesus heart to heart, as one does with a friend; or you may be so tired, troubled, or worn out, that you may want to just sit, and relax, and enjoy the sweet peace that comes from simply being with the one who loves you the most, Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament.
The Church teaches us that Jesus is so appreciative that every moment you spend with Him will deepen your unity with Him and make your soul everlastingly more beautiful and glorious in heaven.
Would you now please pray with me to Our Blessed Lady that everyone in the parish may want to participate, so that we may continue on here with a strong and lasting program of perpetual adoration.
Part II: The Two Reasons
Each of us has his or her own personal reasons for wanting to spend and hour each week with Jesus. I would like to share just two that we all have in common: the joy that we give to Him, and the graces He gives to us.
We all know that when you love someone you experience a joy in being with the one you love. A mother can hardly wait to hold her newborn infant; a father’s joy is being with his children; grandparents delight in seeing their grandchildren; friends treasure the moments they spend together, and sweethearts find it difficult to leave each other’s company.
And the more you love someone, the greater joy you have in being with that person.
This is the point: Because Jesus loves you infinitely, unlimited is the joy that you bring to His Sacred Heart when you come to spend an hour with Him in the Blessed Sacrament.
Even if you feel like you’re the worst person in the world, the worse you feel yourself to be, the more joy you bring to Jesus when you humble yourself and come to Him in the Blessed Sacrament.
Jesus says: Do not be afraid. Come to me all of you who are weary and find life burdensome and I will refresh you.
Jesus stays with us in the Blessed Sacrament day and night to refresh us in mind and heart and spirit by lavishing on us those graces that encourage us, strengthen us, comfort us, guide us, and inspire us to place all of our trust in His Most Sacred Heart, so that the power of His love may cast out every fear, doubt, worry and anxiety that we have. For He say: Fear is useless. What is needed is trust. My peace is my gift to you. Cast all your anxiety upon the Lord Who cares for you.
For nowhere on earth are you more loved; nowhere on earth are you more welcomed; nowhere on earth is your presence more appreciated than in the Presence of Jesus in The Blessed Sacrament, where He loves you with a personal love, as if you were the only one in the whole world.
And with each visit you will grow in your conviction of His infinite love for you. And the more lovable we see ourselves to be in His eyes, the more loving we can be with one another.
Others also share in the blessings of your holy hour of prayer because one person coming before the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament represents all mankind. Every man, woman and child on the face of the earth experiences a new effect of God’s goodness, grace and mercy with every holy hour of prayer that you spend with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
Part III: The Night Hours
The advantage of having a chapel open all the time is that everyone can participate because everyone can find at least one hour a week to spend with Jesus. And whatever hour you choose - morning, afternoon, evening or night - is most pleasing to the Lord. And we need adorers for all the hours. But the hour that we need people the most is one of the night hours, between midnight and 6 a. m., because those are the hours that it is most difficult to find volunteers for.
So those who can, we ask you to please help us out and take one of these difficult hours.
For those willing to make this sacrifice and take one of these hours in the middle of the night:
First: God will bless you ten times as much for doing so, because God cannot be outdone in generosity. Whenever we are generous with Him, He is ten times more generous with us.
Second: It was in the middle of the night that Jesus asked for His first holy hour of prayer, when, during His agony in the garden, He began to sweat Blood at the realization that the gift that He had just given to us on Holy Thursday night, the complete gift of Himself in the Eucharist, would be appreciated by so few and be rejected by so many.
Then Jesus saw before Him in the garden every holy hour of prayer that would be made by those who would love Him so much as to be willing to make a sacrifice and keep Him company, even in the middle of the night. This made up for the grief and agony He felt. For then He knew that His love would be returned. For He was about to make for us the greatest sacrifice of all, whereby He said: Greater love than this no man has, than to lay down his life for his friends.
Third: Sacrifice is the language of love. Through Christ’s perfect sacrifice on the Cross, we have the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Good Friday follows Holy Thursday because Good Friday is the price Jesus paid to institute the Eucharist on Holy Thursday night.
He gave up His Body on the Cross for love of you that today He may give you His Body in Holy Communion. When we receive Communion what we receive is not bread, but the very Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Savior, who shed Hid very last drop of Blood on the Cross that today He may fill you with the fullness of His divine life and love in this Holy Sacrament.
There is no sacrifice that compares with the sacrifice you make for love of Him - by being willing to spend an hour each week with Him in the middle of the night - consoles and comforts Hid Heart for those who do not know Him or love Him, and wins countless graces for the whole world to return to Him who said: If I be lifted up I will draw all men to myself.
Through the power of the Eucharist, Christ will draw all mankind to Himself. Your sacrifice releases His power upon the whole world. For Sacred Scripture tell us that it is the faith of man that releases the power of God. Jesus turned around and said: Who touched me because I felt power coming from me? Those who are willing to make a sacrifice and come to Jesus in the middle of the night touch His heart and release His power, His grace and His healing love upon all humanity.
This is why our Holy Father appeals to the catholic laity when he says: “The Church and the world have a great need for Eucharistic adoration. Let us be generous with our time in going to meet Him. May our adoration never cease.” Because this is what will bring about a flowering of God’s kingdom on earth and lasting peace to the world.
Part IV: The Sign-up
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ: in order to strengthen the program of perpetual adoration here, invitations will now be given out. We ask the ushers at this time to please hand out the invitation forms and the pencils.
We invite all of you who are not signed up for an hour each week to do so at this time. This would include those who are new in the parish, those who may have been signed up in the past but had to drop out for some reason and are able to participate again, and those who, for any reason, have not signed up but feel ready to do so now.
Those who are already signed up and are spending a specific hour each week in adoration need not sign up again. This appeal is only for new adorers.
We ask you to fill out the invitations now. All we need is your name and your telephone number.
If you think that you know right now the time of the day that you would like to spend your hour, then you may want to check off morning, afternoon, evening or night on question two of the invitation. Once again, we need people for all hours, and whatever hour you choose is most pleasing to the Lord. But we especially need adorers for the night hours.
If you do not know the time of the day that you would like to spend your hour, then you can just leave questions two blank because somebody will be calling you anyway to find out the time that you want.
I want to ease your mind by saying that you can change your day and your hour anytime that you want. And if in any particular week there’s a conflict in your schedule and you’re unable to make your holy hour, please don’t worry about it because we have a substitute system.
This is not to put a burden on you. Rather, it’s to take all the burdens off you.
The third question on the invitation is an appeal to help coordinate perpetual adoration. The success of any endeavor in the Church today depends on lay responsibility. For perpetual adoration to be successful we need 24 co-coordinators. A coordinator is in charge of a block of seven hours, and the job involves making some phone calls.
So if you think that you might like to be a coordinator, or if you want to learn more about the responsibilities of a coordinator, please check off item three on your invitation.
After you’re finished filling out your invitation forms, please hold on to them until after Holy Communion. After Communion the ushers will come around to collect the invitations and the pencils. So please do NOT put the invitations and pencils in the regular collection at Offertory time but wait for the special collection for them after Holy Communion.
I want to thank you for your wonderful response today, and I want to leave you with one happy thought. We all hope one day to see God the Father face to face. And on that day He will welcome you with open arms, and embrace you, and spend all eternity thanking you and loving you in heaven for you loving His Son on earth by, first of all, keeping His commandments, and by being willing to spend an hour each week with Him in the Blessed Sacrament so that you may continue on here at St. Mark parish with a strong and lasting program of perpetual Eucharistic adoration.
What are some of the spiritual benefits and graces generally attributed to the establishment of a Parish Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration program?
- Increased Mass attendance and Confessions.
- Increase in priestly and religious vocations.
- The return of fallen-away Catholics and conversions to the faith.
- Heightened spirituality. "Personal sanctification and the sanctification of all Catholic action." (Pope Pius XII)
- Marriages restored.
- Greater unity.
- Inner peace.