“O Come Let Us Adore Him”
Why do over 250 people come to spend one hour at a time in a small chapel at St. Andrew Church? Most of them come alone or with one other, for 158 hours of the week. Have you had a peaceful visit with Jesus lately? Would you like some quiet time to hear Him advise you? We come to adore Him, like the Christmas carol line: “O come let us adore Him”, so we call this Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Since April of 2011, St. Andrew has had Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration (P.E.A.), which is continuous prayer in the presence of our Lord, who lives in the Eucharist, which is visible to us, outside the tabernacle. Wherever you are on your spiritual journey, an hour of meditation, silence, stillness, and peace will help you stay balanced.
The chapel is located in front of our church's worship space, so that when we celebrate the Mass, we interrupt the continuity of private prayer with a public prayer centered on Jesus. Inside the chapel are nine chairs, two padded kneelers and many prayer books. As Catholics, we believe in the real presence of Jesus' body in the Holy Eucharist. Anyone is welcome to adore Him, who believes in the Eucharist, in Holy Communion.
Many hearts have changed, many miracles have happened, and our troubled church has survived many hardships, thanks to the prayers that continue night and day. One member noted that the local crime rate went down after our devotions became Perpetual.
The church is locked overnight, of course, so the adorers come each hour and have an access code to one door. The Pope has asked that all Catholic churches institute P.E.A. For me, it is something like a visit to the gym: I have trouble committing to a regular hour, but once I arrive, the healing and peace supply me with what I need to be faithful and courageous the rest of the week. Those who do this truly treasure their time and it becomes the high point of their week. When I am away, in traffic, or in an airport, I can find peace by imagining this holy place and knowing that someone is always praying here. On a recent visit to Thunderbird Falls, I realized the same thing, when I got close enough to hear and see the thundering waterfall. Even after I left, day and night, that water keeps flowing. In the same magnificent, mysterious way, graces keep flowing from our Blessed Sacrament, and those who come to receive them are always grateful.
The silence and peace of Adoration helps me put my life in perspective. I might start my hour with pressing problems, even tears, but when I have prayed for a few minutes, I start to feel the peace unfold. And as I listen and ask Him what I need to learn, I start to think of things … new things, calmly. Once, I was praying for help with my marriage, and after meditating on Jesus' love for me, I wrote a love letter to my husband. He told me it was the best one he had ever received! A friend of mine actually saw the face of Jesus in the host, and he was smiling at her! What will you see, hear, or learn when you visit with our Lord?
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This column is the opinion of Virginia Marquez.