Eucharistic Adoration is a very special and unique devotion. Many outside the Church think that Adoration is the worst blasphemy coming out of the Catholic Church, which teaches that Jesus Christ is Truly, Substantially and Really Present – Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity – under the accidents of unleavened bread and wine.
The basis for this belief and Truth comes not only from what was handed on by the Apostles and Church Fathers but also from Scripture itself. Saint Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26:
For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
Of course, this is only one example, for there is the Bread of Life Discourse in John 6 and Jesus Himself instituting the Eucharist on the night of the Last Supper. Knowing that Our Blessed Lord is always present within His Church and at times, silently waits for us to come adore Him, I often take the opportunity that travelling provides to visit Him in Adoration in different parishes across the United States.
My recent trip to Minneapolis, Minnesota was no different. Upon arriving I took care of all the essentials for travelling: rent the car, eat lunch, check in. The series of steps always centers on confirming the locations of the parishes that I will visit for Adoration and/or Mass (Wednesday, December 8, was the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin). For Adoration, I selected a parish run by a local convent and monastery of Franciscans called St. Bonaventure Catholic Community. Adoration here is perpetual, meaning Jesus is waiting for us, in exposition, 24 hours a day – 7 days per week.
When I arrived to the parish I found out quickly that they live the “community” in their name. For when I pulled up and walked towards the location of the Adoration Chapel, Our Lady of Angels, I was greeted by a frequent visitor to Adoration here. She spoke to me at length concerning the parish and the surrounding area. And of course, she invited me to celebrate the Mass for the Immaculate Conception at her parish Assumption Parish. Scheduling prevented me from changing my plans, unfortunately, I guess (read about my experience at The Nativity of Our Lady Parish).
So I entered the Church. The atmosphere was vibrant and much to my content, the large amount of cars in the parking lot was actually representative of the number of adorers in silent reverence and prayer before Our Blessed Lord. Furthermore, the Chapel was constructed in a manner that lent to a sense of unity as the it was small in stature but large in presence. For Jesus Christ was on the altar before me – at eye level no less! Being in the presence of God is truly a powerful experience but to be so close to Our Lord in unity with other faithful adorers was something akin to icing on the cake.
I thanked Our Blessed Lord for this grand opportunity and thus began to pray, ponder and listen. In His presence, I “still, and know[ing] that He is God.” (Psalms 46:10) As one would expect, I am in total peace while in Adoration. There almost nothing distracts me from looking at Our Savior. And He too returns this look with love and strength. I spent 45 minutes in Adoration. Not quite a Holy Hour but as I was travelling on business, I to prepare for the audit I was sent here to perform.
When I exited the Chapel, I took note of two Hispanic gentlemen. One was a parishioner and the other a frequent visitor to the Adoration Chapel. It was nearing 9 pm and still more persons arrived to adore Our Lord. This outpouring of faith in God was uplifting and encouraging.
An opportunity arose when the parishioner greeted me. I returned the greeting in Spanish and as usual, a conversation sprung up. We spoke of our constant conversion to Christ. Both he and I wandered from the Faith in our youth only to discover what we took for granted and the deep, unique love God has for each one of His creatures. We compared birth places, I from Puerto Rico and he from Bolivia. The Holy Spirit was vibrant within us both and the below zero windchill did nothing to squelch the fire of God’s love that burns within us.
After 20 or so minutes of conversing, The other gentleman, who left as I walked up to the Bolivian parishioner, returned. I was introduced and greeted, once more, as a brother. In fact, the three persons I spoke to that night made me feel as if I was a parishioner in that Church. A brother who they had not seen in a while. All three were sincerely happy that I was there to share in the True and Real Presence of Our Lord.
This other gentleman was from Mexico, and with that we spoke about his country and my ties to it via my wife. We all joked and chided each other about our different accents, traditions and foods. However, we all remained untied in one thing – we are all citizens of the Kingdom of God. We are Catholics united in our faith and love for Jesus Christ and His divine bride Who He left to steward us until His return.
Upon parting, we hugged one another as family does. We displayed the genuine affection of brothers united in Christ Jesus. The Bolivian parishioner even gave me a beautiful pocket-sized (one decade) Rosary, his very own.
May God bless these person whom He allowed me the pleasure to meet. May He also bless the parish, the archdiocese and all of the Minneapolis-St. Paul. For me, Minnesota nice is truly present and exists as a testament to the faith many here have in Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.