Last weekend in my homily, I spoke a little bit about the value of spending even a few small moments in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. As Christians, we never fully know the effect of our prayer. Sometimes, unimaginable graces start flowing and we get the answer to our prayers almost immediately. Often times, however, the prayers seem to go unheard or unanswered and we might feel tempted to despair, or to doubt, or to get frustrated that we aren’t receiving an answer. But again—on this side of eternity, we are not given to know how God apportions His grace.
More often than not, though we may not perceive anything “happening,” God’s grace is indeed at work. But God’s grace affects us in very different ways. I had a priest tell me once that God answers prayers in one of three ways: “Yes,” “Not now,” or “I have something better for you.” God’s response to our prayer is never to say “no” or to withhold His grace. It simply isn’t in the nature of God to ignore us or to let us go without. But at times, the grace that He gives us is like the seeds that we heard about in last weekend’s Gospel: they are planted deep in the soil of our hearts, taking time to grow and bear fruit. In reality, it’s only when we stand in the presence of God for all eternity that we will truly see the harvest as it is; until then, we sow the seeds by offering our prayers to God, trusting always that in His time, He will make our labors bear fruit.
As Catholics, we are given a great gift in the Eucharist. It is Jesus’ True Presence with us and for us. Over the centuries, the Church has developed the practice of coming before Jesus, present to us in the Eucharist, to offer prayer and to commune with our God. It’s the practice that we commonly call “Adoration,” or more properly, “Eucharistic Exposition.”
In our parishes, we are blessed to have several opportunities for Adoration together. At St. Thomas, we offer a Eucharistic Holy Hour every first Saturday of the month. At Our Lady of Lourdes, we have weekly Exposition on Thursday from 9 am to 7 pm. We are always in need of more adorers to spend a half hour or hour with Jesus during this time. But even if you are not able to sign up to adore at a set time every week, Jesus desires to be present to you for whatever amount of time you have to give Him. Even if you can’t make Eucharistic Exposition, there is great value in adoring our Lord present in the tabernacle. He waits for us to come before Him. He longs to give Himself to me and to you.
Come and spend time with our Lord!
If we knew the graces that poured forth from Jesus’ Eucharistic Presence, if we knew the infinite mercy and love that He was offering us every time we come into His presence, we would never desire anything else; we’d never be able to leave the chapel! Thankfully, most days, He lets us go about our day…but He calls us nonetheless to come away with Him to pray; to spend some time with Him each day, each week, each month; to be people marked by and consumed with love of Him; in a word, to be His friends.
We may never fully know the cumulative effect of those moments spent in Jesus’ presence, offering ourselves in love for Him—but like the sower who labors in trust, we sow the seeds of grace in this world when we adore our Blessed Lord, and though we know not how, we wake one day to find that God has honored the work of our hands and blessed it with His abundance. Please God, may it be so!
Keep spreading joy!