What if you could sit in the physical presence of Jesus? This has been a practice of Catholics since the earliest centuries of the Church. In about the fourth century, priests and monks began reserving the Eucharist from Mass to take to the sick and the dying who couldn't come to the Sunday liturgy. By the 11th century, Eucharistic devotion was widespread and Adoration became a common practice. In the 13th century, the Feast of Corpus Christi (the Body of Christ) was added to the Church calendar. And yet today some Catholics rarely spend time with Jesus in this Most Blessed Sacrament. All of us are called to pray and to enter into a love relationship with our Savior. If we love someone, we want to spend time with them. What better way to nourish our relationship with Christ than to go before Him in the Eucharist? If you've thought about going to Adoration in your parish but haven't made it there yet, here are some things you can think over.
In Adoration, it doesn't matter if your faith in Christ's Real Presence in the Eucharist is strong, or if you have some doubts. Jesus is really and truly present, no matter what you believe. "This is My Body" (Luke 22:19). If you have doubts, pray that God will take them away. "Lord, I do believe. Help my unbelief!"(Mark 9:24). It doesn't matter if your mind wanders while you're there with Him. Jesus will be patient until your thoughts return to Him. Pray, "Lord, thank You for waiting for me." It doesn't matter if you doze off to sleep. Jesus' closest followers slept in His presence. He knows that you're weak and stressed and tired. He loves you in your sleep, too. Pray, "In my dreams, Lord, stay close to me." And He will. It doesn't matter if you don't know how to "do" Adoration. Your presence there with Him is enough. You are together. Pray, "Jesus, teach me how to be with You." And He will. It doesn't matter if you think other people are "better" at Adoration than you are. Jesus loves you completely, just as you are. Just as you sit or kneel or pray in His presence. Pray, "Lord, I am here with You and that is enough." It doesn't matter if you keep looking at your watch. Jesus knows all about your hectic schedule and He loves you for giving this hour to Him. Pray, "Lord help me to slow down so that I can hear Your voice." It doesn't matter if "nothing" happens during your holy hour. Jesus is present. You are present. You spend time together and that is enough. Pray, "Jesus, I love You."
Adoration puts our faith in action. Like working out at a gym exercises our body, Adoration exercises the muscles of our faith. We put ourselves in His presence and allow Him to work within us. Open yourself to the experience. You can bring along your favorite prayers or Scripture readings to help you focus your thoughts. Praying the Rosary is a wonderful way to meditate on the Gospel. A tried and true Franciscan practice is to divide your holy hour into 4 15-minute segments. In the first fifteen minutes, remember WHO is present. Call to mind all your images of God, from the great "I AM" to "Abba" to Jesus the Good Shepherd to the fiery inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Spend time with each of these ways you know God. Spend the next fifteen minutes in thanksgiving. Thank God for your redemption through Christ on the Cross. Thank Him for all the gifts He gives you every day. Call the gifts by name. In the next fifteen minutes, ask God to help you with your needs and the needs of your family, your friends, your parish and all of mankind. Pray for the conversion of those who don't yet have a relationship with Him. Remember especially those Catholics you know who no longer practice their faith. Finally, spend the last fifteen minutes of your holy hour in atonement for sin. Confess your sins to the Lord. Be specific and comprehensive. This is a great way to get ready for Sacramental Confession. Ask for forgiveness for the sins of the world which all offend Him. Pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. My favorite short prayer in His presence is: "Lord, take away everything in me that isn't You." The Jesus Prayer is also a calming meditation: "Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."
Many parishes have Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament one day a week, especially on Fridays. Some have Perpetual Adoration every hour of every day. If you've signed up to participate on a regular basis, always keep your scheduled hour or get a substitute if you can't make it. If you aren't on the schedule, drop in! Jesus will love you for the unexpected gift of your time to Him. Spend an hour and don't give up. Remember that Jesus will never give up on you. He loves you for being who you are and for giving Him your time. He created you in your mother's womb. You honor and adore Him by giving Him your time and presence. Hearts and lives are transformed through Adoration. Parishes are renewed and invigorated. There is an increase in vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life. Teens experience a deepened commitment to their faith. Families are healed and strengthened. Come and visit the Lord. Spend an hour with Him in His house. Let the presence of Jesus Christ fill you with His grace.
"Pange Lingua Gloriosi" (Sing, my tongue, the Savior's glory) --- St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274 AD)
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Charlotte McGuffey, Salem Baptist Church
We had the observance of the Lord’s Supper on Sunday morning. We appreciate our visitors coming to be with us and invite them to come back any time. Following the evening service, a video of highlights of the Vacation Bible School was played. We then enjoyed ice cream and snacks in the fellowship hall.
The ladies’ Bible Study got off to a good start on Saturday. Joyce Teague did a good job teaching the book of Esther. The ladies also enjoyed the food and fellowship. The next meeting will be Saturday, September 8 at 12:30.
Our prayer list: Kay Rhymer, Kathleen Lewis, Lisa Rauch (daughter of Tommy Tillman), James Davidson (brother of Bill Davidson), Holly Stockburger, Mary Eslinger, Archie and Susie McNish and many unspoken requests.
Our deepest sympathy is extended to Chubb and Linda Blevins and family in the death of his brother, Buck Blevins. His funeral was held on Friday. Also to Helen McDuffee and family in the death of her husband, Ike McDuffee. His funeral was held on Saturday.
A nominating committee has been appointed to select officers and teachers for the upcoming year. Pray for them as they seek to fill these positions.
Those celebrating birthdays this week are Emme Clowdus, Charlotte McGuffey, Scott Parson and Scottie Parson all on August 18, and Rebeccah Johnson on the 19th.
Happy anniversary to Barney and Barbara Barton on August 31.
Closing thought: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. II Corinthians 1:3 NIV.
Margie Stringer, North Whitfield Baptist
This has been a very busy week. It seems like sometimes it’s hard to keep up.
Bro. Stringer preached two nights for Bro. Jackie Chastain last week.
William Weaver passed away Monday morning.
Pearl Schmitt is in the Ridgewood Manor nursing home. Marie Hale, her sister, is at the East Ridge Lifecare Center.
Todd Poteet, our grandson, preached for us Sunday night. They had homecoming at Welcome Hill and no night service so we were glad to have Bro. Ed Parson, Johnny Marcus and his son, and Bro. Larry Keaton with us.
Dewayne Tyler passed away in Alabama last week but he’ll be brought to Peoples Funeral Home on Cleveland Highway on Wednesday night at 6 o’clock for a viewing. This is Pat Southers son-in-law.
Pray for all our sick folks, Hubert Hawkins, Edna Allen, Leroy and Melissa Andrews, Victor Allen, Mrs. Martha Hixson. Also, Mrs. Claudia Mclure and her husband, Ted, were with us Sunday night. She sang and gave a praise report of no sign of cancer. Always remember Linda Brinkley and Nancy Westmoreland.
Continue praying for Bro. Clyde Painter in his loss. Also for Annaciel Hooper and those who have lost their loved ones.
Lillard lost his sister two months ago, his brother-in-law, Earl, came over and visited with us Saturday and came to church Sunday morning.
Dale will be going to Piedmont on Tuesday. Eddie did not feel good last week but a little better today.
Bro. Stringer and I will celebrate our 59th Anniversary next week on August 21st.