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The Gaze {Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament]
CatholicExchange ^ | 07-13-05 | Pat Gohn

Posted on 07/13/2005 9:45:31 AM PDT by Salvation

by Pat Gohn

Other Articles by Pat Gohn
The Gaze

I do a weekly adoration hour. If you are familiar with the devotion of Eucharistic Adoration, skip the next paragraph. If not, allow me to explain.

In formal settings, when a Catholic church sets up a weekly or daily schedule of Adoration or “Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament,” volunteers (like me) sign up to pray during a designated hour. The Blessed Sacrament, meaning the large consecrated Host that a priest elevates during Mass, is “exposed” or “revealed” in a monstrance — usually an ornate vessel that displays the Host on an altar. Catholics believe in the True Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. When we sit, stand or kneel before the Blessed Host consecrated at Mass we are doing so before Jesus Himself. Jesus is there completely in His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity under the appearance of bread. You can pray and have your own adoration hour any time before the tabernacle in a Catholic church, as Jesus is truly present in the Hosts that are kept in the tabernacle. But it is especially moving to attend a holy hour, or to spend even a few minutes before the Blessed Sacrament, when Jesus in the Host is exposed in the monstrance.

To be honest, I can’t remember when I first prayed before the Blessed Sacrament in this way. But I can tell you when it started to make sense. I was in my late twenties. I was a new mom. I was stressed out. I needed time to pray — not to mention quiet. I was not used to the long hours that a mom puts in. I was unaccustomed to sacrificing my “old prayer life” — the luxury of long quiet times to be with Jesus, and time to meditate on the Scriptures — to the disruptions of this new lifestyle. (Veteran mothers will note that I had a lot to learn!) Frankly, I was not used to dying to self. Two spiritual lifeboats kept me from sinking when motherhood overwhelmed me: making time to attend Eucharistic Adoration, and praying the rosary by myself and with others.

A friend invited me to the weekly parish prayer group. Hours before the prayer group met, the church was open for silent Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. One night, I knelt down in the pew, settled my attention on the monstrance, and I saw His face. Not literally, but in my mind’s eye. Maybe I should say I knew in a powerful way that Jesus there, focused on me. I saw Jesus looking at me with deep, deep love that reached into the hidden places in my soul. His gaze took my breath away. And I realized that my heart rate was quickening, not in a disturbing way, but in a Song-of-Songs-here-is-the-lover-of-my-soul kind of way.

The Gaze needed no words. I was known. By Him. I didn’t have to explain, petition, or make excuses. I could just “be.” And I gave Him my gaze. And there we were, exchanging gaze for gaze. Like lovers.

Later on, I was struck by another reality. I had seen this Gaze before: in the eyes of my husband, in the face of my baby at the breast, in the countenance of a dear friend. The Gaze had been present to me in and through the beloved ones in my life. But now, before this altar, Jesus had me all to Himself. He was the lover and I was the beloved.

Years later, when my husband accepted an out-of-state job transfer, we had a decision to make about where to purchase a home. While visiting the new state, we frequented a parish that offered Eucharistic Adoration on Thursdays. Before the move, I would to fly there on Thursdays to meet my husband who was already working in the new locale. We’d spend all day with the realtors then stop off at the local Catholic church to pray before the Blessed Sacrament. The Gaze was there, too. That church became our new home parish. That was ten years ago. Since that time, enough people in the parish have invested their lives in prayer so that Eucharistic Adoration isn’t just on Thursdays, but seven days a week now.

So I do my weekly hour. And I know He is waiting for me. I even feel a little guilty when my family obligations take me away for a week, or if I’m there with a distracted mind. He understands. I pray at other times, at home, in the car, with family and friends, and when I write my journal. I pray through my day and at Mass. However, there’s something special about having that weekly private “appointment” with Jesus, to pray, to listen, to gaze.

Last year I was fortunate to pray before the Blessed Sacrament in Assisi, Italy, home to St. Francis and St. Clare and the basilicas that were built to honor them. St. Francis has long been one of my spiritual heroes. I knew much less about St. Clare, but was drawn to know more about her when I returned home. I found something she wrote in her Second Letter to St. Agnes which has stayed with me, and taught me how to respond to the Gaze:

"Gaze upon Him,
Consider Him,
Contemplate Him,
As you desire to imitate Him".

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KEYWORDS: adoration; eucharistic; eucharisticadoration; onehour; prayer; time
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For your readings as well as your comments.
1 posted on 07/13/2005 9:45:37 AM PDT by Salvation
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To: All

Ancient Roman Catholic ritual making a comeback in Minnesota

Adoration for Vocations to be Promoted Worldwide

New Plenary Indulgence to Mark Year of the Eucharist


2.2 Million hours of prayer, and counting

In The Presence Of The Lord

The Adoration of the Name of Jesus (El Greco)

Adoration Tally Presented to Pope by

Eucharistic Adoration or Abortion?

Bishop Calls for Perpetual Adoration of Eucharist

What I learned From a Muslim about Eucharistic Adoration


The Gaze {Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament]

2 posted on 07/13/2005 9:48:00 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: nickcarraway; sandyeggo; Siobhan; Lady In Blue; NYer; american colleen; Pyro7480; sinkspur; ...
Catholic Discussion Ping!

Please notify me via FReepmail if you would like to be added to or taken off the Catholic Discussion Ping List.

3 posted on 07/13/2005 9:50:20 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All

"The best, the surest , and the most effective way of establishing everlasting peace on the face of the earth is through the great power of perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament." -- Pope John Paul II

"Could you not watch one hour?" -- Mark 14:37

Pope Benedict XVI during the Corpus Christi procession

4 posted on 07/13/2005 9:53:36 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

I eagerly await the Catholic bashing.

5 posted on 07/13/2005 9:54:18 AM PDT by frogjerk
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To: frogjerk

You have FReepmail.

6 posted on 07/13/2005 9:56:19 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: frogjerk

Not from this Lutheran!

7 posted on 07/13/2005 9:57:41 AM PDT by brivette
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Comment #8 Removed by Moderator

To: Marcellinus

Just waiting for the usual suspects to do the usual things.

9 posted on 07/13/2005 10:04:20 AM PDT by frogjerk
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To: frogjerk; Salvation
Wouldn't it be nice if it didn't happen?

Thanks for the post, BTW!

10 posted on 07/13/2005 10:16:15 AM PDT by COBOL2Java (If this isn't the End Times it certainly is a reasonable facsimile...)
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To: Salvation

As I was growing up we had 40 Hours Devotion. Even as a child you couldn't miss His Presence and the peace. To me Eucharistic Adoration is the perfect prayer.

11 posted on 07/13/2005 10:17:18 AM PDT by pieces of time
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To: frogjerk
Idolatry! Blah blah blah blah blah blah, etc. ad nausea, ad infinitum.


12 posted on 07/13/2005 10:20:47 AM PDT by conservonator (Lord, bless Your servant Benedict XVI)
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To: american colleen; Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; ...

Saint Clare

When, in 1234, the army of Frederick II was devastating the valley of Spoleto, the soldiers, preparatory to an assault upon Assisi, scaled the walls of San Damiano by night, spreading terror among the community. Clare, calmly rising from her sick bed, and taking the ciborium from the little chapel adjoining her cell, proceeded to face the invaders at an open window against which they had already placed a ladder. It is related that, as she raised the Blessed Sacrament on high, the soldiers who were about to enter the monastery fell backward as if dazzled, and the others who were ready to follow them took flight. It is with reference to this incident that St. Clare is generally represented in art bearing a ciborium.

13 posted on 07/13/2005 10:21:15 AM PDT by NYer ("Each person is meant to exist. Each person is God's own idea." - Pope Benedict XVI)
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To: Salvation
Source: Catholic Answers

The Real Presence

The doctrine of the Real Presence asserts that in the Holy Eucharist, Jesus is literally and wholly present—body and blood, soul and divinity—under the appearances of bread and wine. Evangelicals and Fundamentalists frequently attack this doctrine as "unbiblical," but the Bible is forthright in declaring it (cf. 1 Cor. 10:16–17, 11:23–29; and, most forcefully, John 6:32–71).

The early Church Fathers interpreted these passages literally. In summarizing the early Fathers’ teachings on Christ’s Real Presence, renowned Protestant historian of the early Church J. N. D. Kelly, writes: "Eucharistic teaching, it should be understood at the outset, was in general unquestioningly realist, i.e., the consecrated bread and wine were taken to be, and were treated and designated as, the Savior’s body and blood" (Early Christian Doctrines, 440).

From the Church’s early days, the Fathers referred to Christ’s presence in the Eucharist. Kelly writes: "Ignatius roundly declares that . . . [t]he bread is the flesh of Jesus, the cup his blood. Clearly he intends this realism to be taken strictly, for he makes it the basis of his argument against the Docetists’ denial of the reality of Christ’s body. . . . Irenaeus teaches that the bread and wine are really the Lord’s body and blood. His witness is, indeed, all the more impressive because he produces it quite incidentally while refuting the Gnostic and Docetic rejection of the Lord’s real humanity" (ibid., 197–98).

"Hippolytus speaks of ‘the body and the blood’ through which the Church is saved, and Tertullian regularly describes the bread as ‘the Lord’s body.’ The converted pagan, he remarks, ‘feeds on the richness of the Lord’s body, that is, on the Eucharist.’ The realism of his theology comes to light in the argument, based on the intimate relation of body and soul, that just as in baptism the body is washed with water so that the soul may be cleansed, so in the Eucharist ‘the flesh feeds upon Christ’s body and blood so that the soul may be filled with God.’ Clearly his assumption is that the Savior’s body and blood are as real as the baptismal water. Cyprian’s attitude is similar. Lapsed Christians who claim communion without doing penance, he declares, ‘do violence to his body and blood, a sin more heinous against the Lord with their hands and mouths than when they denied him.’ Later he expatiates on the terrifying consequences of profaning the sacrament, and the stories he tells confirm that he took the Real Presence literally" (ibid., 211–12).

Ignatius of Antioch

"I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire the bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David; and for drink I desire his blood, which is love incorruptible" (Letter to the Romans 7:3 [A.D. 110]).

"Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . . They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes" (Letter to the Smyrnaeans 6:2–7:1 [A.D. 110]).

Justin Martyr

"We call this food Eucharist, and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true and who has been washed in the washing which is for the remission of sins and for regeneration [i.e., has received baptism] and is thereby living as Christ enjoined. For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nurtured, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus" (First Apology 66 [A.D. 151]).


"If the Lord were from other than the Father, how could he rightly take bread, which is of the same creation as our own, and confess it to be his body and affirm that the mixture in the cup is his blood?" (Against Heresies 4:33–32 [A.D. 189]).

"He has declared the cup, a part of creation, to be his own blood, from which he causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, he has established as his own body, from which he gives increase unto our bodies. When, therefore, the mixed cup [wine and water] and the baked bread receives the Word of God and becomes the Eucharist, the body of Christ, and from these the substance of our flesh is increased and supported, how can they say that the flesh is not capable of receiving the gift of God, which is eternal life—flesh which is nourished by the body and blood of the Lord, and is in fact a member of him?" (ibid., 5:2).

Clement of Alexandria

"’Eat my flesh,’ [Jesus] says, ‘and drink my blood.’ The Lord supplies us with these intimate nutrients, he delivers over his flesh and pours out his blood, and nothing is lacking for the growth of his children" (The Instructor of Children 1:6:43:3 [A.D. 191]).


"[T]here is not a soul that can at all procure salvation, except it believe whilst it is in the flesh, so true is it that the flesh is the very condition on which salvation hinges. And since the soul is, in consequence of its salvation, chosen to the service of God, it is the flesh which actually renders it capable of such service. The flesh, indeed, is washed [in baptism], in order that the soul may be cleansed . . . the flesh is shadowed with the imposition of hands [in confirmation], that the soul also may be illuminated by the Spirit; the flesh feeds [in the Eucharist] on the body and blood of Christ, that the soul likewise may be filled with God" (The Resurrection of the Dead 8 [A.D. 210]).


"‘And she [Wisdom] has furnished her table’ [Prov. 9:2] . . . refers to his [Christ’s] honored and undefiled body and blood, which day by day are administered and offered sacrificially at the spiritual divine table, as a memorial of that first and ever-memorable table of the spiritual divine supper [i.e., the Last Supper]" (Fragment from Commentary on Proverbs [A.D. 217]).


"Formerly there was baptism in an obscure way . . . now, however, in full view, there is regeneration in water and in the Holy Spirit. Formerly, in an obscure way, there was manna for food; now, however, in full view, there is the true food, the flesh of the Word of God, as he himself says: ‘My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink’ [John 6:55]" (Homilies on Numbers 7:2 [A.D. 248]).

Cyprian of Carthage

"He [Paul] threatens, moreover, the stubborn and forward, and denounces them, saying, ‘Whosoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily, is guilty of the body and blood of the Lord’ [1 Cor. 11:27]. All these warnings being scorned and contemned—[lapsed Christians will often take Communion] before their sin is expiated, before confession has been made of their crime, before their conscience has been purged by sacrifice and by the hand of the priest, before the offense of an angry and threatening Lord has been appeased, [and so] violence is done to his body and blood; and they sin now against their Lord more with their hand and mouth than when they denied their Lord" (The Lapsed 15–16 [A.D. 251]).

Council of Nicaea I

"It has come to the knowledge of the holy and great synod that, in some districts and cities, the deacons administer the Eucharist to the presbyters [i.e., priests], whereas neither canon nor custom permits that they who have no right to offer [the Eucharistic sacrifice] should give the Body of Christ to them that do offer [it]" (Canon 18 [A.D. 325]).

Aphraahat the Persian Sage

"After having spoken thus [at the Last Supper], the Lord rose up from the place where he had made the Passover and had given his body as food and his blood as drink, and he went with his disciples to the place where he was to be arrested. But he ate of his own body and drank of his own blood, while he was pondering on the dead. With his own hands the Lord presented his own body to be eaten, and before he was crucified he gave his blood as drink" (Treatises 12:6 [A.D. 340]).

Cyril of Jerusalem

"The bread and the wine of the Eucharist before the holy invocation of the adorable Trinity were simple bread and wine, but the invocation having been made, the bread becomes the body of Christ and the wine the blood of Christ" (Catechetical Lectures 19:7 [A.D. 350]).

"Do not, therefore, regard the bread and wine as simply that; for they are, according to the Master’s declaration, the body and blood of Christ. Even though the senses suggest to you the other, let faith make you firm. Do not judge in this matter by taste, but be fully assured by the faith, not doubting that you have been deemed worthy of the body and blood of Christ. . . . [Since you are] fully convinced that the apparent bread is not bread, even though it is sensible to the taste, but the body of Christ, and that the apparent wine is not wine, even though the taste would have it so, . . . partake of that bread as something spiritual, and put a cheerful face on your soul" (ibid., 22:6, 9).

Ambrose of Milan

"Perhaps you may be saying, ‘I see something else; how can you assure me that I am receiving the body of Christ?’ It but remains for us to prove it. And how many are the examples we might use! . . . Christ is in that sacrament, because it is the body of Christ" (The Mysteries 9:50, 58 [A.D. 390]).

Theodore of Mopsuestia

"When [Christ] gave the bread he did not say, ‘This is the symbol of my body,’ but, ‘This is my body.’ In the same way, when he gave the cup of his blood he did not say, ‘This is the symbol of my blood,’ but, ‘This is my blood’; for he wanted us to look upon the [Eucharistic elements] after their reception of grace and the coming of the Holy Spirit not according to their nature, but receive them as they are, the body and blood of our Lord. We ought . . . not regard [the elements] merely as bread and cup, but as the body and blood of the Lord, into which they were transformed by the descent of the Holy Spirit" (Catechetical Homilies 5:1 [A.D. 405]).


"Christ was carried in his own hands when, referring to his own body, he said, ‘This is my body’ [Matt. 26:26]. For he carried that body in his hands" (Explanations of the Psalms 33:1:10 [A.D. 405]).

"I promised you [new Christians], who have now been baptized, a sermon in which I would explain the sacrament of the Lord’s Table. . . . That bread which you see on the altar, having been sanctified by the word of God, is the body of Christ. That chalice, or rather, what is in that chalice, having been sanctified by the word of God, is the blood of Christ" (Sermons 227 [A.D. 411]).


"What you see is the bread and the chalice; that is what your own eyes report to you. But what your faith obliges you to accept is that the bread is the body of Christ and the chalice is the blood of Christ. This has been said very briefly, which may perhaps be sufficient for faith; yet faith does not desire instruction" (ibid., 272).

Council of Ephesus

"We will necessarily add this also. Proclaiming the death, according to the flesh, of the only-begotten Son of God, that is Jesus Christ, confessing his resurrection from the dead, and his ascension into heaven, we offer the unbloody sacrifice in the churches, and so go on to the mystical thanksgivings, and are sanctified, having received his holy flesh and the precious blood of Christ the Savior of us all. And not as common flesh do we receive it; God forbid: nor as of a man sanctified and associated with the Word according to the unity of worth, or as having a divine indwelling, but as truly the life-giving and very flesh of the Word himself. For he is the life according to his nature as God, and when he became united to his flesh, he made it also to be life-giving" (Session 1, Letter of Cyril to Nestorius [A.D. 431]).
14 posted on 07/13/2005 10:22:12 AM PDT by COBOL2Java (If this isn't the End Times it certainly is a reasonable facsimile...)
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To: Salvation

Nice article - and I love that quote from St. Clare. That's one to copy down!

15 posted on 07/13/2005 10:32:45 AM PDT by RosieCotton
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To: Salvation

My parents have been doing this for a few years now; it seems to have changed them, in a good way. I just couldn't imagine waking up at 3 AM to do it, like they do! LOL I guess that' was the only times available. Still though, that's dedication!

16 posted on 07/13/2005 10:38:59 AM PDT by FourtySeven (47)
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To: FourtySeven

Good for your parents! That is indeed dedication.

I just moved to a new city, and one of the reasons I chose the parish I'm not attending is because they have a day of adoration every Tuesday, starting after morning Mass and ending with Benediction at eleven PM. I think it really makes a palpable and positive difference when a parish truly centers around the Blessed Sacrament.

17 posted on 07/13/2005 10:53:00 AM PDT by RosieCotton
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To: RosieCotton
I just moved to a new city, and one of the reasons I chose the parish I'm not attending

Ack! The parish I'm *now* attending...not *not* attending. Typsos...*sigh*

18 posted on 07/13/2005 10:55:11 AM PDT by RosieCotton
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To: RosieCotton

LOL, that one did make my brow furrow, and I'm usually pretty good at picking up on typeos!

Good for you too (about the adoration). To tell you the truth I don't even know if my parish does it. I should look into it.

19 posted on 07/13/2005 11:27:08 AM PDT by FourtySeven (47)
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To: Salvation

I miss "the gaze". I've seen it in a lover's eyes. Never in Jesus'.

I have a copy of the cover of a pamplet that came out recently with a paraphrase of the Great John Paul II's letter on the Eucharist. On the cover, which is pasted on my mirror where *I* can contemplate it, he is holding up the Host and the caption reads "For over 56 years, every day my eyes have gazed upon the Host."

I knew what he meant, but this article deepens my appreciation. Thanks for posting.

20 posted on 07/13/2005 11:31:23 AM PDT by johnb838 (Dominus Vobiscum.... Et cum spiritu tuo... Oremus.)
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