Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Newly ordained priest prepares to answer call to adoration

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Have you ever thought about what it means to adore the Eucharist? What does it mean to adore anything?

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Father Douglas Pierce
“Adore” is a word we don’t use very often. But, in its most basic sense it means to love intensely. For example, someone deeply in love might say to the person he or she is in love with, “I adore you.”

In order to appreciate the Euch­a­rist, I think we need to understand that kind of love. The reason is be­cause Jesus has shown us that kind of love — he has loved us more than we can ever imagine.

Each one of us has our own hang-ups when it comes to accepting or appreciating the great love that God has for us. We may think that we are not worthy of his love. Or we might struggle with our faith, our faith in God, perhaps our faith in the Eucharist.

In the Eucharist, Jesus wants to break down every barrier that di­v­ides us from him and allow us to experience the great love he has for us. We call our response to his love for us “adoration.”


Called to adore Christ

As I prepared to celebrate Mass this spring, I pored over the Sacra­men­tary (the book used for Mass), memorizing phrases, memorizing a set of ritual actions that the priest does during Mass. After the priest says the words of consecration over the bread and then the wine — “This is my body. . . This is my blood” — the
Sacramentary ins­tructs him to “genuflect in adoration.”

Our adoration is never fully complete though, if the life we lead away from the Eucharist is inconsistent with what we celebrate at Mass. Christ gave freely of himself for us, even to the point of dying for us. As John’s Gos­pel says, there is no greater love than that.

Because we live in a fallen world, we tend to live and act for ourselves. It is a challenge to live out our lives like Jesus. That’s why we have the Eucharist.

In the Eucharist, we not only receive the love God has for us, but we also gain the strength to live like Jesus. We receive his grace and we are given a powerful reminder of what love looks like.

As we are moved to adoration and thanksgiving in the Eucharist, we begin to change and it becomes easier for us to lead lives of love and gratitude in our day-to-day lives.

On Sunday, June 6, I will be celebrating Mass for the ninth time (including my ordination Mass May 29). As I celebrate the Mass, it is my hope that my life will grow more consistent with the Euch­a­rist I celebrate. As I continue to ex­per­ience God’s love for me in an ever deeper way, I pray that I will be able to pour out my life more and more in service to you and all the people of this great archdiocese.

Father Douglas Pierce wrote this while in formation for the priesthood at the St. Paul Seminary. He was ordained May 29. His home parish is St. Agnes in St. Paul and his teaching parish was St. Bernard in St. Paul. Catholic Spirit
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