3 Kings 7:48 "And Solomon made all the vessels for the
house of the Lord: the altar of gold, and the table of gold, upon which
the loaves of proposition should be set..."
2 Paralipomenon 2:4-2 "So do with me that I may build a house to the
name of the Lord my God, to dedicate it to burn incense before him, and
to perfume with aromatical spices, and for the continual setting forth
of bread, and for the holocausts, morning and evening, and on the
sabbaths, and on the new moons, and the solemnities of the Lord our God
for ever, which are commanded for Israel."
Luke 22:19 "This is my body, which is given for you."
John 1:29 "Behold the Lamb of God. Behold him who taketh
away the sin of the world."
John 6:32-36 ... "Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen, I say to
you; Moses gave you not bread from heaven, but my Father giveth you the
true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which cometh down
from heaven and giveth life to the world. They said therefore unto him:
Lord, give us always this bread. And Jesus said to them: I am the bread
of life. He that cometh to me shall not hunger: and he that believeth
in me shall never thirst. But I said unto you that you also have seen
me, and you believe not."
Apocalypse 2:17 "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit
saith to the churches: To him that overcometh I will give the hidden
manna and will give him a white counter: and in the counter, a new name
written, which no man knoweth but he that receiveth it."
Reverence is shown to the Blessed Sacrament (the Eucharist) by our posture and gesture in the course of the Mass,
and in countless other ways outside of Mass -- the
genuflection toward the Tabernacle (in which the Sacrament is kept)
upon entering a Church, the kneeling in the presence of the exposed
Sacrament, women covering their heads and
men uncovering theirs when in the presence of the Sacrament, by crossing oneself when passing by a church to
honor the Blessed Sacrament therein, etc. There are other ways of
honoring Christ in the Eucharist, however, some formal, others not so
formal. Below I will describe the following:
Click to jump
Visits to the Blessed Sacrament
Forty Hours Devotion ("Quarant'
Ore" or "Quarantore")
Benediction of the Blessed
Visits to the Blessed Sacrament
least formal, and most common way that Catholics honor Christ in the
Eucharist outside of the Mass is by making simple visits to a Church to
be near the Blessed Sacrament. They may go to pray, to sit quietly, to
meditate, pray the Rosary, read Scripture, etc. As churches lock
their doors now in response to the paganization of Western culture,
it's become much more difficult to randomly visit a church and find it
open to pay our respects, but one can possibly arrange with one's
priest or with the parish office to be allowed inside during off-hours.
The Blessed Sacrament should be kept in the Tabernacle on the High
Altar in the sanctuary, and with a sanctuary lamp
("ner tamid" to the ancient Israelites) burning nearby, but
sometimes you might find the Tabernacle in a side chapel (often called
a "Blessed Sacrament Chapel" or, if your parish offers Perpetual
Adoration, a "Perpetual Adoration Chapel"). The tabernacle itself is
the receptacle that holds the vessels that
contain the Blessed Sacrament. It is lined inside with either gold or
white silk, and is covered outside with a veil called a "canopeum."
Note: A partial indulgence is granted
to the faithful, under the usual conditions, who visit the Most Blessed
Sacrament to adore it; a plenary indulgence is granted, under the usual
conditions, if the visit lasts for at least one half an hour. Note also
that when women make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament (or any time they
enter a church), they should cover their heads; men should uncover
"Holy Hour" is a
form of Eucharistic adoration made in response to a revelation by Christ to
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690), as a part of our devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Our Lord promised various things in return for receiving the Eucharist
frequently (especially on the first Friday of each month for nine
consecutive months, called "First Friday" Devotions), celebrating the
Feast of the Sacred Heart, and spending one hour on Thursdays in
Eucharistic adoration; this last is "Holy Hour."
Holy Hour at a particular church can be designated officially by one's
priest, or it can be made privately if one's parish doesn't offer it as
a public devotion. The focus of Holy Hour is Christ in the Garden of
Gethsemani. In response to His question, "Couldst thou not watch one
hour?" (Mark 14:37), we respond, "Yes, Lord, we are here with Thee."
Pope Pius XI, in Miserentissimus Redemptor (1928), writes of these
reparative acts of consolation to the Sacred Heart:
But how can these rites of expiation bring solace now, when
Christ is already reigning in the beatitude of Heaven? To this we may
answer in some words of St. Augustine which are very apposite here,
"Give me one who loves, and he will understand what I say" (In Johannis
evangelium, tract. XXVI, 4).
For any one who has great love of God, if he will look back through the
tract of past time may dwell in meditation on Christ, and see Him
laboring for man, sorrowing, suffering the greatest hardships, "for us
men and for our salvation," well-nigh worn out with sadness, with
anguish, nay "bruised for our sins" (Isaias liii, 5), and healing us by
His bruises. And the minds of the pious meditate on all these things
the more truly, because the sins of men and their crimes committed in
every age were the cause why Christ was delivered up to death, and now
also they would of themselves bring death to Christ, joined with the
same griefs and sorrows, since each several sin in its own way is held
to renew the passion of Our Lord: "Crucifying again to themselves the
Son of God, and making him a mockery" (Hebrews vi, 6). Now if, because
of our sins also which were as yet in the future, but were foreseen,
the soul of Christ became sorrowful unto death, it cannot be doubted
that then, too, already He derived somewhat of solace from our
reparation, which was likewise foreseen, when "there appeared to Him an
angel from heaven" (Luke xxii, 43), in order that His Heart, oppressed
with weariness and anguish, might find consolation. And so even now, in
a wondrous yet true manner, we can and ought to console that Most
Sacred Heart which is continually wounded by the sins of thankless men,
since - as we also read in the sacred liturgy - Christ Himself, by the
mouth of the Psalmist complains that He is forsaken by His friends: "My
Heart hath expected reproach and misery, and I looked for one that
would grieve together with me, but there was none: and for one that
would comfort me, and I found none" (Psalm lxviii, 21).
14. To this it may be added that the expiatory passion of Christ is
renewed and in a manner continued and fulfilled in His mystical body,
which is the Church. For, to use once more the words of St. Augustine,
"Christ suffered whatever it behoved Him to suffer; now nothing is
wanting of the measure of the sufferings. Therefore the sufferings were
fulfilled, but in the head; there were yet remaining the sufferings of
Christ in His body" (In Psalm lxxxvi). This, indeed, Our Lord Jesus
Himself vouchsafed to explain when, speaking to Saul, "as yet breathing
out threatenings and slaughter" (Acts ix, 1), He said, "I am Jesus whom
thou persecutest" (Acts ix, 5), clearly signifying that when
persecutions are stirred up against the Church, the Divine Head of the
Church is Himself attacked and troubled. Rightly, therefore, does
Christ, still suffering in His mystical body, desire to have us
partakers of His expiation, and this is also demanded by our intimate
union with Him, for since we are "the body of Christ and members of
member" (1 Corinthians xii, 27), whatever the head suffers, all the
members must suffer with it (Cf. 1 Corinthians xii, 26).
40 Hours Devotion, or
40 Hours Devotion, introduced into Rome by St. Philip Neri in 1548, is
the collective adoration of the exposed Eucharist for a period
of 40 hours, in honor of the time Our Lord spent in the tomb (no single
person is expected to spend 40 hours in adoration). While we say in the
Creed that Christ was in the tomb for "3 days," those days are in the
reckoning of the Old Testament religion, which counted any part of a
day as "a day." In other words, Our Lord died at 3:00 on Friday (day
one), descended into Hell (the afterworld) to save the righteous dead
and was laid in the tomb on Saturday (day two), and arose on Sunday
morning (day three). In modern terms, we'd say He was in the sepulcher
for "1 1/2 days or so" because some of those "days" are partial days,
but those who practiced the Old Testament religion, and those who
practice modern Judaism, would consider that time period "3 days."
Counting the time by hours, however, we can see that from 3:00 PM
Friday to 6:00 AM Sunday are 40 hours.
This devotion is often practiced during the Sacred Triduum (the three
days before Easter which consist
of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday), but is also offered in
times surrounding other great Feasts, or on regular schedules not
related to the calendar at all.
When visiting the Blessed Sacrament as the 40 Hours Devotion goes on,
we are to recite a sequence of an Our Father, a Hail Mary, and a Glory
be 5 times -- the last cycle being for the intentions of the Holy
Father. If one does this after having gone to Confession
and received Communion, one recelves
a plenary indulgence (under the usual
Adoration is, literally, perpetual Eucharistic Adoration, 24/7, all the
way around the clock. Parishioners of a particular church volunteer to
(or members of some religious communities are obliged to) take turns --
usually for an hour at a time -- to adore the Blessed Sacrament, working in "shifts."
The adorer can pray, meditate, read Scripture, or simply sit in the
Presence of Christ. This isn't offered at all churches and oratories,
but if your parish doesn't have Perpetual Adoration, maybe you can get
The fruits of Perpetual Adoration don't extend to just those who adore Him, but ripple outward, with potentially truly awesome effects. Here's what happened when Perpetual Adoration was instituted in Juarez, Mexico. This article, written by Bárbara Bustamante and published on March 7, 2017, comes from the Catholic News Agency. Its title is "This priest says Adoration has made Juarez a safer city":
Juarez, Mexico, Mar 7, 2017 / 04:39 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Juarez, located in the state of Chihuahua in northern Mexico, was considered from 2008 to 2010 to be one of the the most dangerous cities in the world, due to drug trafficking violence and the constant struggles for power and territory between the cartels.
However, the city of 1.3 million inhabitants dropped off this list thanks to a significant decrease in the number of homicides: from 3,766 in 2010 to 256 in 2015.
Although this drop can be credited to an improvement in the work of local authorities, for Fr. Patrico Hileman – a priest responsible for establishing Perpetual Adoration chapels in Latin America – there is a much deeper reason: Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
“When a parish adores God day and night, the city is transformed,” Fr. Hileman said.
The priest told Radio María Argentina that in 2013 the missionaries opened the first Perpetual Adoration Chapel in Juarez. At that time “40 people a day were dying because two drug gangs were fighting over the city to move drugs into the United States.”
It was the Juarez and Sinaloa cartels, whose former leader Joaquín “el Chapo” Guzmán Loera was recently extradited from Mexico to the United States.
Fr. Hileman recalled that “the parishes were saying that the war wasn't ending because a group of soldiers were with one gang and the police were with the other one. They were killing people, burning houses down so they would leave, fighting over the city.”
One of the parishes that was “desperate” asked the missionaries to open a Perpetual Adoration chapel because they assured that “only Jesus is going to save us from this, only Jesus can give us security.”
The missionaries only took three days to establish the first Perpetual Adoration chapel in Juarez.
Fr. Hileman told how one day, when the city was under a state of siege, a lady was on her way to the chapel to do her Holy Hour at 3:00 in the morning, when she was intercepted by six soldiers who asked her where she was heading.
When the woman told them that she was going to “the little chapel” the uniformed men asked her what place, because everything was closed at that hour. Then the woman proposed they accompany her to see for themselves.
When they got to the chapel, the soldiers found “six women making the Holy Hour at the 3:00 in the morning,” Fr. Hileman said.
At that moment the lady said to the soldiers: “Do you think you're protecting us? We're praying for you 24 hours a day.”
One of the uniformed men fell down holding his weapon,“crying in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The next day at 3:00 in the morning they saw him in civilian clothes doing a Holy Hour, crying oceans of tears,” he said.
Two months after the chapel was opened, the pastor “calls us and says to us: Father, since the chapel was opened there has not been one death in Juarez, it's been two months since anyone has died.”
“We put up ten little chapels in a year,” Fr. Hileman said.
As if that were not enough, “at that time they were going to close the seminary because there were only eight seminarians and now there are 88. The bishop told me me that these seminarians had participated in the Holy Hours.”
Fr. Hileman pointed out that “that is what Jesus does in a parish” when people understand that “we find security in Christ.”
He also noted that “the greatest miracles occur in the early hours of the morning. “
The early morning “is when you're most at peace, when you hear God better, your mind, your heart is more tranquil, you're there alone for God. If you are generous with Jesus, he is a thousand times more generous with you,” Fr. Hileman said.
Benediction of the Blessed
(Blessing) of the Blessed Sacrament can be a "stand-alone" service
(most often done in the afternoon or evening), or as a part of other
services, such as the Stations of the Cross,
at major Feasts, during the Divine Office (especially after Vespers and
The priest, wearing a cope, removes the Sacrament from the Tabernacle
and places it in a monstrance (or "ostensorium") -- a usually elaborate
sacred vessel used in the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament (see
picture at right). The monstrance is placed on the Altar, which is
adorned by (at least) six blessed candles. He
will bless the Sacrament with incense, and O Salutaris Hostia is sung. Then all
kneel in silent adoration. Other hymns, canticles, or litanties may be
sung or said, or some of the Divine Office may be prayed, but always
the Tantum Ergo is sung, usually
as the priest once again incenses the Sacrament before the actual
Benediction (Note: "O Salutaris" and "Tantum Ergo," two of the greatest
Eucharistic hymns, were both written by St. Thomas Aquinas)
After the Tantum Ergo, the priest, wearing a humeral veil over his
shoulders and hands, will raise the Monstrance over the congregation,
making with it the Sign of the Cross to bless us. After this
Benediction, the "Divine Praises" prayer
is prayed, and the Sacrament is returned to the Tabernacle.
of the Blessed Sacrament
A "procession" is a religious "parade" during which the
priest and people walk a route in honor of our Lord, Our Lady (or other
Saints), or for the purpose of beseeching God for some specific
There are many types of regularly scheduled processions -- the
procession with candles at Candlemas
(2 February), the procession with palms on Palm
Sunday (the Sunday before Easter), the "beating of the bounds" on Rogation Days, processions with
statues of various Saints on their special feasts, etc. And there are
processions of the Blessed Sacrament.
There are also a few true processions of the Blessed Sacrament that
don't seem too "procession-like," such as the taking of the Sacrament
to the Altar of Repose after the Mass on Maundy
Thursday (the Thursday before Easter), and the return of the
Sacrament on Good Friday during the
"Mass of the Presanctified" that takes place that day. But there is
also a "parade-like" Procession of the Blessed Sacrament, a procession
that can take place at any time of the year, but which always
takes place on the Feast of
Corpus Christi (the Thursday after Trinity Sunday).
After the Mass on Corpus Christi, all kneel and sing O Salutaris Hostia. The Host is
incensed, and carried under an ombrellino (an umbrella-like canopy) to
the baldacchino, a rectangular tent-like canopy that is rather like a
procession forms, led by the Crucifer (the acolyte who carries the
processional Cross), who is flanked by acolytes carring candles. Then
follow members of religious associations and orders, children strewing
rose petals in the path of the Blessed Sacrament (they are customarily
dressed in their First Communion clothes),
clergy, and then two thurifers who incense the path. Then comes the
Blessed Sacrament, carried at eye-level by a priest (with his hands
veiled) in a monstrance, under the baldacchino, all flanked by torch
bearers. The people walk behind.
Usually four stops are made, and at each come Gospel readings, prayer,
the singing of Tantum Ergo, and a
Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. After the last stop, all process
back to the church and sing the Divine
Note: Those who own homes along the procession route decorate them for
the occasion. While this isn't common in America and other nominally
Protestant nations, you will still see it in southern European and
other Latin countries. Also, if you ever see a Procession of the
Blessed Sacrament pass by and you're unable to join in, you are to
kneel on both knees in adoration, covering your head if you're a woman,
and uncovering it if you're a man -- as always when in His Sacramental
Presence -- until the procession passes.