Eucharistic Adoration and the New Evangelization
We hear a lot of talk about the “New
Evangelization” these days, but what exactly is meant by the term? The United
States Conference of Catholic Bishops explains it in the following statement:
“The New Evangelization calls each of us
to deepen our faith, believe in the Gospel message and go forth to proclaim the
Gospel. The focus of the New Evangelization calls all Catholics to be
evangelized and then go forth to evangelize. In a special way, the New
Evangelization is focused on ‘re-proposing’ the Gospel to those who have
experienced a crisis of faith. Pope Benedict XVI called for the re-proposing of
the Gospel ‘to those regions awaiting the first evangelization and to those
regions where the roots of Christianity are deep but who have experienced a
serious crisis of faith due to secularization.’ The New Evangelization invites
each Catholic to renew their relationship with Jesus Christ and his Church.”
The New Evangelization must begin “in
the beginning,” that is, with Genesis 1:1. For the loss of faith for many
young Catholics begins in the science classroom, where they are told that modern
science has all the right answers about the origin of things and the Book of
Genesis got it all wrong. The loss of
faith is completed in the religion classroom, where false science is succumbed
to and the students are told that the Church has had it wrong about origins for
all these centuries, so we must reinterpret the creation accounts in Genesis as
“symbolic or spiritual” to save face. Thus the cancer of disbelief enters into
their thinking and it spreads from Genesis throughout the Old Testament and into
the New Testament, all the way to Christ’s core teaching on the Eucharist. If
they can’t believe something as credible as God specially creating all the
creatures of the universe during the six days of Creation Week, then why should
we be surprised that they do not believe the Church’s much more difficult
teaching that Jesus transforms bread and wine into His Body and Blood during the
Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? The Mass becomes an empty ritual to them and they
stop participating. Further, if the Church is wrong about Creation and the
Eucharist, why should they accept the Church’s “irksome” moral teachings that
spoil all their fun? In the end they become completely secularized and are
absorbed into our godless culture.
Pope Leo XIII foretold this state of affairs in his encyclical letter on Sacred Scripture entitled Providentissimus Deus. He stated: “For the young, if they lose their reverence for the Holy Scripture on one or more points, are easily led to give up believing in it altogether. It need not be pointed out how the nature of science, just as it is so admirably adapted to show forth the glory of the Great Creator, provided it be taught as it should be, so, if it be perversely imparted to the youthful intelligence, it may prove most fatal in destroying the principles of true philosophy and in the corruption of morality.” Therefore, the doctrinal teaching in the New Evangelization must begin with the hearty reaffirmation of the Church’s traditional teaching on origins, which is based on the literal truth of Genesis 1-11.
The devotional emphasis in the New Evangelization must be on Eucharistic adoration because that is what will turn our civilization back to Christ. This was the deeply held belief of Blessed John Paul II. He made this clear in a letter he sent to the Bishop of Liège commemorating the 750th anniversary of the first celebration of the Feast of Corpus Christi (L’Osservatore Romano, June 26, 1996, p. 6). In that letter he recalls the statement of Vatican Council II connecting the Eucharist and evangelization: “The Eucharistic mystery is in fact the ‘summit of evangelization’ (Lumen gentium, n. 28), for it is the most eminent testimony to Christ’s Resurrection.” He said that through Eucharistic adoration we evangelize the world and help to restore all things in Christ: “Through adoration, the Christian mysteriously contributes to the radical transformation of the world and to the sowing of the Gospel.” That is a powerful statement. It affirms the awesome power of Eucharistic adoration. It confirms the belief that our holy hours of adoration are preparing the world for the magnificent Eucharistic reign of Christ, during which the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the most Blessed Sacrament will be praised adored and loved, with grateful affection, at every moment, in chapels of perpetual adoration in every single parish throughout the world, thus fulfilling that petition we make every time we say the Lord's Prayer: “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven!”
John Paul continues on in his letter to say: “Anyone who prays to the Savior draws the whole world with Him and raises it to God. Those who stand before the Lord are therefore fulfilling an eminent service. They are presenting to Christ all those who do not know Him or are far from Him; they keep watch in His presence on their behalf.” Thus he sees Eucharistic adoration as the crux of evangelization.
The future of the Church will soon be in the hands of our youth. They must be well prepared. Pope John Paul II treats their evangelization also in that letter: “I urge priests, religious and lay people to continue and redouble their efforts to teach the younger generations the meaning and value of Eucharistic adoration and devotion. How will young people be able to know the Lord if they are not introduced to the mystery of His presence? Like the young Samuel, by learning the words of the prayer of the heart, they will be closer to the Lord, who will accompany them in their spiritual and human growth, and in the missionary witness which they must give throughout their life.”
Eucharistic adoration prepares us to become holier apostles and witnesses of Christian love and truth. This is essential for fruitful evangelization. Pope Paul VI said that there is “nothing more consoling on earth, nothing more efficacious for advancing along the road to holiness” than Eucharistic adoration (Mysterium Fidei). By spending time in the company of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament we become transformed into better images of Him, radiating His beauty into the world. Through adoration we develop a social conscience, becoming more sensitive to the needs of others and to the common good. Pope Paul VI said: “The worship paid to the Divine Eucharist strongly impels the soul to cultivate a ‘social’ love by which the common good is given preference over the good of the individual” (Mysterium Fidei). This is exemplified in the life of St. Katharine Drexel, the foundress of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. Her burning love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament moved her to devote her fortune and her life to active service for the good of others.
We evangelize simply by spending time praying in the presence of Our Eucharistic Lord. Jesus explained to St. Maria Faustina Kowalska in a vision that each person coming before Him in the Blessed Sacrament represents all humanity and that every man, woman and child on the face of the earth experiences a new effect of His goodness, grace and mercy with each holy hour spent in His Eucharistic presence.
A Protestant radio preacher once said: “The world is in the church today, rather than the church in the world, as it should be.” We Catholics will surely take the world out of the Church and put the Church back in the world if we carry out the New Evangelization with fervent profession of genuine Catholic doctrine on origins and with warmhearted devotion to our Blessed Lord present in the Most Holy Eucharist.
A Eucharistic Testimony
“There is nothing brilliant or scholarly that
attracted me to the Roman Catholic Church. What attracted me to Catholicism was
love. It goes back about ten years ago [from the time this testimonial was
written] when beaten and disillusioned I crept into the rear of The Mission
Church in Roxbury to rest. I didn’t go in because I was attracted to the church,
or because I sought spiritual refreshment; it was only a place to sit down and
get off my feet and find, if possible, a few moments of forgetfulness. How long
I sat there I do not know, but I suddenly became aware of something living.
There was an actual presence all around that seemed to emanate from the altar.
It was pleasing and restful to feel. And without half realizing what I was doing
I moved up front until I was sitting in the first pew. The weariness and strain
all fell away and a great sense of peace and love came over me, combined with an
intense desire to sleep…. I want to explain that at that time I knew absolutely
nothing about Catholic teachings” (EB). This story shows that Our Lord
evangelizes directly through the Eucharist as well as through His disciples.
Transubstantiation in Creation and in the Eucharist
The word “transubstantiation” (TS) means change of substance. A substance is something that exists in itself and has a nature that is characterized by its properties. Scientists can produce new substances in the laboratory, but what they do is not TS. Chemists produce new substances by combining or decomposing material substances. Physicists produce new substances by combining or dissociating elementary particles. They combine or separate protons, neutrons and energy to produce new elements and particles. Physical scientists do not transform substances but combine or decompose existing substances to produce new ones, subject to the law of conservation of matter and energy. Biologists can change the properties of a living organism by altering its genes, but they cannot change the nature of the organism.
Only God can directly transform one substance into another, without the composing or decomposing of existing substances. Such is transubstantiation. The Scriptures give us several instances, among them: the transformation of dust into Adam; the transformation of water into wine at Cana; the transformation of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ.
So the confection of the Eucharist is akin to the creation of Adam because both are instances of transubstantiation, the former dust into Adam, the latter, bread and wine into the New Adam. This is another reason why, in the New Evangelization, it is important to emphasize the literal interpretation of the creation account in Genesis. The connection of the original creation with the new creation in Christ is then made manifest. The production of the living Adam from the lifeless dust of the ground can be seen as the type of the confection of the living Christ from lifeless bread and wine, only in the latter the appearances of bread and wine remain.
APEA Activity in 2012
the priests of the Apostolate for Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration visited the
following parishes to help start or maintain perpetual Eucharistic adoration (or
as close to it as possible):
Most Holy Trinity, Phoenix, AZ; St. Gregory the Great, Bluffton, SC; St. Monica, Methuen, MA; Christ the Redeemer, Thibodaux, LA; Holy Spirit, Omaha, NE; Holy Cross, Bronx, NY; St. Bernadette, Morgan City, LA; St. Joseph, Morgan City, LA; St. Columbkille, Parma, OH; Sacred Heart, Pinehurst, NC; St. James, Johnson City, NY; St. Joseph, Rice Lake, WI; Our Lady of Sorrows, Ladysmith, WI; St. Francis of Assisi, Saint Albans, WV; St. Benedict, Subiaco, AR; St. Thomas a Becket, Reston, VA; St. Peter Prince of the Apostles, LeMoore, CA; Our Lady of Lourdes, Slidell, LA; Our Lady of the Gulf, Bay St. Louis, MS; St. Jude the Apostle, Lewes, DE; Cathedral of Ss. Simon and Jude, Phoenix, AZ; St. Peter, Marshall, MO; St. Katherine, Truman, MN; St. Mary, Madelia, MN; St. James, St. James, MN; St. Stephen, New Boston, MI; St. Benedict, Mount Pleasant, SC; Curé of Ars, Merrick, NY; St. Francis of Assisi, Traverse City, MI; St. Claire, Waveland, MS; Holy Family Mission, Sweet Springs, MO; St. Mary Star of the Sea, Jackson, MI; St. Stanislaus Kostka/ Communidad del Sagrado Corazon, Jackson, MI; Christ the King, Acme, MI; St. Joseph, Traverse City, MI; Immaculate Conception, Traverse City, MI; St. Patrick, Traverse City, MI; St. Mary, Norfolk, NE; St. Joseph, Macon, GA; St. John de La Salle, Niagara Falls, NY; St. Catherine of Siena, Horsham, PA; St. Timothy, Maple Lake, MN; Holy Trinity, Gainesville, VA; Our Lady of Fatima, Bensalem, PA; Incarnation, Sarasota, FL; St. Alphonsus, Ocean Springs, MS; Our Saviour, Cocoa Beach, FL; Sacred Heart, Norfolk, NE; All Saints, Lakeville, MN; Epiphany, Coon Rapids, MN; Holy Family, St. Louis Park, MN; St. Bridget of Ireland, Las Vegas, NV; Our Lady of Grace, Edina, MN; Epiphany, Sayre, PA; St. Bernadette, Scottsdale, AZ; St. Mary, Jackson, TN.
Divine Love Made Flesh: The Holy Eucharist as the Sacrament of Charity
by Raymond Cardinal Burke
This book by the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura devoutly expresses the deep love for Our Eucharistic Lord, Our Lady and the Church for which he is well known. The theme of the book is probably best expressed in this statement from the Introduction: “It is through participation in the Holy Eucharist that we best understand what we must do to carry out the new evangelization, namely pour out our lives in union with Christ. At the same time, we are nourished with the incomparable spiritual food of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ, which strengthens us to carry out His mission in the world.” The book is essentially a commentary on writings about the Eucharist and the Church by Blessed John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Cardinal Burke writes that it is his hope to lead the reader to “a more profound appreciation of our life in Christ in His Mystical Body, the Church, especially through the Holy Eucharist, and be [for the reader] a source of new enthusiasm and new energy for carrying out the new evangelization.”
Missionary Priests of the Blessed Sacrament
P.O. Box 1428 • Bensalem, Pa 19020
Tel: 215.244.9211 Fax: 215.244.9211