“The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life (CCC 1324). Jesus tells us: I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst (John 6:35). The Lord desires our hearts and instituted the Holy Eucharist so that we might have fullness of life in Him. “The Lord is with us in the Eucharistic Mystery celebrated in our parishes and missions, in our beautiful cathedrals and in our poorest chapels. He is present and [H]e draws near to us, so that we can draw nearer to [H]im.”
— “The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church," USCCB
Deacon candidate Carlos Ambriz has been transformed from his time with Jesus in the Eucharist and has offered support and prayers to beginning the perpetual adoration chapel at the parish of St. Francis Xavier in Tulsa. In late July of 2022, Inauguration of the chapel marked the beginning hours of worship and thanksgiving to our Lord in the community. Seventeen years ago, the first steps to building this adoration chapel occurred among some of the faithful at the parish of St. Francis Xavier. Mr. Ambriz explained that there was a need for the people to have a specific place for prayer. Today, the parish of St. Francis Xavier in Tulsa is the third perpetual adoration chapel in the city, joining Sts. Peter and Paul parish and the chapel at St. John’s Hospital.
Christ has given Himself in the Eucharist so that we might know and love Him in a more intimate way. Chris Lauderdale, a young adult parishioner at St. Pius X in Tulsa and a frequent adorer of the Blessed Sacrament, offers a beautiful glimpse into the relationship the Lord invites us into by giving us the Eucharist. Chris says, “What I love about adoration is how intimate it is. When I am in front of the Blessed Sacrament everything else disappears. It’s that time where I am staring into the face of the beloved and the beloved is staring into the face of me. There is… a really quiet intimacy about it, about this very concrete being with another. When you are in the chapel: it’s His Flesh and Blood, God incarnate, from Heaven, dwells right there.” The particularity of an adoration chapel allows you to “be totally vulnerable with Him and… pour your heart [out] to Him.” In Christ’s life, death, and resurrection He heals us and allows us to love with a more perfect love, His love.
By looking to God in such a concrete manner I am able to say “Christ, You are present here and so, You are present in all of me. My joys and sufferings, my loneliness, my weakness, my successes, my friendships, my family, You are here.” Jesus Christ is here, now, and that awareness changes every moment because I no longer have to pretend that everything is together. No, He knows the mess of my life and the mess of my heart and He wants to be welcomed into those places for He says Behold, I make all things new (Rev 21:5).
Msgr. Gaalaas explains that adoring our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament increases our awareness that God is real and “He is not only up in Heaven but He is also down here on earth with us. It is part of His promise to be with us always.” I am with you always until the end of the age (Mt 28:20). The Lord, is here, now. He pursues our hearts and reveals Himself to us in the day to day encounters. The Eucharistic chapel provides us with a concrete place in which Christ dwells.
Jesus desires our hearts. He wants a relationship with each person He brings into being, with each of us. With any new friendship, there is a kind of uneasiness as you begin to spend time with them. Chris explains, “It’s the same with Jesus because He’s a person. He’s someone to know. He’s someone to be known. He’s someone who you allow yourself to be known by Him. There is always the newness of that relationship which becomes more comfortable with time. What became an acquaintance…becomes a friend and then…a best friend…and then, a lover.” We must be willing to spend time with someone so that we can get to know them. Jesus dwells among us so that we can get to know Him, begin to love Him and to receive His love.
The fruits of an Hour devoted to Our Lord Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar:
Peace. Time spent in worship and thanksgiving to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament provides within us an overwhelming peace. As we become more aware of Who God the Almighty truly is, we rely less on our own efficiency and productivity, and more on the Lord’s great mercy and love. We become more aware that “life is not just doing activities,” says Carlos Ambriz. Everything becomes transformed because we begin to understand God’s presence penetrating every moment and the vastness of His invitation to move into a deeper relationship with Him.
Msgr. Gaalaas explains that though adoration of Jesus in the Eucharist “might not seem worthwhile at first,” it is good to “give it some time [and] to be patient with yourself.” “Even if it seems as though we’re doing nothing there in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament we’re receiving blessings… [The Lord is] working something good in our hearts even though we are unaware of it.” It takes faith in our Lord Jesus and perseverance to keep saying Yes to Him, to keep yearning for Him and for His love alone. It may not always be easy, it may not always feel nice. But, it is vital for our lives as Christians. St. John Paul II writes that Eucharistic worship is at the heart of the Christian life. He explains that “Thanks to the Eucharist, the love that springs up within us from the Eucharist develops in us, becomes deeper and grows stronger.” In the presence of the concrete reality of Jesus in the Eucharist, it may seem “as though God is far away…just raise your eyes to the host and to realize it really is Jesus and He is looking out to us with great love and that love is transformative—not of Him, but of us,” Msgr. Gaalaas says. When we are with Jesus in the Eucharist, we become transformed in Him as we lay out our hearts to Him.
Mr. Ambriz encourages “every Catholic…[to] have an hour, at least an hour, of Adoration. At least an hour a week” develops our prayer life immensely. His flesh and blood dwell in the tabernacle for the sake of the salvation of the World. It is not an image or a memory. He is present now. He wants our hearts now. To spend one hour a week to simply be with Jesus in the Eucharist is a simple way to begin entering deeper into the generative life that Jesus Christ desires for each of us.
An Invitation to Action
“The Church and the world have a great need of Eucharistic worship. Jesus waits for us in this sacrament of love. Let us be generous with our time in going to meet Him in adoration and contemplation that is full of faith and ready to make reparation for the great faults and crimes of the world.” Pope John Paul II “Dominicae Cenae”
In addition to the three perpetual adoration chapels throughout the diocese, there are a number of additional times to adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament at various Parishes. Visit your parish website for their scheduled times of Eucharistic Adoration.