By JENNY MILES, Commentary | Published April 3, 2023
As a cradle Catholic, I have been privileged to attend Mass and receive the Eucharist almost every Sunday of my life. Repetition and familiarity can make Mass can seem so mundane but when you step back and think about it, what could be less mundane than the reception of Jesus’s body, blood, soul and divinity into our stomachs as literal food and nourishment?
t was through adoration that I grew in deeper appreciation of the gift of Jesus in Eucharist. Jesus invites us to unite with him, waiting patiently for us to turn to him.
I was in high school the first time I became aware of eucharistic adoration. There is something so solemn and sacred about witnessing Christ on the altar in the monstrance.
Walking into an adoration chapel is the closest thing to seeing Jesus on a throne that I can imagine. He is dressed in ornate Gold and high on the altar. At the same time, his humility is on full display. His throne is the monstrance shaped like a cross. He is vulnerable, out of the protection of a locked tabernacle. Such a striking juxtaposition always grips me. Jesus, our King with a crown of thorns.
As a young adult, I was blessed with abundant opportunities to visit Jesus in adoration in many contexts. During my time living in the Philippines, the Eucharist was nearly omnipresent. You couldn’t go too far in Manila without finding a dedicated adoration chapel. Chapels were in schools, shopping centers, churches and neighborhoods—a sign of Catholicism as the predominant religion. There was even a chapel present in the nearby 25-acre SM Megamall, a quiet space in the midst of literally millions of people shopping and socializing in the air conditioning.
We were required to remove our shoes upon entering, a physical sign of Jesus’ divine presence. As we were out and about, I would frequently pop into one of the many adoration chapels available to Jesus on a daily basis. Each time, I found a calm oasis from the crowds while he was there waiting for me.
In Rome, I was struck by the many exquisite churches that used architecture as signs of God’s glory. The sheer height of the ceilings was breathtaking while the ornate details were nearly impossible to absorb in one pass.
Being a tourist destination, there was often a constant rumble of noise and flashes of cameras as people marveled at the hours of work and numerous resources invested in witnessing to our faith. And there was Jesus again, among the masses available to all. Each church often had multiple chapels for adoration, off to the side. I would take a few minutes in adoration thanking God for the opportunity to be there amid beauty that will only be surpassed in heaven.
On a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, I experienced adoration vividly. I was blessed to see the places where Jesus lived out his saving mission. The Scriptures came to life as I visited the Sea of Galilee, Bethlehem, Mount Sinai and the Holy Seplucher, containing the site where Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected.
Adoration in the Holy Land allowed me to experience his love in a more concrete physical way. Immersing yourself in his passion helps one understand why Jesus comes to us again and again in the Eucharist. Although he no longer lives on earth, he is still with us.
I have been so blessed to have Jesus come alive for me in adoration. If you haven’t yet, I encourage you to try adoration. Jesus thirsts to shower his abundant love.
Jenny Miles is manager of planning and research for the Archdiocese of Atlanta and a member of the archdiocesan Eucharistic Revival Task Force.