One of Benedict’s influences on me was an increased interest in Eucharistic Adoration. I used to hate adoration as a child. I went to Catholic school and first friday always brought adoration and Benediction. I found it boring. Then, adoration fell off the planet. Literally, churches didn’t offer it anymore. I didn’t miss it. Then, I met Benedict. As I have written before, I really loathed him at his election. I don’t know why I didn’t tune him out but I didn’t. Perhaps it was how he conducted JP II’s funeral mass, but I don’t really understand what led me to read him, research him, discover him. I had to look beyond the media stereotype and my own bias. And, when I did – crash-I was hooked.
What was I hooked on? I was hooked on his obvious love of Christ. He was so serious, so loving about his faith. His utter transformation in front of the Eucharist was amazing to me. I am sure most people just saw an old man kneeling. I studied him, especially that Eucharistic Adoration in Cologne. I was still skeptical of him then. His meeting with the first communicants was also a revelation. I was hooked on journeying once more, very seriously this time towards Christ.
About that time of my renewed interest, our parish began an all day Friday Adoration. I didn’t sign up but I went every Friday for at least ten minutes if not more. Our new priest has changed it to Wednesday and I cannot go. There are too many competing demands which, of course, is why he changed it. He had too many demands on Fridays. But, he kept it. It is part of the fabric of our community prayer life. The retirees go and I’m sure others drop in like I used to. Meeting Christ in the Eucharist during adoration warms and humbles me.
It is Corpus Christi time. We will have a procession this Sunday. I will be going. I am looking forward to it. Rome already had their procession. Francis walked the mile behind the Eucharist. Benedict didn’t when he was Pope. He rode in the truck, kneeling in adoration. Sometimes he looked hypnotized staring at Christ, other times he looked humbled beneath the weight of his thoughts. The media would have us think that Francis’ approach is a sign of something better. That’s hogwash. Both adored Christ in what they did. Does the media not understand that? I think not or they would not be promoting what they see as a parade down the streets of Rome. The story though may have sparked something. Someone out there just had a flash of memory seeing the images, reading the story and decided to rediscover adoration. Someone out there had a regret and will go to adoration as a start to their journey. Someone out there decided to go to adoration just because of Francis.
There would be no Francis without Benedict just like there would be no Benedict without JP II. Anyway, I’m beginning to see the irony of what the media is doing, which they don’t really know they are doing. God’s ways really aren’t our ways!
Getting back to my mission: So what would Benedict be praying these days? I am sure it as simple as he stated in his last general audience: “In one beautiful morning prayer, it says: “I adore you, my God, and I love you with all my heart. I thank you for having created me and made me a Christian… Yes, we are happy for the gift of faith; it is our most precious possession, which no one can take from us! Let us thank the Lord for this daily, in prayer and by a consistent Christian life. God loves us, but he also expects us to love him!.”
Later in his address to the English speaking pilgrims, he said: “I commend all of you, with great affection, to his loving care, asking him to strengthen you in the hope which opens our hearts to the fullness of life that he alone can give. To you and your families, I impart my blessing. Thank you!”
Yes, he is praying for us and he is also adoring God praying that we also will!
I’m going to Adoration Sunday, hopefully for the full hour, then I’ll walk in the procession. Hope others do too. Francis has asked us to. Benedict is praying for him and us. Yes, let us adore Him, Christ our Lord.-“Lord, I love and adore you”. Amen.