Adoration according to St. Peter-Julian Eymard
Eucharistic adoration is a living relationship of love with Jesus, alive and present in the Eucharist. We should go to Jesus with Mary, asking her to teach us how to love the Lord and to contemplate His Holy Eucharistic Face. Mary will teach us that adoration is a gratuitous dialogue of love with the Lord Jesus. We speak to Him and we listen to Him. In order to prolong this dialogue of love we should always bring the Scriptures with us, for Christ loves to speak to us through His Holy Word. While we are there we should meditate above all on the Gospels because the same Jesus who walked the face of the earth 2000 years ago is now alive and present before us in the Eucharist.
Through the Eucharist, the Incarnation continues and Christ continues to make His Sacred Humanity present in the world. He continues to exercise the virtues He exercised during His mortal life 2000 years ago. We might say that now His humility is even greater, since back then He could only hide His divinity but now He hides even His very humanity. So with the Bible in our hands and our minds filled with the Word of God we should come before the Lord in awe-filled adoration and He will draw us into union with His Sacred Heart. We will drink deeply from the flood of Living Water, which flows out unceasingly from His pierced Heart. Through adoration Jesus will fill us with the gifts of the Holy Spirit and He will clothe us with His own Eucharistic virtues and merits.
The Four Ends of Adoration
In order to explain how to do Eucharistic adoration, St. Peter-Julian Eymard used the traditional explanation of adoration according to the “four ends” of the Sacrifice of the Mass. The Church teaches that through the Holy Mass, Christ Himself offers to the Father the perfect prayer and the perfect sacrifice of His very self. There are four ends, or what we might call four dimensions, of this perfect prayer of Jesus. He offers to His Father: perfect adoration, perfect thanksgiving, perfect reparation for sins, and perfect supplication or intercession for the salvation of the world.
St. Peter-Julian says that through His perpetual presence in the Eucharist, Our Lord continues to offer this perfect prayer to the Father. Through adoration we are united to His own prayer and offering. And so to enter fully into the prayer of adoration we must try to cultivate these same dispositions of Christ within ourselves. In order to conform our prayer to that of Christ’s we must also adore, give thanks, make reparation and intercede for others. In the Sacred Host we adore the Lord Jesus, who said that whoever sees Him sees the Father, and so through Jesus we also adore the Eternal Father in the power of the Holy Spirit. In this way we offer to God on behalf of all people perfect adoration, thanksgiving, reparation and supplication.
At the time when St. Peter-Julian was founding his religious order there existed other movements of perpetual Eucharistic adoration but often their sole purpose was to make reparation for the sins of the world. However St Peter-Julian corrected and expanded their understanding and helped them to see that reparation is indeed necessary, but that it is only one of the four ends of adoration. In our day we have lost something of the idea of making reparation for sins, but today we might be in danger of reducing adoration to the sole dimension of intercession. Often people spend almost all of their holy hour interceding for others and for their own needs but this is only one dimension of our prayer.
We need to be like the prophet Samuel who came before the Lord saying: “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.” Instead we often spend the whole time saying: “Listen Lord, your servant is speaking. We must open our inmost selves to the Eucharistic voice of Jesus, that voice which will only speak to us in the silence of our hearts. In this way our adoration will bring us into deep union with the Will of the Lord. In addition to intercession we must spend time simply adoring and loving Jesus, thanking him, praising Him, contemplating His greatness and making reparation to Him for our sins and those of the whole world.
It is possible to divide our holy hour up into fifteen-minute segments, within which we concentrate on one of the four dimensions of adoration in a special way. Whatever way we are led to spend our time with Christ, our adoration should have something of these four dimensions or “four ends” of the perfect prayer which Jesus unceasingly offers to the Father on behalf of sinful humanity.
Below is a description of these four ends of adoration according to St. Peter Julian Eymard in the book entitled “The Real Presence”.
Method of Adoration According to the Four Ends of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
THE Adoration Hour is divided into four parts. During each quarter our Lord is honored through one of the four ends of the Sacrifice; namely, Adoration, Thanksgiving, Reparation, and Petition.
1. First of all, adore our Lord in His Divine Sacrament by the exterior homage of the body. Kneel down as soon as you see Jesus in the adorable Host. Prostrate yourself before Him with deep respect as a proof of your dependence and love. Adore Him in union with the Magi Kings when, falling prostrate to the ground, they adored the Infant-God lying in His lowly crib and wrapped in swaddling-clothes.
2. After this first spontaneous and silent act of homage, adore our Lord by an outward act of faith. This act of faith most advantageously disposes the senses, the heart, and the mind to Eucharistic piety. It will unlock God’s heart and His treasures of grace; you must be faithful to it and perform it in a pious and devout frame of mind.
3. Offer to Jesus Christ the homage of your whole being. Present to Him in detail the homage of each one of your soul’s faculties: of your mind, to know Him better; of your heart, to love Him; of your will, to serve Him; of your body and its senses to glorify Him, each one in its own way.
Offer Him above all the homage of your thoughts, desiring the Divine Eucharist to be the dominant thought of your life; the homage of your affections, calling Jesus the King and the God of your heart; the homage of your will, desiring henceforth to have no other law, no other end than His service, His love, and His glory; the homage of your memory, in order to remember Him alone and thus to live of Him, by Him, and for Him alone.
4. Since your adoration is so imperfect, unite it to that of the Most Blessed Virgin at Bethlehem, at Nazareth, on Calvary, in the Cenacle, at the foot of the tabernacle; unite it to the adoration which is being actually offered up by Holy Church, to that of all the saintly souls who are adoring our Lord at the present moment, as well as to the entire celestial court which is glorifying Him in Heaven. Your adoration will then appropriate the holiness and merit of theirs.
1. Adore and praise the immense love Jesus has for you in this Sacrament of Himself. In order not to leave you a lonely orphan in this land of exile and misery, He comes from heaven for you personally, to offer you companionship and consolation. Thank Him therefore with all your love and all your strength; thank Him in union with all the Saints.
2. Express your wonder at the sacrifices He imposes on Himself in His sacramental state. He conceals the glory of His Divinity and humanity so as not to dazzle and blind you. He veils His majesty so that you may dare come to Him and speak to Him as friend to friend. He binds His power so as not to frighten or punish you. He does not manifest the perfection of His virtues so as not to discourage your weakness. He even checks the ardor of His Heart and of His love for you because you could not stand the strength and tenderness of it. He lets you see only His goodness, which filters through, as it were, and escapes from the Sacred Species like a ray of sunshine through a thin cloud.
How kind indeed is our sacramental Jesus! He welcomes you at any hour of the day or night. His love never knows rest. He is always most gentle toward you. When you visit Him, He forgets your sins and imperfections, and speaks only of His joy, His tenderness, and His love. By the reception He gives you, one would think He has need of you to make Him happy.
Pour out your whole soul in thanksgiving to this good Jesus! Thank the Father for having given you His Divine Son. Thank the Holy Ghost for having reincarnated Him on the altar through the ministry of the priest, and that for you personally. Call upon Heaven and earth, Angels and men, to help you thank, bless, and exalt so much love for you.
3. Contemplate the sacramental state in which Jesus has placed Himself for love of you, and draw inspiration from His sentiments and His life. He is as poor in the Eucharist as He was at Bethlehem, and poorer still; for at Bethlehem He had His Mother, but here He is without her; He brings nothing with Him from Heaven but His love and His graces.
See how obedient He is in the Divine Host: He obeys everybody, even His enemies, promptly and meekly. Marvel at His humility: He descends to the edge of nothingness, since He unites Himself sacramentally to worthless and lifeless species which have no other natural support, no other stability than that which His omnipotence gives them, sustaining them by a continual miracle. His love for us makes Him our Prisoner. He has bound Himself to the end of time in His Eucharistic prison, which is to be our Heaven on earth.
4. Unite your thanksgiving to that of the Blessed Virgin after the Incarnation; do that especially after Communion. In joy and gladness repeat with her the Magnificat of your gratitude and love, and say over and over again: “O Jesus Hostia, how good, how loving, how lovable Thou art!”
1. Adore and visit Jesus, abandoned and forsaken by men in His Sacrament of love. Man has time for everything except for visits to his Lord and God, Who is waiting and longing for him in His tabernacle. The streets and the houses of amusement are filled with people; the House of God is deserted. Men flee from it; they are afraid of it. Ah! Poor Jesus! Couldst Thou have expected so much indifference from those whom Thou hast redeemed, from Thy friends, from Thy children, from my own self?
2. Sympathize with Jesus Who is betrayed, insulted, mocked, and crucified far more ignominiously in His Sacrament of love than He was in the Garden of Olives, in Jerusalem, and on Calvary. Those whom He has the most honored, loved, and enriched with His gifts and graces are the very ones who offend Him the most and disgrace Him in His temple by their lack of respect, who crucify Him anew in their body and soul by sacrilegious Communion, thereby betraying Him to the devil, the master of their hearts and lives. Alas! Have I nothing to reproach myself with? Couldst Thou have imagined, O my Jesus, that Thy too great love of man would be the object of his malice, and that he would turn even Thy most precious gifts and graces against Thee? And I, have I not been unfaithful to Thee?
3. Adore Jesus and make reparation for sin; my ingratitudes, profanations and sacrileges, of which the world is full. Offer up for this intention all that you have suffered during the day or week. Inflict on yourself some atoning penance for your own offenses, and for those of your relatives or of people whom you may have scandalized by your lack of respect and piety in church.
4. But since all your satisfactions and penances are too petty and deficient to atone for so many crimes, unite them to those of your Savior Jesus, lifted up on the Cross. Receive His Divine Blood as it flows from His wounds, and offer it up to appease Divine justice. Take His sufferings and His prayer on the Cross and, through them, beg the Heavenly Father for pardon and mercy for yourself and all sinners. Unite your reparation to that of the most Blessed Virgin at the foot of the Cross or of the altar, and from the love of Jesus for His Divine Mother you will obtain everything.
1. Adore our Lord in His Divine Sacrament as He prays His Father for you unceasingly, showing Him His wounds, His Heart open to you and for you, in order to move Him. Join your prayer to His; pray for what He prays.
2. Now, Jesus prays His Father to bless, defend, and exalt His Church so that she may make Him better known, loved, and served by all men. Pray earnestly for Holy Church, so sorely tried and persecuted in the person of the Vicar of Jesus Christ. Ask God to deliver him from his enemies, who are his own children, to touch and convert them and bring them back in humility and repentance to the feet of Divine mercy and justice. Jesus prays continually for all the members of His priesthood that they may be filled with His Holy Spirit and His virtues; that they may burn with zeal for His glory and be entirely devoted to the salvation of the souls He redeemed at the price of His Blood and life.
Pray for your Bishop that God may keep him, bless all the desires of his zeal, and console him. Pray for your Pastor that God may grant him all the graces he needs for the good direction and sanctification of the flock entrusted to his solicitude and conscientious care. Pray God to send His Church numerous and holy priests; a holy priest is heaven’s greatest gift, for He can be the salvation of a whole country. Pray for all the religious Orders that they may be faithful to the graces of their evangelical vocation, and that everyone whom God destines to the religious life may have the courage and generosity to answer the Divine call and persevere. A Saint keeps watch over his country and obtains its salvation. His prayers and virtues are more powerful than all the armies in the world.
3. Pray God to give the grace of fervor and perseverance to the pious souls who dedicate themselves to His service in the world and are therein like the religious of His love. They are in greater need of help, for they have more dangers and sacrifices to put up with.
4. Ask for the conversion of some great sinner within a certain time. There is nothing more glorious to God than one of these master strokes of His grace. Lastly, pray for yourself that you may become better and spend the day well. Make your gifts of soul and body into a spiritual bouquet for Jesus, your King and God, and ask Him for His blessing.