Catholic Church believe that from the very beginning that the bread and wine consecrated at Mass truly become the Body and Blood of Christ. “The Eucharistic presence of Christ begins at the moment of the consecration and endures as long as the Eucharistic species subsist. Christ is present whole and entire in each of the species and whole and entire in each of their parts, in such a way that the breaking of the bread does not divide Christ”. CCC 1337. Catholic doctrine holds that the elements are not only spiritually changed, but their substances are actually changed into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ.
The Eucharistic Christ then continues to be present in our midst beyond the Eucharistic liturgy when the consecrated host is either reposed in a tabernacle or exposed on the altar.
The history starts very early, from the dates of Justin Martyr (165AD) and Tertullian (225AD) . Reference to St. Basil ads the new dimension; he divided the Eucharistic Bread into three parts when he celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the monastery. He consumed one part, the second part he gave to the monks, and the third he placed in a golden dove suspended over the altar. 11th century Pope, Gregory VII, affirmed the view that Christ is present in the Blessed Host.
“I believe in my heart and openly profess that the bread and wine that are placed on the altar are, through the mystery of the sacred prayer and the words of the Redeemer, substantially changed into the true and proper and life giving flesh and blood of Jesus Christ our Lord, and that after the consecration they are the true body of Christ” : Mysterium fidei.
In 16th centaury, Council of Trent : “The other sacraments do not have the power of sanctifying until someone makes use of them, but in the Eucharist the very Author of sanctity is present before the Sacrament is used. For before the apostles received the Eucharist from the hands of our Lord, He told them that it was His Body that He was giving them. The only-begotten Son of God is to be adored in the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist with the worship of “latria”, including external worship. The Sacrament, therefore, is to be honored with extraordinary festive celebrations (and) solemnly carried from place to place in processions according to the praiseworthy universal rite and custom of the holy Church. The Sacrament is to be publicly exposed for the people’s adoration.”
In Ecclesia de Eucharistia John Paul II stated:
“The worship of the Eucharist outside of the Mass is of inestimable value for the life of the Church…. It is the responsibility of Pastors to encourage, also by their personal witness, the practice of Eucharistic adoration, and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament”.
Now why we need to spend time before the Eucharist:
- He wait for us :”Jesus waits for us in this Sacrament of Love.” (Pope John Paul II, Dominicae Canae)
- Compensation for evils: “Let us be generous with our time in going to meet Jesus and ready to make reparation for the great evils of the world. Let your adoration never cease.” (Pope John Paul II, Dominicai Cenae)
- Day and night Jesus dwells in the Blessed Sacrament: “Christ is reserved in our churches as the spiritual center of the heart of the community, the universal Church and all humanity, since within the veil of the species, Christ is contained, the Invisible Heart of the Church, the Redeemer of the world, the center of all hearts, by Him all things are and of whom we exist.” (Pope Paul IV, Mysterium Fidei)
- To grow spiritually: “Our essential commitment in life is to preserve and advance constantly in Eucharistic life and Eucharistic piety and to grow spiritually in the climate of the Holy Eucharist.” (Pope John Paul II, Redeemer of Man)
Greatest conversation: “How great is the value of conversation with Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, for there is nothing more consoling on earth, nothing more efficacious for advancing along the road of holiness!” (Pope Paul VI, Mysterium Fidei)
- He is the Emmanuel: “Christ is truly the Emmanuel, that is, God with us, day and night, His is in our midst. He dwells with us full of grace and truth. He restores morality, nourishes virtue, consoles the afflicted, and strengthens the weak.” (Pope Paul VI, Mysterium Fidei).
- The living heart: “The Blessed Sacrament is the living heart of each of our churches and it is our very sweet duty to honor and adore the Blessed Host, which our eyes see, the Incarnate Word, Whom they cannon see.” (Pope Paul VI, Credo of the People of God)
- Example of humble heart: “He proposes His own example to those who come to Him, that all may learn to be like Himself, gentle and humble of heart, and to seek not their own interest but those of God.” (Pope Paul VI, Mysterium Fidei)
- The living bread: “I myself am the Living Bread come down from Heaven.” (Jn 6:35)
- Everlasting love: “Behold I will be with you always even to the end of the world,” because “I have loved you with an everlasting love, and constant is my affection for you.” (Mt 28:20; Jer 31:3)
- An hour for the ‘treasure’: “Where your treasure is, there is your heart….” “Could you not watch one hour with me?” (Mt 6:21; 26:40)
- Eternal life: “Indeed, this is the will of My Father, that everyone who looks upon the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life. Him I will raise up on the last day.” (Jn 6:40)
- Life and fruit: “I have come that you may have life, and have it more abundantly.” “I am the Vine and you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in Him shall bear much fruit because without me, you can do nothing.” (Jn 15:5)
- Refreshment: “Come to me all of you who are weary and find life burdensome and I will refresh you…” “Cast all of you anxieties upon the One who cares for you…” “My Peace is My Gift to you.” (Mt 11:28; 5:7; Jn 14:17)
- The Revelation: “The Lamb on the Throne will shepherd them. He will lead them to the springs of life-giving water.” (Rev 7:17) “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive honor, glory and praise.” (Rev. 5:12)
I adore You, Lord and Creator, hidden in the Most Blessed Sacrament. I adore You for all the works of Your hands, that reveal to me so much wisdom, goodness and mercy, O Lord. You have spread so much beauty over the earth and it tells me about Your beauty, even though these beautiful things are but a faint reflection of You, incomprehensible Beauty. And although You have hidden Yourself and concealed Your beauty, my eye, enlightened by faith, reaches You and my soul recognizes its Creator, its Highest Good, and my heart is completely immersed in prayer of adoration. O Christ, let my greatest delight be to see You loved and Your praise and glory proclaimed, especially the honor of Your mercy. O Christ, let me glorify Your goodness and mercy to the last moment of my life, with every drop of my blood and every beat of my heart. Would that I be transformed into a hymn of adoration of You. When I find myself on my deathbed, may the last beat of my heart be a loving hymn glorifying Your unfathomable mercy. Amen.