Turning our Gaze in the Right Directions

8 Feb

Eucharistic Adoration Minnesota

I suppose most religions have their oddities. Catholics certainly have theirs, like staring at a small piece of bread for hours. Every day in the Twin Cities and beyond people gather in small chapels or churches to look at what appears to be a round piece of unleavened flour. In fact, chapels are set aside to do this 24 hours a day. So when I am leaving Bryant Lake Bowl at 2 am, there are people not to far away, gazing at . . . what exactly?

Well, I am being a little coy here; it is not just some piece of bread. In fact it is not bread at all. I am not going to get into Eucharistic theology but basically, it is Jesus. Body, blood, soul, divinity. Some of you may have learned this in CCD and it is all true. Don’t ask me to prove it. I can’t and why should I? That would be like a man proving the woman he loves is beautiful; she is and trying to prove it takes something away from her beauty.

So, why stare at the Eucharist? Sunday mass at the Basilica makes sense, but why hang out in Nativity with the Eucharist? Why not just go to the Groveland Tap for a Surly (you can do both, it is just a matter of getting the order right)? I think T. S. Eliot got it right; part of the mission of the saint is to “apprehend the intersection of the timeless / with time.” That seems like pretty heady stuff but isn’t that what we are all looking for? We live in this world but we are looking for something more, something that transcends, a way to meet the timeless (God) in time (the chapel).

Maybe Simone Weil had it right, she explains “sin is not distance; it is a turning of our gaze in the wrong direction.” I go to adoration to start looking in the right direction, to look upon the God who is Love, to see my King who humbled Himself even to the point of being as small as bread, and to learn how my neighbor as Jesus loves all of us.

I think there is one last reason I go to Eucharist adoration. It is has to do with love. When I fall in love, I cannot help but look at the woman I love. Adoration is the time to look at our Beloved. As John Vianney said of adoration, “I look at Him; and He looks at me.” So try it out, give Him a look, and fall in love. You can get a Surly afterwards.

-Terence Sweeney


Adoration in Minnesota: http://www.therealpresence.org/states/minn2.htm

Enjoy this Eucharist adoration flash mob video!


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