Every first Friday of the month at St. Dominic Priory, the brothers participate in Eucharistic Adoration following morning Mass. Adoration continues on throughout the day and concludes at the end of Vespers. The brothers also observe a day of silence throughout the day and are encouraged to spend much of their time engaged in spiritual reading and prayer, limiting use their use of technology.
The Constitutions of the Order encourage the brothers to cultivate an assiduous prayer life beyond the liturgical celebration and lectio divina. The constitutions specify at least half an hour of mental prayer daily, cherishing a devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, reciting five decades of the rosary daily, and making a full, six-day retreat each year, all of which are encouraged to be done in common.
The spiritual life of the Order is centered around the Eucharist. “The brothers are to worship Christ in the mystery of the Eucharist so that they may derive an increase of faith, hope, and charity from such a wonderful exchange” (LCO #67). Before we begin the Liturgy of the Hours, all the brothers kneel in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament and recite the O Sacrum Convivium (O Sacred Banquet), a prayer of Latin prose to honor the Holy Eucharist and is attributed to St. Thomas Aquinas. Translations of the text differ, but our community recites:
How holy is this feast! In which Christ is our food, his Passion is recalled, grace fills our hearts, and we receive the pledge of the glory to come.
Eucharistic Adoration is a great way to prepare the heart for the coming of the Lord. We can think of Jesus born in Bethlehem and the manger as that first tabernacle, the place that held the Sacred Body and all those in his presence knelt in adoration. St. Alphonsus Ligouri once said, “Know also that you will probably gain more by praying fifteen minutes before the Blessed Sacrament than by all the other spiritual exercises of the day. True, Our Lord hears our prayers anywhere, for He has made the promise, ‘Ask, and you shall receive,’ but He has revealed to His servants that those who visit Him in the Blessed Sacrament will obtain a more abundant measure of grace.”
As we begin this first Friday of December, let us anticipate the coming of the Lord into our lives and into our hearts by waiting from him in the Blessed Sacrament! Below is a reflection on Eucharistic Adoration presented by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
*Video originally posted (Youtube) by St. Lawrence Catholic Church, June 9, 2012