“A lot of people spend an hour in Eucharistic Adoration every week, but in speaking about it, you can tell it’s definitely an obligation – which is beautiful – but how does it turn into something sweet? How does Eucharistic Adoration become the thing you most look forward to in the week?”
The speaker is Father Barry Braum of the Missionaries of the Most Holy Eucharist (MSE). He has so much to tell us about how to make this shift that he’s written an entire book about it entitled “That I May See,” http://bit.ly/ThatIMaySee.
Father Barry recently visited EWTN, where he appeared on “EWTN Live” (http://bit.ly/EWTNFrBarryBraum), taped an upcoming segment for “Life on the Rock,” and delivered two awesome homilies, http://bit.ly/FrBraumHomilyEWTN1 and http://bit.ly/FrBraumHomily2, The latter was also dubbed into Spanish, http://bit.ly/FrBraumHomilyEnEspanol. Fortunately, Father was also able to spare some time to talk to “Inside EWTN” about the practical things all of us can do to become the saints Mother Angelica always encouraged us to be!
Father Barry says his community’s mission is to make Christ more known and loved. To that end, he has identified five things that he says are essential to the spiritual life. He walks us through them in the same way as he organized his book.
“In speaking to people who have trouble in their spiritual life, who aren’t able to hear God, who are in general confusion, I find that sometimes they haven’t been to confession in a long time. They must enter back into grace and become children of the Heavenly Father again. They must open up communication with the Lord. That’s why that habit of confession is so important. (#1)
“Of course, every new life requires a mother, The Church is our mother but, most especially, Our Lady is our mother. The second chapter of my book deals with Consecration to Our Lady as another fundamental principle in coming to know and love Christ more deeply. (#2)
“The final chapter of the book deal with how to better prepare for a deeper active participation in the Mass [and communion]. (#5) However, the central chapters of the book are dedicated to Eucharistic Adoration, [where we spend time with Jesus sharing everything that’s in our hearts], (#3) and daily Scriptural meditation, [where we ponder the words of Christ and listen to what He has to tell us.] (#4).”
Fr. Barry quotes St. Teresa of Calcutta and St. Augustine who say that just spending time in front of the Blessed Sacrament effects changes in our souls; that every instant there increases the glory of our soul in heaven; that spending one hour in adoration every week is necessary for a deeper union with Christ in Holy Communion.
So meditating on Christ’s life in the presence of the One upon whom we are meditating is endlessly fruitful. (As Mother Angelica used to say, “Go, get a SON tan!”) However, how do we get a place where, like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, our hearts are burning within us?
In his book, Father suggests we go through the Gospels chronologically, taking one scene every day or every week, and that we begin to imitate Our Lady by pondering her Son’s words in our hearts. Another way to do this would be to take the Sunday Gospel and bring it into our daily prayer for the week. The main thing, Father says, is to avoid “spiritual roulette,” where we just pick something random and then spend our time in prayer wondering if that’s really what the Lord wants us to read!
Go slowly. Ask the Lord what he wants you to see. Pray about it. Question everything. Why does this scene take place in the morning? Why does the Lord mention this person’s name and not that person’s? Why do we know the name of one town in which an incident takes place but not another? REALLY tear it apart! Father Barry’s book gives a great example of how to effectively use this method of prayer, which is known as Lectio Divina. When you receive an insight, stay with it. What is the Lord trying to teach you? How can you apply it to your life?
There are so many advantages to getting to know Christ better. As Father notes, our life on earth is often filled with tragedy and suffering. Frequently, there is nothing we can say or do to console another person – or ourselves – after the death of a spouse or child. However, when we encounter Christ in Adoration or Scripture, we find someone who can understand.
“Christ knows the cross,” says Father Barry. “He knows every suffering, interior or exterior, of the human condition. In Christ, we find someone who not only understands but also consoles.”
That’s quite a revelation, especially if our prayer has mostly been about begging the Lord for favors. Father says that prayers of petition aren’t a bad thing, but they shouldn’t be the only thing we do in prayer.
“Prayer is measured by the intensity of love. The Lord judges the heart. Vocal prayers [like the “Our Father” and the “Hail Mary”], unless you’re bound to certain types of prayer like the Liturgy of the Hours, should give way to meditation.”
Of course, there’s a difference between reciting vocal prayers and meditating upon them, as St. Teresa of Avila did with the “Our Father,” for example.
Father says the bottom line is that whatever leads us to love the Lord, and to a determination to spend more time with Him, is what is best for us – and that can and often does change over time.
As we progress in our prayer lives, Father says there are several common temptations of which we should be aware. As we turn away from the evil we used to do, the devil tempts us by showing us ALL the good things we could do – which often leads to paralysis. It’s true, there are an infinite number of good things to do. However, the question we should be asking ourselves is: What does GOD want me to do?
“You have to have an intimacy with God to be able to know that; to allow him to inspire you daily to live according to His will.”
And intimacy can best be acquired by spending time with Jesus in Adoration.
Father notes that those who have a conversion of heart often have images of all the extraordinary things they want to do for the Lord. But he reminds us that the Gospel message is to love our neighbor.
“Don’t neglect the souls the Lord is sending you,” Father says. “You can affect the multitude by helping one soul at a time because they will go off and do the same.”
The converted soul may end up doing the same things he or she was doing before. The only difference is that he or she is now doing them for Christ – and that will make all the difference!
Father decries the “virtue signaling” that goes on in social media where people talk endlessly about all the good causes they support.
He reminds us of the “little way” of St. Therese, when he says: “The Lord is not asking for extraordinary things, but for little things done with great love. It’s harder to sacrifice in your daily life where no one sees it, but THAT is true heroism.”
To learn more, and for help in what to do during that hour of Adoration, pick up a copy of Father’s outstanding book, “That I May See,” http://bit.ly/ThatIMaySee. You’ll also want to tune into the many EWTN shows on which Father Barry appeared, as linked to earlier in this blog. You can also log onto the Missionaries of the Most Holy Eucharist’s website, https://mostholyeucharist.com/, for even more tips on how to make Jesus better known and loved.