Catholics say repeatedly, “We adore God alone”. We also say it through our songs; in “O Come, All Ye Faithful”, for instance, we sing the line “O come, let us adore him, Christ, the Lord” and the song “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” even has it on the title. But what exactly is adoration in the Catholic Church, and why does it matter? In this article, let’s focus on adoration and what it means to adore the Lord.
In the Catholic Church, adoration is acknowledging God as God. When we say we adore God, we see him as the creator, savior, and master of all things. We glorify, worship, and praise Him, fully submitting ourselves to Him. It’s also known as “latria” or the highest form of worship given only to God.
So you see, adoration is vital to Catholicism and our way of worship. It’s so important, in fact, that we have a practice that centers around it. What is this practice, and what do we do during it? Moreover, how important is adoration to our faith? Continue reading to know all the answers to these questions.
What Is Adoration in the Catechism of the Catholic Church?
Adoration has been discussed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church several times, which just shows how important it is to our faith. Paragraphs 2096-2097, for example, says: “Adoration is the first act of the virtue of religion. To adore God is to acknowledge him as God, as the Creator and Savior, the Lord and Master of everything that exists, as infinite and merciful Love. ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve,’ says Jesus, citing Deuteronomy.
To adore God is to acknowledge, in respect and absolute submission, the ‘nothingness of the creature’ who would not exist but for God. To adore God is to praise and exalt him and to humble oneself, as Mary did in the Magnificat, confessing with gratitude that he has done great things and holy is his name. The worship of the one God sets man free from turning in on himself, from the slavery of sin and the idolatry of the world.”
Paragraph 2628 also states: “Adoration is the first attitude of man acknowledging that he is a creature before his Creator. It exalts the greatness of the Lord who made us and the almighty power of the Savior who sets us free from evil. Adoration is homage of the spirit to the ‘King of Glory,’ respectful silence in the presence of the ‘ever greater’ God. Adoration of the thrice-holy and sovereign God of love blends with humility and gives assurance to our supplications.”
Adoration and its practice in the Catholic Church, particularly about the Holy Eucharist, is mentioned in paragraph 1378, too. It states: “Worship of the Eucharist. In the liturgy of the Mass we express our faith in the real presence of Christ under the species of bread and wine by, among other ways, genuflecting or bowing deeply as a sign of adoration of the Lord. ‘The Catholic Church has always offered and still offers to the sacrament of the Eucharist the cult of adoration, not only during Mass, but also outside of it, reserving the consecrated hosts with the utmost care, exposing them to the solemn veneration of the faithful, and carrying them in procession.”
What Is Adoration and Why is It Important?
From everything stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we can say that adoration is the highest reverence and honor we can give only to God, our creator and redeemer who alone is worthy to be glorified and worshiped. It is equivalent to the Catholic worship called “latria”, which is the highest form of worship in the Church. Now, to adore God is to acknowledge that He is the Lord of our lives who has the right and full control of it.
Adoration is love and appreciation given willingly to God. We express it through all our actions, including what we’re thinking and feeling. So simply saying and singing we adore God is not enough. If we lack – in any way – in submitting ourselves to God, then we are not adoring Him.
That said, adoration is not an option. As Catholics, it is required of us. During one of his homilies at the Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis even said that we should learn adoration now as it is something we will do in heaven. Furthermore, he suggests dedicating even a little time to adoration.
Furthermore, adoration is important in the Catholic Church as it is one of the four ends of the Mass. Along with thanksgiving, petition, and atonement, adoration is necessary to help us pray and finish the entire Mass. It can also help us understand ourselves better and help us figure out where we want to direct our prayers. By making a small act of adoration, we can be united more deeply with God, especially during those few minutes right after receiving Him in the Holy Eucharist.
What Do You Do During Adoration?
To help its members find time for adoration, the Church organizes the Adoration of the Holy Eucharist or Eucharistic Adoration. This allows all faithful to pray to Christ before the Eucharist at their local parish. During this time, a consecrated host is exposed, allowing everyone to sit and pray in Jesus Christ’s presence.
So how is this different from all the other prayers we make throughout our life? Well, Eucharistic Adoration is done in front of the Eucharist, also known as the Blessed Sacrament. For Catholics, it is the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ himself. So when we take part in Eucharistic Adoration, we are praying and worshiping Christ in a more solemn, intimate, and present way, allowing us to experience his presence.
But what exactly does one do during Eucharistic Adoration? Well, here’s a short guide to help you out:
- Read the Bible and other spiritual writings and reflect on them
- Pray the rosary or say any prayer as if you’re talking to Jesus
- Write in a journal
- Listen to music that is reverent and can help you focus and worship God
- Sit quietly and feel God’s presence
Outside of the Eucharistic Adoration, you can also show or express your adoration to the Lord during Mass, which commemorates the greatest act of adoration – Jesus giving himself to God for our sins. So when we attend Mass and fully immerse ourselves in it, we can join Jesus in praising God the Father. That said, adoring God is the most important thing we can do as we will have to do it for all eternity in heaven.