#2: Hungering for Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration with St. Augustine

A second way that we can awaken our hungry hearts for the great Meal of the Eucharist is through Eucharistic Adoration.

In the language of “hungry hearts”, Eucharsitic Adoration is like watching a TV show on food and receiving Holy Communion at Mass is like going to the restaurant to eat the meal. 

One of my favorite TV shows that I regularly watched in university was The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (DDD) with Guy Fieri. Whenever I would watch that show, whether it was one episode or more, I would start to feel a hunger in my belly that I didn’t know existed. My mouth would salivate and I would want to go eat the exact food that I was watching on TV. 

Sometimes, I could not get my mind off of food until my next meal. 

For myself, this experience helps me to understand the inter-connection that is intended to happen between Adoration and the Eucharist. 

On a spiritual level, every time we go to Eucharistic Adoration, it’s like we are watching a TV show on the greatest spiritual food ever known to man. 

In fact, the word “adoration” comes from the Latin ad-oratio, which literally means “to the mouth,” or mouth-to-mouth contact, a kiss. Adoration is a way to bring our hungry hearts to Jesus. We should begin to spiritually salivate with a desire to consume the Eucharist. By the end of our time, in front of the Eucharist, we hope to end our time with a new desire to go to Mass with our mouths wide open so that we may consume this heavenly delight with great joy.  

Commenting on the value of Eucharistic adoration, Fr. Wilfrid Stinissen, Bread That Is Broken, stated: 

“Food is not there only to be eaten. A meal contains a moment of contemplation. It is truly not unimportant how the table is set, how the food is served. One begins by looking at the food, by admiring it, by giving thanks for it. If we know besides that the Eucharistic food is a Person, that Jesus Christ is truly present in it, then it is not so unusual that we would desire to gaze upon it and admire it. Eucharistic adoration… is a treasure that we must guard carefully” (Stinissen, 35).

In Eucharistic Adoration, we have that “moment of contemplation” in which “one begins by looking at the food, by admiring it, by giving thanks for it.” And yet, it is not just looking at food but far more than that – looking at “a Person… Jesus Christ” with a gaze of love and admiration. This contemplative gaze leaves us spiritually salivating for the Banquet Meal of the Eucharist and sends us to Mass with hungry hearts. 

For St. Augustine, Eucharistic Adoration was a profound and intense experience of living out his advice to Proba about exercising the holy desires of his heart. Read the following quote again but consider it in light of the context of Eucharistic Adoration: 

“The entire life of a good Christian is in fact an exercise of holy desire. You do not yet see what you long for, but the very act of desiring prepares you, so that when he comes you may see and be utterly satisfied… This is how God deals with us. Simply by making us wait he increases our desire, which in turn enlarges the capacity of our soul, making it able to receive what is to be given to us. So, my brethren, let us continue to desire, for we shall be filled” (Letter to Proba).

To conclude: What is 1 thing you want to remember from this reflection?

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