April is devoted to the Blessed Sacrament. Some of those not in in the know might ask, what is a Blessed Sacrament or what does that mean?
The Blessed Sacrament, also called Most Blessed Sacrament, is a devotional name to refer to the Eucharist. Vermont Catholic magazine says "Blessed Sacrament is the Holy Eucharist. The Eucharist is the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus under the appearance of bread and wine. In the celebration of the Eucharist, bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit and the instrumentality of the priest. The whole Christ is truly present -- body, blood, soul, and divinity -- under the appearances of bread and wine, the glorified Christ who rose from the dead. This is what the Church means when she speaks of the "Real Presence" of Christ in the Eucharist.
Well then what is Eucharist? The term “Eucharist” originates from the Greek word eucharistia, meaning thanksgiving. Partaking in the Eucharist is the thing Jesus commanded we do in his memory, To partake in eating of his body and drinking of his blood. If that sounds outrageous and gross you are seeing it all wrong. Jesus gives himself to us in the Eucharist as spiritual nourishment because he loves us. By eating the Body and drinking the Blood of Christ in the Eucharist, we become united to the person of Christ through his humanity. "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him" (Jn 6:56). In being united to the humanity of Christ, we are at the same time united to his divinity. Our mortal and corruptible natures are transformed by being joined to the source of life. § 1333 At the heart of the Eucharistic celebration are the bread and wine that, by the words of Christ and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, become Christ’s Body and Blood. § 1338 Christ calls himself the bread of life, come down from heaven. § 1339 Jesus chose the time of Passover to fulfill what he had announced at Capernaum: giving his disciples his Body and his Blood:
Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover meal for us, that we may eat it….” They went … and prepared the Passover. and when the hour came, he sat at table, and the apostles with him. and he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you I shall not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” and likewise the cup after supper, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the New Covenant in my blood.”
Faithful to the Lord’s command the Church continues to do, in his memory and until his glorious return, what he did on the eve of his Passion: “He took bread….” “He took the cup filled with wine….” the signs of bread and wine become, in a way that surpasses understanding, the Body and Blood of Christ; they continue also to signify the goodness of creation. The Lord Jesus, on the night before he suffered on the cross, shared one last meal with his disciples. During this meal our Savior instituted the sacrament of his Body and Blood. He did this in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the Cross throughout the ages and to entrust to the Church a memorial of his death and resurrection. The Institution of the Eucharist is written down in the four Gospels below:
John 6:22-59 (The Bread of Life Discourse)
“Do this in memory of me”
§ 1341 The command of Jesus to repeat his actions and words “until he comes” does not only ask us to remember Jesus and what he did. It is directed at the liturgical celebration, by the apostles and their successors, of the memorial of Christ, of his life, of his death, of his Resurrection, and of his intercession in the presence of the Father.
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament — also known as Eucharistic Adoration — is the adoration of Jesus Christ present in the Holy Eucharist. "Exposing
or reposing the Blessed Sacrament is done by the priest or deacon. While it may seem to be a simple transferring of the Eucharist from one place to another, it is actually a liturgical event. VCM also explains "Exposition is the placement of the sacred host outside the tabernacle for public adoration. Some churches have perpetual adoration chapels where the Blessed Sacrament is exposed 24 hours a day, and individuals (“adorers”) make a commitment to take turns being there around the clock. The Eucharist is displayed in a special holder — a monstrance — that is placed on the altar.
St. Alphonsus Liguori commented on Eucharistic Adoration: “Of all devotions, that of adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the greatest after the sacraments, the one dearest to God and the one most helpful to us.”
Spending time before the Blessed Sacrament in prayer and devotion is spending time before the living God. When going to Eucharistic Adoration, enter the chapel — or the church where Eucharistic Adoration has been made available —in silence and reverence and genuflect on both knees before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and make the Sign of the Cross. It’s a time to contemplate acts of faith, hope and charity; a time to simply be in the presence of Jesus, a time to listen to the Holy Spirit, a time to examine one’s conscience in preparation for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
“Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration with exposition needs a great push. People ask me: ‘What will convert America and save the world?’ My answer is prayer,” St. Teresa of Calcutta said. “What we need is for every parish to come before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament in holy hours of prayer.”
St. John Paul II wrote, “Our communal worship at Mass must go together with our personal worship of Jesus in Eucharistic adoration in order that our love may be complete.”
“Jesus awaits us in this sacrament of love.” (St. John Paul II, Dominicae cenae, no. 3) It is called: Eucharist, because it is an action of thanksgiving to God. (CCC, no. 1328) Eucharist “makes present the one sacrifice of Christ the Savior.” (CCC, no. 1330) The presence of Christ in the Eucharist is real, true, and substantial.
Portions of these devotions and some pictures are taken directly from the websites listed below as the sources.