Friday, December 4, 2009

O Come Let Us Adore Him

Today is First Friday and, in my parish, that means Eucharistic Adoration. Some of you are blessed to have Perpetual Adoration. What a gift! Perhaps it is the greatest mystery of our Catholic Faith -- our belief in the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. And yet, anyone who has spent any amount of time in Adoration knows that all-pervading peace that fills the chapel.

Pier Giorgio once summed up Adoration in these simple words, “The rulers of the night take their turn in guarding their castles. And we owe greater honor to Jesus than to other rulers."

A very beautiful testimony about Pier Giorgio's devotion to the Blessed Sacrament appears in a book called "La Fede" written by his sister Luciana. (Unfortunately, the book is not yet available in English.) I hope this reflection will inspire you to spend a few extra moments in Adoration during this Holy Season of Advent:

-- as told by Brother Lodovico, S.S.S.
"It was 1920, during a night of adoration in our church, Santa Maria di Piazza. It was about eight-thirty when I heard the doorbell of our residence ringing over and over again. I left the group in church for a moment and went to answer the door. I was surprised but reassured to find a handsome young man, who I didn’t know, standing there before me. He said that he had come to adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and that his assigned turn as a member of the university students’ adoration society was that night (the second Saturday of the month).

That night was not for university students, as I told my courteous visitor, but for religious. So I encouraged him to go home because it was late. But this didn’t put off the selfless young man; he pleaded with me to let him come in anyhow, and argued that he would do his adoration that night on behalf of our religious who were on duty.

I tried every way to persuade him from doing this, and I asked him to consider the fact that he was not obliged to stay up all night and pray for long periods like that. But my remarks were of no avail, and his charming and repeated request finally made me give in, just to make him happy.

He was jubilant over his victory, and off he went to church. He entered the sanctuary (a privilege granted to members of the nocturnal adoration society), made a profound genuflection, and then knelt in one of the choir stalls and remained there in devout prayer. During the hour that I knelt next to him, I was immensely edified by his exemplary behavior. I could notice all the holy tricks that he used to stay awake, despite the fact that he was tired and drowsy: sometimes he would pray standing up, or he would read, or recite the Rosary. My fellow religious who were there with me can attest to the fact that he spent the whole night with us, until 4 a.m., when he requested and received Holy Communion. Then he spent an hour in thanksgiving, until 5 a.m., when the church was opened to the public. He had warmed his beautiful soul close to the Eucharistic flame that entire night, and satisfied his hunger at the Table of the Angels, and so he departed peacefully.

As soon as I ran into the priest who was the Director of Nocturnal Adoration, I was quick to tell him about what happened that night. From what I told him, he could figure out who the young man was, so he smiled at me and said, “Don’t be so surprised: that’s our beloved Pier Giorgio Frassati, a devout young university student who’s very keen on nocturnal adoration.”

It’s true: wherever a saint has walked by, he leaves behind footprints that can never be erased!"

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