Meditations for a Holy Hour and Mass

Eucharistic-Adoration

The following is a series of meditations I’ve recently developed (with help from the Holy Spirit obviously) that could help you rediscover the beauty of the Blessed Sacrament during your next Holy Hour and/or Mass.

[1] The priest begins the Holy Hour by removing the Blessed Sacrament from the tabernacle and transferring it into the monstrance to be put on display for everyone to see. To what can this simple moment be compared to? It is as though we are traveling back in time to the little town of Bethlehem and are witnessing the Nativity of Our Lord. The priest appears to take on the role of St. Joseph, delivering Our Lord from the tabernacle of the womb of Our Blessed Mother, Mary. He then gently places Our Lord in the crib of the monstrance so that we, the magi and shepherds from afar, may come and adore Him. Cue the Christmas song “Oh Come All Ye Faithful”. (At our chapel in the seminary we actually have a statue of Mary and a statue of Joseph on either side of the altar to really give it a Nativity Scene feel.) Thus an hour spent in Adoration beholding the Blessed Sacrament is like taking on the role of a shepherd who witnessed the Nativity of Our Lord in the manger two thousand years ago. When our Holy Hour is up, we should be transformed in such a profound way that the shepherds were, who “…returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen…”

Bible verses to read for first meditation: Luke 2:1-20, Matthew 2:1-12

[2] The Holy Family did not remain in the manger for very long, for King Herod had sent out an order to slaughter all of the first born’s in the area. Thus St. Joseph is prompted in a dream to protect our Lord and our Blessed Mother by leading them into the safety of Egypt. What happens at the end of the Holy Hour? The priest, like St. Joseph, removes Our Lord from His crib in the monstrance and places him back into the safety of his mother’s arms in the tabernacle. There He will remain, just as Our Lord remained safe and subject to the Holy Family as He grew up in Nazareth.

Bible verses to read for second meditation: Matthew 2:13-23

[3] When the Blessed Sacrament is reposed and we’re temporarily left with an empty monstrance, we still feel as though we are in the Holy Land on a tour sometime after the Nativity. The voice of a tour guide tells us “And here is where Our Lord laid his head on the first day He came into the world. Obviously the crib is empty now, but in a way you can still feel His presence in this room. You can still take comfort in the fact that you know He was once here and dwelled among us.”

[At the Seminary we often transition right from Adoration to Mass, where this series of meditations will now lead into.]

[4] When we transition from Adoration to celebrating the Mass, we the lay people transition from mere spectators to engaged participants. We transition from the Nativity in Bethlehem to the Passion on Calvary. The priest, though in some ways still reminding us of St. Joseph at certain times, now celebrates the Mass in the person of Christ Himself. Meanwhile Our Lord, truly present in the Eucharist, moves from the safety of His mother’s arms in the tabernacle to the dangers of the world that would ultimately put Him to death. We are reminded of the story of the wedding feast at Cana where Mary sends Him from the safety of home into His public ministry so that He could fulfill the Father’s will.

Bible verses to read for fourth meditation: John 2:1-11

[5] After the prayers of the faithful, which typically follows the homily during a lay Mass, the attention switches from the pulpit to the altar. For the Mass is not merely a “remember when” entertainment session or a Bible verse show-and-tell, but a re-presentation of the sacrifice of our Lord on Calvary. We who are engaged in the Mass are taken out of time and placed at the Foot of the Cross in 33 AD. We watch the eternally redemptive death of our Lord play out once and for all. At the point in the Mass where the hosts are consecrated by the priest and become the Precious Body of Our Lord, we see our exposed and vulnerable Jesus just lying on the altar in the same way He lay exposed and vulnerable on the altar of His Cross. We can’t help but remember that this is the same innocent Jesus we had just adored in the manger moments ago.

Bible verses to read for fifth meditation: Luke 23:33-46

[6] In the Nativity we adored the Lord from afar. We saw Him, but then He was placed back in the tabernacle out of sight and out of our reach. At the Mass, we actually have the opportunity to receive the gift of Our Lord’s very Self. In the Sacrament of Communion, He reminds us that He did not desire to remain some babe to be distantly adored; He is the Risen Lord who desires to dwell within us in a real and tangible way. He encourages us “Do this in memory of me”. He wants to remind us of the victory He has won for us when He conquered death. He wants to nourish us on our journey to the world we were created for. He wants to remind us of His love for us. He wants to provide a foreshadowing for us of when veil of the Eucharistic bread will be removed and we will truly see Our Lord face to face. When the shepherds left the manger they praised and glorified God for all they had seen and heard at His birth. After Mass we should praise and glorify God for all that we have seen, heard, and tasted as we recall the salvific death and triumphant resurrection of Our Lord.

Bible verses to read for sixth meditation: Luke 22:14-20, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, John 6:48-51

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