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The Church’s Holy Hour: Adoring the Lord on the altar and in our neighbor

The following story appeared in the November 5 Idaho Catholic Register.



By Deacon Scott Pearhill

for the Idaho Catholic Register


Recently I attended a parish meeting in which we had the task of shedding some light on the Pope’s worldwide Synod on Synodality as well as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ three-year process of Eucharistic renewal.


We sensed there was an organic connection between these two Church efforts, but what was it? We tabled that discussion to tackle some more im-mediate items but hoped to circle back and help our parish participate more fully in both the Synod on Synodality and the Eucharistic renewal.


A few days later, the Idaho Catholic Register published the article, “Encounter. Listen. Discern.” I was deeply impressed. Bishop Peter, reflecting upon Pope Francis’ words, described how Eucharistic Adoration and Synodality go together.


Bishop Peter drew from the Pope’s address this crucial paragraph: “As we initiate this process, we, too, are called to become experts in the art of en-counter. Not so much by organizing events or theo-rizing about problems, as in taking time to encounter the Lord and one another; time to devote to prayer and Adoration – that form of prayer that we so often neglect – devoting time to Adoration and to hearing what the Spirit wants to say to the Church.”


Bishop Peter went on to say that synodality can be described as encounter, listening and discerning and noticed that the same could be said of Eucharistic Adoration. The connection between the worldwide Synod on Synodality and the U.S. Bishops’ three-year process of Eucharistic renewal is encounter, listening and discerning.


In Eucharistic Adoration we seek to encounter the Lord in his Eucharistic presence upon the altar. We seek to listen to the Lord during that time of Adoration. We seek to discern the Lord’s will for us in an interior prayerful dialogue.


In Synods and local opportunities for synodality – such as parish pastoral councils and presbyteral councils – there is a complimentary act in which we encounter the Lord in the Body of Christ that is the Church. In this case, we are encountering, listening and discerning the Lord in our sisters and brothers.


Of course, we need both Eucharistic Adoration and Synodality. They are mutually supportive. When we have both, we can encounter Christ in his sacramental body and his ecclesial body, which is the Church. In both cases, the Catholic faithful experience the real presence of Jesus Christ because the same Lord is really present in both ways.


Therefore, it is not too much to say that one who engages in synodality is also adoring the Lord! A synod is like a holy hour with the Church during which we adore the Lord and experience communion with him (encountering, listening and discerning) by engaging with His real presence in His mystical body, the Church.


In this way, the U.S. Bishops’ call for Eucharistic renewal is a natural complement to the Pope’s call for a Church renewal of synodality. They are both a call to encounter, listen and discern Christ in His Body.


Both Synodality and Eucharistic renewal will strengthen our capacity to adore the Lord on the altar and in our neighbor. Both will make us better disciples of Jesus, who can see Him more sharply in our world, and therefore follow Him more closely, so that we can announce the Gospel together as we journey together, with, and in Christ.


 

Deacon Pearhill serves at Holy Spirit Catholic Community in Pocatello.

 

Editor’s note: Bishop Peter Christensen is asking that all Catholics attend weekly Mass and Adoration beginning this Advent and throughout the year. Consult your local parish for Mass and Adoration schedules.


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