Adoration – the environment of our Communion

“At the moment of adoration, we are all on the same plane, kneeling before the Sacrament of Love. The common and ministerial priesthoods are united in Eucharistic worship. It is a very beautiful and significant experience, which we have experienced several times in Saint Peter’s Basilica, and also in the unforgettable vigils with young people – I recall, for example, those of Cologne, London, Zagreb, Madrid. It is evident to all that these moments of Eucharistic vigil prepare the celebration of the Holy Mass, prepare hearts for the encounter, so that it is more fruitful. To be all together in prolonged silence before the Lord present in his Sacrament, is one of the most genuine experiences of our being Church, which is accompanied in a complementary way with the celebration of the Eucharist, listening to the Word of God, singing, approaching together the table of the Bread of life. Communion and contemplation cannot be separated, they go together. To really communicate with another person I must know him, I must be able to be in silence close to him, to hear him and to look at him with love. True love and true friendship always live of the reciprocity of looks, of intense, eloquent silences full of respect and veneration, so that the encounter is lived profoundly, in a personal not a superficial way. And, unfortunately, if this dimension is lacking, even sacramental communion itself can become, on our part, a superficial gesture. Instead, in true communion, prepared by the colloquy of prayer and of life, we can say to the Lord words of confidence as those that resounded a short while ago in the Responsorial Psalm:

“O Lord, I am thy servant; I am thy servant, the son of thy handmaid.
Thou hast loosed my bonds.
I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving
and call on the name of the Lord”
(Psalm 115:16-17).”

Pope Benedict XVI
Homily for Corpus Christi, 7 June 2012

Photo credit: author’s own, Father Hans Pauw displays the Blessed Sacrament for Adoration during a meeting of young people of the Archdiocese of Utrecht, 10 June 2012.

Preparing for Madrid

Next month I’ll be away from my usual haunts, digital and otherwise. There will be little time for blogging or any other social media activity, for Iĺl be at the World Youth Days in Madrid, Spain, from 10 to 23 August, with a group of about 100 young people, youth workers and clergy from the Archdiocese of Utrecht. Yesterday This weekend, the organising team hosted a preparatory weekend for all attendees. I was only able to join them for the Saturday, but I did get the core of the information and preparation on offer.

There were several aspects to the weekend: practical, social and spiritual. Father Hans Pauw, one of the archdiocesan regional vicars, covered the first aspect, going over the program and events in both Zaragoza and Madrid; there were games and sports activities to get to know the other attendees; and youth worker Hao Tran spoke about topics such as ‘God is love’ and our image of God that plays a major role in our relationship with Him. The day ended with a time of Adoration, Confession and prayer.

Some photographic impressions:

Young people from all over the archdiocese (and beyond) arrive at the primary school where the weekend was held
The core team of the archdiocesan trip to Madrid makes its introductions
Fr. Pauw goes over the practicals
Lunch time in the school yard.
The story of the prodigal son in sketch form, to underline the mercy of God
Tug-of-war, the girls versus (most of) the boys
Diahann from the Faculty of Catholic Theology hands out key chains and information about studying theology
Bishop Theodorus Hoogenboom, auxiliary of the archdiocese, comes to say hi, encourage us, and link his last name (literally meaning 'high tree') to the motto of this edition of the WYD: "Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith"
Bishop Hoogenboom kneels before the Blessed Sacrament
Sacred Heart of Jesus, guide and inspire us!