As you sit here and read this post, I am preparing a night of Eucharistic adoration for my high school youth ministry, the first of many nights to come for this group.
You see, before I started at my new parish, I had been asked, “What is your favorite youth ministry moment?” The answer was easy: Eucharistic adoration. Any time my previous group came together in adoration, the Lord worked in many beautiful and mysterious ways among the teens. I saw such openness and receptivity to the Lord that was moving and inspirational to watch. So, naturally, I wanted to plan for times of Eucharistic adoration with my new parish and my new youth group.
Then a few different things happened. First, the Pew Research study that came out. This study revealed that only 31 percent of U.S. Catholics believe in the Real Presence of the Eucharist, meaning that 69 percent believe that the bread and wine are only symbols for the Body and Blood of Christ, including a majority of each age group.
My heart fell when I heard this news. So many of my brothers and sisters in Christ don’t believe that the Eucharist is the true Body and Blood of Christ.
Being a catechist, I feel responsible for this heart-breaking news and wonder where I might have gone wrong. But I also feel responsible to do whatever I can to rewrite the narrative of this study.
Secondly, I have felt called to focus the high school youth group this year on a personal encounter with Christ. What could be more personal than a face-to-face encounter with our Lord in the Eucharist? Hence the desire for adoration nights.
If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably wondering what this all has to do with today’s readings.
The first reading from the Book of Ezra invites those who are a part of God’s people to go up to his house to be with Him. Meanwhile, the responsorial psalm repeats that “The Lord has done marvels for us.”
If we want to be with our Lord, to go to Him in His Church, where He is in the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle, let us go to Him in adoration. The Lord has done marvels for us, and so we should adore Him. The doors are always open to you.
If you aren’t sure where you are in your belief about the Eucharist, go to Him in adoration. Sit before Him in His presence and talk to Him about your belief (or your unbelief) and let Him speak into your heart.
Erin is a Cleveland native and graduate of the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Following graduation, she began volunteering in youth ministry at her home parish of Holy Family Church. Her first “big girl” job was in collegiate sports information where, after a busy two years in the profession on top of serving the youth, she took a leap of faith and followed the Lord’s call to full-time youth ministry at St. Peter Church. She still hopes to use her communication arts degree as a freelance writer and statistician, though. You can catch her on the Clarence & Peter Podcast on YouTube as well as follow her on Twitter @erinmadden2016.