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PRAY | Exposition, benediction is a rightful way to adore the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist

Adoration at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary.
Photo Credit: Lisa Johnston
Exposition and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament in eucharistic adoration is an ancient devotion of the Church that highlights the central mystery of the Eucharist — that Jesus is truly present: Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

St. John Paul II wrote that “Since the Eucharistic mystery was instituted out of love, and makes Christ sacramentally present, it is worthy of thanksgiving and worship. And this worship must be prominent in all our encounters with the Blessed Sacrament.” Exposition and benediction is just one example of eucharistic devotion, and a way for Catholics to deepen their spiritual relationship with the Lord.

The ritual for exposition and benediction of the Eucharist grew out of the institution of the Feast of Corpus Christi by Pope Urban IV in 1264. The Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship prescribes the ritual, beginning with the priest placing the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance, which is set at the altar for viewing and prayer.

Generally speaking, a hymn of praise is sung as the priest incenses the Blessed Sacrament at the altar. Those who attend adoration may pray quietly. The time also could include recited prayers or readings from Scripture, followed by a homily from the priest that highlights the Eucharist.

No matter how time is spent in adoration, seeing our Lord truly present in the Eucharist is a beautiful way to deepen our relationship with Him, and a reminder that He remains with us until the end of time. (John 14:18).

Tantum Ergo

Written by St. Thomas Aquinas, “Tantum Ergo” is generally sung at the veneration and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at the conclusion of eucharistic adoration. The words are a reminder that the Eucharist is a perfect memorial of Jesus’ Passion and why we venerate the Body and Blood of Jesus — to always be mindful of the fruit of our Redemption.

Down in adoration falling,

Lo! the sacred Host we hail;

Lo! o’er ancient forms departing,

Newer rites of grace prevail;

Faith for all defects supplying,

Where the feeble senses fail.

To the everlasting Father,

And the Son who reigns on high,

With the Holy Spirit proceeding

Forth from each eternally,

Be salvation, honor, blessing,

Might and endless majesty. Amen.

V. You have given them bread from heaven,

R. Having all delight within it.

Let us pray.

O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament

left us a memorial of your Passion:

grant, we implore you,

that we may so venerate

the sacred mysteries of your Body and Blood,

as always to be conscious of the fruit of your Redemption.

You who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.

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