Eucharistic Adoration

Too Good to Be True?

by Father Brian J. Soliven on Sunday June 2, 2024

There is one defining teaching that separates the Catholic Church from all the other churches in town. It is our belief that every time we go to Mass, a profound miracle happens before our very eyes. Bland, boring bread and cheap tasting wine, are literally transformed into “the body, blood, soul of divinity” of Jesus Christ. Our Lord becomes fully present in the Eucharist, yet hidden behind the mere appearance of that bland, boring, “bread” and cheap, tasting “wine.” So much so that as Catholics, our vocabulary even changes after the priest says those infamous words that have echoed over 2,000 years of history up until now,, “This is my body… This is my blood.” We now dare say “host” and “precious blood.” 

This Sunday, the whole Church throughout the world celebrates this great, mind-boggling teaching. How can we penetrate this mystery? One way to approach this teaching is recall last Sunday when we celebrated another difficult teaching, the fact that God is a Holy Trinity. God is a communion of love, of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. You and I are created in the image of the Trinity as the Book of Genesis reminds us in chapter one. Love desires to unite with the beloved, by its very nature. Therefore, God desires to unite himself with my body as well, not just my spirit. My body is an integral part of who I am. If this Trinitarian God wants to be one with me, my body must be a part of that radical love. 

I can never forget the moment I realized that Jesus was truly present in the Eucharist. It has completely changed how I live my Catholic faith. In the winter of 2002, I was a wee little undergraduate at UC Davis. A pretty young lady invited me to come with her to the Catholic Newman Center, a block away from campus: “They’re having Eucharistic adoration tonight.” She said. “Would you like to come with me?” At the time, I had no idea what “Eucharist adoration” even was. I was just starting to take my Catholic faith more seriously. All I knew was that a beautiful, wide-eyed, girl that I had a crush on, was inviting me to church. Of course, I said yes! I was young and dumb but I wasn’t an idiot. “When a pretty woman asks you to go somewhere, you always say yes!” That was my deep, intellectual thought process at the time. When I walked into the small brick chapel, the place was packed with other college students. I had no idea what was happening. All of a sudden, music started playing, and the priest walked down the main aisle carrying something in his hands. Everyone kneeled. As a good Catholic boy, I followed along. As the priest walked by me, a single tear fell from my right eye which I quickly wiped away. When he made it to the altar, he put whatever he was carrying in hands (which I later learned was called a monstrance), on the center of the altar. As I gazed upon this strange sight, another tear fell, and another and another. The floodgates burst open. For the next fifteen minutes, I collapsed in sobs like a little baby. But these tears were of cries of joy, not pain or sorrow but in the recognition that the piece of “bread” I have been receiving since I was a little child, was Jesus Christ himself. That day I realized there is nothing greater on earth, then to receive my Lord and Savior during the Holy Mass. No amount of money, or pleasure, or honor, or materialistic thing, can compare with the love that Jesus offers us. That day, the entire motivation of my life shifted from one of worldly pleasures, to that of a love that can only be found in the “most holy body, blood, soul, and divinity” of our Lord and savior.