Adoration: from lectio to contemplatio

Madre dei sacerdoti-thumb-325x462Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament is not a form of prayer that comes easily to everyone. For such souls, I am offering a simple pattern of lectio divina that can be used in whole or in part to abide fruitfully in the radiance of Our Lord’s Eucharistic Face, close to His Heart. One can use all ten patterns, allotting five or six minutes to each, or one can use only those patterns needed to pass from oratio to contemplatio, that is, from heartfelt supplication to the unitive silence of love.

For those unfamiliar with the Latin terms of lectio divina, the following explanation may prove helpful:

1. Lectio is the reading of the word (in this case a passage from the Gospels) in such a way as to hear it.
2, Meditatio is the repetition of the word (in this case selected verses from the Psalms) so as to allow the word to descend into the heart and engrave itself in the memory.
3. Oratio is the prayer enkindled in the heart by the hearing and repetition of the word.
4. Contemplatio is a profound humility in the adorable presence of God and silent cleaving to Him in love. This is the essence of Eucharistic adoration.

I

Lectio: And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

Meditatio: O God, thou art my God; how eager my quest for thee, body athirst and soul longing for thee, like some parched wilderness, where stream is none! So in the holy place, I contemplate thee, ready for the revelation of thy greatness, thy glory. (Psalm 62:1–3)

Oratio: I adore Thee, O Word made flesh, Divine Child of Bethlehem,
for Thou art veiled in all Thy states and in all Thy mysteries
by the humble species of the Sacred Host.
I adore Thee with Thy Virgin Mother’s silence.
I adore Thee with Saint Joseph’s quiet faith.
I adore Thee with the lowly shepherds’ simplicity.
I adore Thee with heaven’s Angelic choirs.

Contemplatio

II

Lectio: And Jesus turning, and seeing them following him, saith to them: What seek you? Who said to him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou? He saith to them: Come and see. They came, and saw where he abode, and they stayed with him that day. (John 1:38–39)

Meditatio: One request I have ever made of the Lord, let me claim it still, to dwell in the Lord’s house my whole life long, resting content in the Lord’s goodness, gazing at his temple. (Psalm 26:4)

Oratio: I come to gaze upon Thee, O Jesus,
and to offer myself and all those whom I would represent
to Thy most loving gaze.

Contemplatio

III

Lectio: The real bread from heaven is given only by my Father. God’s gift of bread comes down from heaven and gives life to the whole world. Then, Lord, they said, give us this bread all the while. But Jesus told them, It is I who am the bread of life; he who comes to me will never be hungry, he who has faith in me will never know thirst. (John 6:32–35)

Meditatio: The Lord’s perfect law, how it brings the soul back to life; the Lord’s unchallengeable decrees, how they make the simple learned! How plain are the duties which the Lord enjoins, the treasure of man’s heart; how clear is the commandment the Lord gives, the enlightenment of man’s eyes! (Psalm 18:8–9)

Oratio: I come to listen to Thee, O Jesus,
and to be instructed, comforted, corrected, and enlightened by Thy words.

Contemplatio

IV

Lectio: It is not on my own authority that I have spoken; it was my Father, who sent me, that commanded me what words I was to say, what message I was to utter. And I know well that what he commands is eternal life; everything then, which I utter, I utter as my Father has bidden me. (John 12:49–50)

Meditatio: O my soul, leave thyself in God’s hands; all my trust is in him. He is my stronghold and my deliverer, my protector, that makes me stand unmoved. God is all my defence and all my boast; my rock-fastness, my refuge is in God. (Psalm 61:6–8)

Oratio: I come to submit to Thee, O Jesus,
and to submit all that I am,
all that I think, say, and do
to Thy perfect Will: the expression of Thy merciful love.

Contemplatio

V

Lectio: These had come there to listen to him, and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled by unclean spirits were also cured; so that all the multitude was eager to touch him, because power went out from him, and healed them all. (Luke 6:18–19)

Meditatio: Patiently I waited for the Lord’s help, and at last he turned his look towards me; he listened to my plea, drew me up out of a deadly pit, where the mire had settled deep, and gave me a foothold on the rock, with firm ground to tread. He has framed a new music on my lips, a song of praise to our God, to fill all that stand by with reverence, and with trust in the Lord. (Psalm 39:2–4)

Oratio: I come to plead with Thee, O Jesus,
eager to touch Thee not with my hands but with my faith,
and this on behalf of all Thy priests,
on behalf of poor sinners,
and on behalf of those afflicted by illnesses of the mind or body.

Contemplatio

VI

Lectio: One of them, finding that he was cured, came back, praising God aloud, and threw himself at Jesus’ feet with his face to the ground, to thank him; and this was a Samaritan. Jesus answered, Were not all ten made clean? And the other nine, where are they? Not one has come back to give God the praise, except this stranger. (Luke 17:15–19)

Meditatio: My heart’s thanks, Lord, for listening to the prayer I uttered; angels for my witnesses, I will sing of thy praise. I bow down in adoration towards thy sanctuary, praising thy name for thy mercy and faithfulness; thy own honour and thy pledged word thou hast vindicated for all the world to see. To thee I appealed, and thou didst listen to me, didst fill my heart with courage. (Psalm 137:1–3)

Oratio: I come to thank Thee, O Jesus,
casting myself before Thee, with my face to the ground,
because I know that I will never be able to thank Thee enough
for all that Thou art in this Most Holy Sacrament
and for the gift of Thyself:
the Bread of wayfarers in this valley of tears,
and the bliss of the angels and saints in heaven.

Contemplatio

VII

Lectio: And behold I am with you all through the days that are coming, until the consummation of the world. (Matthew 28:20)

Meditatio: Praised be the Lord! When I invoke his name, I am secure from my enemies. All about me surged the waves of death, deep flowed the perilous tide, to daunt me; the grave had caught me in its toils, deadly snares had trapped my feet. One cry to the Lord, in my affliction, one word of summons to my God, and he, from his sanctuary, listened to my voice; the complaint I made before him found a hearing. (Psalm 17:4–7)

Oratio: I come to praise Thee, O Jesus,
because Thou art worthy of all praise
here and in all the churches of the world
where the adorable Sacrament of Thy Body is hidden in the tabernacle,
or set upon the altar for all to see.

Contemplatio

VIII

Lectio: My soul, he said, is ready to die with sorrow; do you abide here, and watch with me. When he had gone a little further, he fell upon his face in prayer, and said, My Father, if it is possible, let this chalice pass me by; only as thy will is, not as mine is. Then he went back to his disciples, to find them asleep; and he said to Peter, Had you no strength, then, to watch with me even for an hour? (Matthew 26:38–40)

Meditatio: In thy sight are all they that afflict me; my heart hath expected reproach and misery. And I looked for one that would grieve together with me, but there was none: and for one that would comfort me, and I found none. (Psalm 68:21)

Oratio: I come to Thee, O Jesus, to make reparation
because Thy Heart grieves over the coldness, ingratitude, and indifference
of those whom Thou callest Thy friends,
and because Thou art hated, denied, and cursed by the enemies of Thy kingdom,
and by the subjects of the prince of this world.

Contemplatio

IX

Lectio: This, Father, is my desire, that all those whom thou hast entrusted to me may be with me where I am, so as to see my glory, thy gift made to me, in that love which thou didst bestow upon me before the foundation of the world. Father, thou art just; the world has never acknowledged thee, but I have acknowledged thee, and these men have acknowledged that thou didst send me. I have revealed, and will reveal, thy name to them; so that the love thou hast bestowed upon me may dwell in them, and I, too, may dwell in them. (John 17:24–26)

Meditatio: Thou art at my side, ever holdest me by my right hand. Thine to guide me with thy counsel, thine to welcome me into glory at last. What else does heaven hold for me, but thyself? What charm for me has earth, here at thy side?  What though flesh of mine, heart of mine, should waste away? Still God will be my heart’s stronghold, eternally my inheritance. (Psalm 72: 23–26)

Oratio: I come to Thee, O Jesus, offering myself to the love of Thy Heart,
and desiring to love Thee even as Thou wouldst have me love Thee.

Contemplatio

X

Lectio: Come to me, all you that labour and are burdened; I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon yourselves, and learn from me; I am gentle and humble of heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28–30)

Meditatio: How blessed is the man who finds his strength in thee! Where there are hearts set on pilgrimage, the parched ravine turns into a water-course at their coming, new-clad by the bounty of returning rain. So, at each stage refreshed, they will reach Sion, and have sight there of the God who is above all gods. (Psalm 83:6–8)

Oratio: I come to Thee, O Jesus, in my poverty, my ignorance, my impurity, and my brokenness,
and I cast myself down before Thee, trusting that Thou wilt provide for me, enlighten me,
cleanse me, and fashion me anew
in the fire of Thy Eucharistic Heart
and in the radiance of Thy Eucharistic Face. Amen.

Contemplatio

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