Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Eucharistic Adoration and Pilgrimage

It is difficult to find Catholic churches open in my area in the afternoon during the week, when I usually try to go to adoration. Tomorrow, in solidarity with the March for Life, the Bishop of the Diocese of Covington, Kentucky, Roger Foys, has ordered all churches in the diocese to remain open all day. I wish that our churches were all open more often. There is a parish near where I work that has Eucharistic chapel, but it is not open during the afternoon most days. There is a parish near where I live that does have perpetual Eucharistic adoration, and it is a great blessing to us. Today I went for adoration to a church where you have to go sign in through the school to get into the church during the week (and they are always surprised when I come in and ask to go to the church). I understand the issues, but it shouldn't be this hard to worship the Lord in the Eucharist.

However, I have also come to see the value of these hardships. When I come to a church for adoration and the church is locked, I think of the woman who suffered from “a flow of blood” for twelve years but touched the fringe of Jesus’ garment and was healed (Luke 8:43-48). Even if I cannot get closer to the tabernacle, merely touching the handle of church door can be close enough, and I hope also thereby to be the recipient of Jesus’ words to that woman: “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace” (48).

One of the few places I can count on for access to a tabernacle during a weekday afternoon in the area where I work is at a Catholic hospital. I spend about 45 minutes of my 60 minute lunch hour traveling to and from the hospital to spend 15 minutes with our Lord. Today as I was going to a different church for adoration, I heard on our local Catholic radio station a segment about pilgrimage. Then it dawned on me that I was on pilgrimage. If I look at the travel to a tabernacle not as wasted or delayed time (as if I were commuting to work) but as a pilgrimage, as a prayerful journey to a holy site, then that travel becomes transformed, and hopefully, so do I.

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