What is Eucharistic Adoration?
Understood simply, Eucharistic Adoration is adoring or honoring the Eucharistic Presence of Christ. In a deeper sense, it involves "the contemplation of the Mystery of Christ truly present before us". During Eucharistic Adoration, we "watch and wait", we remain "silent" in His Presence and open ourselves to His Graces which flow from the Eucharist ... By worshiping the Eucharistic Jesus, we become what God wants us to be! Like a magnet, The Lord draws us to Himself and gently transforms us. In its fullest essence ... Eucharistic Adoration is "God and Man reaching out for each other, at the same time!" The Eucharist is: Jesus truly present - Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity!
At the moment of Consecration, during the Mass, the "gifts" of bread and wine are transformed (transubstantiated) into the actual Body and Blood of Christ, at the Altar. This means that they are not only spiritually transformed, but rather are actually (substantially) transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ. The elements retain the appearance of bread and wine, but are indeed the actual Body and Blood of Christ. This is what is meant by Real Presence: the actual, physical presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Christ instituted this Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist in order to remain with mankind until the end of time (Jn. 14:18). Because, as Catholics, we believe that Christ is truly and substantially present in the Eucharist, the Blessed Sacrament is given the same adoration and devotion that is accorded to Christ.
At the beginning of the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, a priest or deacon removes the sacred host from the tabernacle and places it in the Monstrance on the Altar for adoration by the faithful. "Monstrance" is the vessel used in the Church to display the consecrated Eucharistic Host, during Eucharistic adoration or benediction. The word monstrance comes from the Latin word monstrare, meaning "to expose". It is known in Latin as an Ostensorium. When a consecrated host is placed in the monstrance, It is said to be a solemn exposition. When the Monstrance contains the Sacred Host, the priest does not touch it with his bare hands, but instead, holds it with a humeral veil, a wide band of cloth that covers his shoulders (humera) and has pleats on the inside in which he places his hands. At all other times, the reserved Sacrament is kept locked in the Tabernacle, so that the faithful may pray in the presence of the Sacrament.
"Perpetual Adoration" is Eucharistic Adoration round the clock (that is, twenty-four hours a day). A "Holy Hour" is "Eucharistic Adoration of Reparation" which lasts for about an hour. Adoration ceremonies traditionally include Scripture readings, hymns, prayers and time for silent adoration. Eucharistic exposition and benediction is a complete liturgical service. Eucharistic exposition and benediction is a complete liturgical service in its own right and is to be celebrated as such. Eucharistic exposition and benediction are no longer considered devotions, but rather are a part of the Church's official liturgy.
This liturgy is designed to "acknowledge Christ's marvelous presence in the Sacrament and invites us to the spiritual union with Him that culminates in sacramental communion". (Order for Solemn Exposition of the Holy Eucharist, number 7). In the past, benediction was sometimes added on to the end of another service or devotion, this is no longer done.