Fr. Richard McBrien recently posted his opinion on ncronline.org regarding perpetual eucharistic adoration. He said that adoration is a "a doctrinal, theological, and spiritual step backward." Then I suppose that I have stepped backwards? I did not know that there was such a thing as Eucharist adoration until my Cursillo weekend in 2003. It was in finding out that there was such a place, that changed my life.
Before I found out about Adoration, I thought I had to die to be present with the Lord, body, soul and divinity. I knew that he was with me when I received Communion, but I needed him more. I did not know there was a place where I could go and spend time with him and give my cares to him. I did not know there was a place to praise him and love him for what he has done for me, outside of the Mass. But, after I found out about Adoration chapels during my cursillo weekend, I know now Christ is there for me, anytime, day or night.
Adoration is not a step backwards as Fr. McBrien writes. Communion with Christ, through prayer, is always a step forward because we am closer by being into the mediator between God and man. I participate in Christ's reign in the earthly kingdom when I visit him exposed in the jeweled monstrance high up on the altar. The place that is fitting for our King.
Forget my needs, if it is worthly of a human king to sit on a throne, isn't it more appropriate and worthly to expose our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament upon an altar 24 hours a day? Shouldn't he have that same respect as an earthly monarchial king? At Mass our Lord is sheltered in the tabernacle as he was in the Holy of Holies in the Old Covenant. In the Old Covenent the people were not allowed to touch or go into the tent where the tabernacle rested. But, now, in the New Covenant, the people are a priestly people and are able to offer up prayers and sacrifices, too. Offering sacrifices is not limited to the ordained priesthood. The Old Covenant has been fulfilled and the common priesthood of the people draws us next to and in front of the Body of Christ resting in the monstrance in the Adoration chapels.
It was the people who wanted Eucharist adoration. Since, the priest was facing East, they could not see the host as it was consecrated by the priest. The priest would hold the consecrated host, now the Bread of Life, higher and higher and longer and longer, so that the communicants could adore and view it before receiving and so it began to be placed in the monstrance vessel and processed so it could be viewed. The people of God knew their eyes were only seeing bread, their faith told them they were seeing the Body of Christ.
If Vatican II was a time for renewal and enrichment of faith and renewal of doctrine, adoration was one faith and doctrinal practice that needed to be brought back. Persecutions had squashed it, just like how it began hundreds of years ago, the people have brought it back.
G.K. Chesterton said to be "progressive" means that there was something right about doing something before, but now it is said that it isn't right to do it. Those in the Church that consider themselves "progressives" are saying this. They are saying that we have "progressed" beyond needing adoration. Although, it was right for the people of God back then, it isn't any longer! But, Chesterton writes in Orthodoxy, that progression should be simple and natural. Adoration developed simply and naturally over 1,000 years, ago, and it has developed simply and naturally, today. Chesterton says that we should not have to go to any trouble to improve. It was much trouble to take away adoration. People were killed to kill the practice of adoration. The progressives have gone to to alot of trouble to disavow what has developed naturally within the people of God, when their agenda is to elevate within parishes what they consider the desires of the people of God. The desire of the people of God is to have adoration, so it is. So be it.
Sometimes after the conversion of heart in the soul of a person, they have to go back to the traditions and aestical devotional practices to help them be formed to Christ. Conversion was a going back and seeing one's sins and consequently a true repentence. We meet Christ in seeing our sins, he joins us there, and moves us forward on a journey of communion. Going backwards has its place.
In the "fullness of time" there is no time when sharing in Christ's Paschal Mystery, therefore, there cannot be any going backwards, really. Really, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist has always been and always will be outside of time. "Backwards" is not a word that belongs in Catholic spirituality, doctrine or theology.