Adoration and Benediction

Blessed and praised be Jesus Christ, in the most Holy Sacrament.

Once a term at Westcott House we hold a service of Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament; the service has taken a few different forms in the (almost) three years I’ve been here but at the centre of it all is prayer and closeness to Christ.

Adoration is a service in which a consecrated host is placed in the monstrance (seen in the picture) and those who attend are invited to focus their minds on Christ in the presence of the Sacrament.

At Westcott this term, our Vice Principal read three sections of Scripture and left silence after each so that we were able to reflect on them in peace. Each part of scripture – Psalm 23, Isaiah 53.4-6, and Ephesians 1.3,4 – seemed to be exactly what I needed to hear. It was one of those moments when I just felt that the Holy Spirit was working, and my heart was quietened to some of the stresses and worries I had been carrying round with me.

To have that feeling whilst being knelt in front of the Blessed Sacrament was incredible. When I feel a little over run by essays, placements, the things happening outside of training, I feel that in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament I can be still, calm, and quiet in the noise and hustle and bustle of life; I feel that I am covered, held, and supported by Christ.

At the end of the service, Benediction is given. At this point the Priest will lift the monstrance and give a blessing with the consecrated host whilst bells are rung and incense rises. Before the service our Vice Principal read the following from Pope Benedict XVI, “In the Eucharist, the Son of God comes to meet us and desires to become one with us; Eucharistic adoration is simply the natural consequence of the Eucharistic celebration, which is itself the Church’s supreme act of adoration”.

The Eucharist is such a central part of my Christian life, and has been since I was quite young, and so I feel that I can relate deeply to the words of Pope Benedict. When I am at a Eucharist or a service of Adoration and Benediction, that tangible feeling of Christ being with us, physically present among those who sit before Him, is so moving, so healing, so strengthening… it is a moment in which I feel closest to Christ, more able to pray, more focused.

Training for Ordained ministry is wonderful yet challenging; I am often reminded that we can “do all things through Christ who strengthens” us (Philippians 4:13) and I am never reminded of that more than at the Eucharist or in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament at Adoration and Benediction.  

Blessed and praised be Jesus Christ, in the most Holy Sacrament.

Hannah Mary Richardson, Ely Diocese

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