The Practice and Its Context
Eucharistic adoration may be performed both when the Eucharist is exposed for viewing, and when it is not. In the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, the Eucharist is displayed in a monstrance, typically placed on an altar, at times with a light focused on it, or with candles flanking it. The exposition usually occurs in the context of a service of Benediction or similar service of devotions to the Blessed Sacrament. Exposition also takes place in the context of "perpetual adoration", where specific people attend the exposition for a certain period of time, 24 hours a day.
The adoration may also take place when the Eucharist is not exposed but left in a ciborium, which is likewise placed on an altar or in an enclosed tabernacle so that the faithful may pray in its presence without the need for volunteers to be in constant attendance (as must be the case when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed).
Official Catholic teachings consider the exposition and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament an important practice which "stimulates the faithful to an awareness of the marvelous presence of Christ and is an invitation to spiritual communion with Him."
In many cases Eucharistic adoration is performed by each person for an uninterrupted hour known as the Holy Hour. The inspiration for the Holy Hour is Matthew 26:40 when in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before his crucifixion, Jesus asks Peter: "So, could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?".
While psalms, readings and devotional music may be performed during Eucharistic adoration, in many Roman Catholic churches this is rarely done and silent contemplation and reflection is the focus of adoration. Pope John Paul II would spend many hours in silent Eucharistic adoration and stated that the practice provides contact with the "very wellspring of grace".
Ever since the Protestant Reformation, Protestants have criticized Eucharistic adoration, some considering it a form of idolatry. Adoration may be seen as the abrogation of the command to adore God alone, as commanded in Leviticus, but see Biblical law in Christianity. Those who see the matter this way, see the adoration of any other objects, including the sacred instruments of Christ's Grace, as idolatry. Catholics contend that it cannot be idolatry because Christ, whole and entire, is present in the Eucharist.
Read more about this topic: Visit To The Blessed Sacrament
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