It is at the altar that, in order to console the sufferings of our exile, Jesus offers us a manna more appealing than that of the desert; there that He gives us His flesh to eat and His blood to drink; there that He becomes present in such a way within our soul, His heart speaking to us with all of its affection, and bringing our own hearts to beat with His.
– Blessed Basil Moreau, Sermon on the Sacred Heart
Among young men who have entered the seminary, there is a recurring theme that frequent attendance at Mass – daily if possible – was an essential aid in their discernment. This comes as no surprise given that the vocations of priesthood and religious life find their source and summit in the Most Holy Eucharist – a point of which Blessed Basil Moreau frequently reminded his spiritual sons.
Beyond simply attending Mass, however, it is important that we learn to pray with the Eucharist well, both in the Mass and in Eucharistic Adoration, so that we can reap the fullness of the graces possible in receiving and adoring our Lord, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity. In particular, through the Eucharist, we can build our faith, casting away fears and overcoming obstacles, by learning to surrender our lives to God and to be filled in turn by His life. In this way, we can let Christ bring our own hearts to beat in unison with His.
- Preparation – We read and meditate on the Scripture readings, coming to Mass prepared to listen actively and attentively during the Liturgy of the Word. We also review our previous week – graces and struggles, joys and sorrows – coming prepared to offer them to the Lord during the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
- Offertory – The gifts of bread and wine, besides being the Eucharistic elements, symbolize the gifts of our daily lives. As they are brought to the altar, we envision ourselves bringing our whole lives and placing them on the altar as well in sacrifice to God. This offering of our lives to God in the Eucharist, especially of our fears and doubts, empowers us to continue this offering throughout our daily lives.
- Communion – Having given our lives to God on the altar, in Holy Communion we receive in return the very life of God. This blessed exchange of our lives for God’s divine life increases our faith that, in handing over our lives to God in our vocations, we only stand to gain. This beautiful moment of union with God has been identified by the saints as a powerful time for prayer – to ask that our will be united ever more with God’s – but it is also a powerful time to listen to the Lord speaking in our hearts.
- Sending Forth – The Mass ends quickly after its apex with us being dismissed and sent forth “in peace to love and serve the Lord.” It is a powerful reminder that we are all called and sent by God and an important time to ask the Lord in faith: On what mission are You sending me?
The following are prayers from the Holy Cross Directory of Devotional Prayer to pray at different times during the Mass:
Prayer before Mass
Prayer after Holy Communion
The Eucharist is the Sacrament of God’s Love. Next to Holy Communion, prayer in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament is the greatest time for us to be heart-to-heart with God: to share what is on our hearts, to listen to the Lord in silence, and to grow in God’s Love, which is really present to us, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity.
The following are prayers from the Holy Cross Directory of Devotional Prayer that can be prayed during Eucharistic Adoration: