Faith in the Real Presence, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.
When I returned to the Church in 1972 pretty much only a few old ladies attended Eucharistic adoration - if a parish still had it. A couple of downtown churches still had exposition on either the First Friday of the month or in one case, every Friday, all day. I tried to spend most of the day there when I wasn't working. For most of the afternoon I would be one of maybe 3 other people.
I also tried to spend as much time near the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle in other churches and chapels. To my delight, I'd be completely alone. I favored the Newman Chapel at the University of Minnesota, because the tabernacle was in a closet with only space for one kneeler, and I could be alone. I couldn't understand why more people didn't spend more time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament - since he was really truly present.
Speaking about the arid waste of devotion - a full ten years later - Fr. Z explains the thinking in his time:
In the 1980’s we seminarians were informed with a superior sneer that, “Jesus said ‘Take and eat, not sit and look!’” Somehow, “looking” was opposed to “receiving”, “doing”. This same error is at the root of false propositions about “active participation”: if people aren’t constantly singing or carrying stuff they are “passive”.
After the Second Vatican Council, many liturgists (all but a few?) asserted that, because modern man is all grown up now, Eucharistic devotions are actually harmful rather than helpful. We mustn’t crawl in submission before God anymore. We won’t grovel in archaic triumphal processions or kneel as if before some king. We are urbane adults, not child-like peasants below a father or feudal master. We stand and take rather than kneel and receive.
How this lie has damaged our Catholic identity! Some details of society have changed like shifting sandbars, but man doesn’t change. God remains transcendent. We poor, fallen human beings need concrete things through which we can perceive invisible realities.
The bad old days of post-Conciliar denigration of wholesome devotional practices may linger, but the aging-hippie priests and liberal liturgists have lost most of their ground under the two-fold pincer of common sense and the genuine Catholic love people have for Jesus in the Eucharist. The customs of Corpus Christi processions, Forty Hours Devotion, and Eucharistic Adoration are returning in force. - WDTPRS
By the grace of my conversion, like Fr. Z, I knew that was totally wrong of course, and all the Popes, from Paul VI to Francis have affirmed and encouraged devotion to the Blessed Sacrament outside of Mass. Fr. Z and those priests like him, held to this faith as well. Younger people today have no idea what a complete desert the Church had become in those days - and how completely alone one could feel in the faith - combine that with trying to live a faithful, chaste and celibate life, and you will come to understand that it is grace alone, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist - who sustains and perfects our faith.
The Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ
Today the Holy Father conducted an hour of world-wide adoration - offering Jesus in the Blessed sacrament to the world, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. In my parish bulletin I came across this explanation of today's Solemnity - an echo of the errors from the not too distant past wherein liturgists desired to undo Catholic tradition which developed and enjoyed papal approval through the centuries:
What are the origins for the feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ,often referred to as Corpus Christi Sunday?
By the year 1000, the active participation of the laity at Mass was minimal. Most of the people did not receive Communion for a variety of reasons, especially the notion of unworthiness. A form of eucharistic spirituality that attempted to involve them developed, known as "ocular communion." It put forth the notion that eucharistic graces were received by merely looking at the host. Instead of physically partaking, one fervently looked at and adored the host.
Elevating the bread and wine at consecration dates to this period. The practiceof viewing the host outside of Mass developed into a devotion called Benediction,where the exposed host could be viewed and adored for a more extendedperiod of time. The request for even more time to view the host led to a devotionknown as Forty Hours, the exposition of the host for forty hours straight. By 1250,With the return to the full, conscious, and active participation at Mass by all,these devotions, while appropriate for their day and time, have lost some of their significance. They are still valid devotions, but only in relationship to the source and summit of our faith, the eucharistic celebration by the whole assembly.
© Liturgical Publications Inc
these devotions, while appropriate for their day and time, have lost some of their significance."
Perhaps the loss of significance is to be blamed on the way Mass has been celebrated, and the Eucharist has been treated - the emphasis being on the assembly as the body of Christ rather than on worship of God.
Just a thought. I suspect Pope Francis' emphasis today will aid in correcting any further misunderstanding.