With all the shouting, cheering, flag-waving, and other wonderful types of chaos that typically unfold at a Catholic youth conferences, it’s sometimes nice to take a step back and quiet our hearts and minds. Steubenville’s sweetest and most spiritual moments are often the ones spent in quiet reverence.
Adoration at Steubenville Mid-America is the ultimate reverent experience. As Fr. Chris Martin summed up in the Saturday morning Mass, “In adoration, we sit before the Word made flesh, the one who speaks about what it means to be an authentic man, and an authentic woman.”
While the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, praise takes flight in the silence of hundreds of praying individuals. For a moment, we are no longer just youths and chaperones worshipping at Missouri State University. We are part of the never ending choir of saints and angels in Heaven. It is both beautiful and uplifting to see countless teens–some rock solid in their faith, others just coming to realize God’s love– bow in front of the altar. St. Teresa of Avila once said we partake in Adoration to “converse with You, oh King of Glory…face-to-face.”
To many, the thought of Jesus as a physical presence can be daunting. Plenty are astonished to think that the same Jesus who bled for our sins on the cross is the same Jesus who resides in the Eucharist. However as we come as a community of brothers and sisters to experience Adoration, we encounter the true Lamb of God walking among us.
Jesus understands our hunger and thirst and offers us the Bread of Life to satisfy all desires. While the priest starts Mass with only flat bread and cheap wine, we end up with the love and power of God made tangible. Through the Eucharist we gain eternity. Through Adoration we show our thanks and devotion. It’s a moving moment. The presence of the Eucharist transforms the coldness of our hearts into a fire of love and gratitude.
So with all the singing, selfie-taking and free hugs going on this weekend, let’s fall back to our knees and remember that Jesus gives the best hugs of all-ones that overcome our pain and anxieties until our souls are truly limitless.