- Ed The Protestant
First Time At A Eucharistic Adoration
I'm Ed The Protestant. Greg Smith (creator of Considering Catholicism) has invited me to not only consider the Catholic faith, but to record our (already ongoing) conversations for his podcast. If you're a Protestant considering Catholicism, I invite you to listen and consider.
Before I started my walk into Catholicism, I would have made fun of an Adoration Service, or at least been 'dismissive with prejudice'. Things have changed.
Several weeks before this writing, I attended a traveling display of eucharistic miracles at Greg's church. As I walked around looking at the presentations of these miracles, I was thinking, "Do I belong to all this now?" It stretched me to read about all these, some of them frankly a little weird and hard to believe. Following that, I headed into a side room, a small chapel, for a few minutes at the Eucharistic Adoration. If you're a Protestant reading this; the priest consecrates a wafer (the host), which Catholics believe is then the actual body of Christ. They display it in a room, and you go in, basically, to adore it--because it's actually God.
I'd been instructed to kneel at the end of the aisle before I sat down, and then again as I left. I felt like everyone was staring at me. I thought I'd be outed as a fake Catholic. I had no idea what to do.
There were a few people in the chapel, some praying or meditating. One woman was writing in a journal. There was a little container up front, a sort of starburst thing, which I assumed contained the consecrated host. I had trouble letting go of my intellect, which was telling me that we were just sitting in a room with a wafer and getting all weird about it. It's one thing to believe that the communion elements have been turned into Jesus' body and blood, and another to sit in a room with it and see it as God. I prayed and thought.
It had already been a day of firsts for me. When I'd walked into the lobby of the church an hour earlier, Greg asked the priest, who was standing and chatting, to bless my Rosary beads. Then Greg gave me a crucifix he'd brought back from the Vatican. The crucifix had been blessed by the Pope.
When I'd gone through all this, we recorded a podcast. Greg wanted to capture my first impressions of it all, but I felt like I wasn't doing a good job of explaining what I thought. Mostly because I wasn't really thinking about it at all--I was feeling it. I was trying it all on for the first time. It wasn't that I don't believe in miracles--of course I do. You can't be a Christian and not believe in miracles, starting with Jesus being conceived by the Holy Spirit. But this was all new, and my approach to God was, after all these years, undergoing yet another adjustment.
I Sat in my Jeep in the parking lot afterward, my heart rate and breathing a little elevated. I spent years helping craft church services that would make people feel comfortable, help them overcome their misgivings and fears, and now I was the one facing a new, unfamiliar approach to God. But here's the thing: they weren't trying to make me comfortable. I really just love that.