...Notwithstanding Pope Benedict XVI's personal endorsement of eucharistic adoration and the sporadic restoration of the practice in the archdiocese of Boston and elsewhere, it is difficult to speak favorably about the devotion today.
Now that most Catholics are literate and even well-educated, the Mass is in the language of the people (i.e, the vernacular), and its rituals are relatively easy to understand and follow, there is little or no need for extraneous eucharistic devotions. The Mass itself provides all that a Catholic needs sacramentally and spiritually.
Eucharistic adoration, perpetual or not, is a doctrinal, theological, and spiritual step backward, not forward...
Now I think it is a real shame that Father Richard McBrien wrote this article. He apparently wrote it in response to a recent report of Perpetual Adoration returning to the Archdiocese of Boston. Is it also a coincidence that he wrote it during the Year of the Priest?
The following are quotes by St. John Marie Vianny, the patron saint of priests and the patron saint of this jubilee year of the priest. As you can see that Curé d'Ars had a lot to say about Eucharistic Adoration.
"I throw myself at the foot of the Tabernacle like a dog at the foot of his Master."Quote source
"Every Consecrated Host is made to burn Itself up with love in a human heart,"
"When we speak to Jesus with simplicity and with all our heart, He does like a mother who holds her child's head with her hands and covers it with kisses and caresses." (on adoring Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament)
"What happiness do we not feel in the Presence of God, when we are alone at His feet... Redouble your fervor; you are alone to adore your God; His eyes rest upon you alone,"
"When Our Lord sees pure souls coming to visit Him in the Blessed Sacrament He smiles on them. They come with the simplicity that pleases Him so much."
"The interior life is like a sea of love in which the soul is plunged and is, as it were, drowned in love."
"When you awake in the night, transport yourself quickly in spirit before the Tabernacle, saying: 'Behold, my God, I come to adore You, to praise, thank, and love you, and to keep you company with all the Angels.' "
"The many wonders of creation can only fill us with astonishment and admiration. But when we speak of the most holy Eucharist we can say that here is to be found the miracle of divine love for us.... Has there been, or will there ever be, a nobler or more magnanimous love than that which He has shown us in the sacrament of love?"
"Without the Holy Eucharist there would be no happiness in this world; life would be insupportable. When we receive Holy Communion, we receive our joy and our happiness. The good God, wishing to give Himself to us in the Sacrament of His Love, gave us a vast and great desire, which He alone can satisfy. In the presence of this beautiful Sacrament, we are like a person dying of thirst by the side of a river — he would only need to bend his head; like a person still remaining poor, close to a great treasure — he need only stretch out his hand. He who communicates loses himself in God like a drop of water in the ocean. They can no more be separated."
"What does Jesus Christ do in the Eucharist? It is God who, as our Savior, offers himself each day for us to his Father's justice. If you are in difficulties and sorrows, he will comfort and relieve you. If you are sick, he will either cure you or give you strength to suffer so as to merit Heaven. If the devil, the world, and the flesh are making war upon you, he will give you the weapons with which to fight, to resist, and to win victory. If you are poor, he will enrich you with all sorts of riches for time and eternity. Let us open the door of his sacred and adorable Heart, and be wrapped about for an instant by the flames of his love, and we shall see what a God who loves us can do. O my God, who shall be able to comprehend?"
"If we really loved the good God, we should make it our joy and happiness to come and spend a few moments to adore Him, and ask Him for the grace of forgiveness; and we should regard those moments as the happiest of our lives." on Adoration of Jesus in the Most the Blessed Sacrament)
"If we could comprehend all the good things contained in Holy Communion, nothing more would be wanting to content the heart of man. The miser would run no more after his treasures, or the ambitious after glory; each would shake off the dust of the earth, leave the world, and fly away towards heaven."
"When we are before the Blessed Sacrament, instead of looking about us, let us shut our eyes and open our hearts; and the good God will open his. We will go to him, and he will come to us, the one to give, and the other to receive. It will be like a breath passing from one to the other. What delight we find in forgetting ourselves that we may seek God!"
"Jesus Christ, after having given us all he could give, that is to say, the merit of his toils, his sufferings, and bitter death; after having given us his adorable body and blood to be the food of our souls, willed also to give us the most precious thing he had let, which was his holy Mother."
"What happiness do we not feel in the presence of God, when we find ourselves alone at his feet, before the holy tabernacle! … 'Come, my soul, redouble your ardor! You are here alone to adore your God! His look rests on you alone!' Ah! if we only had the angels' eyes! Seeing our Lord Jesus Christ here, on that altar, and looking at us, how we should love him! We should want to stay always at his feet; it would be a foretaste of heaven; everything else would become insipid to us."
It would be so easy to criticize Fr. McBrien for leading away the flock from a devotion that would heal so many wounds in the human heart, but instead I am adding him to the list of priests I pray for daily and I pray that through the intercession of St. John Vianney Father McBrien's heart and eyes will be open to keeping Jesus company in Eucharistic Adoration.