Before All Else, the Eucharist (Part 2)
Interview With Organizer of Adoratio 2011
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TOULON, France, MARCH 6, 2011 (Zenit.org).- When a parish establishes perpetual adoration program, it creates "an uninterrupted chain of prayer and intercession" that unceasingly raises the whole heart of the parish to the Lord, says the founder of the French clerical association of the Missionaries of the Most Holy Eucharist.
To this end, Father Racine, along with Bishop Dominique Rey of Fréjus-Toulon, has announced Adoratio 2011: From Adoration to Evangelization, an international conference on eucharistic adoration in Rome, which will take place June 20-23.
The three-day event will include 14 conferences, workshops, the celebration of Mass in the ordinary and extraordinary forms, all-night adoration and the divine office. It will conclude by joining with Benedict XVI in his celebration of the solemnity of Corpus Christi at the Basilica of St. John Lateran and the eucharistic procession to the Basilica of St. Mary Major.
Among those slated to speak include Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments; Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo, Sri Lanka, and former secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments; Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace; Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect of the Apostolic Signature; Cardinal Francis Arinze, retired prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments; and Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy.
In Part 2 of this interview, Father Racine discusses the benefits of adoration for parishes, and his own personal reasons for having dedicated his life to promoting this devotion.
Part 1 of this interview appeared Friday.
Q: On the conference Web site, the first phrase is one taken from Pope John Paul II in which he says: "In order to evangelize the world, we need experts in celebration, adoration and contemplation of the Holy Eucharist." In what way is eucharistic adoration missionary?
Father Racine: It is missionary in so far as, to borrow again two verbs of Benedict XVI, eucharistic adoration permits me to "prolong" and "intensify" that which is celebrated at the Mass. It permits me to live intensely the grace of the Eucharist which "makes the Church" and which makes the Church grow. The more I live from the Eucharist, the more I love the Church and the more I commit myself to the mission the Church proposes to me.
Q: The theme of the conference is: "From Adoration to Evangelization." Adoration pushes the adorer to "let go" and let the Lord act more powerfully through him, thus entering into a renewed trust in him. Does this mean that the new evangelization requires us to let go of our own personal visions in order to enter into a new vision, ever renewed by the Spirit?
Father Racine: Yes, the contemplation of the face of Christ helps me to re-center my life on him. Before the Blessed Sacrament I am led to say, like the young Samuel: "Speak Lord your servant is listening" and not, "Listen Lord your servant is speaking!" It is a school of silence in which I let Jesus speak to my heart.
In adoration, I listen and discover the will of God for me. In fact, I receive not only the understanding of his will but also the grace to accomplish it in my life. Too often Christians have the tendency to become absorbed by many different works, which in themselves are good, but which remain inspired by their own will and not the will of the Lord. The Eucharist de-centers me from myself in order to re-center me on Christ and his word.
Q: You are the organizer of this conference as the founder of the Missionaries of the Most Holy Eucharist. What do you believe to be the charism that you have been given to serve the universal Church?
Father Racine: We are available to help the pastors or bishops organize times of permanent adoration in their parishes or dioceses. Following on from the desire of Benedict XVI ("Sacramentum Caritatis," No. 67) to see emerging places of continuous adoration, Cardinal Hummes in a document from the Congregation for Clergy in 2007, asked that there be established at least one place of perpetual adoration in each diocese or large town, in order to obtain the following graces: the sanctification of the clergy, to make reparation for the faults of the clergy and also for new vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
The cardinal speaks of a grace of "spiritual maternity" for a community that adores the Blessed Sacrament day and night. Jesus is the Bridegroom and the adoring community becomes the Bride. In this divine marriage sealed in the New Covenant of the Eucharist, the community gives birth to vocations for the Church. In other words, vocations are obtained on our knees before the Blessed Sacrament.
So we try to help Christian communities organize a continuous adoration. During the course of a weekend of preaching we invite the parishioners to commit themselves to a weekly hour of adoration. Then we form a little team of organizers who oversee the replacement of adorers who will be absent and the maintenance of adoration over time.
Q: Do you have an example of a place of perpetual adoration which has born fruit in vocations to the priesthood and religious life?
Father Racine: With our help Bishop Marc Aillet, of the Diocese of Bayonne, France, recently established two places of perpetual adoration in his diocese, one in Bayonne, the other in Pau. He said to the adorers in these two chapels that thanks to their prayer the Lord had given the diocese around 15 new seminarians! Bishops in the United States give similar testimonies.
Q: You are the founder of the Missionaries of the Most Holy Eucharist, which is a new clerical association erected by Bishop Rey of the diocese of Fréjus-Toulon on July 17, 2007. In these past few years how have you seen the Lord act?
Father Racine: The Lord has acted in letting us exist and grow. We have four seminarians, a deacon and three priests, with a team of lay people who also participate in our missions. Every time we are invited to a parish we are always astonished to see how well, in spite of the difficulties, things get organised and continue to endure over time. There is always a little sign from the Virgin Mary. She prepares these missions and helps us to accomplish them. We are convinced that Mary invites her children to come and adore Her Son present in the Eucharist.
Q: How can parishes be renewed by Eucharistic Adoration?
Father Racine: This renewal is brought about through the numerous fruits and graces of eucharistic adoration, but first of all there is a grace of unity. Eucharistic adoration unites the different parish realities. We also observe the grace of vocations. Occasionally there are people who enter the priesthood or the religious life but very frequently there are lay people who commit themselves to the parish with much generosity. Adoration renews zeal for the Mass and for sacramental confession. In praying before the Blessed Sacrament, adorers receive the divine light which illuminates the conscience so as to better live the sacramental life of the Church.
A pastor once gave a testimony on how adoration nourishes and fortifies the faith of his parishioners: "The Lord has always answered the prayers of the adorers and he continues to do so. The Chapel of Adoration has been a true ‘foyer of prayer’ for several years. Our Christian community is filled. I believe that perpetual adoration is the most noble and yet the most easy accomplishment of my life as a priest. The benefits are so numerous and the effort is so minimal on my part. The best thing I can do for my parishioners is to help them grow spiritually. [...] Perpetual adoration makes Jesus present at all times, for each and every person. He is really there in person for each one of us."
Q: And you personally, how has Eucharistic Adoration changed your life?
Father Racine: I studied to be an engineer in Paris and then I went over to Texas. During a trip to Mexico, in front of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I received my call to become a priest. I returned to Houston where I was working at the time and there I met a lady who desired to have perpetual adoration in her parish. At the end of each Mass, she would approach a different parishioner to speak to him or her about the infinite love of Jesus in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is not a thing but a Person! The Eucharist is a Heart that loves us and has a thirst to be loved by us in return. I began to participate in adoration over there and I discovered the grace of permanent adoration. An adorer from Texas said to me that for him perpetual adoration was like being on a great cruise ship. Day and night one can hear the noise of the engine which propels the boat forward. Through permanent adoration there is always somebody before the true spiritual engine of our parishes: Jesus in the Eucharist.
When the people of Israel fought against the Amalekites, Moses interceded before God, raising up his hands in prayer to obtain the victory from the Lord. But then he grew weary and he had to ask Aaron and Hur to help him to hold up his arms. They did and God gave a total victory to his People. For us also, in perpetual adoration there is always somebody before the Lord, in an uninterrupted chain of prayer and intercession, so that the whole heart of the parish is unceasingly raised up to the Lord. And God will give the total victory to his People, the Church: That is to say, his light and mercy will scatter the darkness in our hearts and in our world. That is the reason why I chose to commit myself to this mission.
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On ZENIT’s Web page:
Part 1: www.zenit.org/article-31926?l=english
On the Net:
For more information: www.adoratio2011.com