We adore you, Lord Jesus Christ,
here and in all churches in the whole world
and praise you
because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world .
Testament St. Francis
We invite each member to consciously integrate adoration into the spirituality of the individual and community, realizing that each one’s adoration participates in the perpetual adoration of the Congregation.
(General Chapter Statement 2009)
Spiritual Sharing about Adoration
Adoration was for Francis a constant receiving and offering. All over, in every place, in every hour … (RegNb 23,11) he saw the loving and redeeming presence of God in all creatures, in the Eucharist, in Scripture and in the face of each person. Everywhere the lively presence of God invited him to praise and to concretely imitate Christ in his daily life. Adoration became the center of his life and nothing was excluded even when it was in the disfigured face of a leper. As God out of love not only listened to the cries of the people, not only sent prophets, but also became human in the person of Jesus to express God’s abundant love, in the same way Francis wanted to make God present in the world. He united himself so much in love with Christ that he was drawn to the poorest (vgl. RegNb 9, 2), became bread for the others and a brother in compassion with all.
Adoration was for Mother M. Clara not only the attraction and the life giving exchange with her beloved present in receiving the Eucharist and gazing at the host, but it also nourished her mission for abandoned children, the poor and the sick. This becomes obvious when Mother M. Clara writes surprisingly about the works of Charity in the Founding Constitutions in the chapter about Adoration (FC Nr. 52). Adoration was the source of her inspiration in all she held and did, and gave her courage to find new ways. It was the breath of life for her soul, whether in adoration before the monstrance, or in conversation with her Sisters, or in attending to the needs of others. For Mother M. Clara adoration animated all of life, and was in every fiber of her being. It was from this that she became as Christ in his devotion to the Father, especially during the time of her exile from the community and her abandonment.
If we would now let Francis and Mother Clara speak, they probably would have a lot more to say about adoration or they would invite us to kneel in silence before the Mystery. (Sr. M. Magdalena Schmitz)
A Reflection on “Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament”
by Sr Mary Ellen McAleese
There’s a deep place within me that appreciates the traditional form of Adoration…being present with the Blessed Sacrament exposed and when time allows, I do spend time in that Presence.
However, these times take on an even deeper meaning and bring me to a life that becomes one of LIVED ADORATION when I can live in the now moment. It happens something like this:
When I am PRESENT in the PRESENT…
I am PRESENT to THE PRESENCE...
And I become PRESENT as A PRESENCE...
This is PERPETUAL ADORATION…
I find some confirmation of this practice in the words of M. Clara in our Founding Constitution, pp.92-93. … “perpetual adoration is the breath of life which the Body of Jesus Christ, the Church, should breathe through her members unceasingly.” and another… “a transfer of devotion to the Blessed Sacrament should be found in the area of the practical life of the Sisters, specifically in that they apply themselves with greater love and holy zeal according to the measure of their adoration."
A Reflection on “Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament”
By Sr Georgene L. Wilson
As Franciscans we believe with St. Francis and Clare of Assisi that we live, breathe and have our being in the circle of the Trinity’s extravagant love which is always expanding with passion and compassion. This love of God for all creatures, with no exceptions, took on flesh and blood in human presence as Jesus, who showed us how to live, relate and die in union with Divine Love. This loving presence, as Jesus promised, remains always with us as The Christ. This is how we name the Mystery of the Incarnation. This is the Christ that Francis and Clare perceived in themselves and in each creature that they engaged. This is the Christ of whom they desired to become a living remembrance by their way of life.
This Mystery of Christ ever-present among us and in all creation became sacramentalized by the historical and developing Christian Church in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Over the centuries Catholics came to call this presence THE BLESSED SACRAMENT. And, they believed, as we do today, that in consuming the Blessed Sacrament we become the living presence of Christ Jesus in our own beings and for our own times. Through this way of being the Christ we rebuild the Reign of God’s love, presence, passion and compassion among all creatures.
I believe that this is what our Foundress, Mother Clara Pfaender, believed and desired to live. It is this ever-present Christ, who is always revealing the Love of the Trinity for all creatures, who M. Clara wanted her sisters to become: A living presence of Light among all in darkness. In this way of being her sisters would live and serve. And so, in the spiritual deepening of becoming the Christ, M. Clara’s sisters rebuild the Reign of God. One way to instill such desire in her sisters’ hearts was to name that the charism and ministry of The Franciscan Sisters, Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary would be rooted in the spiritual practice of Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
At our congregational founding time, the ways of the church and of the German national and ecclesial climate sorely limited the practice of receiving the Blessed Sacrament frequently during the Eucharistic Liturgy. There was wide-spread thinking that non-clerical people were unworthy of such daily reception, save for the celebrations of important ecclesial named feast days. This is one reason why many of the foundresses of those times named many saints as the patrons of their congregations. In doing so they were cleverly setting forth many feast days. This allowed their sisters to be present at Mass and to receive the Eucharist more often.
During these times the one practice that was always available for the reception of the Blessed Sacrament, the Christ Presence, was what is called “ocular communion”. This is the practice of looking at, gazing at, the reserved Eucharist which is reverence in the monstrance. This became the ordinary, daily way of receiving the Eucharist: by gazing into the Holy Presence. M. Clara wanted her sisters to be in the presence of Christ at all times, perpetually. This, she believed, would be the spiritual practice and way that they could be nourished and sustained by the love of God, the Wisdom of Christ and the courage of the Holy Spirit. By the practice of Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament she and the sisters would receive the graces needed to discern whom they would serve and how they would minister among the peoples of their times and among all creatures of Earth.
Perpetual adoration of the Christ is an expression of our congregational charism. In and through faithfulness to this spiritual practice we come to know what the Trinity is asking of us as “queens of love”, to quote M Clara in our original constitutions. When come to insight about what is ours to do at this time, we can then share the gifts received from God with others. Today, in the richness of the church’s wisdom, we now, unlike in the beginning, have many ways available to live out this spiritual practice of perpetual adoration. We can sit in the Loving Presence of the Blessed Sacrament and meditate on what Christ is asking of us and how it is that we might make possible the rebuilding of the Reign of God. We might choose to practice perpetual adoration by blessing the Christ Light in all that life presents in our personal and social lives and return blessings. We might practice this spiritual ritual by gazing into the heart of each person and creature that we encounter and by noticing the Christic presence in the one before us. Our growth in a consciousness of allowing the Trinity to form us into our true and beloved selves, will contribute to the rebuilding of the Reign of God now, on Earth as it is in heaven.
With M. Clara Pfaender, I pray that we will be faithful to the practice of our charism of perpetual adoration in the many ways that God is still creating among us.
May this be so among us, now and forevermore!