Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28).
Ever heard of resting in the spirit? OK … that’s not really what I meant by rest, but according to a study by Dr. Herbert Benson of the Harvard Medical School, people who pray enter a “relaxation response”. The body’s metabolism decreases, the heart rate slows, blood pressure goes down, and our breath becomes calmer and more regular. Our body responds to the state of our soul in the presence of God.
We’re so used to doing. When we’re with him in his presence, we need only be. He simply asks us to just exist before him. We don’t have to pray a certain way. We don’t have to say the right, holy thing. We just need to be, and he will take care of the rest. Are you in need of that rest?
Whatever your struggle may be or the long to-do list you have, his presence is always more important. We are constantly moving from one thing to the next. His presence helps us to refocus our minds on what is true, good, and beautiful. We will be best at what we’re supposed to do when we take time to let him reorient our mind. It’s kind of ironic, many times I think I don’t have time to go adoration because of all the busyness and things I need get done. In reality, his presence is exactly what I need to get through the day.
According to Dr. Carroline Leaf, “It has been found that…prayer increases activity in brain areas associated with social interaction, compassion, and sensitivity to others. It also increases frontal lobe activity as focus and intentionality increase.” You actually become a more focused, all-around better person when you choose to take time to pray. And how much more will His true presence in the Eucharist re-center our lives if we let Him?
One of the most life-changing moments I’ve had encountering the Lord in the Eucharist was a few summers back when I was singing at a Franciscan University youth conference, specifically during the eucharistic procession. There was a girl in the audience whose severe medical condition and intense back pain made her incapable of walking for long periods of time. This had been a problem for several years and all the doctors she went to were unable to cure her. While the Eucharist was going around the room, it stopped right before her and she was instantly healed.
At the end of the weekend, she got up on stage and told everyone how Jesus healed her and I was astonished. Her faith in the true presence of Christ before her not only healed her soul, but it manifested in her physical body! These healings are still happening today. And even more important are healings of the soul.
"I don't do the things I ought."
St. Paul was right. Jesus is waiting to give life and restoration to body and soul in the sacrament, but sometimes we would rather find just about anything else to fill our time. He longs to be food for our souls and even our bodies. When we soak in the presence of God, we are made whole. Worshipping him in adoration and receiving him in the Eucharist, “All of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord…are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
We are members of the Body of the Christ and we are a part of him. When we go to adoration we are not only present to Christ, but we are present to the truest version of ourselves. And so humbly, I urge you to go to adoration to become Christ for others. Become who you are created to be, become the broken bread for the broken world!