Dear Brothers and Sisters of St. Andrew the Apostle,
If God is omnipotent and God is perfect love, why does evil exist? Not just moral evil, but physical evil such as tsunamis, tornados, and earthquakes? St. Augustine, and later St. Thomas Aquinas, tell us that it is because of God's omnipotence and goodness that we can make sense of evil. Evil is a lack of goodness. It is not so much a thing that is but the absence of a thing. God, in His infinite goodness and power, permits evil to exist because He, and He alone, can bring a good out of it. Were there no good to come from evil, God would not allow it.
Very often, we do not get to see the good. In some cases, it is hard to imagine that good can come, such as the incomprehensible evil that led to the tragedy of the Holocaust. How can this bring about good? Many times, it can only be believed as a matter of faith. Perhaps we have suffered from evil in our lives that has resulted in much pain and suffering, and we cannot see the presence of good at all.
In such cases, we pray for healing and we patiently wait. Jesus promises all of us crosses, but the crosses are meant for our sanctification. We must embrace them and carry them in faith. This is how they redeem us. This is how they sanctify us.
Sometimes, in his generosity, God shows us how he brings evil out of good. I can look back at times as a priest when terrible family tragedies have led people back to their faith, for they were searching for the hope that they know existed in their souls. I remember when financial and medical issues of a loved one led individuals to be generous beyond a point where they felt comfortable, but that sacrificial giving revealed to them that they had much more to give to God and his service than they ever thought. I know of times when terrible injustices have led people to a depth of forgiveness that they never would have faced otherwise.
Here at St. Andrew's, it's easy to recognize another situation when a time of suffering has led to a good: the addition of extended hours of Eucharistic Adoration. When public Masses were suspended and our school students went to distance learning, I added Eucharistic Adoration to our daily schedule as a means to add prayerful union with Our Lord when so many were feeling isolated with the suspension of public Mass.
Eucharistic Adoration was a significant part of my discernment and before entering the seminary, a vital aspect of my time of formation for the priesthood, and a necessary component of my union with Jesus Christ the High Priest as I live out my priesthood in him.
In Eucharistic Adoration, we place ourselves in the presence of Jesus Christ, who we find in Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Holy Sacrament. While we know that we can pray to the Holy Trinity wherever we are, we are comforted knowing that when we kneel before him in the Eucharist, he is there in our midst. We are assured of his Real Presence. We know that we are resting with him, gazing at him in the Blessed Sacrament as he gazes back at us.
Currently, we begin Eucharistic Adoration in the Holy Family Chapel starting at the conclusion of the 8:45 AM Mass from Monday through Friday. It continues all day until 9:00 PM Mass on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. On Thursday we move Adoration to the main church beginning at 5:30 PM, when we begin Confessions. We repose the Eucharist for the 7:00 PM Mass and then expose Our Lord again after the Mass until 9:00 PM. On Friday, we repose Our Eucharistic Lord at 7:00 PM.
It is my desire to keep this schedule of Eucharistic Adoration, but I need the help of adorers. We cannot leave Our Lord exposed without the faithful praying before him and for the sake of those who adore we need to have two people present at all times in case an emergency calls one of the adorers away. At the present time, we have a difficult time keeping this schedule because we do not have two adorers committed to all of the times on the schedule.
Many people each week enjoy stopping by the chapel to pray, which is a blessing for those who do so and for the parish as a whole. Any time we spend before Our Lord is a blessing for all of us here at St. Andrew the Apostle. However, many of those who stop by to pray do not commit to a specific time and therefore it is unknown whether there will be someone there or not until they arrive.
Therefore, I make my plea for adorers to commit to regular times of Adoration so that we can be assured that Jesus is worshipped and adored in the Eucharist for all of the scheduled hours. This would include those who prefer to stop by unscheduled and those who have not yet made a habit of this fruitful and beautiful time of prayer. I know not everyone is able to schedule their time because of their busy lives or because they cannot commit to a full hour, but I am also sure that there are many others who can.
To see where there are openings in the schedule, please go to our online sign-up sheet. To commit to a time several days beforehand would be the most helpful.
I thank Sharon Sheehy for her work in organizing the adorers and encouraging others to participate. I also thank those of you who consistently commit to spending time in Adoration each week. I truly believe that the Lord is calling more parishioners of St. Andrew and the surrounding parishes to spend this time with him for the transformation and sanctification of our souls. Therefore, if you are currently now taking advantage of this great gift, I ask you to prayerfully consider committing to an hour a week so that we can keep this generous schedule of Eucharistic Adoration available. It is never wasted time when we spend it with Our Lord.
Be assured of my prayers for all of you. May Jesus Christ continue to draw us closer to him each and every day that we may know the peace, joy, and healing he desires for all of us.