Eucharistic adoration, Holy Hour, Eucharistic processions etc. are traditional Eucharistic devotions which are associated only with Catholic church. If the meaning of the word “ Emmanuel” is “God is with us”, then it was the will of God that this Eucharistic Devotion should be spread all over the world very fast. Because Holy Eucharist is nothing but GOD WITH US. “And in deed, what great nation has its Gods as near as Yahweh our God is to us whenever we call to him?” (Deut. 4:7). It is a special grace given to Catholic church that with our naked eyes we see our God without fear and talk to Him face to face. “I will be with you till the end of times”(Mt. 28: 20) Lord intervened and strengthened the Church in different ways from age to age. Likewise this devotion also was formed in the church in the beginning of the Christianity and later became very strong. At the beginning of the Church the Eucharistic devotion was not given so much significance. Moreover it was viewed suspiciously. Such type of action is equal to ignore the Word of God “They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness”( (Lam 3:23). Many traditions and customs prevalent in present day church are being formed during the intermediate period and being devoutly followed by the Church. The devotion towards Holy Eucharist is the greatest truth revealed when the Spirit of God led the Church to the fullness of truth (Jn: 16:13) .
- Eucharistic Devotion – Old Testament.
Since Old Testament time, it was believed that Lord liked to live in the tabernacle “And have them make me a sanctuary, so that I may dwell among them” (Exo: 25:8). Because of this, it was made possible for God’s presence to be with the Israelites wherever they went. It was His promise and He is faithful to His promise. “I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go” (Josh 1:9). God led Israelites by Moses through this tabernacle. Lord commanded Moses “There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the covenant, I will deliver to you all my commands for the Israelites” (Exo: 25: 22). Moses and all other leaders after him used to come to this Holy Presence of God during pain, suffering, loneliness or whenever important decisions were to be taken. God gave instructions and solved all their problems from this abode of God’s grace “Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp; he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the LORD would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp” (Exo.33:7. Lord spoke to Moses from this tent of Holy Presence that “Moses said to the LORD, “See, you have said to me, ‘Bring up this people’; but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight” (Exo: 33:12) After seeing the devotion of Joshua towards the tent of Holy presence, Moses must have said “On that day I will surely hide my face on account of alla the evil they have done by turning to other gods”( Deu: 31:8). The devotion mentioned in the Old Testament towards the Tent of God’s Presence , the experience of God, His promises and instructions are equal to the present day devotion of Holy Eucharist.
In the Old Testament if it was the things which represented the presence of God kept in the tabernacle, whereas in the New Testament God Himself comes down to abide with us. So the meaning of Eucharist means God is with us. By this way the prophesy that He will be called Emmanuel i.e God is with us is fulfilled.
2.Euchasitic Devotion – New Testament
We see a Lord, who wanted to abide with His people in Old Testament and in New Testament also he likes to continue to abide with His people. Lord Jesus took His disciples along with Him wherever he went. But He did not take anyone along with Him during His painful way of the Cross. But after His death and resurrection, He went to His disciples first. And at last before departing from this earth, He said “And teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age”( Mt. 28: 20) which became the basis for the devotion to Holy Eucharist.
3. The institution of the Holy Eucharist
The Lord who created the world through His word said “This is my body, this is my blood”. Is it not possible to the Lord who created the whole world through His word to change mere bread and wine in to His own Body and Blood? The authority which our Lord Jesus had given to His disciples is still flowing to the descendants of the disciples’ i.e Pope and Bishops. The same Word, when uttered with the authority, the miracle is happening today also, i.e the bread and wine turn in to Body & Blood of our Lord. What a great divine mercy!
4. Holy Eucharist – promise of Lord Jesus
Jesus said “I will not abandon you, I will come back to you”. The meaning of this is that even after leaving this world , He never likes to leave us alone as orphans. He likes to be with us. During the Old Testament period if it is the tent of the Holy presence where those who were suffering and carrying heavy loads used to unload their burdens and relaxed, in New Testament it is the tabernacle where the Lord who said “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Mt.11:28) is living and consoling everyone.
5. There is only one thing is needed.
Once Lord came to the house of Martha and Mary and Mary sat at the feet of Jesus to listening to His word, whereas Martha was busy about so many things and complained against Mary. Jesus said “But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things”( Lk.10-41). To sit in the presence of the Lord is the best thing and Mary selected the same . God’s presence will be filled with those who are ready to spend time in the presence of the Lord, and it will not be taken away from them. This is what He meant when He said “it will not be taken away from her”.
Parents can not live with out their children, a loving husband can not live without his loving wife, and even domestic animals can not live with out their masters. They become upset if they are not together. If this is the case of sinners and soulless animals, what would be the case of our loving Almighty God, how much more, He would wish to be with His creations. He not only wished, but found a solution for that also, that is the “Holy Eucharist” Praise be to God.