From the time I was a seminarian, to now, I can remember new programs and movements coming in and out of parishes in the hope of some kind of renewal. You can probably list a number of them yourself. Some of them were/ are good and some of them were/ are bad, but all them have failed.
It seems that most programs and movements only give a temporary fix. Our churches fill up for a time and then empty again. Those of us who were involved in the Charismatic Renewal can remember the days when prayer groups had 400 people every week. The meetings would last for a few hours and some people would remain all night long if you let them. Those days have passed, and the few prayer groups that remain have dwindled to just a few people. Today’s prayer groups are considered a large if they have 15 to 20 people.
just read about National Youth Conference in Kansas City. The article highlighted the Eucharistic Procession through the street of Kansas City with 22,000 high school students. The sight of all of those young people processing through the streets with Jesus Christ is beyond words. I don know one thing, it was an very powerful witness to anyone who saw it. This is is how we will change ourselves, our Church and our world. Programs and movements come and go, but Jesus is Eternal.
The only answer to true and lasting renewal is Eucharistic Adoration. Pope Benedict XVI, speaking of St. Maximus the Confessor in one of his general audiences, stated that “adoration is the beginning of the true transformation, (and) the true renewal, of the world”. We might ask ourselves why. Why do not all these programs and movements last? Some of these movements had hundreds of thousands of adherents, yet today, they are like a western ghost town.
The answer is pretty simple. We loose our focus. I believe that many of these programs, that were good in the beginning and had great intentions, became centered on man and Jesus Christ was put on the side lines. It became about the leader, the gifts, who is in control, and what can “we do”.
With Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, that can’t happen. Jesus is front and center, Jesus is in control, Jesus is gift and our attention is focused on Him alone. John Lennon’s song Imagine speaks of how it would be in this world if we lived the Communist philosophy. There is no God, no heaven or hell, just the hear and now and if we all just gave everyone a big hug, all the world’s problems would be solved. Personally, I would not want to imagine that there is no heaven, no hell, no religion – no God, and that means no eternity, when we die, we are gone forever. But here this is how I would write the song if it were my place.
Imagine every Catholic
In cities big and small
Come to worship Jesus
The Lord and God of all
Imagine all God’s people
Worshiping The Lord.
Imagine God’s great power
The Blessed Sacrament
Power to transform us
And transform the world too
Imagine all God’s people
Living just for Him.
You may say that I’m a dreamer
There are many just like me
I hope that someday we’ll see it