Last Sunday, I went to Eucharistic Exposition for the first time (except for the time I got to noon Mass ten minutes early and they were just finishing up with adoration).
It was set up pretty much how I’d heard it described: the Host was placed in a little monstrance in front of a small decorated screen on the altar, and a bunch of people were just sitting in the church, in complete silence except for when someone dropped a kneeler.
I took a prayer book that has some adoration prayers in it, and my Bible, and my journal.
At this point I would like to point out that I have never experienced what some non-Catholics experience when they walk into a Catholic church or see the consecrated Host for the first time: the sense that that is, indeed, God, the Body of Christ, and they feel His presence in the room with them. None of that for me; it looks like a wafer and I never felt any kind of sensation about it.
But just because you don’t feel certain feelings is no reason not to do something, so I figured I would just say some prayer, read the Bible, and journal a little bit (because writing is how I think/pray).
I had been there for about 15 minutes and was in the middle of reading some New Testament, when I had the feeling that someone was watching me. Now, I tend to social anxiety, so every situation in which I am not entirely alone has some of that feeling: afraid I’m going to make a mistake and someone will see me and I’ll get in trouble. I have it a lot in Catholic churches because, I always thought, I am unfamiliar with the customs and procedures and am likely to be doing things wrong. This time, though, it was really, really strong. I kinda looked around, in case someone was staring at me, but everyone else was just being Catholic: paying attention to the adoration or their place in the confession line, and no one seemed to be paying extra attention to me.
It was really unsettling — imagine you were sitting somewhere busy with something, then an invisible ghost sat down beside you and just STARED at you. It was really bothering me; I usually like to be ignored, and this was like a little kid continually tugging at your arm, trying to get your attention.
That’s when I thought, Maybe THAT’S what people mean when they say they feel the Lord’s presence!
I don’t know if that’s what it was; I didn’t receive any messages or encouragement or peace or love or joy or any of those things that other people get at adoration. It didn’t seem to be coming from the exposed Host; more like directly behind/beside me. All I know is that I was sitting there, minding my own business and trying to be obedient, and it felt like I was being creepy stalked by an invisible ghost who was paying 100% attention to me. If that was Jesus, then He doesn’t understand personal space.
So that’s my first experience with Adoration. I would definitely go again, if only to see if the creepy ghost is still there, or if it was just me feeling weird that one time. Maybe part of being a Christian is eventually getting comfortable with a Presence that seems to stalk you around all the time, everywhere you do, anything you do. Yeesh.