Dear family of the Incarnate Word,
We want to share with you our joy because a few months ago we have undertaken a new apostolate in our mission, and we wish to ask you to prayer for this small work that God is doing through us.
In the mission in Gerona (Catalonia), Spain, we work in a Shrine that is dedicated to making atonement to the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Expiatory Temple to the Sacred Heart). By the grace of God, a few months ago we have begun offering Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration. Here there are various apostolates, some for young people, others for couples, and groups of women who pray for their children, and all converge in Eucharistic Adoration. The young people of the “Efettá” and “Hakuna” groups gather for adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, the “Conjugal Love” group, after having a point of formation, concludes its activities with Eucharistic adoration; there is also a group of “Nocturnal Adorers” who meet on the first Fridays of the month, and the group of “Monica Mothers” who intercede for their children before the Blessed Sacrament.
We saw that many of the families who attend the Temple had several children, but there was no activity for them. So, we decided to organize the “Children Adorers” group.
This group is open to children from two to twelve years old, and four fourteen-year-olds help us to lead them. Its purpose is that the children grow in love for the Eucharist and at the same time understand the close relationship of this worship with the reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Because we know that the cult of the Heart of Jesus is an excellent way that leads us directly to that “deeper meaning” that transcends the symbol of the heart as the source of the deepest feelings and affections of the Humanized God, we want them to understand, according to their capacity, what is love and imitation of Jesus Christ. As Pope Pius XII said in other words, the cult of the heart of Jesus leads our intellects more quickly to the interior knowledge of Christ our Lord and more effectively inclines our wills to love more vehemently and imitate him more perfectly (Haurietis Aquas n. 4).
Children have an innate desire to know and reflect on the most essential and important things in life. Because of this, the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist is not something that is too far from their comprehension. We want even the youngest children to understand the essence of what it means to “adore,” Adoration is not simply a prayer nor is it a form of devotion that can be directed to Our Lady or the Saints, but is for God alone. For many children, recognizing Jesus in the Eucharistic bread is almost natural. Children can embrace this immense mystery with enthusiasm and full confidence since their minds are free from the many constrictions that shackle adults.
The group of the “Children Adorers” fulfills the purpose of the Expiatory Temple to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, since the most sublime reparation is made in front of the Eucharist and its culmination is found in the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass. Through the knowledge of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus we know the love of God, because the Heart of Jesus is the symbol of his love that led him to offer himself as a victim. There the unfathomable depth of the mystery of his love is manifested. And it is also in the Eucharist that Jesus receives the greatest worship of adoration and reparation for the outrages with which his Sacred Heart is offended.>
As the children arrive, the first thing we do is to present ourselves before the Blessed Sacrament with due reverence, followed by meditative prayer (lectio divina) and vocal prayers of reparation, interspersed with a few moments of silence. We have divided the younger children, from 2 to 5 years old, from the rest of the group, so that they are guided according to a different procedure. The older children, from 6 to 12 years old, have a personal notebook in which they can make resolutions, drawings or reflections of their own during this time, the prayer lasts 30 minutes. It is admirable to see with what purity such sweet prayers that please God come from their lips.
After the time of adoration, we go out to play and give them some candy; we also present a statue of Our Lady of Fatima to the child who stood out in some virtue that day, so that they can take it home for the week. It is beautiful to note the joy with which they welcome Mary in their hands, and how they wish to be chosen by her. Then we return to the Blessed Sacrament so that the children can pray and lead the Holy Rosary.
There is still much to be done and there is very rich soil for sowing. In spite of being restless and distracted (like most children) their pure souls are God’s weakness and surely He will hear their prayers for the conversion of sinners and for the reparation of His Divine Heart.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus tells us, “<em>Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest</em>” (Mt. 11:28-30). And where does the Lord wait for us to come to Him? In the Holy Eucharist. The living and real presence of the Heart of Jesus is found in the Blessed Sacrament. In the Eucharist the Heart of Jesus beats vividly, therefore, in every Eucharistic adoration, in every visit to the Blessed Sacrament, we can recline on his breast and like the beloved disciple discover the infinite treasures of grace and goodness that the Sacred Heart has for each one of us.
Children, the Lord’s favorites, adore him and make reparation for sinners. God “<em>out of the mouths of babes in arms has brought forth praise</em>” (Psalm 8), saying, “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You! I ask Your forgiveness for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You!”
Sister Maria de la Agonía de Jesús
Missionary in Gerona, Spain