The Vatican’s new liturgy chief has recommended the practice of adoration to help increase awareness of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist.
In an interview with EWTN News, Archbishop Arthur Roche, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, said that he was not pessimistic about the prospect of people returning to Mass after pandemic lockdown restrictions.
“People’s longing, people’s thirst, [and] absolute hunger for God has increased in this desert experience, which we’ve all experienced,” Roche said June 22.
The archbishop said that it was “important to recognize the presence of the Lord in the Eucharistic presence of the Lord and to develop that within your own life.”
One way he recommended to “develop a sense of the presence of the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament” is the practice of Eucharistic adoration.
He said: “One of the great theologians of the modern world used to say: when I’m sitting in front of the Blessed Sacrament, it’s almost as if I’m sitting in front of a presence that’s somehow, rather like radiotherapy. Somehow it radiates my life in such a way that my sinfulness becomes less. That my capacity to sin becomes less, that my will not to sin becomes less.”
“And I think it’s a wonderful image of the presence of Christ irradiating our lives, even when we sit there perhaps with no words, with little to say to Our Lord,” Roche commented.
“We’re there with Him because in one sense, the only thing we can give God is our time and the way that we use our time, and to be there voluntarily in front of the Lord … letting Him come into our lives and change us.”
Roche recently succeeded Cardinal Robert Sarah as the head of the Vatican’s liturgy office. Pope Francis appointed him prefect on May 27. Roche had worked in the congregation since 2012.
The new prefect said that even the name of his congregation has something to teach Catholics.
“When we come to Mass, when we come to any liturgy of the Church, the focus is always God. We come there to worship Him,” he said.
“That’s why the Church would be very wise in retaining in the title of this congregation, Divine Worship -- not just simply liturgy -- Divine Worship. Making it very clear that the focus is God. And we come to God to worship Him.”
The 71-year-old archbishop said that each pope since the Second Vatican Council had “brought to life, as it were, a characteristic that already exists within the Roman Rite.”
“Pope Benedict, whose reign was very short, was concerned with the beauty of the liturgy and presenting that in a way that also appreciated the culture of the day and brought into effect within the liturgy the culture of the day,” he said.
“Pope Francis, as we know, is a very pastoral man. And I think you will see him celebrate the Mass with immense attentiveness. Many say, and I think this is true, that he has a mystical character in the way that he celebrates Mass. He’s very, very focused. He’s very, very attentive to the words. He’s very, very attentive to his preaching also.”
The archbishop also said that it was necessary to keep in mind that liturgical prayer is a communal experience.
“It’s never simply the prayer of the individual. And if you don’t have an appreciation for what the Church is, the pilgrim people on a journey to the Lord, then you don’t quite sort of get the implications that are there within the liturgy that this isn’t just a private act,” he said.
“This is the prayer of the Church. And what is the Church? The Church is the Body of Christ. It is the Son of God in those who are baptized giving praise and worship to our heavenly Father.”