As a cradle Catholic, I was familiar with Eucharistic adoration. I vaguely remember going with my class in elementary school. However, I was not a practitioner of this method to adore Jesus. Truth be told, until 2015 I was not really a faithful Catholic. I went to church on Sunday, followed most of the Church’s teachings, and occasionally prayed.
It was in 2015 that I started my recovery from addiction to porn. It was also that year that I began to go to Eucharistic adoration. Impressed by Fr. Larry Richards and awe-inspired by Fulton Sheen through their YouTube videos, I went to sit before the Lord. I was going in response to a challenge both priests nearly forty years apart gave me.
Can you not spend an hour with Jesus?
I did have expectations and hopes and desires. Adoration corresponds most directly to the first of the three principal purposes for which Christ instituted the Eucharist—that Christ wished to perpetuate His human presence among us after ascending definitively into heaven.
But I was not thinking about this when I took those first steps into the church. My mind was full of worldly concerns and distractions. I was concerned adoration was going to be, well, boring. I assumed that my Holy Hour would be filled with waiting for a big revelation from God but instead that first hour I heard nothing but crickets.
But I did not leave. I stayed for another hour. I did not pray. I talked and screamed and cried to our Lord. Finally, I listened. In the Eucharistic host, Jesus greets us with complete silence. He is ready to listen to what we have to say, but he only speaks in return when we have quieted our hearts and are completely silent as He is.
St. Paul tells us that faith comes from listening. In that second Holy Hour, I waited for Him to speak to me. The response was revelatory. Sitting before the Presence felt like when we expose ourselves before the sun, absorbing its rays. Kneeling, I absorbed the mercy and forgiveness long thought elusive. I realized that it takes time to “catch fire” in prayer.
I returned later in the week. I brought with me my journal and wrote down my thoughts and emotions. Kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament became for me the best therapy to recover from my addiction. A simple truth was soon understood—that the Blessed Sacrament is Jesus himself, and holiness is found in imitating Christ. The Blessed Sacrament is a school of holiness.
As Fulton Sheen wrote in his autobiography, “The purpose of the Holy Hour is to encourage a deep personal encounter with Christ. The holy and glorious God is constantly inviting us to come to Him, to hold converse with Him, to ask for such things as we need, and to experience what a blessing there is in fellowship with Him.”
I soon realized that His presence cannot be separated from His sacrificial self-gift. Eucharistic adoration enabled me to spend time intimately thanking Him for His sacrificial gift expressed in Luke 22:19, “This is my body which is given for you.”
Kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament I have had several beautiful experiences. I know that I have smelled roses when none were present. I know also that the Holy Spirit has spoken to me.
I discovered the roots of my addiction in my personal therapy session with Our Lord who waited for me to repent when I strayed. It is in adoration that he waits for my words of allegiance and affection; he waits to hear my joys and sorrows and he waits to answer my deepest desires.
I found answers and ultimately peace attending adoration. Jesus in the Eucharist taught me about holiness, masculinity, and freedom from pornography.
For one year I deliberately went twice a week. Kneeling and conversing with Our Lord, learning, listening, I recognized the profound humility of Jesus Christ and how the graces dispensed by God helped me grow in holiness. Moreover, I realized that in the host, Christ is completely and totally vulnerable.
This helped me embrace the steps I needed to take in my sobriety. His patience with me showed me that I needed to be vulnerable by asking for forgiveness from those whom I had hurt.
The gift of God’s presence is the greatest gift and as Catholics we are so blessed to have the opportunity to receive it. During my Holy Hour, I learned that Our Lord ardently desires to give me all that I need if only I ask with confidence.
Brothers and sisters, He wants to bless us with an abundance of graces, which are the true riches of the soul. I have learned another truth as well. Christ literally died of a broken heart for love of sinful humanity, pouring out his precious blood to win our affection. I was redeemed.
Our Catholic faith recognizes that the greatest gift God gives us is Himself, and Eucharistic adoration is another way for us to recognize that gift outside of receiving the Eucharist at Mass.
Receive the gift.
Aaron Walter is a lifelong Catholic and former porn addict whose ministry, NewMenRising, is dedicated to pornography addiction recovery. He is a coach, mentor, and accountability partner. He is passionate about helping husbands kick their addiction and transform their lives and relationships. You can connect with him at aaronwaltercoaching.com and on Instagram.