In the first article of this two-part series, I shared with you the benefits of regularly participating in an hour of Eucharistic adoration and offered some advice on how to fully experience freedom from sin, temptation, and addiction. I want to now explain how Eucharistic adoration has offered a type of spiritual “therapy” for me.
After a few weeks of making a Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament, I decided to write down any spiritual insights or divine inspirations that came to me. I had experienced a deep conversation within my heart that my rational brain was trying to explain. I knew to grow spiritually that I had to be vulnerable and honest with Jesus. And through the power of the Holy Spirit, I began receiving answers to certain questions when I did this. Jesus Christ—the Great Counselor—was offering both divine direction and healing for my wounds during these hours spent in Eucharistic adoration.
In one session I put to the Lord this question: Why was I attracted to a particular type of pornography? The answer planted in my heart was because it offered a disordered form of control. The fantasy was re-enforcing a desire for control that I was lacking in real life. Now, the process of asking these questions and receiving answers in my heart did not happen rapidly. It took a lot of agonizing silence and deep reflection. But the answer did eventually come.
The entire process was similar to what often occurs in secular therapy, in which we are invited to ask and examine questions about ourselves: Why do you feel this way? Why are you drawn to this particular thing or behavior? But here it was Jesus who was guiding these questions and revealing their answers.
I also began reflecting on my earliest struggles with purity. What had been the motivation for my acting out? I put the question to the Lord within the context of my unhealthy and poor sexual education. How it affected my interaction with women. And—most painfully—how it negatively impacted my marriage. In seeking clarity, I also dove into the teachings of the Church as well as sacred Scripture. Again, the Lord provided insights during Eucharistic adoration in these areas.
During another session, I examined why it was so difficult for me to forgive people who had hurt me, especially a loved one connected to my struggle with lust. I asked the Lord: What was it that this person had said to me and done that had become a trigger for me?
The Lord spoke, and I realized that pornography was my way of punishing this person. It was a disordered and deeply flawed psychological response, of course. Once I recognized this, I was forced to confront both the trigger and response in a different way, creating new tools to combat the temptation when around the person.
In other words, I realized I needed to deprive the trigger of oxygen, and this meant forgiving the person. The recognition was easy—but the difficulty was in actually doing it. I had been using this trigger comfortably for years! But after months of prayer and attending a regular Holy Hour, I was able to start the process of forgiving that in turn started my healing.
I learned and advise those who wish to try this not to rush the experience. Do not come to Eucharistic adoration with this as your sole intention. Do not expect to receive insights or answers from Jesus as opposed to simply spending time with Him. Our minds and hearts have to be completely open to whatever the Lord wants to give us, and going with a specific and limited intention can prevent us from receiving what He wants to give us.
We often participate in 12-step meetings or secular counseling expecting to find immediate answers to our questions: to become healed or made sober. While these things can certainly happen, I caution against applying our human expectations and time frames to God’s grace in our lives. That never works. Eucharistic adoration can offer us healing, freedom, and wisdom, yes. But only when we act in cooperation with God. And that means surrendering our wills to His will with trust, which is something we’re too often terrified to do.
Each hour before the Blessed Sacrament gave my heart the opportunity to grow closer to Jesus’s Sacred Heart. This helped me think of my relationship with Jesus differently as well. We may have heard the phrase “having a personal relationship with Jesus,” and we each might have our own understanding of what that means. For me, my relationship with Jesus was still very abstract. Eucharistic adoration helped me understand what this relationship means concretely and what it actually can look like. Eucharistic adoration also enabled the Divine physician to bind my wounds and heal my ailments.
Counseling for many of us is necessary and useful as we progress in our recovery. Similarly, many of us have found guidance and help through the Twelve Steps. I encourage seeing a Catholic or Christian therapist as well as completing a 12-step recovery program with a spiritual foundation (you can also join a CIR group).
With that said, though, we will only find true recovery and healing from our addictions and sinfulness when Christ is given the opportunity to work on us. So, why not begin regularly participating in an hour of Eucharistic adoration and let our Lord begin His healing process in your heart?
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 and is passionate about helping husbands kick their addiction and transform their lives and relationships. You can connect with him at calendly.com/aaronwaltercoachingsessions.