VATICAN CITY — Immersing oneself in silent Eucharistic adoration is the secret to knowing the Lord, Pope Francis said on Thursday morning at Holy Mass in the chapel of his residence at Santa Marta.
“One cannot know the Lord without being in the habit of adoring, of adoring in silence,” the pope said in his homily. Yet, he lamented, “I believe, if I am not mistaken, that this prayer of adoration is the least known among us; it is the one we engage in the least.”
“To waste time — if I may say it — before the Lord, before the mystery of Jesus Christ. To adore, there in the silence, in the silence of adoration. He is the Lord, and I adore Him.”
The pope based his homily on Thursday’s first reading from St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians (3:14-21), in which the Apostle prays that the Holy Spirit may grant them the grace to be strengthened, and that Christ may dwell in their hearts. “Here is the heart and center,” Pope Francis said.
Paul, the pope observed, “immerses himself” in the “sea which is the Person of Christ.”
“How can we come to know Christ,” he asked? How can we come to know “the love of Christ, which surpasses all knowledge” (Eph 3:14-21)?
Knowing Christ through the Gospel and the Catechism
“Christ is present in the Gospel, and we come to know Christ by reading the Gospel,” the pope said. “And all of us do this, at least we hear the Gospel when we go to Mass.”
We also come to know Christ by studying the Catechism, he added, since “the catechism teaches us who Christ is.” But this is not enough, he said. “In order to understand the breadth and length and height and depth of Jesus Christ we need to enter into prayer, as Paul does, on his knees, saying: ‘Father, send me the Holy Spirit that I may know Jesus.’”
Encountering the Lord in the silence of Adoration
“We need to pray” in order truly to know Christ, the Pope repeated. But Paul “does not only pray; he adores this mystery which surpasses all knowledge, and it is within the context of adoration that he asks this grace” from the Lord.
“One cannot know the Lord without the habit of adoring, of adoring in silence,” he said. “I believe — if I am not mistaken — that this prayer of adoration is the least known among us; it is the one we engage in the least. To waste time — if I may say it — before the Lord, before the mystery of Jesus Christ. To adore, there in the silence, in the silence of adoration. He is the Lord and I adore Him.”
Recognizing that we are sinners in order to know the mystery of Jesus
Thirdly, the pope said, “to come to know Christ we need to know ourselves, that is, we need to be in the habit of accusing ourselves,” of calling ourselves “sinners.”
“One cannot adore without accusing oneself. To enter into this bottomless and boundless sea, which is the mystery of Christ, these things are needed. Prayer: ‘Father, send me the Spirit that he might lead me to know Jesus.’ Second, adoring the mystery, entering into the mystery through adoration. And third, accusing oneself: ‘I am a man of unclean lips.’”
The pope concluded: “May the Lord also grant us this grace which Paul asked for the Ephesians, this grace of coming to know Christ.”