The following article is an expanded excerpt from chapter 4 of Christ in the Classroom: Lesson Planning for the Heart and Mind, which describes various ways to use contemplation in class to help students make personal connections to Christ through what they are learning.
For many Catholics, myself included, the Eucharist and specifically eucharistic adoration played a significant role in their conversion or reconversion to the Catholic faith.
Is it any surprise?
Here is the physical embodiment of our God! Christ is truly present among us.
Through eucharistic adoration we can physically spend time with our Lord. Adoration truly is the perfect form of contemplation.
Many schools and parishes provide times for exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.
What suggestions can you offer your students attending adoration?
Model Mental Prayer
Let go of the obligation to monitor the students’ behavior and focus your attention on Christ.
Let the students see you so they know how to act. Show rather than tell them what is expected. Allow yourself to sincerely pray before the Blessed Sacrament in a way that shows students what mental prayer looks like. Focus on Christ and nothing else.
We hope the students will start to do the same. If they don’t, then spend time afterward explaining to them how they should act. They will have the memory of your example to recall and emulate next time.
Invite Them to Embrace the Silence
Tell them that they can certainly talk to Christ in their minds, but it is also beneficial just to sit and focus entirely on the Blessed Sacrament.
Kids do not get much opportunity for silence, and sitting there before the Lord truly sanctifies the silence.
They can use adoration time to do meditation and vocal prayer (to themselves), but silence is a unique opportunity.
Encourage Them to Meditate and Pray
If silence is too difficult for your students, give them some questions for meditation on a scripture passage.
Allow them to bring a journal to write down their thoughts, emotions, and prayers in response to this meditation.
Or invite them to practice a devotional prayer such as the Rosary or a Chaplet of Divine Mercy before the Blessed Sacrament. The Jesus Prayer can also help them focus their attention on Christ during adoration.
In this video, I share some additional ideas for introducing young people to the practice of Eucharistic adoration:
Read more about integrating contemplation into the classroom in Christ in the Classroom.