This weekend I was blessed with a short, but sweet visit to Cajun country to rejoice with my sister, Mary, at a baby shower for her fifth child. Baby Josie is due when Mary’s youngest will be 10 years old, so her shower was a celebration of both new life and new beginnings! We sat on the back patio of my cousin’s beautiful home on the lazy Vermillion River, sipping mimosas, sharing labor and delivery stories, and enjoying the life-giving fellowship of other moms. Then, wrapped in anticipation of the darling gift with which God is blessing Mary’s family, we “oohed” and “aahed” as precious baby socks, dainty dresses, and sleepers with ruffles on the booty were unwrapped.
Revitalized by the joyous time with family and friends, I headed back to Irving. On my long drive home, I listened to a Lighthouse CD by Bishop Robert Barron as miles of lush, green, Louisiana countryside rolled by. While Bishop Barron’s rich Christological instruction was filling my mind, one snippet of his message traveled right down to my heart. He said, “The word adoration comes from the Latin ad ora, meaning ‘to the mouth.'” Explaining it in the context of the Garden of Eden, he spoke of God breathing his spirit and life into Adam, and how man responds to God in adoration, which is a mouth-to-mouth relationship. He also quoted the beginning of The Song of Songs: “O that you would kiss me with the kisses of your mouth!” Thus, having received God’s own divine life mouth-to-mouth, man returns the kiss of our beloved Creator through adoration.
This beautiful image expresses a truth I have experienced time and time again, especially in my motherhood. First of all, when I am desperately in need of a breath—feeling crushed beneath the weight of worry, sadness, a parenting issue, strife in a relationship, broken expectations, or my own failures—I have often run to adoration. Then, sitting in the stillness of Christ’s Eucharistic presence, I feel resuscitated. I feel him breathing life back into my weary bones, and I am alive again.
The second sense of the ad ora reflection also resonates with me: adoration is as intimate as a kiss. There is no place where I feel more understood, more cherished, and more wooed by my divine Beloved than in adoration. I have often pictured Jesus’s arms around me or asked him to hide me inside the tabernacle with him, where I can be alone inside his loving heart. Now, however, I have a new image of adoration—a kiss from my mouth to his, savoring his sweetness and passionate love for me. Let us accept our omnipotent Lord’s gentle invitation to approach him, not from a distance, but face-to-face, heart-to-heart, and mouth-to-mouth.