Sunday, March 23, 2014

An Amateur's Advice on Learning to Love Adoration

Last summer I was invited to join a group of faithful Catholics interested in getting more people to commit to making a Holy Hour once a week or even just once a month. Each individual had excellent ideas, some of which we even implemented with positive results. The organizer wanted us to make phone calls to every member of that parish as well as to former adorers who had dropped out of sight. My own preference was to speak to people personally, especially after weekday or Saturday morning Mass 

I noticed that while we seemed to have "regulars" at certain Masses, particularly on Saturday mornings, very few of them stayed for adoration afterward. When I got a chance to engage them in conversation I was shocked to learn how little some of them knew about adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. 

As a token of appreciation for making a weekly or monthly commitment it was decided we would give a lapel pin depicting a ciborium with the Host raised above it to any new volunteers who signed up. Thus far I have given away exactly one pin. That's OK because I have many more people to talk to about the fruits of Eucharistic adoration. 

I approached one gentleman who shares a pew with me every Saturday morning. He said he would be glad to think about it but asked: What do I have to do? 

For some people the notion of sitting still without speaking for an hour seems like a daunting challenge. Others don't know if they can pray for that long a period of time. I tell new-comers to try commit to 15 minutes at first.  But still they ask: But what do you do?

First, you don't have to do anything but offer your heart to Jesus. You can talk to Him, you can just be there for Him, or you can pray. You can do a combination of all 3. 

I am a proponent of rote prayers like the Rosary and Chaplet to St Michael. The Rosary takes an average of 18 minutes to complete.   Sometimes I make a mental list before I begin of all the intentions and people for which I have been asked to pray. Then I pray a decade for each of them. Thus only one set of mysteries will rarely suffice. One could also make a written list of intentions and refer to it as necessary. If you pray 3 sets of mysteries with focus and reverence you will have prayed for close to 60 minutes. That, my friends, is a Holy Hour. 

Another method that works for me is going in with a plan. That might sound like too methodical and trivial an approach to spending time in the Real Presence. Don't worry about it because spiritual exercises lead to spiritual fitness. When the biggest challenge to you is filling up an hour's time, it's OK to create a structure.  Jesus will supply the grace if you make the effort.  Soon, you will be so focused on your prayers that you won't pay any attention to time. 

So what do I mean by a plan?  Think ahead of what you will pray and who you will pray for. If you pray the Rosary, Stations of the Cross, and maybe a Chaplet, you will have prayed for close to an hour. You want to have some free time to make your introductory prayer as well as take enough time to thank Jesus for the privilege of being able to sit with Him. 

I know from personal experience that before long, you will need more than an hour a week in His Company. 

I  not a fan of spiritual reading during Adoration with the exception of Scripture. II think it would be very efficacious to pray the Psalms in the Real Presence. You could also pray the Liturgy of the Hours before the Blessed Sacrament and thus you would help to develop in yourself two spiritual habits at once. 

The one person to whom I gave a lapel pin is a daily communicant who never gave a thought to a Holy Hour before I approached him.  His profession keeps him busy but he told me it will never keep him from his new-found pleasure. 

"I can't believe how much I look forward to my hour every week and how quickly it goes by."

He is now spreading the word to his friends and family so they can reap the benefits as well. 

Start with 15 minutes focused on Jesus and before long you will be able to make a Holy Hour. Make prayer part of your daily routine so that when you do have the opportunity to visit Him in Adoration, you won't have to fret about how you can "last" for an hour. 

"Could you not stay awake with Me one hour?"

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