Sunday, May 6, 2012

Want a really crazy experience? Try Adoration.

Last Friday night I did something that would shock my average peer. I prayed Evening Prayer and went to Mass. Then, since it was a first Friday, there was Eucharistic Adoration and I stayed for half an hour until Benediction (in Latin).

Wait, it gets crazier. I next went to a convent for dinner with three religious sisters and ten (or so) other young women as part of a yearlong series of evenings, each called "Night at the Convent" and focusing on some aspect of religious life. After dinner, we crowded into their little chapel and exposed the Blessed Sacrament, singing (in Latin). Adoramus Te, Domine...

Source
Wait, it gets even crazier. One sister read two passages aloud and offered a brief reflection on resting on the heart of Jesus. Each of us had a tealight (a little "lamp") and during the next half hour of adoration each girl went up at will and placed our candles before our Lord exposed in the humble chapel monstrance. We prayed and sang hymns directly to this Eucharistic King. (Jesus, Jesus, let me tell you how I feel; You have given me your Spirit, I love You so...) All of these are actions so unimaginable to someone without faith in the Real Presence that we must seem mentally defective! O, unfathomable credence in One who is invisible!

Wait! The most countercultural part happened next. We filed out of the chapel and came back to the living room of the convent, softly smiling and joking about seating arrangements as we seated ourselves in an irregular circle. We voluntarily shared our experiences as much or as little as we wanted. (There are some intimacies which are secret, but other graces become richer when shared.) And the entire room shared a culturally-impossible desire for self-gift to this invisible God.

One girl told us that, whenever she prayed, she asked Mary to change something about her and make her more worthy to receive Him. Another girl said that at first she thought one of the hymns (made purely out of chanting Christ's name) was strange; then she imagined Jesus singing her own name to her, over and over, and it suddenly seemed fine. It might even be a direct imitation of Mary. A third girl mused on how wedding-like each Eucharist is: the altar, the priest, the aisle, the union...! Others immediately chimed in with similar thoughts about how wonderful the Eucharist is and how spousal it is, even to someone who doesn't know what their vocation is yet.

The evening concluded at 10:00pm with a last hymn. As I drove home I passed some college students headed to the bars and I thought: want a really crazy experience? Really relaxing, filling, human, divine? Try Adoration.

22 comments:

  1. I used to live in a city that had one church with a Perpetual Adoration Chapel (24 hour round the clock adoration). What a blessing that was! I signed up for one hour every week for a year and was really nervous about making such a commitment. That year of adoration changed me in ways I could never have imagined. That was perhaps 15 years ago, and I still experience the fruits of that time. I wish everyone had the opportunity and the gift of desiring to spend time in adoration. So glad you have both of these!

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    1. Me, too! There is 24/7 adoration at a parish nearer to my house and next year, I think I will go there in the mornings. Thanks for your experience--it makes me really look forward to spending regular time before our Lord!

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  2. The thing is that adoration is so experiential that it is hard to describe to others. There has been times when going to a beautiful week day Mass or to adortion and I have invited others and they are doing something like a crossword or watching TV and are not interested. And there are no words to share the joy that the spiritual life can bring to our souls, if only we will make the effort. Our Lord meets us far more than half way! And our devotions are important and have been lost so much in our modern Catholic culture. Our Lady leads us to her Son, Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and Our Lord will introduce us to His Mother. It is a wonder and a wonderful thing.

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    1. I so agree; such beautiful and vital things are often impossible to articulate! Thank you for reading, Magdalene.

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  3. I've started a regular hour of adoration at my parish.

    Things are starting to percolate as I enter into that time of silence.

    Together with frequent confession, and praying evening prayer from the divine office with my wife my life is turning...

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    1. I'm so glad to hear! Today's readings are especially pertinent to the conversion that Christ works in us if only we let Him, like you are through the sacraments, the Divine Office, and adoration. God reward you and keep you steady, triumphguy. Thanks for visiting.

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  4. Thank you mmatins, for sharing this lovely, enriching, spiritual time w/us. You have inspired me to try harder to schedule a regular adoration time, as I've been planning to do for some time now!

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    1. Anonymous, thanks for reading. I know the commitment to a regular hour is something everyone has to discern, considering their duties and abilities. But I'm sure we both know no minute before the Blessed Sacrament is wasted!

      And, a story to encourage you to boldly charge forward to love Him better: one of the followers of St. Anthony of the Desert once asked him, "when will I become a saint?" St. Anthony rebuked his spiritual son and said vehemently, "Today, today, TODAY!"

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  5. What a beautiful account of your experience. I find I leave adoration with much more that I brought in the door. Quiet time with our Lord is never wasted!

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    1. Couldn't agree more. It doesn't always feel productive...but it always is. Thank you for visiting. God bless!

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  6. As I drove home I passed some college students headed to the bars and I thought: want a really crazy experience? Really relaxing, filling, human, divine? Try Adoration.

    How true! There's nothing like the real thing. Praying for you, MMatins.

    ~Annie

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    1. Thanks, Annie. I love the way you say it. There's nothing like the real thing....

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  7. I entered the Church 2 years ago. One morning I was in the chapel saying the Rosary and an older lady invited me to participate in Adoration. I had heard something about Adoration but did not know what it was. I googled it to find out what to do because I was embarrased to ask. I go at 4a.m. on the first Friday of the month because that was a time that needed to be filled. My son was preparing for his first communion which was today and I took him with me this past Friday. He fell asleep but it was wonderful to be with my son and with Jesus. I prayed until the sun came up with my son asleep next to me. God is so good. I started to cry when my son recieved first communion today. I am so grateful for Christ and His Church.
    Peace be with you,
    Alan R.

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    1. God bless you, Alan! Thank you for telling your beautiful story.

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  8. What a lovely post. Thank you for such humble honest witness.

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    1. EFpaster, thank you for reading. God reward you.

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  9. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks for reading! God reward you.

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  10. Amazing.

    And to think there are millions and millions of Catholics who have been doing this for many years.

    Where have you been?

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    1. I know, think of all that grace pouring into the world! I'm not sure what you mean by "Where have you been?", but if you're referring to my tardy love for God, I can only say--yes, I'm late! If He marked my sins I couldn't stand.

      Thank you for reading and for pointing out the scope of Adoration in the world. God bless you!

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  11. This article makes me think about vocations, prayer, and meditation. Good job, mmatins.

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    1. Thanks, Jenny! I am glad. God bless you!

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