What in the world are you supposed to do for an hour before the Blessed Sacrament? It is a question that would have plagued my father. When we asked him to go to New York to see his daughter the question that kept nagging his was, “But what would we do?”
“Visit with your family.”
“Yes, but what would we do?”
“And do what?”
We didn’t go.
In this age we need never not be distracted. If the radio and computer can’t fill the space, the ever present television should do the trick. They are installed now in cars, check out lines, and increasingly, much to my chagrin, in non-sports bars restaurants. But should even that fail you, get out your magic phone and it can adequately distract you from thinking or being with yourself in just about every way the above gadgets could do for you.
Then after that, we are expected to sit in a church for an hour with Jesus present to us as the Blessed Sacrament.
“But what are we supposed to do?”
There is a parish close by that has had perpetual adoration since I was a little kid. Late at night I would stop there from time to time and most of the time people simply prayed but there were some odd things. Once there was the student that brought a typewriter (tells you how long ago this was) to work on term papers with Jesus. Clearly there are some things that are more appropriate than others. How would you like someone coming over to spend time with you and then become wholly occupied with texting?
If you are gearing up to start doing a holy hour but the “what am I going to do” monster is making you nervous, start with a holy 10 minutes. Pay attention to any positive effects after having completed the time. Notice that you neither died nor went insane. Next time add a few more minutes.
But as far as what you are to do, ideally it would be to contemplate. Did you ever spend a lazy afternoon staring out the window? Here too, “just be still and know that I am God.” When you find yourself very distracted there are two options: 1) Gently bring yourself back contemplation. 2) See if whatever it is that you think is distracting you is God trying to talk to you about something.
If you need to have an agenda consider praying the Liturgy of the Hours. Do a Rosary. Read next Sunday’s readings and come up with your own homily – listen to ideas from God. Get a hymnal out and sing to God in your head. If things get rough, stand up, shake it off (discreetly) and move to another spot.
But most importantly: GO!