Wednesday, September 4, 2013


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.


If you want more ideas, look here or here or here.


But most importantly: GO!


Anonymous said...

how about a weekend in silence at the Parma retreat house?


MaryofSharon said...

Thanks! I like the prayer ideas on the links you added.

Have you ever seen Over 600 Reasons to Signup for a Holy Hour of Eucharistic Adoration? This website offers quotes from popes, bishops, and saints through the centuries about the value of Eucharistic Adoration and the power that it has in our lives. After reading this, it's difficult to come up with an excuse not to spend an hour every day with our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.

You've got to be talking about St. Augustine in Barberton. At night it is the best place to pray in town. Sitting in that beautiful darkened church with the light focused solely on the Blessed Sacrament is such a powerful invitation to prayer. I think more than one vocation had its seeds there. Check out Fr. Jared Ornoff's story. He, too, used to pray at St. Augustine in the wee hours of the morning.

Victoria said...

In front of the Blessed Sacrament read Pope John Paul's letter to the bishops of the Church on the mystery and worship of the Eucharist: Dominicae Cenae. You can find it online and print it off or you can send it to your Kindle but visit the Blessed Sacrament and read this beautiful letter.

MaryofSharon said...

@Victoria. Domicae Cenae is a long document. Can you specify which portions you are referring to? Much of it seems to be addressing priests asking them to take care to do things properly, etc. Thanks.

Victoria said...

Hi Mary,

Yes, Doninicae Cenae is a long document but it is well worth the reading - more than once.

Yes, since it was addressed to bishop and through them to priests much is asking them to take care to carry out the rubrics correctly but what spoke to me was the why they should take care to perform the rubrics correctly.

When I went to specify which portions I was referring to I found, as I had suspected, I had highlighted all of the parts which explicate the Eucharistic mystery.

When I finish the letter I will be going to the references and reading them.

I have just recently begun to read the writings of the popes and they are really a treasure of the Faith.

Hope that this helps.

MaryofSharon said...

Thanks, Victoria. Sounds like you are giving the document the attention of which it is worthy! I like what you say about the purpose of careful attention to the rubrics. You are right, care in the rubrics speaks volumes to those who are attentive and understand the reason behind all the rubrics.

(Did you know the word "rubrics" is a derivative of the Latin rubrica,simply meaning "red ochre", indicating the red words in the book? Just learned that yesterday!)

Thought you could give me a few key paragraphs, but I guess if I really want to "get" it, I'm going to have to roll up my sleeves and put in some serious study/prayer as you are.