Why Commit to a Regular Holy Hour?  Practical Suggestions for the Hesitant Soul

Feb 10, 2023 | Articles, Sacraments, The Interior Life

By Amber Kinloch

Why sign up for a regular Holy Hour?

This question has been on your mind, perhaps, or maybe someone suggested it to you.  Maybe you already attend Adoration on a regular basis, but are reluctant to commit for any number of reasons: the length of time, the burden of other duties, the fear that you can’t keep up a regular commitment.

Maybe you find Adoration a chore.  You love God, but sitting there is just so boring.  Nothing ever seems to happen.  Serving God in other ways feels more productive.

I have been a regular adorer for several years and have faced these difficulties firsthand.  Yet Adoration consistently remains a top priority for me.  Here’s why, along with some practical advice for overcoming different obstacles.

Why Sign Up Instead of Just Going?  What Difference Does It Make?

Adoration felt laborious for me in the beginning.  I cannot tell you how many hours I spent sitting in church waiting for the hour to be up just like St. Teresa of Avila.   Sometimes, I still feel this way.  Why do I keep at it then?  The answer is threefold.

#1: Time Matters

Time is our most valuable commodity.  As my dad says, you can always get more money.  You can’t get more time.  To not only go to Adoration, but to block out a specific hour for it is to commit to Our Lord on a whole new level.  We tell Him, “You are a top priority.”  Jesus, infinitely generous, will repay such a commitment beyond measure just as He promises in the Gospels (Mark 10:28-30; Luke 6:38).

#2: Love is Manifest in Concrete Action

Love is an act of the will, not an emotion.  Adoration, therefore, is not always an emotional experience.  The hours I spend with Our Lord are not about how I feel.  They are about growing in a relationship with Him.  Adoration at any time is a good thing.  But committing to a particular hour and going then no matter how I feel demands spiritual maturity.

#3: It’s the Place Par Excellence for Prayer

Spending time with Jesus is essential if we’re going to possess the grace needed for fulfilling our duties.  He is the vine and we are the branches.  Without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5).

The place par excellence for prayer is with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament because “The Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life.’ ‘The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch’” (CCC 1324).

Mother Teresa recognized this.  One of her major priorities was a daily Holy Hour along with her sisters.  She didn’t have to do this.  She already had reserved far more time for prayer than most people do.  But Mother Teresa felt it was essential to their mission.  If that’s the case, how is it that we hesitate to commit to a regular Holy Hour?

Practical Obstacles to Committing and Suggestions for Overcoming Them

Time, as I wrote above, tends to be a great hurdle for many.  A lot of us (myself included) have no shortage of things to do.  Even when we want to prioritize Adoration and commit, actually going ahead with that can be tough.  Many parishes, for example, might not offer Adoration at times convenient for you.  That said, where there’s a will, there’s a way.  Consider the following.

#1: Check out the Options

Take a hard look at your schedule and the options available for Adoration.  Is there something you could drop from your routine to make time for Adoration?  Could you take an overnight slot?  What about going to a different parish from your local one?  The drive might be longer, but would the more convenient hour make a difference? 

#2: Pair Up

Take a leaf out of Jesus’ book and pair up (Luke 10:1).  Look for somebody who will commit with you, and hold you accountable, to a particular hour.  My mom and I do this.  Oftentimes, we go together.  Occasionally, though, one of us can’t make it and that’s okay.  The hour will still be covered.

#3: Try a Partial Commitment

Could you do a less frequent commitment?  Could you go biweekly or even just monthly?  It might not seem worth it, but think about it: Your partial commitment could in turn enable another person in a situation similar to yours to also attend Adoration.  Don’t sell this idea short, especially if you take an overnight hour.

#4: Give for a Season

Maybe you’re reluctant to commit because you know you can’t do so for long.  You’re expecting a baby.  Your family’s military and moves this coming summer.  You’re aging and don’t know how much longer you’ll be able to drive.  In this case, give what you can for a season.  Give what you can now and trust Jesus to take care of things long-term.  Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t seem like much. Jesus fed a crowd of five thousand with only five loaves and two fish (Matthew 14:15-20).  Do not underestimate what He can do with only a small commitment.

#5: Remember that Jesus is Human

Maybe you want to commit to an hour, but the silence and stillness that accompany Adoration make it tough.  Let’s face it: It is not easy keeping a baby or toddler (or both!) quiet for an hour.  Or maybe you’re on the older side and find it painful to sit or kneel for long.  Or maybe the only hours available to you are in the middle of the night and you’re sure you’ll just fall asleep if you even make it to the church.

Jesus, fortunately, is human as well as divine.  Remember the storm at sea.  Jesus didn’t awake until His disciples disturbed Him because He was so exhausted (Mark 4:35-41).  He understands our feebleness and will provide the necessary grace if only we make an effort. 

That effort may not look perfect in your eyes.  Maybe you need to get up and walk about the church to keep your toddler in check or give your hurting body a rest.  Maybe you will periodically nod off during a 2-3AM Holy Hour.  But you’re there.  You are present.  This is what matters.

#6: Don’t Grow Discouraged

What about the matter of apparently “fruitless” Holy Hours?  You go and go and nothing ever seems to happen.  You’re just a distracted, bored basketcase.  Is it worth it?

Yes.

Again, it is a matter of presence.  Only you can offer Jesus the gift of your presence.  Trust that He appreciates it and that Adoration is worth your while if only you keep showing up with an open heart.  Likewise, there are specific things you can do to cultivate a better interior disposition which will help you draw more fruit from Adoration. (One example: Don’t engage in peoplewatching.)  Try them and never, ever, grow discouraged.  One day, you will see what a difference this time with Him made. 

Amber Kinloch

Amber Kinloch

Amber  writes from the bunker of her living room.  There she hunkers down with her laptop and a blanket while keeping an eye and ear tuned in to the activity of family life.  Music set on loop keeps her energy flowing as she muses on the deeper happenings of ordinary life and what food to restock the fridge with.

Comments

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12 Comments

  1. Bill Baer

    As always, thank you for putting these beautiful thoughts into words. They are very helpful.

    Reply
  2. Patricia

    I loved this article. I attended adoration weekly (except for a few weeks when new babies arrived) for nearly 20 years. There were nights when I arrived for my 10pm Monday night hour exhausted. One night, I couldn’t even remember the words to any prayers. I thought to myself “Lord, I’m so tired”. I then looked at the monstrance and said “You already know!” When COVID closed out chapel, I then “talked it over” and instead began attending daily Mass. Any time with the Lord is time well spent.

    Reply
    • Amber Kinloch

      This is beautiful, Patricia, and so encouraging! Thank you!

      Reply
  3. Michaela

    I am so glad that I signed up for a regular hour while my child was only a few months old! Now he is a crazy one-year-old running around the church, but I know that the other regular volunteers know him and have patience with him. It would be hard for me to start now, if I had not slowly become desensitized to the idea that a little noise will disturb anyone.

    It sounded sweet when another adorer told me that my baby’s prayer is probably greater than ours. Then, when the hour started, and he ran all around pulling envelopes out of the pews, the idea that his presence is a prayer seemed like a joke. But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them”, and I know that He really does want His smallest children to visit him! It reminds me that if a one-year-old’s prayer is pleasing to Our Lord while he is throwing envelopes on the floor, my prayer must be also pleasing while I am picking them up.

    Reply
    • Amber Kinloch

      “If a one-year-old’s prayer is pleasing to Our Lord while he is throwing envelopes on the floor, my prayer must be also pleasing while I am picking them up.” – Beautiful and true! This exemplifies what holiness in ordinary life looks like. It’s not about copying a set model, but uniting ourselves to God through the blessed everyday things.

      I’m sure, too, that this time before the Blessed Sacrament is of immense benefit for your little boy. I once heard a priest speak about how it’s healing for people to just come and sit in Our Lord’s Presence. If this is true for adults, what wonderful things must God be doing in the soul of an innocent child?

      Reply
    • Richard w Bryant

      I have been attending my hour of Adoration since 1995. I go every Monday evening from 11pm to 12am. The first few months that I went, I maintained a 40 hour week job, homeschooled our 3 children then in 1997 the forth child. My job schedule M,T,W. from 1pm to 9pm. My days off were Thursday and Friday. 9 to 5 on Saturdays and Sundays. I still managed to attend Mass. I went through a period when my daughter was in the military and in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Holy Spirit placed in my heart to pray for her and those serving with her. She escaped near death twice. Each time I was at my hour of Adoration. God answers our prayers when we start a relationship with Him in prayer. This is my conversation with Him. 28 years this March 19th 2023. Find an hour and you will never leave it because of Love for Him…

      Reply
  4. Sheila Freisthler

    I’m so very grateful that I signed up for a Holy Hour. Years ago I started with a half hour, but was able to commit to the full hour once I retired. I do know that on the weeks I am unable to attend for whatever reason, my week seems to be a little more crazy. That beautiful hour with our Lord grounds me in ways that I cannot express.

    Reply
  5. Gwen Byers

    Beautifully written. May we use this in our church Newsletter? St Mark the Evangelist, San Antonio, TX
    Would like to pass this on to others.
    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Rose Leigh

      Thanks, Gwen! I’m glad you enjoyed the article.
      Feel free to reprint this article in your church newsletter, or print it and hand it out to friends. But please credit the author (Amber Kinloch) and include our website URL (stjosephshelf.com) so people know where it’s from and can find us if they want to read more!

      Reply
    • Jennifer Renk

      Even just sitting in silence in Adoration brings inner peace. We committed to 1 hour a week that was encouraged by our Pastor, Fr. DiTomo. It was the best thing we did for our family. This is your sign to Go to Adoration! Spread the Word! God Bless!

      Reply
  6. Paul

    In parts of America, there is no Adoration/Holy Hour option even available. (Arizona; areas of Quartszite, Parker, Boise, etc.) Here, there is no option for Holy hour. The churches remain locked until just before a Mass.
    You don’t even have an option for confession unless you arrange an appointment for a priest to hear it, face to face. “First Saturday Devotions” appear to be non-existent here.

    Reply
    • Rose Leigh

      Hi Paul,
      I’m so sorry to hear about your situation. I’ve heard similar stories from Catholics in other areas in the country. Ideally, the Sacraments should be as accessible as possible for the laity.
      Perhaps you could find a like-minded friend or two and approach your pastor to let him know you’d be interested in trying out Adoration once a month, or in having more frequent opportunities for Confession? It’s always worth a try, to let him know that people want the offerings to be expanded so they can participate more fully in the life of the Church.

      Reply

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