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?
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 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.