(Sidebar before we start: if you’re unfamiliar with the practice of Eucharistic Adoration, you could go here to read more about it, in a wordy format. You could alternatively read a short, simple explanation written by Fr. Shane, who has a great tumblr. Of course, you are welcome to read both, or undertake your own internet searching. Just be mindful of who the author of the information you find is; your librarian thanks you. Also, if what you read makes you think “this girl is craaaaaaa-ZY!” you may want to read a different blogpost. Alternatively, you could just continue for the sake of a decent story.)
So I headed to my standard Holy Hour last night with a lot rattling about in my head, per the usual. Our perpetual Adoration chapel at St. Daniel is fairly small and could probably seat 30 people, uncomfortably. Some Tuesday nights, from 1op-11p, I’m alone in the chapel. Most of the times someone else is there, whether the entirety of the time (rock on!) or for a segment of that hour. Either way, I’ve grown to really embrace my hour – even on the nights where it would be so much easier to go to bed early.
So I walked into the chapel (two minutes late – taking the trash out turned out to be a big production what with the wind that blew my empty milk jugs across the yard, but I digress) with a general idea that I’d spend my hour hashing some things out with The Big Guy, praying, and reading. Normally, I solicit prayer requests on Twitter before my hour, as a convenient reason to use a personal favorite hashtag – #OccupyAdoration.
The requests vary, from personal prayers for health issues, to “please pray for nations at war”, etc. Rest assured, if you answer me, prayers are said for your intentions. I write down a list, every single week, in addition to what I call the “permalist”. Lists are how I avoid that guilty feeling of “I know I promised to pray for someone…what was it?!” Well, last night, I forgot to solicit requests. It was a super busy day. So I decided I’d pray for all the twitter people, along with a few personal intentions.
I was inwardly debating, “Divine Mercy Chaplet, or a full five-decade Rosary tonight?” when Guy With White Hair Whose Name I Know Not quietly whispered, “would you like to pray the Rosary” to the Woman I Know Not in front of him. He turned to me, I affirmed, and the Elderly Gentlemen I Know Not in the back of the chapel also nodded. And so we prayed the Rosary, together. Out loud. We prayed for the 40 days for life campaign, for infants at risk of abortion, for children in broken homes and the homeless, for those without work and those struggling financially, for the elderly and for parents, for justice for the wrongly accused and imprisoned… you name it, we probably prayed for it. And as someone who rarely prays rote prayers out loud with others, I just want to say thank you to Guy With White Hair who led us. There was a very unifying, Catholic/catholic feel to it all, and it was a great reminder of the Catholic/catholic community that exists.
So I’m journaling later on in the hour and I think to myself, Man, I’ve really felt the presence of the Holy Spirit this week. Without detail-delving, suffice to say he’s kind of been everywhere: in situations, in conversations I’ve had, in the little quiet moments that sometimes go unnoticed. And I’m writing this in my journal and I’m opening my Bible to look up a passage and on the very page I open to – at random, mind you – is John 14. I specifically highlight verses 25-27.
“These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
Face it: that’s pretty cool. Right? Undertaking a holy hour has been worth way more than one hour of my time spent sleeping, reading, or watching mindless television. I highly recommend it. Don’t stress about the details – just find an hour, some hour, at some point. Be open-minded and open hearted. See what happens – it just may be pretty cool.