As I'm sure you have heard by now, this Wednesday our parish will have the opportunity for an exciting spiritual experience! We will be hosting a Holy Hour with Bishop Cistone at our St. Matthew Church site at 7:00 pm. This may be a new experience for many of us, but everyone is highly encouraged to come.
A Holy Hour, also called Eucharistic Adoration, is an opportunity to spend an hour praying before the Eucharist - the Real Presence of Jesus - which has been placed on the alter in a monstrance so that all can see it. There is time for silent prayer and communal prayer during the hour, which will be presided over by the Bishop.
Since Planning Tomorrows Parishes began, Bishop Cistone has been holding a Holy Hour each month at a different parish to encourage Catholics throughout the diocese to pray for the success of the parish mergers and the future of our churches, as well as our own needs. Eucharistic Adoration is not a devotion particular to churches in our situation of parish mergers, however. In fact, it is growing in popularity all over the country. So what's so great about it? Here are just a few things:
It's a chance to 'waste time with Jesus'
By this I don't mean it's a waste of time, just the opposite! When we spend time with people we truly love and care about, it doesn't matter what we are doing or even if we do nothing at all. We are happy just to be with them, even if we're 'wasting time' together. It is a great opportunity to be able to spend time with Jesus in this way having the time to tell him whatever is on your hearts and listen to what he has to say to us as well.
Jesus asks us to do it
The idea of spending an hour with the Lord was not just a good idea someone had! It comes from the Gospels, when Jesus asks his apostles to keep watch with him one hour, while he was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before he was to die (See Matthew 26:36-46). We probably know that the apostles weren't able to stay awake with Jesus and pray, but his request still stands and it shows great love to the Lord if we can try to fulfill this request.
St. John Paul II was very devoted to the Eucharist
We have beautiful quotes from our patron about the power of the Eucharist, and in particular the grace that praying in Adoration gives. He wasn't all talk though, he was known for spending long periods of time praying in front of the Eucharist - every morning for over an hour before he said Mass and any other chance he could. He loved it so much, in fact, that while traveling, his aides would try to block chapels from his view and route him away from places where the Eucharist was reserved so he couldn't stop to pray and thus throw the schedule off! They often failed, however and the pope would arrive late for his next event!
St. John Paul II was by no means the only saint with a devotion to the Eucharist. Many, many great Catholic saints and thinkers deeply loved spending time in Adoration as shown quotes like these:
Have you ever attended a Holy Hour or Eucharistic Adoration? What reasons would you add? What do you love most about it? Do you plan to be at our Holy Hour this week?