Ask Father, Part 1 of 3

Ask Father?

Fr. Bolek has provided some articles that may help answer some common questions on Adoration and Advent. Check out part 1 of this 3 part series.

We now have 3 days of Adoration, and you are asking me to take one hour of my week to spend it in silent prayer with Jesus. What do I do for an entire hour of prayer in the Chapel?

For information on Adoration at St Jude, click here.

How do I make a Holy Hour?

God spoke to his people through Moses saying, “Be holy, for I, the LORD your God, am holy” (Lev 19:2). So, how can we grow in holiness? Pope St Paul VI said, that “The most efficacious way of growing in holiness is time spent with Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament.” Time spent with Jesus in prayer, in silence is the best way to grow in union with God.

There can be fear and anxiety about committing to an hour because an hour of silence seems long, especially within those who are not used to spending regular quiet time in prayer. What am I supposed to do in that hour? The following suggestions, I have adapted from a publication on how one may go about “arranging” one’s Holy Hour. Please note that all of this is just a suggestion. Some people might have their own methods or styles; this is fine. The point is to enter into communion with God.

The first suggestion is: DIVIDE THE HOLY HOUR into four 15 minute periods. This make the hour manageable. Then you can spend 15 minutes focusing on four different aspects of prayer/meditation. You could spend 15 minutes praying the rosary, 15 minutes meditating on the bible, 15 minutes reading a spiritual book, and 15 minutes offering petitions or words of gratitude. The options are endless. Here is a more formal way to break down the four 15 minute sections.

 

For that first 15 minute period

Dedicate it to a REALIZATION OF WHO IS PRESENT in the Holy Eucharist (aka Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament). Think of the marvel of this great reality: Christ, the God-Man, is truly present in his divinity as well as his humanity, body and soul. Even substantially present: not just the presence of God but the presence of God as the God-Man via the substance of bread and wine changed into the Body and Blood of Christ. Think of it until there is in your soul a response of wonder (“is it possible?” “How can that be?” and yet “it is true”) and admiration (how wonderful: Jesus is really, truly present here!). Make use of some familiar prayers and songs of adoration usually found in any church missalette to reflect more deeply on that presence, such as “Down in Adoration Falling,” “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name,” “Holy, Holy, Holy” of the Mass, “Now Praise We All Our God,” or any Benediction hymn. Read the words slowly, with great and deep understanding, making them express the sentiments of your own heart.

 

For the second 15 minutes

Devote the time to thoughts and prayers of THANKSGIVING to God as you grasp the wonder of who is present Really: God is with us-Emmanuel. Momentarily give some fresh thought to the fact: God is with us in this special, most remarkable way. Now let words of thanksgiving rise up in your soul, or just simply give thanks to God for his presence here in such a remarkable way. Thank God for the great Sacrament of the Priesthood and for vocations by which he perpetuates his presence in the Holy Eucharist. In a parallel situation think of our Blessed Mother’s joy when she realized that Christ, the great Messiah, was present within her, conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. Realize how the same Jesus who was present there in Mary’s body is now here hidden under the appearance of bread. You might also take some time to recall and thank God for other special blessings and wonders of God: your family, vocation, gift of life, opportunity to be in his Presence, special friends, etc. Thank him for his love for you, for his unfailing help in trials and difficulties.

 

For the next 15 minutes

Dedicate this to PETITION. First of all, ask Jesus here present in the Holy Eucharist for the grace that is dearest to him, the grace he wants most for you and others: the great blessing of redemption and eternal salvation. Just think, for some time what that means for you, for each member of your family, your friends, people of your neighborhood and parish, for all mankind. Think of how marvelous that would be if all would be so blessed: to be in heaven for all eternity! Pray for that! Beg for it: the fulfillment of Christ’s greatest desire and the main reason for his coming, for which he is present here – “Come to me all you who labor and are burdened and I will refresh you” (Mt 11:28). Pray for conversions. Pray for particular people, those who are away from the Church and the Sacraments. Pray for the sick and lonely, the discouraged, our youth, the unborn, our country, its leaders. Pray for our Holy Father, and for all priests and religious... Pray for vocations to complete the work of Christ. Pray for the grace to know the will of God always in your own life. Pray for peace, God’s peace in the hearts of all.

 

The Last 15 minutes

Dedicate the last 15 minutes of the Holy Hour to ATONEMENT. Why atonement? A look into one’s own conscience and the conscience of the world gives the answer. A mere glance at headlines and you see insults, blasphemies, defiance thrown by man into the face of God, the injuries of man to man. Think of the sins of injustice that cry to heaven for vengeance, the sins against life, the slurs and insults against the virginity and Immaculate Conception of our Blessed Mother, the sins of disregard, of refusal to recognize and obey the Holy Father, Christ’s own spokesman and Vicar on earth. You might wish to express your thoughts of sorrow for all these sins. You may do so in your own words or make use of the liturgical words of the “Lord, have mercy,” the “Lamb of God” or the hymn “O Lord, I am not worthy.” You might pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, the Litanies of the Sacred Heart or of the Holy Name of Jesus. Also, most appropriate is the Litany of our Blessed Mother, asking her under all her titles of honor and power to “pray for all of us.” The Litany of the Saints and the Prayer to Saint Michael could be expressive of the hopes in your heart. A slow, thoughtful saying of the Rosary would be very helpful during any phase of a Holy Hour. With our Blessed Mother and with Christ present there before you in the Holy Eucharist, recall and consider those events in his life. Ponder all those things in your heart as you ask our Blessed Mother to pray for us.