“What do we do with our time in the Adoration Room, Father?” is a question that I have been asked by both baptised Catholics and Catechumens alike. We all know that prayer is important, and it has been said by many spiritual greats that a most noble thing to do is to spend a holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament daily. But some have shared with me that they feel a sense of boredom and tiredness after the first five or ten minutes in the silence of the adoration room. This shouldn’t surprise anybody.
In our spiritual lives, what we are developing is a relationship with God. The only thing that we have in this life that gives us any similar experience is our relationship with people (or animals for some). What sustains a marriage is not the fireworks or exciting moments in a marriage. They certainly do happen, but they are not the norm. Any marriage that has lasted more than ten years will attest that the moments of excitement that give us consolation and assurance are like ‘treats’. Dependence on ‘treats’ all the time can become ‘threats’ when they are missing. There is the phrase in the English language that when something lasts, it ‘stands the test of time’. We don’t say that it ‘stands the test of excitement’. A marriage that celebrates a milestone of 25 or 50 years is precisely that – half a century of staying in the boredom, the silence, the non-exciting moments and yes, even the fights and disagreements that grew the couple and matured their sacrificing love for each other.
My own parents are going to celebrate their 50 years of married life next year in December, and I will be the first to attest that these 50 years were not a bed of roses. Then again, perhaps it really has been a bed of roses – complete with the thorns. But I am very proud to say that mum and dad have stayed in their difficulties and stresses and strains, being an example for me to stay in my priesthood when there are great moments of stresses and strains too. Most couples only want the bliss in their marriage. There’s nothing wrong with that, but with the bliss come the blisters as well.
What a regular holy hour does for us is to train us for those moments when nothing is quite happening in our lives, in our marriages, and in our priesthood. When there are no fireworks, no affirmations, no great insights, and no excitement. But we stay in there for the full hour till the buzzer sounds because we want to be people of commitment, which leads to help us to become people of maturity and people of substance.
Moreover, we stick to our holy hour not so much for what it gives to us, but also for what it allows us to give to God, especially when it is done with love. When a couple stays in a marriage that isn’t exciting but because they love, it is a sign that they somehow know that loving embraces a suffering that comes in many ways.
So, to the question “what do I do with our time in the Adoration Room, Father?” my answer would be “just decide to stay there, in fidelity, and be present to Real Presence, and love will be really present in the decision”. After all, in order for love to be endearing, it has to be enduring as well.