Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Adoration -- Time to Teach and Be Taught

I had company at Adoration tonight. In addition to the regular adorers in our time slot, I brought along a daughter. She grabbed a book as we prepared to go -- Edith Stein. I thought, "Excellent choice. That should keep her occupied." Then, we left.

Adoration means quiet, peaceful, inspirational time with Jesus. Tonight, it was anything but that. It was fidgety, itchy, confining, noisy. You might guess that I am going to provide you with a story about how I needed to continually remind my daughter about her lack of reverence. No, this is about me, about my distractions.

I found myself unable to sit still, anxious about my need to pray and constantly aware of everyone else in the room. It is a small Adoration chapel, but not so small that I haven't been able to enter into conversation with Jesus and slip away from the surroundings. That was not the case tonight, and I grew increasingly unsettled.

I began my Rosary, hoping to release some of the energy into the prayer. It did soothe me a bit, but not enough to keep me from the distraction my daughter was providing behind me. She was trying to be quiet, but had to keep wiping her nose and tearing the paper towel, which she left the chapel to acquire from the ladie's room, into pieces to have enough to last the hour. It wasn't a huge distraction -- I bet the other adorers didn't even notice it -- but, to me it was as if she were exploding ordinance behind me.

Yes, she could have been more respectful, but the problem was truly mine. I had a barrier between me and Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. I finished my Rosary and picked up my spiritual reading, Interior Freedom, by Jacques Philippe. I received a gentle and immediate remediation in the final pages of that wonderful book. I was trying to do the work on my own. Praying was something I was doing out of habit, out of duty -- what was lacking was the desire to pray out of love. I was busy, busy, busy -- simply checking off another box on the "to do" list.

I hadn't begun my time of prayer asking for the grace to pray well. I dove in and started the hour ticking, and from that moment forward not even the most fervent attempt to pray well was rewarded.

It's a humbling thing to be admonished in Adoration. But, the Lord is merciful as the Scripture from today's liturgy reminds:
Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance; Who does not persist in anger forever, but delights rather in clemency, And will again have compassion on us, treading underfoot our guilt? You will cast into the depths of the sea all our sins; You will show faithfulness to Jacob, and grace to Abraham, As you have sworn to our fathers from days of old. (Micah 7:18-20)
He loves me and will show me clemency. My daughter got to witness my agitation, and I got to share how we need to keep a posture of prayer while also having a loving conversation with Jesus -- sometimes talking, mostly listening. I was able, with God's grace, to take this time and make it a fruitful teaching moment. But, I can't deny that I was taught a lesson in love, as well.

Tomorrow, I can try again -- only this time, I will not try on my own. I will ask for the grace to love Him and serve Him well in thought, word and deed through the intercession of His Blessed Mother.


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