From our Director of Parish Life, Shayne Slough…
When I first signed up about 4 years ago for the commitment of going to pray between 9-10 p.m. on a Sunday night before our Eucharistic Lord, I will admit I was a bit hesitant about the whole thing. Adoration was somewhat new to me, first of all, and I was uncertain how I would “fill” the hour; secondly, being a teacher at the time, that part of the evening was prime time to make sure I was ready for the week…lesson plans finalized, grades entered, and bags packed and ready to head to school that next morning! But my husband and I had signed up, nonetheless, because we thought it would be a good way to spend some “couple time,” together drawing closer to the Lord, especially as my husband was about to enter the church that Easter Vigil. Plus, I kept hearing our daughter Allie, a FOCUS missionary, in the back of my head, saying, “Mom, if you give time to the Lord like this, He will multiply it!”
Any hesitancies disappeared soon after we started attending! The hour did not feel long…it actually, many evenings, was not long enough! And did the Lord multiply my time? Yes! If we give him our will and work, he can manage the time by giving us the energy and focus to work that much more or more productively, if that work be part of His will! His presence invades ours if we allow it, and perspective shifts. That hour on Sunday night became a beautiful way to begin the work week, rightly ordered and ready to do the Lord’s work. For my husband, it has helped him on his long journey to believing in the Eucharistic presence of the Lord.
I find myself heading to the chapel during the week, too, sometimes for just a few minutes, when I need to talk to the Lord in person, giving Him thanks and praise or asking for personal direction or help for someone in need. One of these random weekly visits from last fall particularly stands out in my memory.
I was feeling drained after a long and busy day, so I went there to pray for a few minutes. As soon as I knelt, I noticed the oil candle to the right of the tabernacle was flickering, a small flame that was threatening to go out at any moment. I prayed, “Lord, I feel just like that candle!” After sharing with him the events of the day that had just passed (the details of which I can’t even remember at this time), I opened my eyes once more to gaze toward Jesus in the monstrance. As I did, I noticed this time not the flickering candle, but the replacement oil candle sitting right beside it. I looked again…how was it that I had not seen that bottle sitting there just minutes ago? Surely, it must have been there? But in that moment, the Lord spoke to me, reminding me of the simple truth, “I will fill you, just come to me!”
Jesus helps us see what we cannot or don’t or won’t; He whispers powerful truths gently in our ears; He, like a good friend, shares with us as we share with Him. He continually reminds us of His love. And how much more powerfully this happens in His presence…at least that’s been my experience! Think of a phone conversation (or in these days lately, a Zoom or Face- Time conversation) with a friend, for instance; it can bring some level of comfort, commiseration, empathy, guidance…but it’s never quite the same as being there with them, noticing the love in their eyes, feeling perhaps the grasp of their hand or warmth of their hug, or simply the joy of sitting quietly in each other’s presence…together. The Lord longs to be with us, and His graces abound when we draw near; He can’t be outdone in giving.
“Commit” means (according to etymonline.com) “‘to give in charge, entrust,’ from Latin committere ‘to unite, connect, combine; to bring together’”….how fitting, and beautiful, then, that signing up for Eucharistic Adoration becomes a commitment whereby we entrust our presence to the Lord (one hour, each week) as He entrusts Himself to us in His Eucharistic Presence.
Our Eucharistic Adoration Chapel organizers (Cindy Smith and Deacon Dave & Marcia Etters) have been working tirelessly toward perpetual adoration at the St. Joseph Chapel. Please consider filling one of our open spots to help us move that much closer to doing so!