This week was September 11th, it is a day that will bring an emotional reaction to many because of the attacks in 2001. But there are many other significant things that have happened on that date. It is thought that the attackers chose the September 11th date because of the significance of the defeat of the Ottoman empires armies on September 11, 1683 while trying to invade Vienna, Switzerland. Although this date is significant for American history, there is something else that is important for the prayer life of the Catholic Church that happened.
In 1226 the first recorded practice of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament was held at regular parishes. Previously it had been a long-held practice not in public, but in the privacy of a number of monasteries. This is a practice that is still held around the world, including St. Luke’s parish. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament or often just called Adoration is a wonderful time that we have to just be with Jesus.
I am sometimes asked about what we should do during Adoration, and the simple answer is to pray, and there are many ways that we can pray. From just sitting and trying to listen to where God is leading us, to praying some of the memorized wrote prayers. I often pray the Liturgy of the Hours during Adoration or even the Rosary, but that is up to each of us. Something that I really recommend during this time is to read and pray over the scripture readings for the upcoming weekend, it is a great way to be prepared for them even if there is some distraction when they are being read at Mass.
Here at St. Luke’s we have Adoration on Thursday evenings after the 5:30 Mass and we also have it on Saturday morning during Confessions from 9:00 to 10:00, and we also have it on the first Friday of the month from after the 7:45 Mass until 8:00 pm. If you have never had the experience of spending time with the Blessed Sacrament in this way, I would highly encourage it, it can be a great way to reset or really enhance your prayer life. For most people who lead busy lives like we do, it can be a challenge to just sit and listen to God until you get used to it. We often want to be “doing” something and just sitting praying does not always feel like we are doing something. For someone who is beginning this devotional practice, I would recommend starting with bringing something, like Holy Scripture, a rosary, a book of prayers, or some other devotional book to get started. After a few times of the quiet time with Jesus, most people begin to really like to just be. I myself do a combination of other prayers along with mediation during Adoration. I would recommend taking some time to spend with Jesus in this way, even if you cannot spend a whole hour, even 15 minutes would be a great start, and then you can build from there, it truly is a wonderful way to pray.