It’s four o’clock on Friday afternoon as I take my place on the prie-dieu, kneeling in front of the Tabernacle in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel for my hour of Adoration. Today the Blessed Sacrament is exposed and Jesus is at home in the monstrance. It’s just me and Jesus here together. It doesn’t get much better than this.
I say my prayers, giving thanks for His Grace and Mercy. I ask Him to forgive me for my sins and I ask for His blessings on my family. I give Him thanks for this opportunity to be here with Him.
I pray that during the next hour, in the quiet solitude of this beautiful church, He makes Himself present to me. I look up at Him and I know He’s looking down at me, and my deepest desire is to feel His presence.
As always, I tell myself to clear my mind so I can hear Him if He speaks to me. I try this almost every week and I know how difficult it is to lasso the stray thoughts and images and corral them into an out of the way corner. I am seldom successful.
I tell myself, “Relax, take a deep breath, and picture Jesus looking back at you.” It strikes me that I’m thinking/talking to myself in the second person. I realize this conversation is anything but clearing my mind.
I try again. After a few moments of nothingness….“Ugh, I forgot to get back with the Boss about those plans for next week. He’s not gonna be happy!” I catch myself before I go too far down this rabbit trail and I try to get back on track.
Again, I utter, “Breathe, clear your mind. Look up at Jesus and feel Him looking down at you.” After another few moments of nothingness….
“Jesus, what do you see? What do you see when you look down at me? Besides a middle-aged, over-weight man with a growing bald spot on the top of his head, what do You see, Lord? What do You see in my heart?
“Am I the disciple You would have me be? Do I do all that I can to bring others to You? Am I quick to be charitable? I try, Lord, but am I doing enough? Do my actions speak for themselves? Is my faith strong enough for me to be believable to others? Lord, I know I have made little effort lately to grow my faith, please help me.
“What do You see, Lord? Am I the husband I should be to my wife? You know how much I love her, but do I make her feel as loved as she deserves to feel? Do I sacrifice and die to myself daily like I should for her? I know the answer. Please help me be a better husband.
“What do You see in me as a parent? When You look into my daughters’ hearts do You see love that is borne from my love for them? Does my love reach across the miles to them? Have I been, and do I continue to be, a good role model for them? Perhaps so – they have chosen fine men to be their husbands – but, please, show me how to continue. And, please let them know I will always love them.
“As I grow older, and as my parents grow older, do You see me being the son I should be? Do I reach out to them often and comfort them? Have I shown gratitude for all they have done for me? Help me be a better son, Lord.
“As a sibling, what do You see? The years and the miles have made it easy to gradually slip away from my brother, sisters, and in-laws. Do they know how much I still love and care about them? Have I made the effort to let them know? Please help me find a way to do better at staying in touch.
“Lord, You have blessed me with some truly wonderful friends who care not just about me as a person but as a spiritual being. Have I let them know how much their love for You means to me? Do they know their love and guidance has brought me closer to You? What do You see, Lord? Am I there for them when they need help? Do I reciprocate and help them get closer to You?”
I come back to the moment and it dawns on me that I haven’t yet cleared my mind. I’m not listening. I’m in a monologue with Jesus and I’m not giving Him a chance to respond. Again, in the second person, I rebuke myself, “How can you expect Jesus to reveal Himself to you when you’re doing all the talking?”
Then, I think, “Wait, maybe He just did.”
I love my hour of Adoration with Him!
Lord Jesus, every week when I pray to You before Mass, I ask for insight and Your assistance in helping me become a better disciple, husband, father, son, brother and friend. I pray I never stop asking. Amen.
(What Do You See? was first published on the blog Reflections of a Lay Catholic)
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Jerry, this post does make a difference! Very proud of you for continuing to keep it alive with deep thought. It is hard to clear your mind. I bet everyone has that problem. I know I do. I think to myself about talking to God and I am amazed at moments throughout the day when I take time and give thanks. Sometimes it is on schedule and others it just happens. Spur of the moment I guess. Well have a wonderful weekend and see you soon. Norm
Jerry Robinson said:
Thanks for your comment, Norm. I find it difficult to clear my mind. There’s always something flopping around in there. I need to be more like you and take time throughout the day and listen for Him.
Norm, this was your unlucky day, buddy. You were the 9,999th hit on our blog since we began back in early 2013. If you had waited just a few minutes longer you might have won a new car. Sorry.
Michael E. Coyle said:
Jerry, thought I’d tell you to watch out for a communication you might not be expecting. I went through all the things you describe one night. I was supposed to fill in an hour between midnight and one AM. Finally, exhausted and alone and feeling kind of miserable, because all my answers to all your questions and some of my own came up miserably short, I slumped. I slumped under the weight of all my failings and all my shortcomings and just from the strain of it all. And, in my slumping, I felt like someone had draped a soft, warm blanket over first my head and shoulders and then my back and arms. In my silence and my slump He gave me the best hug I could imagine. And I think I cried a little while I said “Thank You Lord.” over and over again very softly. Another person came in and I eventually got up and shuffled out of the adoration chapel, still feeling the warmth that had penetrated all of me. I went out to my car and started it up and stopped dead. It was 3:30 AM but I felt like it had only been an hour or less. It took me a while to stop laughing with the joy of it. Thne I went home and crawled into bed still marveling at what had happened. And when my alarm went off for work later that morning I got up feeling like I had slept for 12 hours or something.
I hope, no, I pray that you get one of these hugs yourself. God bless you my friend.
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Jerry Robinson said:
Mike, thanks so much for your comment and for reading. And, thanks for sharing your encounter with Christ during Eucharistic Adoration. It truly is an amazing experience.
Actually, Mike, I have had three similar situations occur to me during Adoration. I just haven’t written about them because they were so real and intense that I didn’t know how to write about them. Sometime I would like to tell you about them. Let me just say here that I truly felt His arm around me and the experience brought me to tears. I long for an encounter like this everytime I go to Adoration but it hasn’t happened in several months.
Thanks again, Mike, and I hope to see you at another Ultreya meeting soon.