A man pray inside the church Sant Antoni de Llefia in Badalona (Spain). Note for the editors: this image has been post processed in BW and is included in a body of work of a total of 18 images taken during Holy Week 2015 in Spain.
Some days it’s for 10 minutes. If I’m lucky, it’s for 15. But if I’m honest with myself, most days it’s for 5 minutes, 7 tops. I know that I’m blessed to work in a place where I start my day praying before the Blessed Sacrament. Irregardless of how much time I am able to spend there.
I wasn’t always in the habit of stopping by the chapel. It was just another room in the building, a quiet corner that got used from time to time. I forgot about the chapel for the most part.
This changed for me about 5 years ago. I was reading read a story about how St. Jean Vianney (the Cure of Ars) approached a man who he had noticed. This man came daily to the parish church in Ars. The man would come around the same time every day and sit and be silent in the same pew. When St. Jean Vianney asked him what went on while he sat there, the man answered, “I look at the Lord, and He looks at me. That is all.”
Centro San Lorenzo – Photograph by Aleteia Image Department
That’s when it struck me that I needed to go and sit with the Lord each day. There He is, in the chapel Tabernacle, in a building bustling with over 1,000 people. Yet He seemed all alone. So I made the chapel my first stop in the day, taking a quiet moment with the Lord. I would be able to meditate and gain strength from the silence of God before the pandemonium begins.
Over the years I’ve had countless blessings from my morning visits with Christ. Some days these blessings are more obvious than others. I do talk to others about my time spent in prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament. I prefer not to tell them about specific prayers answered. I prefer to tell them about 3 ways this daily Adoration has changed my life.
Center my day
I first pray a quick formulaic prayer (either an Our Father, or the Tabernacle Prayer below) to calm my mind. Then the first things I ask God for are wisdom and courage. I ask for the wisdom to know His will for me that day and the courage to carry it out. During this time I find my mind wandering through the tasks I have ahead of me that day. The day ahead plays out in my mind with all its challenges and possible pitfalls. In my heart, I listen to how Christ would answer the questions I’m about to face. I listen to the words He would speak, and I see myself answering the way Jesus would answer.
I can imagine how Jesus would respond in the situations I see coming in the day. I know he also faced challenges as well. This gives me the courage to face the challenges of my own daily life. With a deep breath the stress and worry I’ve given to these problems that haven’t yet slips away. As I make my way through the day I meet its challenges with confidence, knowing that Christ is with me.
Lay my worries before God
There are other mornings when I bring to God my worries and struggles that are not a part of my workday. It could be that someone in my family is sick, or that a friendship has has strain. It could be as a husband and father, my wife and son’s concerns are also never far from my mind or prayers. I don’t ask Christ to solve my problems for me, but I do ask for His help.
There are times when the answer to my dilemma will pop into my head. Then I’m sure anyone walking by the chapel at that time would wonder why I’m laughing out loud by myself. There are other times when the solution isn’t so forthcoming. At those moments I’m lost in tears before God and all I can do is repeat the prayer, “Jesus I trust in You!”. I do trust in Him, because He will answer my prayers. It may take days, or weeks, or months; but Christ always comes through, so I trust in Him.
Connect with others
There’s the odd day when someone else is already there when I slip into the chapel. Or I’ll hear them come in while I’m praying. Sometimes we’ll just pray in the silence, taking our leave when we’re done. There are other times when I will ask the other person to pray for my specific intention, or vice-versa. There’s great comfort in knowing one isn’t alone in their struggles. Its a comfort knowing that others are praying for you and that others also trust that God hears our prayers. Sometimes chatting about things in the presence of God helps bring peace to the soul. I’ve made connections this way with others whom I would never have even spoken to. We check-in with one another from time to time when our paths cross. I have had friendships that have blossomed.
I know I’m blessed to have the Blessed Sacrament where I work, and not everyone is so fortunate. Making a daily stop at church as did that man in Ars did, isn’t always possible. It’s a simple task to spend 5 to 10 minutes a day thinking about the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle at your parish. Think of it as a sort of long-distance Adoration. You can be asking for God for the wisdom and courage you need to get through your day. I start my visit with Christ with this prayer (but you can tweak it to meet your needs):
O my Jesus,
I turn toward the holy tabernacle
Where you live hidden for love of me.
I love you, O my God.
I cannot receive you in Holy Communion right now.
Come nevertheless and visit me with your grace.
Come spiritually into my heart.
Render it like unto your own.
Chapel on the Rock BWSC – Bo Insogna