Dear Sisters and Brothers in the Lord,
The night before his passion and death, Jesus suffered greatly as he prayed to his heavenly Father in the Garden of Gethsemane. In his sorrow and distress he turned to Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, James and John. Christ asks them to remain with him in his agony. What followed? The Holy Gospels tell us: “When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep. He said to Peter, “So you could not keep watch with me for one hour?” (Matthew 26:40)
My friends, can we keep watch with Christ for one hour? That will be the challenge in this week’s Disciples Together on the Way as we conclude our four week theme on the Holy Eucharist.
The challenge for this week is to pray a Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament.
Some of you may already do it on a regular basis. Perhaps you are already signed up at an adoration chapel near you that offers perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Or perhaps your parish offers a weekly holy hour to which you regularly go and spend some time with the Lord. If so, you already know all the goodness that spending just sixty minutes with Jesus brings into your life.
We Catholics believe that, during such a Holy Hour, Jesus Christ is actually present in the Blessed Sacrament. This means that when we go to adoration we really are in the presence of God the Son. Therefore, when we enter the church or the chapel, we have no doubt that there is no better place on earth to spend that next hour.
In his Encyclical Mysterium Fidei, Pope St. Paul VI wrote: “As St. Thomas says, the fact that the true body and the true blood of Christ are present in this Sacrament "cannot be apprehended by the senses but only by faith, which rests upon divine authority… Do not doubt that this is true; instead accept the words of the Savior in faith; for since He is truth, He cannot tell a lie."
So, let us always enter the church or the chapel with this is mind. And we should prepare ahead what it is we would like to do in His presence. Remember that Jesus is always waiting for us to come to Him and enter in a communion of love with Him, as we read in Revelation 3:20: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will enter his house and dine with him and he with me”.
As we enter the church or adoration chapel let us get ready to open the doors of our heart to Jesus. We can talk to Him as with a good friend. We can share our joys and successes. We can ask Him for advice on the difficult matters of our day. We may also tell Him about the bigger challenges we are facing in our life. He already knows them but opening up with Him is a good way to begin our conversation. Then, we should listen deeply in our heart for what He wants to tell us.
If you are not used to spending time with the Lord in adoration, reading your Bible or praying a Rosary are helpful ways to begin. Read the Gospel for the upcoming Sunday and find a phrase that catches your attention. See what the Lord is trying to tell you through it. You can also pray the Holy Rosary and offer it for a special intention or pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet or another favorite devotion.
See you next week and, also, be assured of my prayers for you. Until then, may God bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
Yours in Christ,
+ Earl Boyea
Bishop of Lansing