Regular readers know that my husband Joel is in deacon formation with the Diocese of Des Moines. A four-year process, we have just completed year three, and God and Bishop-willing, Joel will be ordained August 2014. I write “we” because in our diocese, wives are required to journey alongside their husbands by attending all seminary classes and diocesan workshops.
One might think that when a man is called to deacon formation, the journey leads him and his family closer to Jesus and His Church. True enough. However, the demands of this journey have provided a plethora of opportunities for our family to get really
good bad at being busy. Many of the spiritually strengthening devotional practices that were once a regular part of my life have given way to the all-consuming formation process. I’m running around performing acts of service like Martha yet still feeling hungry for something deeper.
It all came to a head one recent evening while eating dinner with my family — a fist pounding on the table and tears streaming down my cheeks kind of encounter. At that point, Joel insisted it was time to walk away from the diaconate, if only to get me OFF. THE. LEDGE! After a few hours of cooling off, the Holy Spirit planted a message on my heart. My relationship with Jesus has grown rather distant, and I couldn’t allow Joel to walk away from a higher calling without first entrusting such a decision to His holy care. I pleaded with Joel that he must continue with formation. As for my part, I knew I needed to take some initiative to grow closer to Jesus.
By the grace of God, I stumbled across the idea for a “Mother’s Sabbath,” a regular day out every two weeks or so for rest, solitude, and restoration with God. It’s also a great opportunity to participate in Confession, spiritual direction, and Adoration as well as treating oneself well to “recover the equilibrium of the soul,” as Dom Chautard writes in The Soul of the Apostolate. Joel and I agreed that I needed such a regular outing scheduled on my calendar so that I can keep running this race with perseverance.
My inaugural Mother’s Sabbath occurred a few weeks ago and I spent the day recovering, so to speak, by allowing myself the time and space to pray, journal, and read. When I returned home several hours later and reflected with Joel, I realized I neglected to spend time with THE one person who is truly longing for my attention, my presence … just me. And that person is Jesus. So I promised Him (and ME!) that on my next Mother’s Sabbath, the Adoration Chapel will be my first stop.
But Jesus knows I’m r-e-a-l-l-y good at excuses so how timely that this book arrived in my mailbox the very next day.
The questions. The excuses. I’ve asked and uttered most of them. Do any of these look familiar?
So you’re encouraging me to sit in an Adoration chapel for a whole hour … so what do I DO exactly for those sixty minutes? Pray silently … out loud? Can I journal? What if I fall asleep? Wait a minute; what’s the point of Eucharistic Adoration anyway? I’m just so busy right now, I simply can’t squeeze in a trip to the chapel. Can’t I simply talk to Jesus anywhere, anytime?
Vinny Flynn covers all this and more in his new book 21 Ways to Worship: A Guide to Eucharistic Adoration. Twenty-one suggestions for how to pray during a Holy Hour may seem like a long laundry list to some, but Flynn’s accessible style makes this more than just a list. Many of us know we can pull out the beads and pray the Rosary during Adoration. This is not what Flynn’s book is about. It’s equal parts conversation and catechesis, weaving in humorous anecdotes and helpful suggestions along the way. There’s a lot to chew on, but it doesn’t require a theology degree to understand.
Just beginning? Flynn’s practical yet innovative ideas will get you started.
Holy hour becoming stale? Flynn provides fresh ideas to help get you out of a prayer rut.
Veteran adorer looking for more? Flynn has suggestions to enter into a deeper, more intimate communion with Jesus.
Simply put, there’s something for everyone, and this book deserves a prominent place in every chapel and within an arm’s length of every adorer.
“I’m convinced that the most important thing to understand about Adoration is that it is not only for a select group of people, it’s for everyone — and it’s not optional. To grow spiritually, you must adore!
… The Eucharist calls us to a personal relationship with the person of Jesus Christ, and that can’t happen if all you do is receive Him in Communion once a week, or even once a day. Building a relationship with another person takes time.” — Vinny Flynn
If you, like me, are running around performing acts of service like Martha yet still feeling hungry for something deeper, I invite you, too, to schedule a date with Jesus and simply waste time with Him. In the meantime, pick up a copy of 21 Ways to Worship for some motivation. You can be sure I’ll have it in hand when I leave the house on my next Mother’s Sabbath.
Want to win a free copy of 21 Ways To Worship? Simply leave a comment below by midnight (central daylight time) on Sunday, May 25, 2013. One winner randomly selected.