I stopped by the adoration chapel today while I was out running some errands. A lady came in with a container of books and prayer cards. The noon hour in our adoration chapel is covered by parishioners who come to spend an hour in prayer for priests, and for an end to abortion.
Assuming that I had come to participate, she greeted me very warmly. I quietly explained that I had to leave to pick up my husband. She said, “Oh, I guess it will just be two of us then,” referring to the other lady who had just arrived.
As I drove away, I couldn’t help reflecting: Isn’t that how it always is? So few people show up when prayer is the focus.
We have 3000 families in my parish, but every week the chairperson of our perpetual adoration chapel has to go begging in the bulletin for more committed adorers. It only takes 168 people to fill all the hours in a week, but there is always a need — even though some adorers commit to more than one hour each week.
People love to drop in when it’s convenient, but most resist signing up for a weekly hour.
I used to be that way too. For years, I enjoyed the benefits of perpetual adoration at my former parish, but I just couldn’t bring myself to commit to a specific hour. Surely other things would always be coming up and I would need to get substitutes and oh well I just don’t think so.
But then, I took the plunge, about 20 years ago. A slot opened at 1pm on Mondays. Since at that time I attended the noon Mass, it was easy to run for a bite to eat and make it back to the chapel on time.
Oh how Jesus rewards our little efforts! Here He waits, the King of kings, the Lord and God of all. Here He lovingly waits upon us to see if we can fit some time into our schedules for Him.
But when we do, He goes to work on our hearts, and we are never the same. All the adorers I know are “addicted” for want of a better word. They anticipate their hours with Jesus with great joy, and regret when they have to miss for a necessary reason.
No matter if we are fighting sleep or distractions or if our hearts are as dry as desert sand, Jesus still works His Divine Charm upon our souls. And we may not know it at the moment, but we find His handiwork later in the week or month or year as we overcome with ease a previous struggle, or find an insurmountable problem suddenly resolved and on and on. He is full of surprises. And He will never be outdone in generosity.
Yet, it is so sad to sit in the chapel alone with Jesus, and hear the distant laughter of hundreds of people at the parish fair. But, not even one comes to visit the King. What must He feel?
When we have a “giving tree” in our parish at Christmas, people rush to strip it bare to buy gifts for the needy, but when it is sign-up weekend for adoration, so few stop by the table.
I know that Jesus wants us to buy presents for the poor and raise money at the parish fair, but how much He would love to be included as well. But He waits, and waits.
Will you come?
“Behold this Heart which has loved man so much, but Which is loved so little in return.”
(Words of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary.)