I’d like to ask your assistance for a project I’ve been asked to undertake. The committee at my parish responsible for organizing First Friday Eucharistic Adoration thinks a plan for newbies might be helpful. I’ve drafted this “Sixty Minute Plan for Eucharistic Adoration,” but I’m feeling rather dry and uninspired about the content. What should I add? What should I subtract? How specific or general should it be? The people asked me for something rather directive; would you agree something like this is needed? Be frank, please.
for Eucharistic Adoration
at St Thomas More Parish
People new to Eucharistic Adoration wonder what to do for a whole hour. Would a list of do’s and don’t’s help?
– Pray set prayers, like the Rosary
– Pray in your own words, like a conversation with God
– Read the Bible
– Open a missalette and look at the readings for the coming Sunday
– Open a hymnal and sing a favorite song or two to yourself
– Read a spiritual book: there’s a bookshelf in the Cry Room full of them
– Get discouraged; your intent and presence in the Church for an hour is itself a prayer pleasing to God
– Worry; nobody is checking up on you. Dozing off is not a sin
Are you looking for a sixty-minute plan to guide you through an hour of prayer with the Blessed Sacrament? Come to church prepared: a Bible, a rosary, maybe a second book to read. If you keep a journal, bring it along, too. Try this plan or something similar:
0:00-0:01 Walk into church, pick up a book or two from the Cry Room. If you tend to be a browser, give yourself a little time before the top of the hour. When you pass the statue of our patron, pray, “St Thomas More, pray for me.”
0:01-0:03 Settle into a pew, pull down a kneeler, kneel down, take a deep breath, and say the Our Father. Slowly.
0:03-0:05 You can open up the hymnal to #888 and pray the Hymn Tantum Ergo to yourself. Or #874 Precious Lord. Or #831 Take and Eat. Or another favorite.
0:05-0:08 Sit down and take another deep breath. Pray the Glory Be and just sit, watching the host in the monstrance. Or maybe close your eyes. If a distraction comes up, just gently set it aside and keep your focus. Try a prayer with breathing, like this: (Breathe in) Lord (breathe out) have (breathe in) mer- (breathe out) cy. Repeat for a bit.
0:08-0:20 Take out your Bible and try one of these passages:
As you read, go slowly and carefully. If anything strikes you, take a break and look up (or close your eyes). Wait for either an insight or a distraction. Then either write your insight in your journal or go back to the printed page and continue reading.
0:20-0:25 Take a stretch for your body. Walk around the church for a bit, stopping at a statue for a prayer or two.
0:25-0:50 Time for some structure and less concentrated focus. Say the rosary: a whole set of mysteries. If you don’t know how exactly to do that, use a card to instruct you. Without a group setting, you can take your time and say the prayers at your own pace. If you get lost, just backtrack and start where you think best. You can also read a chapter or two in a spiritual book, pray the Stations, or tackle a whole small book of the Bible like Ruth or Jonah. Or start Mark’s Gospel and see how far you can go.
0:50-0:55 Take a second stretch. Walk around the church again. Pull down a kneeler near the front and pray there for a minute or two before returning to your first seat.
0:55-0:59 Time to start back to the real world. Think about family and friends who could use a prayer, even if they haven’t asked you for it.
0:59-0:60 One last prayer: Thank you God for a good and holy hour