The Gift of Adoration: A New Peace

I haven’t slept in two days, so it’s time to blog! I’m up anyway.

Last night I attended my second deliberate Adoration in probably at least 10 years. It was never a part of my life growing up, even though I was very close to my aunt who was a nun. She never was pushy about our faith, and that gave me the freedom to come to it on my own. I appreciated that about her.

Since December I’ve been part of a large group of young Catholics in Wichita, and it’s been life-changing. I’ve grown deeper into my faith than I ever would have expected, because my friends are serious Catholics. And a lot of the activities we do are based around Catholicism and enjoying the fruits of it together as a group. None of us are married or have children yet– it’s awesome. We are able to just relax and really have fun together.

Last night I only went for about 30 minutes. But it was just right. It was in a smaller chapel, with lots of candles lit. I wasn’t dressed up– I was just me. I felt comfortable. I had brought along a book for reflection, my Bible, and a journal I haven’t written in since 2015. It has The Blessed Mother on the cover in the style of a stained glass window and it was meant to be a prayer journal. I found it at home and brought it along. I had a plan.

I wasn’t emotional this time, just very calm. And I didn’t put any expectations on myself to stay the whole hour– I just left when I felt ready. I drove home feeling cleansed.

The first time I had gone, maybe a month ago, it was a completely different experience.

I had just bought a book at a Catholic gift store specifically to help you pray, called, “God, I have Issues: 50 Ways to Pray No Matter How You Feel,” by Mark E. Thibodeaux, S.J..  It has an index of different feelings that might be challenging and I knew it would really help me. I was feeling stuck and helpless. Whenever I feel that way, I tend to look inward and pray about it. Finding this book felt like a clue, a way that God was reaching out to guide me through this confusion.

When I brought the book and my Bible that first Adoration, it gave me a structured way to both pray and to read Scripture. There is a Scripture quote, a reflection, and then multiple other Scriptural verses to connect more deeply with the message. Then quotes of regular people on the same topic. It’s amazing. I would recommend this book to anyone.

This focused prayer unlocked powerful feelings in me and I found myself sobbing. For most of the time I was there, honestly. And it was so healing.

I realized that Adoration is entirely different from Mass, in a beautiful way. There is no routine or expectation for how you spend your time there. I don’t need to listen to anything being read, keep up with the responses, look up songs, sing, stand, kneel, sit, get up to receive Holy Communion. I don’t need to Confess anything to a priest. I don’t need to move or interact with anyone nearby. It’s entirely my choice. I could simply sit there and be if what I needed.  But it was still communal– I knew my friends were around me, sharing the moment.

It was cathartic in a way that I’ve never even experienced in Confession.

And most exciting, I made it the entire hour! I never felt bored, or pressured.

I remembered my previous experience, 10 years ago. I hadn’t expected to go to Adoration, I had shown up to a meeting of single Catholic adults but sadly it was not as dynamic or organized. I was annoyed. I was bored.

I think I had left after 10 minutes.

It was good to know I have developed a deeper connection since then.

These events are held once a month, and I want to go more often.

 

And I Added Mary, and Found an Onyx Surprise

As I’ve said before, I frequently wear a gold cross necklace.

But I’ve noticed this year that most Catholics also wear a medal of some sort– a saint, or the Blessed Mother.

I was sorting through my jewelry box, when I realized I had a small felt bag filled with crosses.

Sorting through it, I found five silver cross charms, interchangeable for different necklaces. One angel charm. Silver charms of St. Michael, St. Luke, and St. Catherine of Siena, and one of the Blessed Mother. A silver pendant of St. Christopher.

And one gold charm, of the Blessed Mother.

Coincidence? I think not. I threaded it onto my gold chain, along with the gold cross.

The medal of Mary compliments the gold cross perfectly. As if they were meant to be worn together.

I just pray the clasp doesn’t break– it may need to be reinforced a bit.

But adding Mary makes me feel stronger. Calmer.

And on the same day, I also found something else I was wondering about. I have a box full of Catholic pamphlets, prayer devotion books, icon cards, prayer cards, and rosaries. A cross I bought, but haven’t yet put up. It’s made in Mexico and has sunflowers painted on it, beautiful. Reminds me of my home state, Kansas.

I found a silver necklace with a beautiful silver and onyx cross charm on it.

I used to wear it all the time, but couldn’t remember what happened to it.

That beautiful onyx charm was actually given to me by an Atheist friend.  She herself didn’t believe, but she knew I did.

And I’ve cherished it ever since. Recently, we’ve reconnected after a few years of having lost touch.

She’s a thoughtful, hilarious and brilliant woman that I admire very much. And I love that just after reconnecting with her, I found the same cross that she gave to me years ago.

God works in ways that always delight me. I love the surprises of His will.