Have you ever struggled to make it through an entire Holy Hour? In other words, has it been hard to keep your mind from wandering? Have you fallen asleep or dozed off? Perhaps you’ve caught yourself checking your watch every few minutes to see if it’s time to go?
Well, if you’re anything like me you’ve probably experienced each of these challenges (and many more) during your time in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
Obviously, we should all do our very best to focus in on our Lord while we visit Him during a Holy Hour… so, what I’d like to share in this article are a few ideas that have helped me.
Look at Him
A month or so ago, during a Guns & Rosaries meeting, I heard the story of an old man who used to make a Holy Hour every day.
The man would almost always be by myself and he’d have nothing with him. No books. No Rosary beads. No prayer cards. Instead, this man simply sat and gazed at our Lord.
One day, someone asked this older gentleman how he approached these Holy Hours. The soft-spoken man simply replied, “I look at Him… and He looks back at me.”
How beautiful is that? He looks at our Lord and our Lord looks back at him.
So, the first piece of advice I’d like to offer is to not make a Holy Hour more complicated than it needs to be.
Some of the most powerful Holy Hours of my life have occurred when I simply sat and stared at our Lord while listening to the trickle of the baptismal fountain mix with the Gregorian chant that’s softly playing in the background. Add in the faint smell of incense and you have one incredibly peaceful environment.
Break it Into Quarters
Next, another approach worth trying is to break the Holy Hour up into quarters.
For the first 15 minutes I suggest soaking in the realization of what’s going on. Namely, we’re in front of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Jesus is truly present.
My personal prayer for this quarter, which you’re obviously free to use as well, is simply, “Jesus, my Lord and my God… I love you. Please make me strong… please make me holy.”
For the second 15 minutes I like to focus on all the things I’m thankful for…. most especially my faith and my family.
And I try to be as specific as possible. If something went well for me at work I thank Him. If one of my children played great during their game I thank Him. And, even if I recently struggled with something I thank Him for the opportunity to suffer well.
During the third 15 minute quarter I like to focus on petitions. The bible tells us that those who ask, seek, and knock will be heard by our Lord. So don’t be afraid to pray for specific things or people.
Finally, during the final 15 minutes I believe it’s prudent to focus on atonement. Our world is a mess. And if you’re not sure what I mean turn on the news tonight and watch for 5 minutes. So we should beg our Lord for mercy and forgiveness.
Of course, we should also atone for any personal sins or wrongdoings then, and most especially, in the confessional if the sins are mortal.
Many Other Approaches
Obviously, there are many other ways to approach a Holy Hour so be sure to do what works for you.
A slow, intentional, praying of the Holy Rosary is especially powerful as are other prayers like the Divine Mercy Chaplet so long as you respect the quiet atmosphere and pray quietly to yourself.
In the end, the most important thing you can do is be there with our Lord. And if things don’t go as planned don’t beat yourself up!
Oh, and if the trickle of the baptismal fountain mixing with the Gregorian chant music relaxes you to the point your eyes close for a moment or two don’t worry… you just may be a saint in the making!
The fact that I often fall asleep during meditation, or while making my thanksgiving, should appall me. Well, I am not appalled; I bear in mind that little children are just as pleasing to their parents asleep as awake; that doctors put patients to sleep while they perform operations, and that after all, “the Lord knows our frame. He remembers that we are dust. -St. Thérèse of Lisieux
Until next time… be holy, eat clean, and do more push-ups!