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Since 2001, Immaculate Heart of Mary parishoners have responded to the Bishops' requests to heed the Lord's words, "Could you not spend an hour with me?" by making a Holy Hour with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. While the initial thrust of the campaign to encourage Eucharistic Adoration was to begin praying more intensely for the gift of vocations to the priesthood, many have realized the power of the hour in its effect upon their own life. Spending time with the Eucharistic Lord is so essential for the spiritual life. Just listen to these words from a respected teacher in the faith, the late Father John Hardon, S.J.
This must seem like an odd question: how are we to believe in the Real Presence? By believing, we might answer. How else do you believe? True enough. But more concretely, how are we to express our belief? We are to express our belief by doing on our part what Christ does on His part. He comes to us. So we must come to Him, and this is not locomotion through space. He comes down to us. We must come up to Him. He is present in the Eucharist in order to be near to us. We must be present – change the accent – we must be present to the Eucharist in order to be near to Him. He went to the superhuman length of becoming man, then changing bread and wine into Himself, then giving His Apostles the power to do the same, then giving them the power to pass on this power to others to do the same. And in virtue of that power, He is now here with us. He wants us, in turn, also now, here, to be with Him. And here nobody cheats. It is impossible in human terms to exaggerate the importance of being in a church or chapel before the Blessed Sacrament as often and for as long as our duties and state of life allow. I very seldom repeat what I say. Let me repeat this sentence. It is impossible in human language to exaggerate the importance of being in a chapel or church before the Blessed Sacrament as often and for as long as our duties and state of life allow. That sentence is the talisman of the highest sanctity.
What I am expressing is not a pious practice or a luxury of the spiritual life. I am talking about its essence. Those who believe what I am saying and act on their belief are in possession of the greatest treasure available to man in this valley of tears. As by now thousands of saintly men and women have testified from experience, this is somewhere near the key to holiness. For this reason, I strongly recommend that each of us make a resolution – no matter how much the decision may cost us – to make a holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved at least once a month or, if possible, once a week, and if we have the grace and our vocation in life permits it, even several times a week. Think of the empty hours that people spend weekly before the television screen – an average I am told of some twenty hours per man, woman and child in America. God help America!
Someone may object, "But you are talking about mystics or saints, and I am neither. I am just an ordinary Catholic trying to save my soul." My reply: there can be no ordinary Catholics today, not with the revolution through which society is passing and the convulsion in the Church on every level. The Church today needs strong Catholics, wise Catholics, Catholics who are not swayed by public opinion or afraid to stand up for the truth. She needs Catholics who are willing to suffer for their convictions and, if need be, shed their blood for the Faith.
Where, we ask, can they obtain this strength and wisdom, this patience and conviction and this loyal love of God that is faithful unto death? They can obtain it from the one who said, "Have courage, I have overcome the world." He is not two thousand years away, or absent from the earth in a distant heaven that cannot be spanned. No, He is right here in the Eucharist. And He wants nothing more than that we also be with Him as much as we can. If we are, and the more we are _ as the great Eucharistic saints tell us – He will not only make us holy, but He will use us as He used those in Palestine who, when He first made the promise of the Eucharist, did not walk away. He will use us as channels of His grace even to the ends of the earth and until the end of time. www.therealpresence.org
Currently, we have adoration in St. Joseph Chapel, around the clock from Monday after the 8 am Mass, until Friday at noon. If you do not have an hour, consider signing up for one. You'll be glad you did. Here's what some of the people in the parish have said about their holy hour:
"The hour I spend each week in adoration has been very rewarding and fulfilling. I recognize it does not in any way take the place of holy mass, but during this hour I get more from my relationship with God than any other time that I have spent in church. It provides me a time when I can really do some soul searching without distractions. I would recommend it to all." "
Adoration to me is so fulfilling and honestly my rare chance to be alone with the Lord. When I walk in I can feel his joy at seeing me, having an hour to be a part of my life completely (and vise versa). Our minds are packed with plans, schedules and worries but at adoration we have a chance to hand them to God and find the peace He always promises to us. I have had many prayers answered. Three different couples have sold their houses; I found just the right job for myself; and some other prayers of inner healing have been answered. Knowing God loves us and meets our needs gives me a grateful heart-- and with that I can truly adore Christ. We as a church are unified by our Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Each hour a person enters God’s presence in prayer is similar to the beads of a rosary. We are a circle of prayer here at IHM."
"My husband and I alternate weeks for the holy hour. I enjoy the holy hour because quite often when we go to Sunday Mass with our young son I feel I missed half the mass due to his misbehavior in church. During the holy hour I can concentrate on my prayers or read the New Testament and other literature. It is one solid hour with Jesus!"
"My hour of adoration is my time to slow down from all the pressures of life and relax in the Lord. I look forward to it every week, even if I’m tired. I can bring my joys and sorrows with me and discuss them with the Lord. I am grateful for this hour alone with him."
"What I have enjoyed most about Adoration is the peacefulness and quiet. My mind actually comes to rest and a peacefulness comes over me. Some days this place is my only salvation. In the beginning I though it was going to be a bother, but the more weeks, the more I enjoyed it. I especially enjoyed my hour around Christmas time. What a relief. I don’t know how to explain it, but I always feel renewed when I leave."
"It had been years since I sat down and read any book. I never took time to relax. Now, I am able to set aside the one hour of adoration and read through the Bible. I started with the Psalms. I couldn’t remember ever reading all of the Psalms before. Then, I started at the beginning of the Old Testament. I can now see there will be a time in the future where I can say that I’ve read the entire Bible, cover to cover. Not just read it, but meditate on the words and thoughts presented. It is making a difference in my life......I am driven to make the hour of adoration meaningful and look forward to it every week. Thanks for making it possible at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in New Melle."
"I have received much comfort during this trying time of my life while attending my hour of adoration. This gives me a special time that I can speak with Jesus."
"When I was in the 5AM slot I was having some trouble with oversleeping and was occasionally late or missed altogether. Fortunately, I shared the hour with someone else who didn’t! It really bothered me that this was happening. One night after setting my alarm for 4:30 am I said, "Lord, don’t let me oversleep." Very early the next morning I was awakened by my daughter who NEVER wakes me. My initial reaction was one of dismay that I got woken up when I had to get up so early. But when I looked at the clock it was 4:25 am!! I realized the Lord had sent me a little angel to make sure I didn’t oversleep........... As someone relatively new to Catholicism I have lots of questions and wanderings about things and have really enjoyed having a quiet hour to read some of the materials available (thank you, Audrey!) in Church. I really like my quiet hour; it has been a true gift. I’ve really become quite protective of my hour -- sharing an hour was ok, but once you have an hour alone you don’t want to go back! I have found that my hour of adoration has helped my feel more connected to the Church and Mass."