|Euchairst Encircled with a Garland of Fruit by Jan Davidsz (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons).|
Many a Saturday morning, my mother mysteriously snuck off somewhere. It wasn’t until I was about nine or ten years old, when she finally took me to see who her important date was. I stepped into a quiet chapel of two columns of pews, with white habited nuns filling up the immaculate spaces. I bowed as they did and began to read a pamphlet my mother gave me.
The words to Quarter of an Hour before the Blessed Sacrament were written as if Jesus himself was conversing with me: “Have you no projects which occupy you? Tell me the details…what do you think of, what do you hope for?…Have you any troubles? My child tell Me all your troubles in detail…Have you no promises to make to me?…”
The conversation was so intimate that I naturally spoke to Our Lord as, well, as a child would. “Lord, please help me do better in math. Please help my hair be as pretty as Alyssa Milano’s. I will try not to tease my sister about her two front teeth…”
From there was born a devotion to Eucharistic Adoration.
I didn’t go regularly but I knew Our Lord was there if I should ever need to speak to Him. Decades later, it was in Adoration that I was healed of postpartum depression and received graces to cope with miscarriages.
As a mother with young children, I was blessed to find a parish that scheduled a weekly children’s adoration hour patterned after Fr. Leo’s EWTN show. There was a Catechist who would lead reflections and teach children how to bow, a choir that sang hymns, participative children who would voice out their petitions, toddlers toddling in the back and babies who blabbered along.
But when we moved, my attempts to initiate children’s hour failed. For months, I missed the choice graces reserved for Adoration devotees. So I resolved to bring my three children (then 5, 3 and 1 year old) instead of waiting for them to be “older and quieter”. In between errands, I would take them to Adoration for at least 15 minutes, depending on how long they could last without distracting anyone. The first five minutes were rough: pages of Bible books flipped noisily, gurgle-babble-wah, and stage whispers of “What ELSE can I do in here?” Occasionally, I’d have to leave the older two without supervision and take out the toddler to the back of the Church. This left me no time to reflect and asking myself “What’s the use?”
But knowing how miserable I was without Adoration and recalling how my mother planted seeds to the devotion, I asked for graces not to give up. Adoration is a commitment I’ve made for myself and a devotion I hope to sow in my children.
I took the children every two weeks or so, nagging at them to be quiet. Their behavior improved with each visit, and some days the fifteen minutes stretched to thirty. (Although sometimes they’d regress and I’d have to remove them from the chapel.) Once, I caught my middle child flapping her papers in the air. I stopped her mid-air, afraid she’d wake the snoozing adorer and demanded, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”
“I’m fanning Jesus mom. Its hot in here.”
Recently, I finally found fruit in my efforts. My oldest (now 7) scoured the house for the special Quarter of an Hour prayers that I loved as a child, and begged to go to Adoration that day. When we left, the middle child bowed and with flair, blew Jesus a kiss. The oldest shuffled her sister out the door and said matter of factly, “We really should come once a week, mom.” Now its not every day that happens, but it’s a start. It’s where I started.
1. Start loving Eucharistic Adoration yourself even if you have to start off alone with babysitting help. You cannot teach what you do not have.
2. Commit to bringing your children for at least 15 minutes every so often.
3. Give children appropriate reading material or download this prayer guide.
4. Pray for graces.
5. Don’t give up.
Anabelle blogs at Written by the Finger of God. This post originally ran at Suscipio4Women.