I just accomplished a goal I set for myself almost a year and a half ago, and I feel pretty good about it. The goal isn’t an end in itself, it’s more of a milestone. Still, it’s pretty significant, and I’m going to take a little time to simply enjoy and celebrate the fact that I did it.
The goal was to spend a week in the Perpetual Adoration Chapel at my church. Not all at once, of course, but an hour at a time. There are 168 hours in a week – in case you haven’t done the math lately – and my goal was not simply to log in a total of 168 hours in the Chapel, but to cover each one-hour time period during the course of a week. So in the last year and a half, I was in the Adoration Chapel at literally all hours of the day and night.
An Adoration Chapel, for those who aren’t familiar with one, is a special room in some Catholic Churches that is dedicated to adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. It’s a place of quiet reflection and prayer, and there must be someone present at all times that the Blessed Sacrament is exposed. Although many people come to the Chapel whenever they feel the need or desire, there are people who are scheduled to come at every hour, so that the Chapel is never empty.
My idea for spending a week in the Chapel first came during a Mass at which our pastor talked about the Adoration Chapel, and issued a plea for people to sign up for specific times, noting that there was a special need for people to cover certain hours, especially the ones in the middle of the night.
I had been to the Adoration Chapel a number of times, just stopping in when I felt called, or when something was weighing on me heavily. But I had never signed up for a specific time each week. I – like many people, I’m sure – was hesitant to commit to a specific day and time, partly because my schedule changes so drastically day to day and week to week. But I realize that’s probably just an excuse.
After hearing the pastor talk about the Adoration Chapel, I started considering what might be a good day and time that I could go regularly, an hour when I usually didn’t have other commitments and could honor it most comfortably. Then I started looking at other considerations besides my schedule. What time of day would I most enjoy spending an hour in the Adoration Chapel? Which day of the week might I be most in need of it?
That’s when I got the idea of “sampling” what it would be like in the Chapel at every hour of every day. I made a chart for myself to be filled in each time I went, and I bought myself a new journal so that I could write about the experience while I was there. I ended up filling three entire journals during my week in the Chapel. My practice during every visit was first to pray, then write for as long as I felt inspired to, which was usually 15 to 30 minutes but sometimes for almost the entire hour. After I finished writing, I would read – the Bible, books and pamphlets that were in the pews at the Chapel, or spiritual reading of my own that I had brought with me. Sometimes I said the rosary, other times I just sat and took in the sacred silence, which was immensely nourishing and probably did as much good for me physically as spiritually. I always spent the last few minutes again in prayer, leaving the Chapel every time with a profound sense of serenity and strength.
I made up some rules and guidelines – the main one being that I could not spend two consecutive hours at the Chapel, since I wanted every one to be separate and distinct. I had originally intended to go for one hour a week, but ended up going more often – partly because it would have taken me almost three and a half years to complete my quest, and partly because I came to enjoy and depend on the peace and power I felt every time I spent an hour in the Chapel. It also gave me a stronger sense of the presence of God in my life in general. I know that will continue, as I continue to spend regular time in the Adoration Chapel even though my “official” week there is complete.
But for now, I’m just enjoying the glow. Of accomplishing what I set out to do. Of reaching my goal. And of a week well spent.
If you’d like to know more about Adoration Chapels in general, or are interested in visiting the one at my church, feel free to contact the St. Hubert parish office at 952-934-9106, or visit www.sthubert.org.
The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on May 29, 2014.
©Betty Liedtke, 2014
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