I don’t remember the first time I went to adoration.
It has just always been the place I go to feel closest to our Lord. I love the silence. I love the opportunity to sit before the Lord, gaze upon each other and just let Him love me. It’s my place to go when I need a spiritual recharge.
About four years ago, I started to feel the very gentle nudge of the Holy Spirit to commit to a weekly hour, but not just a holy hour for me—for me and the children.
I really struggled with this thought. How could that possibly work? At the time I had five kids ten and younger. I could not fathom them sitting through an hour of adoration. I pushed the thought aside (or tried to). Of course, the Holy Spirit is persistent and kept gently placing the call upon my heart. So, not surprisingly, I signed our family up for an hour, although it was almost a year after the initial prompting and following a very convincing homily on the importance of Eucharistic Adoration. I won’t say that this commitment has come without challenges, there have been many, but I cannot deny the fruit it is bearing.
If you are feeling that ever gentle prompting from the Holy Spirit to start a family Holy Hour here are some of my tips:
Timing: You know what works best for your family schedule. Take time to consider what day and time work best for the majority of your family. You won’t find a perfect time, and that’s okay. For our own family, sometimes not everyone can attend. In fact, most of the time we never have everyone there at once. We settled on Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. This works well for our family as kids can walk to the chapel following school dismissal, and we can still be home in time for dinner and evening activities.
Be Patient: It is going to take time for kids to adjust to a holy hour. An hour is a long time for children to be confined in what is likely a small room. Be patient with yourself and your children as you teach them appropriate behaviors for Adoration. Many times, I have had to walk out of the chapel with a screaming child (usually because I won’t let him/her play with the fire sticks a.k.a. matches used to light votive candles) in order to redirect inappropriate behavior. I think I spent at least the first year outside the actual adoration chapel holding a screaming child. Eventually they learned. Don’t worry, there was someone else in the chapel, so Jesus was never alone. We are very blessed to share our hour with a woman who loves children and doesn’t mind our family chaosprayers.
Come Prepared:If you plan to show up to your holy hour with nothing but your kids, you probably aren’t setting your family up for success. Kids need to be taught how to pray. They also are going to need several options to keep them focused during a holy hour. We have an Adoration Bag. This bag only comes to Holy Hour with us, and the items in this bag are used only during this Holy Hour. Fill the bag with age-appropriate activities tailored to the individual needs of your children. More on my adoration bag later!
Trust: Trust God. Trust that if He has called you to this He will provide. He knows the unique needs of your family and He can not be outdone in generosity.
Ultimately, be sure to set reasonable expectations for yourself and family when establishing this new ritual. Don’t expect perfection.
If you can’t commit to a weekly hour yet consider once a month. Take some time to pray and listen to where the Holy Spirit is leading you. What I do know is that the Lord yearns to be with all of us. He desires intimacy with us, and Eucharistic Adoration is a great avenue to start establishing this intimacy both as individuals and as families.