A few weeks ago, we had a speaker named Fr. Larry Richards who came to our parish to give a pep talk of sorts. I came away with two things from the talk: I need a structured schedule in my life (no more hitting the snooze button on my alarm, as I have work, child and cleaning responsibilities), and I need to start doing an hour of Eucharistic Adoration.
The first thing was just something that God is nudging me towards, as Richards said nothing about giving me a schedule. The second part was more direct, as the good priest said that the reason we didn't have 24-hour Eucharistic Adoration was because we as a congregation were lazy.
He's right: He said that if someone offered a million dollars to anyone who spent one hour a week in adoration for 52 weeks, we'd take that bet. So why isn't time with God as important as that mythical million bucks?
So I decided to volunteer for one hour a week, every Saturday morning at midnight. Why midnight? I work 8 to 5 now, yay, so going during the day is out. I like spending time with my family after work, so I'm not going at 5. Nope, I chose midnight.
Actually, the main reason I chose midnight is due to the 18 months I spent working third shift (2300 to 700). I always felt like nobody truly understood what it was like working those hours, and that nothing was catered to folks on that schedule. So I am giving back, so to say. I am making sure that chapel is always open at that time of night for those third-shift folks who may need a bit of prayer before their job.
However, the last two times I've done adoration, I've promptly fallen asleep. I'll say the Lord's Prayer, a Hail Mary, go to open my Bible.....and next thing you know, an hour has flown by!
Am I short-changing God? I felt that way. More than just answering the challenge of Fr. Richards, I felt the need to get more spiritual nourishment, but after sleep, I've only prayed for 3-4 minutes. Am I like the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, who Jesus bewilderingly asked why they couldn't stay up for an hour with him.
I don't want to be like that, that's for sure. So I reached out to my friends in collars, and I felt a bit better after getting this tweet.
@16bitCatholic @Chines @frdarryl Sometimes all you can offer God is a meager effort... try to do better next time but don't worry.— Fr Matthew Schneider (@FrMatthewLC) February 14, 2016
And this! Pope Francis even said he falls asleep during nighttime prayer, telling folks, "'Sometimes I doze off, the fatigue of the day makes you fall asleep, but he (God) understands."
So no, I won't be treating adoration as an excuse to take a nap, although sleeping in front of Jesus is certainly a relaxing and peaceful sleep. But perhaps this time, I'll make it through three Our Fathers before passing out.