Once again (I'm such a creature of habit) Jenn at Conversion Diary has inspired me. She wrote a piece about Eucharistic adoration I began to write a brief comment. When I hit my fourth paragraph, I decided that it was turning into a blog post instead. Thank you, Jenn. You never fail me.
Eucharist is perpetually exposed. A dedicated and worthy woman makes sure that two people are signed up to be in attendance around the clock, 24/7. I've always been happy (and perhaps a bit sinfully proud) that our parish is able to support 24-hour adoration, but my original feelings toward the devotion were ambivalent. At first the idea of adoration didn't seem particularly attractive to me. I was afraid I'd be bored if I had to stay a whole hour, and I felt a bit awkward around the outward expressions of -- well -- adoration that I saw around me. People seemed lost in reflection, walked up to slip (I'm sure) self-revealing notes in the bowl beneath the relic of the True Cross, or might prostrate themselves before the monstrance.
Gradually, however, adoration began to mean more and more to me. I decided to sign up for a weekly slot and began to go regularly. At first I wondered what to do. I brought some spiritual reading, I'd say a rosary (that can take up a nice 20 minutes), and worked hard at avoiding distractions. Over time, however, it's become much more organic and natural. I've grown so appreciative that I subsequently signed up for a second slot during the week as well.
But more important than my increased appreciation for it, I've been grateful for its fruit. I've developed a deeper capacity for prayer -- I don't know how to explain it, really. The focus has moved from taking strategic and proactive steps to advance my prayer life, to letting God initiate and lead. Instead of trying to figure out what will work, I simply ask God to draw me into his presence. If I'm distracted or in a funk, I mention it to him and ask for help. I listen for inclinations; if it seems to me that God might be hinting that it would be good to read Scripture (or if my well seems to be running dry) I will shift to reading or other devotions, but always with an awareness that I'm in conversation with the Father.
What I wish I had named this post
I really wanted to call this "How Eucharistic Adoration is like the Wall Street Journal", but I couldn't find a way to write it to fit the title. But that's how I explain the "what's in it for me" of going to Adoration regularly.
When I was in business school, I got in the habit of reading the Wall Street Journal every day. No single issue hit me like a ton of bricks, but over time I realized that I was becoming very well informed about business strategy, marketing, the economy, world events, etc. In the same way, I may never become weak-kneed with piety after any given hour in the chapel. But over time, God and I are stitching together a closer relationship than I'd had with him before. I wouldn't trade it.