One thing that I knew that I wanted to focus on during Lent this year was to add once weekly Adoration with the Blessed Sacrament. Although I was raised Catholic I had never gone to Eucharistic Adoration until I was in high school on a retreat. After that, I do not think I went again until after I was married. I would go once or twice a year, but once the kids started coming I made up every excuse in the book of why I did not have time to go. I would work on my prayer life, focus on incorporating our Catholic Faith in our home, but I would not prioritize spending time with the Real Presence of Jesus.
I knew I needed to make a change and stop making excuses and that is when I spoke to my husband about wanting to add weekly Adoration into my schedule. By recommendation I bought the book Eucharistic Adoration: Holy Hour Meditations on the Last Seven Words of Christ. I brought my book, my rosary, my journal and my baby (3 months old at the time) and we were ready to go. I sat there the first week and even with this new book to guide me, I still felt kind of uncomfortable. I found myself glancing down at my watch often, wondering how I would fill up one hour. That alone though seems so crazy when I think of how quickly I can fill up one hour of time browsing on Facebook or watching my favorite television show. How could it be so difficult to spend one hour with my Savior?
I went the second week, and the time went by more quickly. I was much more at peace and my prayer flowed much easier. I wanted more. I started longing for Jesus. So two days later I prioritized going again, in the same week! At that third occurrence, by the time I looked down at my watch over an hour had passed. Then slowly, something amazing happened. As I would be present with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament there was nothing more that I wanted than to be with Him more! So I started making it a priority to go to daily Mass.
Again, going to daily Mass was something that I had made excuse after excuse about not prioritizing having four little children. Six years ago with our oldest I could barely get through 10 minutes of Sunday mass, but in time God has given me graces with each of our children to attend Mass. So we started going, finding time each day to go to Mass. From this action, more daily graces occurred. I found myself being more patient, yelling less, and caring more about what really mattered in the day.
Instead of worrying about the breakfast dishes or starting laundry immediately in my day I found that if I made it the priority to go to Mass that my entire day would flow better. I still found time to get what I wanted done, and more importantly I started realizing what was truly important in my day-to-day life. Although I still need to do the daily mundane activities of cooking, laundry, and cleaning, I started putting my faith and relationships first.
Beyond that, our 4 children who are 6 years old and younger all have gained so many graces by attending daily Mass with me. These little ones who could barely sit through Sunday Mass a mere 6 months ago now come to Mass with little to no problem. They know the responses of the Mass; they are seeing and understanding the progression of the readings and there is a difference in their own daily behavior.
I still fall daily. I still sin, but by I realize that by giving more to Jesus, I truly am longing for Him in a new way. In Divine Mercy for Moms they talk about when Jesus asked of St. Faustina “How long shall I put up with you and how long will you keep putting Me off?” I realized that for years I had been putting Jesus off, but that he continued to put up with me! He continues every day because He loves me, He loves us all! If we truly long for Him, who knows what graces he will pour into our lives.
Reflection: How are you putting Jesus off in your life today? How can you long for Him more deeply?
Copyright 2016 Nicole Ernest