Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I had the opportunity to speak at the Catholic Consortium of Lake County during a mini retreat.  What follows is the talk that I gave.  I 10 minute presentation--for those of you who know me I can't really give my address in 10 minutes--so trying to get all this information out was so hard for me.  I wanted to talk and talk but hopefully if the teachers really want to hear all that I have to say they will call me!  Thank you God for the gift of this opportunity to plant the seeds of adoring Jesus in the minds of 75 teachers and staff.  I will pray that each one of them will find joy, peace and grace in a way that serves them best!

I'm a newbie to Adoration.   I did not discover Adoration on my own but the Holy Spirit really had to patiently show me several times before I caught on.  It all began about 6 years ago and this is my journey.

The first time:  I found myself at the
Adoration Mass one day and had no idea why no one was leaving.  It was very awkward for me—so I did what I do best—I asked a question.  The Grandma next to me assured me that I could leave.

The second time:  Then a few months later I was at an evening Mass and they had the end of Adoration processional back to the tabernacle and I thought that was so beautiful--but again had no idea what was going on.  I was so in this moment of following Jesus—that I forgot to ask any questions.

The third time:  My son who was in 1st grade was paired with an 8th grade buddy and the Mom quickly became my mentor. She was an awesome spirit/faith filled knowledgeable catholic woman who I admired very much and felt like I hit the jackpot. She was not the “fancy mom” but rather the soft spoken and just seemed to be filled with grace and joy.  I knew that she would know about Adoration so I asked her--and she gave me the scoop. She said that she went each week and it gave her peace and grace to carry on with her busy life with 4 kids.

I am not a fancy mom nor am I soft spoken but I knew that I really wanted to be as joyful, and just as authentically happy as she was.  I had 4 kids technically under 5 I felt authentically tired.

Well, since I wanted to be like her I thought Adoration was the next logical step in my walk with the Lord. But I had no idea how it would change me.

I asked her if she would teach the kids and me about Adoration and she was so happy that she could bring a whole new family to Jesus in this way.  Ding Ding that bell went off in my head about the actual presence of Jesus. 

The fourth time:  The next week we met after school on Thursday and she explained to the kids how going into adoration was spending time with Jesus. Sort of like a playdate.  It was a special time.

So we went in and I didn't really know what to do and the kids didn't know what to do so we just sat silently and felt the presence of the Lord.

I didn't feel different. I didn't feel grace filled. I didn't feel overwhelming joy. I was hot and hungry and so was my baby.

The fifth time:  The next week I went in the morning again and the homily was about seeing Jesus in everyone we meet. I thought that I can't possibly do that--I'm too cynical, to see Jesus would mean that I would need to stop and look at people in the eye and actually care. I would need to stop imposing my approval system on them. 

So I started by looking at the people in the chapel. Really looking at the people in the chapel. Then one of the Grandmas whispered to me--"I'm praying for you" and I thought WOW--someone is praying for me! So I said "I'll pray for you too!" and I actually did it--and I felt Jesus in a new way.

Now I truly see Jesus in my kids their teachers, the clerk at Dominicks, and the lady who cuts me off in traffic.  I see how Jesus really is the branch and I’m really a vine of opportunity in the world to make a difference. 

During that first year of Adoration with my kids  5,  3 year old, 1 and newborn--I took my kids to Jesus. We knelt at the altar. Sometimes for 2 minutes sometimes for much longer. Each week I would explain that we were going to see Jesus. They drew pictures (I bought special coloring books), brought flowers, they wrote out notes to Jesus, I would let them draw pictures while we were there. I let them look at the children's bible, or play with a rosary or string beads to make a rosary. If they didn't want to go in--they had the option to sit on the steps outside the chapel. I never forced them to go.

Now we go to Adoration often without drama. We go on vacation and have visited some beautiful chapels. The kids are quiet and more often than not actually prayerful. Each one of my kids has their own way of being with Jesus.  Some sit, stand or just lay at the altar. 

I REMINDED them that Adoration was like a playdate with Jesus. How do you prepare to spend time with a friend?  Do you dress up?  Do you make a plan of things to talk about? Do you plan an activity?  How would we plan time with our own friends?

Adoration is a way for kids to experience and be part of the Eucharist long before their first communion.

This past week it was so beautiful to see Mrs. Marciniak be the Eucharist Minister and so mindfully give the body of Christ to the kids—the kids were looked like they were going to explode as they walked up the aisle and afterwards.  That excitement, yet reverence should be what it is like for us—however long ago we made our 1st communion.  I just wanted to tap into that moment and tell the kids that they can ALWAYS have that feeling.

I think of Adoration is like the biggest “Redo” that we can give ourselves.  When we have kids do the “redo” it is usually for just one thing—not a whole day of blunders.  I tell me kids to focus just on one thing if they struggle with an idea to take to Jesus before we go to Adoration. 

Jesus meets us where we are. He meets me in a different place than where he meets you.

We all have common threads through our lives--we are all children, we all have parents, we are all loved by Jesus, we have a God who has given us a purpose for our lives we all have so many Gifts, we are all invited to spend time with  Jesus.  We have all had joys and heartache.   We are all very much alike on different levels.

Jesus sees us for who we are.   He really sees the good the bad and the ugly stuff and wants to help us.  He wants to hear our joys, our troubles, so we can give thanks and praise for everything-- including the hard days.

As we become more honest with Jesus (and ourselves), more transparent, more authentic, more intentional, as we peel away the layers that cover our hearts, anger, heartache, disappointment, despair, cynicism, hatred, intolerance, as we clear away all that clutter   

Jesus will fill our hearts and minds with what we need at this moment and prepare us for the next.  Each time we come to him he has the opportunity to work in our lives. 

No comments:

Post a Comment