Saturday, 1 June 2013

Five reasons you should join Pope Francis in Adoration at o'dark hundred

A reader has commented on my post on Adoration times, that the idea of doing something around 1.00am, in order to be praying in Adoration at the same time as the Pope, seems highly impractical.

Inconvenient, perhaps.

But maybe a little inconvenience in our lives is necessary to remind us of the real priorities in life!

Indeed, just last week, Pope Francis condemned the culture of comfort that encourages laziness and selfishness:

"The charm of temporal goods, the sensation of being masters of time, and the culture of comfort at any cost: these things too often keep  people from  Jesus.  “They seem to be two kinds of wealth”, but in reality they just keep us from  “moving forward”...

The time problem

The worldwide hour of Adoration is timed to occur at 5pm Rome time.

For Americans, that works out fairly well, as it makes it 9am in Mountain Daylight Saving, and 11am in New York.

And it's not too bad for Western Australians, being 10pm on Christmas Island and 11pm in Perth.

But for the rest of the country, it is a little late (or early, depending on your perspective) to be really convenient.

Mind you, it could be worse - New Zealand gets 3am!

I think it is fair enough that many dioceses and parishes have arranged events for a time that will suit families and others.  And if some rebadge existing events in order to capitalise on the publicity generated by the papal event, then that is fair enough too.

All the same, if it is at all possible, I think there are some good reasons for making the effort to stay up, or get up, in order to pray at the same time as the Pope.

Why we should make the effort

First the whole event is obviously an attempt to capitalise on the enthusiasm a new Pope brings, so it makes sense to connect it to him so clearly.

There have been stories about increases in numbers going to confession because of the Holy Father's lead on this, and if linking Adoration to him increases awareness of the Real Presence and popularises this form of prayer, that too is surely a good thing.

Secondly, isn't there something heartwarming in knowing that all around the world at exactly the same time, people are praying exactly the same way for exactly the same intentions?

Thirdly, it makes for a nice statement about the universal nature of the Church, and the principle that 'where Peter is, there is the Church' (perhaps particularly needed given the apparent popularity of certain alleged visionaries).

Fourthly, the Gospels often speak of Our Lord spending the night in prayer, and the early Church often held vigils in imitation of this.  We could all do with the odd prompt to imitate Christ, and just now and again, spend the night, or at least a good part of it, in prayer.  And our own needs aside, we can all surely find plenty of things to pray for or about at the moment!

Fifthly, going to a 1am prayer vigil is a statement of our commitment to worship, and rejection of the  culture of comfort and consumerism that Pope Francis spoke of as the enemy of faith just last week.

In particular, he said, according to L'Osservatore Romano:

“Each and every one of us needs to examine our conscience and find out what riches  keep us from approaching Jesus on the road of life”. 

They are the riches that come from our culture. 

The first is “well-being” or comfort or luxury he said. “The culture of well-being that gives us little courage, makes us lazy and  selfish”... 

“We are in love,” he said,  “with  temporal things”, while what Jesus offers is infinite. We like the temporary “because we are afraid of God's time”, the end of time.


In some dioceses, Adoration is scheduled to occur at this time.

And in some (few) places around the country there are perpetual Adoration chapels you can go to.

But it is also worth remembering that the Blessed Sacrament doesn't actually need to be exposed on the altar in order for you to adore Christ in the Real Presence - all you need is a church where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in the tabernacle.

All you need is permission and a key!

If you want to go a step up from that, in better times, before laypeople were permitted to touch the Blessed Sacrament, a comon option was Exposition by leaving open the door of the tabernacle.  That might still be an option for a traditionally inclined community that lacks a priest (or one willing or able to get up at 1am).

So even if your parish or community can't or isn't inclined to organise a formal event, maybe a small group could get permission to pray in the Church at the relevant time, or even hold a vigil in the lead up to the Hour, and then join with any larger group holding a formal event?

Failing that, the Vatican is, I believe, livestreaming the Roman event.

Remember the double genuflection

And just while we are on practicalities, it is worth remembering that the Australian bishops voted, back in 1975, to retain the traditional 'double genuflection', so that if you enter or leave your pew (or the Church) while the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, you need get down on both knees and bow your head, rather than just do a simple genuflection (unless of course you are physically unable to do so).

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