By Ivonne Hernandez
“The Holy Hour is not a devotion; it is a sharing in the work of redemption. Our Blessed Lord used the words "hour" and "day" in two totally different connotations in the Gospel of John. "Day" belongs to God; the "hour" belongs to evil. Seven times in the Gospel of John, the word "hour" is used, and in each instance it refers to the demonic, and to the moments when Christ is no longer in the Father's Hands, but in the hands of men. In the Garden, our Lord contrasted two "hours” - one was the evil hour "this is your hour" - with which Judas could turn out the lights of the world. In contrast, our Lord asked: "Could you not watch one hour with Me?". In other words, he asked for an hour of reparation to combat the hour of evil; an hour of victimal union with the Cross to overcome the anti-love of sin. The only time Our Lord asked the Apostles for anything was the night he went into his agony. Then he did not ask all of them ... perhaps because he knew he could not count on their fidelity. But at least he expected three to be faithful to him: Peter, James and John. As often in the history of the Church since that time, evil was awake, but the disciples were asleep. That is why there came out of His anguished and lonely Heart the sigh: "Could you not watch one hour with me?" Not for an hour of activity did He plead, but for an hour of companionship. ” Archbishop Fulton Sheen (Treasure in Clay)
Watch and pray with me, for one hour. That is what Jesus asks us for. Is that too much to ask? Doesn’t seem to be, when we think of all He has done for us, but, at least in my life, I have found it extremely difficult to consistently practice. Either life gets in the way, or, more often than not, I get in the way. My idea of what a “holy hour” should look like gets in the way.
I recently heard a priest refer to the time in adoration as going “on a date” with Jesus. It is a time to work on our relationship, a time to have a heart to heart talk, to reveal our innermost thoughts to Him and to let Him love us. After 25 ½ years, my husband and I still make time to go out on dates regularly. It is important for us to step out of the daily routine and of all our responsibilities as parents to touch base and see where the other is, to listen, to share, to ponder together, and to remember how much we enjoy each other’s company. Not all date nights are the same, sometimes we will be blissfully looking into each other eyes, while others we will be discussing our budget or one of us will be listening while the other is sharing about a frustrating situation. Some nights we go back home wondering if we should have gone out at all. If a night we were expecting to be fun or romantic ends up heavy with an unpleasant topic, or worse, in an argument, we might be tempted to think it was not worth it to take the time to go out, but we would be wrong. A relationship is about walking together and growing together, accompanying each other in the good times and the bad. It is by going through the difficult times together that our love grows and our relationship deepens.
Jesus is asking for us to keep him company. He wants a relationship with us, to walk with us in the good times and the bad. He wants us to come to Him just the way we are, and to be open to what He wants to give us. Interestingly, the word company comes from the Latin ‘com’, which means together, and ‘panis’, which means bread. Adoration and Communion are inseparable. When we keep Him company, He feeds us with Himself. We go spend time to console His lonely Heart and find that we were the ones who were lonely without Him. “…Evil was awake, but the disciples were asleep.” …But “my lover speaks and says to me, Arise, my friend, my beautiful one, and come!” (Song 2:10)
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We are Ivonne Hernandez, Rick Hernandez and Laura Worhacz, Lay Associates of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, and brothers and sisters in Christ.