Lent is a perfect time to get into the three o’clock habit with your family.
During Jesus’ revelations to St. Faustina, Jesus asked that we practice one daily concrete habit. What do you think it might be? Most people don’t know the answer.
It’s the three o’clock hour devotion.
In his inspirational book, “Consoling the Heart of Jesus,” Michael E. Gaitley, MIC, explains:
“Jesus asked that our lives always be marked by deeds of mercy (like praying the chaplet for others), but he specifically asked for something during the three o’clock hour, the hour he died on the Cross…
“Jesus didn’t ask that we endure a passion but simply that we be with him as he suffers his, especially in his abandonment on the Cross. He simply desires that we keep him company amid his pain and sorrow. This is simple and relatively easy – and it doesn’t have to take a long time.”
Jesus understands that we have other duties during the three o’clock hour. This is the time I am driving to pick up my daughter from school, as many other parents are doing. Then before I know it, my lively daughter jumps in our car, chatting about the fun she had during lunch with friends or the awesome science experiment she wants to try at home. I start worrying about that potential mess she’ll make, while I’m trying to prepare dinner for my other daughter and husband.
The time flies and before I know it, it’s after 4 p.m. Homework and cooking are under way. The holy three o’clock hour has passed without a single pause in honor of it.
Yet I’ve learned that making the three o’clock hour devotion doesn’t have to be another duty on my daily “to-do list” that I don’t get done. And I’ve realized that it’s a simple act of love for Jesus that I can do with my child as we’re driving home from school. I’ve encouraged my other family members to make one on their own when we’re not together.
“Ideally, Jesus would like us to make the Stations of the Cross,” says Gaitley, “but even if we can’t, he’s happy when we at least turn our minds to him, even for a few seconds, during his abandonment on the Cross.”
What this means is we can turn our thoughts from our busy lives – for just seconds – and picture Jesus suffering on the Cross for us and recite a simple, heartfelt prayer, “Jesus, thank you for dying for me on the Cross. I love you. Jesus, I trust in you.”
You and your children can create your own little prayer, and it can become a special daily ritual. If your husband is working and your older children are at sports practices, you can feel a sense of peace and joy to know your family is united in prayer during the three o’clock hour.
“He asks that we go to him, be with him in his Passion, and joyfully accept (and offer in union with is Passion) the relatively little crosses he allows us to carry,” Gaitley says. “In sum: He wants our trustful smile as we spiritually sit at the foot of the Cross while accepting our own small sharing in it.”
So you always remember to keep the three ‘clock hour, you can set a reminder on your cell phone or computer, and encourage your family to do the same. Practice making the three o’clock devotion during Lent, and it will become a wonderful habit by the time Easter arrives.
Source cited: Consoling the Heart of Jesus: A Do-It Yourself Retreat, Inspired by the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, by Michael E. Gaitley, MIC, 2010, Marian Press, Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception (MIC)
Copyright 2015, Kim Seidel
Image: by redparasol, SA, MorgueFile
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