I confess that I find going to Adoration difficult. I enter the church, sit down, gaze upon the True Presence in the monstrance and feel flat, restless and uncertain. What am I supposed to do? Am I supposed to do anything?
What I need to do … and what I end up doing!
Adoration demands things from you like a focused mind and a quiet heart. Hard to do when that mind is racing at 100 mph.
Too often, Adoration makes me want to fall asleep in the pew; how embarrassing!
Coming back to Adoration
So I avoided Adoration, convinced I couldn’t do it. And then, I heard an interview with Vinny Flynn on discerninghearts.com. Flynn is the author of one of my favorite books, Seven Secrets of the Eucharist. I marvel at his brilliance in writing these short, easy-to-read books that make the profound and mysterious so accessible. He has written a book about adoration called 21 Ways to Worship: A Guide to Eucharistic Adoration. During the interview he said it was okay to fall asleep during adoration (what better place to sleep than in the care of the True Presence?). It was okay to work. In other words, he was advising us to be ourselves. After all, Jesus loves us just as we are and just where we are. The point is to show up and then let Him take over.
Receiving permission to be myself
I thought about my husband Rich who used his time at weekly adoration to study. He’d come home afterwards and tell me what he learned. It was a time of formation, one that led to his becoming a deacon in the Church.
Rich approached Jesus through the medium that made him most comfortable—study. That realization gave to me the permission I needed to use what made me most comfortable—technology--as a means of coming into the presence of God during adoration.
Holed up in the choir loft
Now granted, I hide up in the choir loft while using my tablet and iPod as I am not sure how other adorers would feel about my using technology. Upstairs overlooking the church, I am free to be myself as I worship without disturbing others.
Videos on the Sorrowful Mysteries
I did this for the first time a few weeks ago by first watching a series of videos on Youtube on the Sorrowful Mysteries that I had created for a sung rosary project I had recorded years before. The video contained images and scripture for each Hail Mary that was sung. I sang along (silently, of course!) and meditated on the mysteries. It took no time to quiet my mind and focus my thoughts on my Savior’s profound love for me and the world.
Examining my heart
During that time of prayer God made known to me a sin that needed addressing. I was struck with compunction, and begged His forgiveness, vowing to change. Only later was I to discover just how much grace I had received to help me deal with that sin.
Ending with praise
Praying the rosary in that fashion made me want to praise God in song. I pulled out my iPod and listened to “Jesus Christ, Yesterday, Today and Forever” by Suzanne Toolan. As the choir sang “Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, yesterday, today and forever” over and over, the piece grew into a glorious, heavenly sung prayer that had me praising God with my hands as well as with my lips. Hidden away in the choir loft, I felt free to weep openly as I worshipped.
I then ended my time of adoration by selecting a very different praise song on my iPod—a piece of European techo pop by Sal Solo simply called “Alleluia.” The beat is so infectious that I wanted to get up and dance. So I sat there in the choir loft, hands raised and waving, toes tapping, tears on my cheeks, a big smile on my face and a heart full to overflowing, worshipping freely in my hiddenness.
God’s favor … whether I “deserve it” or not
It was glorious. It was pure gift. I had gone to adoration because I had felt that interior invitation, knowing that I needed to spend more time alone with God. Because I had been neglectful of my prayer life, I felt adoration would be dry—after all, it was what I deserved. Instead I was gifted with spiritual consolation in the forms of reconciliation, tears and joy. As I left the church I thanked God over and over for granting me this favor.
So, is it okay to use technology while spending time in adoration? If it helps you to be your true self before the Lord and doesn’t hinder someone else’s time of worship, then I say “yes!”
Click here to find the set of videos on the Sorrowful Mysteries along with two 5 minute Stations of the Cross videos. (The music comes from my Mary, Queen of Peace Meditation Guide & Sung Rosary available at www.sungrosary.com)
Click here to listen to “Jesus Christ, Yesterday, Today and Forever”
Click here to listen to Sal Solo’s "Alleluia"
Copyright 2015 by Susan W. Bailey
Art: all by Susan Bailey unless otherwise noted.
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About the Author
Susan Bailey is the author of River of Grace: Creative Passages Through Difficult Times (Ave Maria Press), and Louisa May Alcott: Illuminated by The Message (ACTA Publications), part of their Literary Portals to Prayer series. Along with her blogs Be as One and Louisa May Alcott is My Passion, Susan writes for the Diocese of Worcester newspaper, The Catholic Free Press.