One of my earliest childhood memories involves my grandparents taking me to a church very early in the morning. So early, I remember thinking it was still night and the world must all be sleeping. We found our way into a small chapel that I recall little about except the warmth of its glow in the blackness of night. I was confused as to what we were doing there, but I was happy being with them all the same. Years later, I realized that my grandparents had taken me to their weekly adoration appointment, at 4AM.
That memory has stayed with me over the course of my life, and while the details of it are now a blur, the feeling it gave me then revisits me now when I feel the pull on my heart from our Lord to make it back to Him.
I have gone to adoration in many churches over the years—some big and ornate, others small and barren. Fortunately, I’ve been able to find Holy Hour or perpetual adoration at every place the Navy has brought us, even in the smallest of towns. My memory of each duty station is colored with what church I would run to to find solace paired with what intention was weighing on me at the time: anxiety, family issues, illness, marriage problems, forgiveness, loneliness. The list could go on.
But no matter where I found myself or what burden brought me there, the motive was always the same. Jesus was there. In the flesh. Looking at me.
One time in college, I was in a particularly confusing state that left me riddled with anxiety and restlessness. I ran to my parents’ house, flopped down on the couch, and turned on EWTN. I needed clarity. Mother Angelica was on, whom I love and reminds me so much of my grandmother. She was talking about going to Holy Hour even when you don’t feel like it. You might have a headache, be tired, and have an ingrown toenail, as was her case, and the last thing you can think of is what to say to Jesus, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is being with Him, along with your imperfections, and even when you have nothing to say. She said: “I see Him, and He sees me. That’s enough.” I’ve carried that with me ever since.
I started making time for weekly adoration from then on. Wednesday nights at 9pm in a small, simple chapel right down the road from my college. The lights were dimmed, the incense rose, and there sat Jesus, week after week waiting for me to lay it all out to him, and so I did. My favorite part of those weekly dates happened at the very end, when it was time to say “goodbye” until the next week. As Father raised the gold monstrance to bless us one last time, the Divine Praises were sung in a way I had never heard before or since, in such a powerful, joyful, holy way that it gave me chills then and still does thinking of it now. Once again, the Lord had provided a light in the darkness of my life and my restlessness began to fade.
Since then, weekly adoration has not always been practical. I get so busy and distracted with my children, husband, and own life that Holy Hour is often not made a priority, but it never fails. In the midst of the busyness of life, Jesus will knock on my heart and whisper, “It’s time. Come sit with Me for a while.” And I will. And even though there will always be a laundry list of things I feel like I need to tell Him or ask Him to do for me, it usually ends with me simply whispering back, “I see You, and You see me.” That’s enough.
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About Devon Wattam
Devon is a cradle Catholic, proud Navy wife, and stay-at-home mom. She and her family currently live in Key West where she enjoys participating in their parish and squadron communities, hosting visitors, and writing.