How are We Living in Adoration?
By cultivating the privilege of constant adoration of Our Lord Himself, our life is tied, anchored and focused in the Blessed Sacrament. In these precious hours, we pray for the burdens of the priesthood and offer every prayer intention we receive, as well as all the needs of souls everywhere, to Christ the High Priest.
The Power of Eucharistic Adoration For Priests
The strength of our vocation, particularly as cloistered contemplatives, is our devotion to the Eucharist, the real source of the power to any prayer we may offer for others, especially priests in need. Kneeling before our Lord in the monstrance we can find ourselves able, if you will, to reach out and touch all the souls in the world that we cannot help in any other way. In fact, this is the best way we can help them. How better can we help the very souls who bring us Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, his anointed ones, than by adoration? In adoration, we kneel before Christ the High Priest and beg graces for his priests in greatest need, confident that he will hear us. Confident that he loves these men and desires they be completely his.
Living a Schedule Centered On Christ In the Eucharist
Because our “work” is focused on prayer specifically in Eucharistic Adoration, this is what everything else is scheduled around.
The Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours (celebrated in common with Exposition) are our center of gravity for each day. This is followed in priority, if you will, by our scheduled holy hours of adoration. Duties and chores are fit into our days and nights around these aspects of our prayer life. It is our prayer that is our primary occupation. Around that flows the rest of all other necessary activity. A typical schedule or horarium may be as follows:
|5:30 am||Rising Breakfast|
|6:50 am||Community Prayers, Matins, Examen|
|7:30 am||Lauds, Terce, Benediction, Mass, Thanksgiving|
|9-12 am||Work and Individual Holy Hours|
|12 noon||Dinner, Sext, Litany|
|1-1:45 pm||Free Period|
|2-4:30 pm||Work and Individual Holy Hours|
|4:30 pm||None, Rosary, Vespers, Prayers for Priests|
|7 pm||Examen and Compline|
|Evening Activities Vary|
Study, formation classes, spiritual reading, lectio divina and other activities are attended to daily including periods of community recreation on a regular basis. Every Handmaid enjoys at least one individual holy hour per day as well as several individual nocturnal adoration hours per week.
On Thursdays, a day each week with a special focus on prayerful retreat and silence, there is a silent retreat afternoon and communal holy hour together in the evening.
Living Day and Night In the Physical Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament
One strikingly beautiful aspect of our lives of adoration is the privilege of living with Our Lord constantly. It has been the custom of our religious family not only to adore Our Lord in our main chapel but also to ensure whenever possible that dormitory areas of the monastery and priories have Oratories with the Blessed Sacrament reserved. This allows Sisters to make brief visits throughout the day. When more time is available, such as during a retreat, Sisters may make private holy hours in the Oratories.
Daily Mass with Benediction
The highlight of each day is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass which is preceded immediately by Benediction. Daily Benediction has been a part of our schedule for a very long time and a gift to remind us of the blessings of the Priesthood and the Eucharist.
A Life Without Jesus?
In our move of our motherhouse to East Tennessee, we were blessed in a strange way to experience the privations of living outside our monastic enclosure. Why blessed? Because it was a great opportunity to literally feel the absence of our Eucharistic Lord under our roof each night as we traveled across the country and set up our initial housing. As soon as possible, we established Oratories again in each building and immediately felt the return of our King and Lord and High Priest. Like the early Church martyrs who confessed they could not live without the Eucharist, we were allowed to glimpse a little of that deprivation and say ourselves, “We cannot live without adoration.”
Eucharistic Adoration Chapels in the United States (courtesy of www.therealpresence.org)
A Chalice Returned (How Adoration Resurrected A Priest In Need)