As a mom of young children, I long thought a regular Holy Hour was something for another season of life. I imagined it would be at least a few more years before I could consistently get out of the house and spend time making this devotion of an hour adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
But a year and a half ago, the talks I heard on a Blessed is She retreat encouraged me to stop waiting and start trying to make this practice a reality. What was the worst that would happen? Even if I didn’t complete the full hour or didn’t make it happen every week, I would have given at least something of myself and some of my time to the Lord. I know He always makes good of generous gestures.
Time Over Place
Because I had limiting factors (my children’s schedules, the fact that my husband commuted over an hour to work each day), I decided it was more important that I find the time to pray at all rather than time when I could pray at my church. I could make a spiritual communion with the Lord, even if I couldn’t be in the same room with Him in the Eucharist.
I considered my typical weekly schedule and saw that it would be key to devote this time before anything else laid claim to my attention. I chose a window of time: Friday mornings from 5-6 a.m. I chose a candle to set the time apart. I used a timer so I would know when my hour was up, and would not spend time checking my phone.
I created a plan to read portions of 100 Holy Hours for Women by Mother Mary Raphael Lubowidzka and Who Does He Say That You Are?: Women Transformed by Christ in the Gospels by Colleen C. Mitchell (books I already had on my shelf) for portions of each hour. These books helped give structure to my time, especially since I didn’t have exposition and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament to do that.
Seeing the Fruits
For many months, this worked surprisingly well. I was often tired (and if I thought I might nod off, I skipped the candle), but I quickly recognized changes in myself. I went to bed earlier on Thursday night, wanting to give my best the following morning. I became more peaceful about the little things that might have upset me before. I found myself better prepared to spend the weekend well, rather than recovering from burnout.
I still had plenty of distractions, but even when my time set apart did not feel like I had “done it right”, I could see that my heart had grown softer toward the Lord. I found it easier to be aware of His voice throughout the rest of the week, having spent time listening—or at least trying to listen—in my Holy Hour.
Coming Back to the Church
I continued my Friday morning Holy Hour until I had a baby this summer. In the postpartum weeks and months, I took sleep when I could get it, and put that prayer practice on hold until my little guy and I had more of a schedule.
In the month or so leading up to the 2020 election, my parish began offering a Holy Hour for the nation on Thursday nights. The original plan was to do this until Thanksgiving, but months later, it is still happening weekly both in the church and via livestream.
I started to go each week, sometimes arriving late or leaving early, depending on my kids’ schedule. My husband has always been supportive, but after he went on retreat earlier this year, he wanted to make it even more of a priority that I get to that Holy Hour as often as I could.
It helped that the factors that limited me before no longer existed. Now, my husband largely works from home. I trained the baby to go to sleep before I leave, and I finish tucking in the big kids when I get home. Instead of waiting for a less complicated season of life (not sure that is going to happen anyway), we found a way to make it work now.
Once again, my Holy Hour quickly became something I looked forward to. Now, when I kneel in front of the Blessed Sacrament each week, I feel like I am coming home. It feels like being in the Presence of the Lord is the truest reality, and all the stuff in between is just that—the in-between.
I love the prayers of exposition and benediction, and I am so grateful I get to pray them in this space each week. Because the Holy Hour is still specifically offered for our country, we pray a patriotic Rosary, offering one Hail Mary for each state and each of the other prayers for various other intentions (the governors, the Supreme Court, the president, etc.).
Making It Work for You
I once asked a friend of mine, who was then in formation for the priesthood, if it was a requirement for priests to make a Holy Hour each day. He said it wasn’t, but also wondered why a priest would not make a Holy Hour each day. In my life as a layperson, a daily Holy Hour is not practical right now. But a weekly one sure is. And now, I cannot help but wonder why I wouldn’t keep up this practice, even as seasons of life change.
I have learned that when I needed to do it from home, I needed to make the time a priority. It helped to give the time some structure, and to eliminate distractions as much as possible.
I have learned much of the same from when I returned to the church building. Now, I still need to make the time a priority, and I need my family’s support to do that. I still bring books to give the time structure (the Blessed is She journals, my Every Sacred Sunday journal for the upcoming Sunday, or the Kindred Gospel of Mark). When I pray with my parish, our priest guides the opening and closing of the Hour, along with the Rosary, which also helps to keep me on track.
Planting for the Long Haul
I can’t see them all now, but I believe the fruits will be plentiful. It is good for my relationship with God to spend time with Him. It’s good for the community and our country that I pray for them. And it’s good for my children to know that this prayer time is a priority in our family’s life. Perhaps, when they’re a little older, they’ll want to come join me.
Do you have a regular holy hour? What does yours look like?
Lindsay Schlegel is a daughter of God who seeks to encourage, inspire, and lift up the contemporary woman to be all she was created to be. She’s the author of Don’t Forget to Say Thank You: And Other Parenting Lessons That Brought Me Closer to God, as well as shorter nonfiction and fiction pieces, both online and in print. With joy, she speaks about recognizing God’s voice and living the truth therein. Lindsay lives in New Jersey with her high-school-sweetheart-turned-
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