“If we are to know the Lord, we must go to Him. Listen to Him in silence before the Tabernacle and approach Him in the Sacraments.”
For the past five years I have been trying to develop a weekly habit around Eucharistic Adoration. If I were to grade my effort, I would give myself an unequivocal "A+" for "Abysmal." Frankly, it’s just not my speed. I never hear anything. I become extremely frustrated at my inability to stop thinking about work or what’s next. Then I become frustrated for becoming frustrated. I was lamenting about it this week to a friend who happens to be a trained spiritual director, always a dangerous dynamic. As I described this vicious internal cycle, she listened patiently until I took a breath. "Dan, who’s supposed to be adoring who? Adoration is about what is justice for God. While it’s always good to walk away with an insight, it’s not the primary purpose of your visit. Worship is."
In an instant, her gentle observation reframed my lifelong misunderstanding of a prayer practice that has eluded me. While the conversation certainly blessed me with a renewed and refocused desire to keep trying, it also made me wonder about other activities in my life and leadership. How often do I struggle with the activity because I miss the real purpose? How many times do I enter into a conversation with what’s on my agenda or with a desire to receive, as opposed to give? My friend reminded me how often my prayer life can quickly become transactional instead of abundantly generous, namely my generosity toward the Lord. As we come from this Sunday of being reminded to give "Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God," let's take that quick moment to confirm ourselves in the "why" before we jump into the "what," especially when it comes to matters of faith. As we say so often, it is right and just.