Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Day of Adoration

Once a month we have an extended period of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament in the NH Chapel: either a Day of Adoration, or an all-night vigil. Today has been one of those days of prayer. A goodly number of students turn up in the course of the day to spend time in prayer in the intimacy of Christ's Presence in the Blessed Sacrament.

Prayer can be tough. Our minds all invariably wander all over the place, and we get frustrated with ourselves. Or we don't have a great numinous experience and we wonder what it's all about and what the point is. But in fact the main point is just to be there, with the Lord. We don't have to do much - he is the one doing all the work! The hardest thing about prayer is making time - and it's also the most important. As the wise Dom John Chapman once observed: "The less you pray, the harder it gets" or Metropolitan Anthony Bloom's reminder that it's not God who is absent from us - it's us who are absent from God.

So Days of Adoration are opportunities to make time and set it aside for God - hoping for nothing, expecting nothing, just rejoicing in his presence and content to be with him.

We are so fortunate at Newman House to have a Chapel attached, where the Blessed Sacrament is always reserved, Christ among us, the hope of Glory. Cardinal Newman, writing to a friend, made an intensely beautiful observation:

'I am writing next room to the Chapel. It is such an incomprehensible blessing to have Christ's bodily presence in one's house, within one's walls, as swallows up all other privileges and destroys, or should destroy, every pain. To know that He is close by—to be able again and again through the day to go in to Him; and be sure, my dearest W., when I am thus in His Presence you are not forgotten. It is the place for intercession surely, where the Blessed Sacrament is. Thus Abraham, our father, pleaded before his hidden Lord and God in the valley'.

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