What Are We Supposed To Do At Adoration?

Image by David Eucaristía from Pixabay

In 2008 when I was 23 years old I was still in the full swing of a fresh reversion/conversion to the faith. Because of the nature of my conversion, the levels of excitement were quite high like that of the Samaritan woman at the well. “Woo hoo! Come hear what Jesus did for me!” Therefore, I was quite the enthusiastic and overwhelming person. In fact I was so overwhelming even religious people like nuns and priests would roll their eyes when they saw me coming.

A loaded gun of full metal jacketed enthusiasm I attended a retreat in some place in Navan or Cavan. I can’t remember where the location as I was not a driver at the time so my father had to leave me off for the weekend and pick me up when it was all over. The Nun gave a talk, and I interrupted going on about my conversion and True Life In God messages.

I could see the Nun going visibly red faced trying to conceal her anger. The reason for this is because she’d lost control of the situation and there was conflict within her. “Do I shout at this young man and regain some discipline that way? Do I use diplomatic means or simply let him talk so he can ruin our day.” You could clearly see her trying to control these emotions.

In the end I wasn’t talking for long so there was no need for any of that, but on reflection, I could see how it was perceived as rude. However, when someone is full of the Spirit (and not mentally unstable as sometimes it’s difficult to tell) there’s no time to lose. Like the Samaritan woman at the well who interrupted the whole town with her story, the story simply must be told and it is the Spirit at work not so much the person.

The group session continued and she spoke about adoration. She gave this story that must be popular because over the years I’ve heard so many people use it. It was a story about a down syndrome boy sitting in front of Jesus at adoration. The story goes that he was asked what is adoration and he says, “Jesus looks at me and I look at him.”

The whole room begin to let out emotional sighs at the cuteness of the story. I thought it was nice also but I interjected rather quickly with opposition to the idea. “surely, there’s more to adoration than that”, I said. “I mean, if you’re sitting there, you’re going to look at Jesus, and feel at least some love towards him. They call it adoration for a reason you know? We are supposed to pray to him and adore him not just sit underneath him like we would a tanning bed in a salon.”

Well, this time the Nuns face went so red that if she were to cross the street the traffic would have mistaken her for a red light and come to a complete stop. For the whole weekend she wouldn’t talk to me and took great pains to avoid me, not because I was talkative but merely because she didn’t like me. I think like most others she thought I was a bit weird. I think she conversed with me once in the kitchen, but after that she’d lost all interest in me because I kept challenging what she’d say and I wasn’t a very agreeable person.

The last time she spoke with me was regarding my desire to explore the calling to the monastic life in the local monastery. “Why would you want to go there? They’re all old and there’s only 10 of them. Would you not be better off going to the other monastery where all the young people are?” I replied that, “There is no such thing as old in the eyes of the Lord only in the eyes of humans and everyone is viewed as a child. It doesn’t bother me.” That was it, she’d had enough of my antics.

Lets be honest, who in that room would have challenged such a sweet story about a boy with down Syndrome? Talk about taking a water hose to the entire fire of a decent retreat and sending everyone back to their rooms dripping with resentment. But I had to say it. I’m that kind of person that loves to dig deep and I don’t care how you package it, if I find a problem I’ll ask some questions.

Adoration, in my opinion is more than simply looking at Jesus. Looking at Jesus is one thing, looking at him with love is quite the other, and then showering him with words of praise while looking at him with love even better. For me that is adoration. Some of us use adoration as a sort of “me time” don’t we? It’s a sort of selfish thing where we go to indulge in the gratification we get out of being in a quiet place for a while deluding ourselves that we are there for Jesus.

I’ve had moments where I’ve nodded off in adoration or simply drifted away in thought. But you know, maybe the boy with down syndrome had a point. Sitting there just looking at him is a starting point, right? I mean, sitting in the presence of Jesus even if we are unaware of it has its benefits. We don’t converse with the Sun, but its rays of Sunshine still give us a Sun tan and keeps us warm. We get Vitamin D from it.

Even though we don’t converse with Jesus, it’s possible that in adoration something is happening merely by being in his presence. It’s a sort of silent vitamin D for the soul, a ray of heavenly sunshine that bronzes the soul. Yet, Jesus is not the Sun, but THE SON and so we must also converse with him at adoration and ADORE him with a combination of our presence, heart and audible prayers of word and song.

Therefore I don’t disagree with the the boys answer, I see it as a good start, but ultimately one that lacks fulfillment. Adoration is a journey. Like everything else in life all journeys have a beginning.Looking at Jesus is a good beginning, but should we be content with only that? I don’t think so.

What do you suggest is the best approach for time spent in adoration? I’d like to hear your thoughts.





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