In my parish, a few years ago, perpetual adoration was offered. The priest launched an appeal to the faithful to ensure a presence before the Blessed Sacrament twenty-four hours a day. I signed up for one of the time slots, not really out of desire, but I told myself that as a parishioner, “it was good to do.” I almost felt it like an obligation. However, I had no shortage of arguments to dissuade me: I have difficulty making a long-term commitment, I don’t like finding myself “stuck” by schedules during my free time, and I’m not not good at prayer. In fact, I did something which, a priori, did not suit me at all!
So I went, every Wednesday morning, from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., to pray before the Lord, not very motivated but knowing that I could not fail, because we who had responded “present”, were all in solidarity with this commitment. The following year, I lost a dear childhood friend. His death devastated me, I cried a lot. I could no longer live normally, everything required an effort. Getting up, going to work, taking care of my young children, paying attention to my husband, making vacation plans… The Wednesday worship time supported me in an incredible way. During this period of mourning, I was no longer able to pray, too sad, I had neither the courage nor the energy. But I had this regular appointment with Jesus. This “obligation” supported me, I felt supported. The Lord did not let go of me, he welcomed me in my pain, filled me with his tenderness, consoled me, without my having to perform any other act than that of showing myself faithful to this weekly one-on-one.
As I reread this moment in my life, I tell myself that this commitment to prayer providentially anticipated the moment when I so needed support. This meeting allowed me not to sink. Today, I am no longer registered every week for worship, but I remain available to fill a slot, and I no longer go there out of obligation but out of gratitude.