HOW TO MAKE A HOLY HOUR
By Fr. John P. Grigus, OFM Conv
The essence of our call to conversion continues to be
reflected in the words which God spoke to his people of old through Moses:
"Be holy, for I, the LORD your God, am holy" (Lev 19:2). And in his
encyclical letter on the Eucharist issued in 1965 and entitled, Mystery of
Faith, Paul VI said that "The most efficacious way of growing in
holiness is time spent with Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament." The fruit
of this belief has been attested to by many in recent times through the practice
of opening chapels of adoration in parishes so that ordinary, common folks can
spend at least an hour a week (a "holy hour") before the Eucharist
presence of Our Lord reposed in a tabernacle or exposed on an altar.
One resistance to making a commitment to such a "holy
hour" is a fear, present especially within those who are not used to
spending regular quiet time in prayer, of not knowing what to do during that
The following are suggestions adapted from a Marytown
publication on how one may go about arranging one’s "holy hour" in
such a way as to make it more spiritually meaningful and fruitful.
The first suggestion is: DIVIDE THE HOLY HOUR into four
It is essential to take sufficient time to really visualize
the purpose in each period. Do not proceed till you have made that particular
purpose clear and definite.
The second suggestion is: for that first 15 minute period
dedicate it to a REALIZATION OF WHO IS PRESENT in the Holy Eucharist.
Think of the marvel of this great reality: Christ, the
God-Man, is truly present in his divinity as well as his humanity, body and
soul. Even substantially present: not just the presence of God but the
presence of God as the God-Man via the substance of bread and wine changed
into the Body and Blood of Christ. Think of it until there is in your soul a
response of wonder ("is it possible?" "How can that be?"
and yet "it is true") and admiration (how wonderful: Jesus is
really, truly present here!).
Make use of some familiar prayers and songs of adoration
usually found in any church missalette to reflect more deeply on that
presence, such as "Down in Adoration Falling ..." " Holy God,
We Praise Thy Name," the "Holy, Holy, Holy" of the Mass,
"Now Praise We All Our God," or any Benediction hymn. Read the words
slowly, with great, deep understanding, making them express the sentiments of
your own heart.
A suggestion for the second 15 minutes: devote the time to
thoughts and prayers of THANKSGIVING to God as you grasp the wonder of who is
present Really: God is with us! The Emmanuel of Christmas.
Momentarily give some fresh thought to the fact: God is
with us in this special, most remarkable way. Now let words of thanksgiving
rise up in your soul, or just simply give thanks to God for his presence here
in such a remarkable way. Thank God for the great Sacrament of the Priesthood
and for vocations by which he perpetuates his presence in the Holy Eucharist.
In a parallel situation think of our Blessed Mother's joy
when she realized that Christ, the great Messiah, was present within her,
conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. Realize how the same Jesus who was
present there in Mary’s body is now here hidden under the form of bread.
You might also take some time to recall and thank God for
other special blessings and wonders of God: your family, vocation, gift life,
opportunity to be in his Presence, special friends, etc. Thank him for his
love for you, for his unfailing help in trials and difficulties.
A suggestion for the next 15 minutes: Dedicate this to
First of all, ask Jesus here present in the Holy Eucharist
for the grace that is dearest to him, the grace he wants most for you and
others: the great blessing of redemption and eternal salvation.
Just think, for some time what that means ... for you, for each member of your
family, your friends, people of you neighborhood and parish, for all mankind.
- Think of how marvelous that would be if all would be so
blessed: to be in heaven for all eternity!
- Pray for that! Beg for it: the fulfillment of Christ's
greatest desire and the main reason for his coming, for which he is present
here – "Come to me all you who labor and are burdened and I will
refresh you" (Mt 11:28).
Pray for conversions. Pray for particular people, those who
are away from the Church and the Sacraments. Pray for the sick and lonely, the
discouraged, our youth, the unborn, our country, its leaders. Pray for our
Holy Father, and for all priests and religious... Pray for vocations to
complete the work of Christ. Pray for the grace to know the will of God always
in your own life. Pray for peace, God's peace in the hearts of all.
Dedicate the last 15 minutes of the Holy Hour to ATONEMENT.
Why atonement? A look into one's own conscience and the
conscience of the world gives the answer. A mere glance at headlines and you
see insults, blasphemies, defiance thrown by man into the face of God, the
injuries of man to man. Think of the sins of injustice that cry to heaven for
vengeance, the sins against life, the slurs and insults against the virginity
and Immaculate Conception of our Blessed Mother, the sins of disregard, of
refusal to recognize and obey the Holy Father, Christ's own spokesman and
Vicar on earth.
You might wish to express your thoughts of sorrow for all
these sins. You may do so in your own words or make us of the liturgical words
of the "Lord, have mercy," the "Lamb of God" or the hymn
"O Lord, I am not worthy." You might pray the Chaplet of Divine
Mercy, the Litanies of the Sacred Heart or of the Holy Name of Jesus. Also
most appropriate is the Litany of our Blessed Mother, asking her under all her
titles of honor and power to "pray for all of us." The Litany of the
Saints and the Prayer to Saint Michael could be expressive of the hopes in
A slow, thoughtful saying of the Rosary would be very
helpful during any phase of a Holy Hour. With our Blessed Mother and with
Christ present there before you in the Holy Eucharist, recall and consider
those events in his life. Ponder all those things in your heart as you ask our
Blessed Mother to pray for us.
(c) 2002 Conventual Franciscan Friars of Marytown. Used by Permission. The
original publication (Publication No. 190-582) from which the above excerpt
has been derived may be obtained in large quantities from the Marytown Press,
1600 W. Park Ave., Libertyville, IL 60048. Call 1-800-743-1177 for bulk rate