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09-17-2023Weekly ReflectionPaul Gagnon

“Could you not watch one hour with Me?” (Matthew 26:40) These words caught my attention on the Holy Hour of Reparation prayerbook sitting in the pew as I entered the Adoration Chapel one day a few years ago. As a convert to Catholicism almost 20 years ago while in college I feel like I missed out on the importance of Eucharistic Adoration.

Maybe I glossed over this lesson in RCIA because I was a busy college senior, preparing for my next steps after graduation and a wedding. Maybe I was selfish in spending my free time how I wanted to spend it (usually watching sports). Maybe I didn’t know what to do and couldn’t imagine sitting still for an hour without checking my phone or thinking about my impending to do list. In my previous parish, access to the Blessed Sacrament was reserved for a chosen few who met the schedule set up by our priest. So, it wasn’t until our family moved to the Valley and chose to attend St. Mary Magdalene nearly 7 years ago that I became curious about what was involved in Eucharistic Adoration. I value and appreciate the fact that we have access to come and share our joys, our sorrows, and the difficult moments we experience with the Lord and let him help guide our next steps.

Over the last 12 months, my wife and I decided it was time for me to make a difficult move professionally, time to make a change to try to find a work/life balance that would allow me to spend more time with my family. When I reached my breaking point earlier this year, I went to the Adoration Chapel and to ask God to help direct my next steps. Ever since that moment in front of the Blessed Sacrament, I’ve felt a profound sense of peace knowing that God was going to help guide me through this change, that everything was going to work out. Over the last year or so, I’ve truly tried to make Adoration a weekly occurrence by signing up as a substitute (especially for the early morning hours since I’m an early riser) or attending while my kids attend the Jr. High Edge or High School GS24 sessions. I continue to go to ask the Lord to direct me so that his will might be done and, for example, to help me navigate the sticky situations that come with raising our four teenagers. I continue to go to set an example for my children, sometimes bringing one of them with me during my weekly one on one time with one of them so that they can see what it means to live out our Catholic faith, beyond attending Mass weekly. I continue to go to experience that great sense of peace that only He can provide. Jesus gave up so much for us, couldn’t we spend 1 hour a week with him?