I love my one hour of Adoration every week. It's valuable time to "hang" with Jesus. The quiet and peace walking into an Adoration chapel is immediately calming. Looking at the Blessed Sacrament, I know I am safe from the world here. Then, it usually happens . . . the mumbling whispers of another Adorer. Have I ever expressed I need total silence to stay focused? When I was in nursing school at Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas, I would make my way to the most remote part of the library . . . the top floor in a soundproof room. I am very easily distracted, hence needing complete silence! As a young lay apostle (meaning young in the apostolate!) beginning to commit to spending time with Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, the loud whispers of others prayers drove me nuts! I would actually turn around and look at the person with pleading eyes to keep their prayers to themselves. Of course, it never worked! As the years have passed, I am much more tolerant of this pet peeve of mine. I started praying for the person instead of being irritated by them. I figure Jesus needs me focused elsewhere and provides the opportunity almost every time! And the grin on Jay's face as I elbow him is all I need to refocus and listen to what Christ is asking of me.
In todays Gospel (Matthew 6:7-15), Jesus makes it simple:
Jesus said to his disciples: “In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. “This is how you are to pray:
‘Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.’
“If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”
In Volume One, I love how Anne a lay apostle turns the irritating behavior of others inward to reflect on her own behavior . . . something we must all emulate:
"I was attempting to say the Stations after Mass and there were little pockets of people chattering in the church. I couldn’t concentrate. This irritated me to no end. I offered it up, thinking they should be talking to Christ here in the church. I also thought of St. Therese and how she prayed a prayer of endurance when another nun’s habit of clicking her teeth disturbed her. My next thought was that I had probably been guilty of this same irritating behavior in the last week. How short are our memories when it comes to our own transgressions. I was worried that my prayer be disturbed by my concern over what to write in the journal. The Blessed Mother said, “Do not worry about your journal. We will tell you if you are doing something wrong.” When I entered a strange church for the first time, I looked around, examining the architecture, etc. It would not have been my choice, and I did not love the design. I gave a sigh, and looked at the tabernacle, with the crucifix hanging above it. Oh well, I thought, it gets the job done. It immediately struck me that it was kind of like me, imperfect, guilty of flaws and not at all ideal. But Jesus was using me, in all of my imperfections, to move His plan forward. Kind of like driving an old car. You might not go fast. You might have delays. And often you might have to coax and prod. In the end, though, you usually arrive at your destination. The more spiritual work we do, the more we practice following Christ in even the smallest details of our lives, the faster our car will drive for Jesus. I guess this is the movement to unify our will to His. We all must strive to be fast cars. What a curious analogy."
Lay apostles, take a minute to think about what truly irritates you. Then, examine if these behaviors are reflections of your own at times. I know there have been occasions where I talked during a presentation or blown my nose constantly from a cold in Adoration that must have irritated others. Forgive yourself and forgive others their transgressions. It's a new day to begin again and to attain the attitude of Our Savior!
Thank you, Lord for the "opportunities" You give me to practice tolerant behavior of others. And, remind me to pack earplugs just in case!