Many people are currently developing regular practices of adoration or silent meditative prayer. There are many great resources that can help such people with their journey, and there are many guides to help people with their prayer practice. One thing I have noted over the years, having spent time with people in adoration chapels throughout the world, is there can be a tendency to fill our prayer periods with a lot of extra things which might prevent us from having a heart to heart exchange with Jesus.
We can approach our prayer time with a check list of things to do and devotions to practice. Perhaps we start with a rosary. Then we move into reading of scripture and then maybe spiritual reading. We move from reflection to reflection without letting the Incarnate Word penetrate our hearts. We can fill our silence with information.
None of these practices are wrong or bad in and of themselves. They are integral to help cultivate and nourish our interior life. We need the kind of insight provided by sources other than our personal inspirations. However, we also need to spend time in spontaneous discourse with the Lord. The formal and the informal feed each other, and a balanced spiritual life needs both.
Often, navigating the periods of silence is not about set rules and agendas, but about following the promptings of the Spirit. Formal practices are meant to guide the heart to the more informal and spontaneous. A helpful analogy would be that of a house. We need to spend time constructing and maintaining the house, but life is about more than just the house. Once things are going well, we can maintain the house and spend more of our time simply enjoying life.
What we need to cultivate is an ability to spend time with Jesus in the silence of prayer. Learning to enter into the silence is not something that comes immediately, but rather must be the fruit of regular discipline and practice. Like other things in life, we should expect it to require effort in the beginning.
I found your post here via “The Catholic Brew” Facebook page where you left your link.
I attend a parish in the Diocese of Raleigh with my husband and 5 children. The artist, Cameron Smith, whose painting you have on your blog, used to attend my parish before their move to the Raleigh area. Cameron and his wife are the Godparents for my 5th child. I also have Cameron’s Sacred Heart print in our home and on my own blog home page at http://www.asliceofsmithlife.blogspot.com 🙂
I enjoyed reading your insights about adoration in this post. Embracing and appreciating silence is something that rarely occurs in my own busy household so it is difficult to know what to actually “do” when I’m in silence, especially in front of the Blessed Sacrament at adoration. Your post here gave me alot to think and pray about during these special times with our Lord. God bless you as our family prays for seminarians and clergy daily!