Years ago, our parish started a Eucharistic Adoration program, and, like the good signer-upper that I have always been, I promptly agreed to a crazy early morning hour.
I had no idea what I would do for an entire hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament exposed on the altar, but I was sold on it all the same.
That was over ten years ago. I no longer wonder what I’ll do for an hour, but I do sometimes laugh when I cart my bag full of books and writing and stuff into the church. I’ve learned to take each hour on its own terms, and lately, the times I get to go to Adoration are in the company of my five-year-old, my two-year-old, and my mother-in-law.
My holy hours are no longer quiet and serene. I’m often lucky to jot a sentence or three, write a request in the book, read a page or so from my current spiritual read.
My attitude has been to be grudgingly grateful for the hours, such as they are, and look forward to the time when I’ll have an hour with Jesus all to myself again.
I think it no accident, then, that I recently had a copy of Vinny Flynn’s new book, 21 Ways to Worship (2012, Ignatius Press), land in my review pile with a deadline attached. I agreed to review it, though I thought I knew the tone it would have and the attitude of eye-rolling it would inspire in me.
I couldn’t have been wronger, in the phrasing of my five-year-old.
In less than 200 pages, Mr. Flynn won himself a new fangirl. (I’ll send him my apologies later.) In this book, I found articulated some of the things I’ve felt at an intuitive level and have heard my spiritual director hint at.
For example, chapter 8 is one that hit home with me. Humorously titled, as all the chapters are, “Please Don’t Snore!”, it begins:
A lot of people are afraid that they’re going to fall asleep during Adoration. And a lot of people do fall asleep. So, if you think you might fall asleep, don’t go to Adoration—no, I’m only kidding! It’s okay to fall asleep!
We need to remember who God is! He’s a Father! A different kind of father than any of us can be. He’s a perfect Father who loves you unconditionally, who is always loving you. If one of my kids comes to me (even in my weak, imperfect way of being a father) and says, “Dad, I’m really tired, and I may fall asleep, but I’d just like to be with you for a while, so can I sit in here”—what would I say to that?
“No way, kid” If you’re going to be in here with me, you need to stay awake!”
Of course not! What father would do that? I would be delighted! My son or daughter wants to be with me. How awesome!
Every single chapter of this book—and they’re blissfully short chapters, so don’t let the idea of 21 of them intimidate you—has this sort of tone. Flynn manages to be factual and encouraging and humorous, a combination I never would have expected and I completely love.
This isn’t “Catholic lite” though. No, Flynn’s objective is to get you in front of the Blessed Sacrament and to give you a set of skills to enrich and enhance your face-time with God. As a result, your everyday prayer time is going to change and alter too. You won’t be able to help it. It’s an incredible set of goals and one he accomplishes very well.
I’m not the brightest bulb in the pack, but I have found myself already changing how I go through my day, how I think about others and talk to God. I’ve considered how I can use the photographs on my computer and my fridge as a moment to pause and pray for those I’m looking at. I’ve shared at least a half-dozen of the ideas with my friends, and I’m sure I’ll write about others.
This book is a must-read for any Catholic who wants to grow their faith. It’s easy to read and even rather easy to implement. Flynn is approachable in making prayer and Adoration an integrated part of a Catholic’s life.
Sarah Reinhard’s a Catholic wife, mom, and author whose nose is probably in a book if she’s not scraping something off of her shoes. Her latest book is A Catholic Mother’s Companion to Pregnancy: Walking with Mary from Conception to Baptism and she’s online at SnoringScholar.com.
Visit Sarah’s blog: http://SnoringScholar.com/
Check out her books: http://SnoringScholar.com/my-books/
Please help us in our mission to assist readers to integrate their Catholic faith, family and work. Tell your family and friends about this article using both the Share and Recommend buttons below and via email. We value your comments and encourage you to leave your thoughts below. Thank you! – The Editors