Friday, February 6, 2009

The Sacrifice of the Holy Hour

It's First Friday, thanks be to God. Last night, My Darling and I (along with the Snuggle Bug) went to take part in the prayer service which, combined with Adoration, makes up the First Friday Vigil observance, which is part of our devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Though my sacrifice was called to be a bit different, the part I was able to participate in was lovely. Fr. B., our home school group's chaplain, brought our Lord in the consecrated Eucharist out from the tabernacle. He placed the Host in the monstrance, and we were able to sit there with Jesus, adoring Him, seeing Him there before us. We prayed, we sang, we sat in silence....

.....well, relative silence. See, in a silent church building, the smallest sounds can be heard. And when those small sounds are emanating from a sweet nursling, such as my Snuggle Bug, it's really quite noticeable. The gulps, the slurps, the grunts...and especially the belches of appreciation...these were all her little contributions last night. And it would have been fine if that had been the end of the matter. Ah, but it wasn't. She went from being a happy, babbly, amiable little thing to a fussy, crabby, grumbly little thing.

So, with 20 minutes remaining to our Holy Hour, she and I found ourselves pacing, bouncing and praying in an enclosed narthex off the side of the church. This, too, would have been fine but for two points: the first being that the Blessed Sacrament was just out of view...and I wanted to spend my Holy Hour gazing upon our Lord and listening for Him to speak to my heart. Even with a fussy baby, it's easier to focus on Him when one can actually see Him.

The second point was that when we first came into this small room, the heater was on and it was relatively warm. But the fan only remained on for the first four or five minutes, and then quit--leaving us in an unheated space, walking on tiles which grew colder and colder with each passing moment. Of course, in my thinly-soled loafers, my feet quickly became chilled, with the chill rising up into my legs, settling into my very bones. My arms ached. My back grew sore.

And so what we long for as human beings: comfort, warmth, a nice place to sit, what we want before our eyes and ears is so often sacrificed. Not just by mothers and fathers, for Pete's sake, but just simply as people. I could have stayed comfortably perched on my padded kneeler. I could have sat on the cushioned seat of the pew. I could even have stayed in the heated nave. Heck, I could have left the Snuggle Bug at home under the capable care of the Frog.

But what would the cost have been then? It wouldn't have been a sacrifice at all. It would have been the easy thing...which is rarely the right thing. Easy would have been to stay home, lounging on the couch with my Boppy and my baby, and taking in a spiffy movie or playing a round of cribbage with My Darling. Easy would have been to not pack the diaper bag, not load up the Bug, and not go to the Holy Hour at all. Easy would have been to sit there and let my fussy baby fuss, assuming that the other adorers there would just get over it--Jesus called the little children to Himself, after all. But none of these things would have been quite the right thing.

The day will come when I will not have a fussy, squirmy baby in my lap, for whom I now have to take the time to comfort and rock. I pray fervently that the day comes because my baby has grown out of this particular need.

For C., that day came so unexpectedly....and far, far too early.

I hope that what I am doing is the right thing. I think Jesus for the much, much bigger sacrifice that He made for me, a miserable sinner. I ask God to bless me with the wisdom that I too often lack, for the prudence that I so often seem to miss, and for the grace which never seems to be abundant enough. And in the mean time, I'll let Him be enough.

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