Eucharistic Holy Hours (where Catholics pray adoring the consecrated communion host displayed on the altar) used to mean an hour of stillness and silence where I could look at Christ hidden in the bread and have a nice conversation with him, meditating on the Gospels, reading inspirational books, praying the Rosary, offering my intentions, and just listening to My Lord. These times of prayer have been few and far between since the arrival of our precious daughters. A quiet chapel with a toddler and preschooler don't seem to mix well together, and a husband with a very difficult work schedule makes it virtually impossible for us to make visits to an Adoration chapel alone.
But this morning, my Regnum Christi team was inspired to attempt this endeavor with our children. "A Holy Hour with children?", you say. How would that work? Well, to be honest this was one of the commitments which the teams in my area had never attempted with our children, as far as I know. We assumed that the Adoration Chapels at many of the area parishes would not be suitable for young children, so we all tried to make Holy Hours on our own, rather than a monthly Team Holy Hour.
But someone got the idea last week that we should attempt to have our Team Holy Hour at one of the parishes which doesn't have Adoration, but has a Eucharistic Chapel (where the Blessed Sacrament is in the Tabernacle) that is rarely visited during the day. I was optimistic as we set out this morning, though discouraged that we didn't awaken early enough to attend morning Mass or our planned library visit beforehand. I wasn't sure just how the girls would last in this first activity of the day.
We entered the quiet chapel where two of my friends sat with their babies. My girls were actually the only ones there over 9 months of age (there were 4 babies), but they did amazingly well. They brought their own baby dolls and baby doll gear and spent the hour walking around the chapel and cooing at the different babies. Mary Clare put her own doll in her child-size sling at one point and sat listening to a reflection with a very grown-up look on her face. It was priceless! And they had a visit to Chick-fil-A to look forward to afterwards where all my wonderful teammates shared a joyous lunch!
I can't say it was the same as a Holy Hour with silence and deep dialogue with Christ, but I can say it was a beautiful gift to be able to sit in that chapel with all God's little children and have a reflection, Rosary, and Litany together. I can't wait for next month's Holy Hour! And I encourage all the moms out there to not lose hope...prayer may not be what it was five years ago, but it's even more beautiful when we are able to reflect on the gift of the precious little souls God has graced us with. A true blessing.
(And a side note that we are also trying to coordinate a specifically Children's Holy Hour at our parish once a month, which would include children's songs, stories, Rosary decade, etc. Please pray that it might work out if it be God's will! Here is some more information about Eucharistic Adoration for Children)