The very heart of Adoration

Caroline Gorman

In one of my classes freshman year, we were told to make a spreadsheet with our weekly schedule – classes, work shifts, meal times, club events and so on. I remember finishing the spreadsheet, seeing some empty pockets of time and thinking, “Okay, how can I fill all of these?”

I think every college student would agree that they like to have free time. Once we get that free time, however, it’s hard to let it remain free. We want to fill it, to use it for ourselves; we crave distraction, gratification and comfort. Our world is designed to fulfill that craving, offering noise and busyness to fill our schedules and our minds.

God, though, offers something else: silence. He doesn’t guarantee that this silence will be comfortable for us; in fact, it’s often the kind of long, awkward silence that leaves us wondering why we even bothered.

I’ve heard from many people, both young and old, that they shy away from Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament because they can’t sit still for so long or they are easily distracted from silent mental prayer.

To me, however, that’s the very heart of Adoration: purposefully facing the discomfort of stillness and silence and choosing to seek God in that discomfort.

When we leave the noise and distraction of the outside world and step into the deafening silence of a chapel or empty church, we say to Jesus Christ, “I prefer You no matter how much the world may offer me. I want to be with You no matter how uncomfortable it may feel.”

Eventually, the silence becomes peaceful, not uncomfortable, and the stillness becomes calming, not oppressive; like St. Augustine said, our restless hearts begin to rest in the Lord. We can leave the world behind and sit in “the beauty of peace” that God promises to His people (Isaiah 32:18).

I often struggle to let go of all my distractions and willingly enter that silence, but I know I’m not alone in that struggle. In the Gospels, we see St. Peter, over and over, being the first one to answer Jesus’ questions or to break the silence – such as at the Transfiguration. Peter sees Jesus with Moses and Elijah, and immediately starts talking.

Then, however, something beautiful happens: while Peter is still speaking, God’s voice interrupts and says, “This is My Son… listen to Him” (Matthew 17:5).

Like Peter, we often get too caught up in our own plans, trying to figure out how to live faithfully in this modern world; and we need God to interrupt and remind us to just listen to Him.

Whenever I feel overwhelmed by life – whether it’s from an abundance of schoolwork, the busyness of my job, the distractions of the Internet, or some other noise in the world – and I wonder where my lifeline is, I have to ask myself: Am I giving God the silence He needs to speak to me? Am I giving Him the silence He needs to interrupt my life?

Caroline Gorman is a junior at the University of Evansville, majoring in English literature. She is a native of Evansville, on the ministry team of UE’s Newman Center, and is a member of Holy Redeemer Parish in Evansville.