“I am waiting like the desert for Your rain; I am bracing like the shoreline…
“Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have You present so that I do not forget You. You know how easily I abandon You.
Stay with me Lord, because I am weak, and I need Your strength, so that I may not fall so often.
Stay with me Lord, for You are my life, and without You, I am without fervor.
Stay with me Lord, for You are my light, and without you, I am in darkness.
Stay with me Lord, to show me Your will.
Stay with me Lord, so that I hear Your voice and follow You.
Stay with me Lord, for I desire to love you very much, and always be in Your Company.
Stay with me Lord, if You wish me to be faithful to You.”
– excerpt from “Stay With Me,” a prayer of Padre Pio
Over this past year of the pandemic, I’ve made more intentional time at home to commune with the Lord in Adoration. It doesn’t take the place of going to a church/chapel and meeting with Him in His Home, but it is pretty amazing to be able to adore Him from my own home as well. I discovered a chapel in Australia that live streams Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament 24/7 on their YouTube channel. Logging in to view at various times of the day from here in the USA, several things have occurred to me and added to the power of my Adoration time.
This simple little chapel (youtube link is below) has become very dear to me and as a visual artist, I find myself drawn to several elements. The monstrance, appropriately, is the central focus of the video stream. The soft light of the room casts a cool blue or warm orange, depending on the time of day. It gives off a very peaceful and semi-intimate feel. The symmetry of the two candles on either side of the monstrance is eye-catching. The flickering flame reminds me of the red sanctuary tabernacle candle found in all churches. It’s a reminder that Jesus is present, just as He is here exposed in the monstrance. The Host in the center draws my eye in, then it moves out to the various patterns of the gold form of the monstrance. But constantly, my eye is refocused back to the Eucharistic center. Jesus is the center of everything and it is most helpful when I keep my eyes focused on Him no matter what. It’s a poignant reminder both in this Adoration chapel and in the rest of my life as well. The visual symmetry of the entire space is very appealing to my artist’s eye.
I often listen to a soft, calming playlist of worship music that helps to center and focus me on Jesus and who He is. But other times, I just sit and watch in silence. Because this chapel is physically located in Australia and I am watching from the US, each time I open up this video stream to pray with the Lord it’s almost as if I am seeing into the future – and He is always there. There’s something so profound and deeply comforting about that thought. Each time, no matter what trouble or feelings I’m encountering, Jesus is there, waiting for me to come to Him. It is always the next day, at least 12 hours ahead of my local time, so most often it is later afternoon/evening in the US and thus early morning in Australia. And yet Jesus is already and always there. I just love knowing that! It’s sort of a little reminder that no matter what, God has everything in His hands and it’s going to work out, even if we can’t see it in that moment.
As I mentioned at the beginning of my reflection, while online Adoration can not replace being physically present to Jesus in a church or chapel, it’s been a pretty special discovery and practice to cultivate over the past year. I hope some part of this reflection will touch you and maybe you will seek out a similar live stream on the web to have a moment of quiet prayer with Jesus.
St. Benedict’s, Melbourne, Australia
“The Blessed Sacrament is that Presence which makes a Catholic Church different from every other place in the world; which makes it, as no other place can be, holy.”- Cardinal Newman
Dear God, thank You for always loving me. You are the eternal Father and I am your beloved daughter. I am grateful that You are always present and that I never have to face anything alone. Even if I don’t always feel You with me, I know that You are there and You will never leave me.
In these quiet moments of Adoration, I look at You and You see me. There are no barriers; You are fully present to me. Thank You for the gift and blessing of technology that allows me to access You in this way. Thank You for the opportunity to tune into this particular chapel at any time and from any place. Let Your peaceful presence wash over me and draw my heart ever closer to Yours.
Help me to see these moments as treasured time spent with You. When the silence seems overwhelming, speak Your love and joy to my heart and help me to relax in Your presence. I know that I am enough for You and this time is about ‘being’ and not ‘doing.’ Thank You for loving me. Please continue to comfort my heart with the peace of Your presence. Lead me to be open to Your Spirit, to follow where You lead. In Your holy name, Jesus, I pray, Amen.