Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Holy Hour

"Daughter, when I'm making a holy hour, I am happy!"

My deceased aunt Monica to my cousin Martha when she would tease her mom about her frequent holy hours and say "Mom, I think you're just keeping a happy hour!"

A spiritual practice that is highly recommended by the Handmaids of the Precious Blood for the Oblate Candidates is offering ten minutes of silent thanksgiving after every Mass for the gift of the Eucharist. Last Lent, in an effort to increase the prayer in my "prayer, fasting and almsgiving" I decided to take that ten minutes to 45 minutes, in other words, I stayed in church after daily Mass until I had to leave to go to work.  I quickly came to love that silent time with the Lord and now, nearing the end of the Easter season, I continue to remain in church long after Mass is over.

My daily holy hour has become an occasion of great joy. Most days after the last person leaves from daily Mass I am alone in the darkened church, just me and Jesus and nobody else. I love that! Other days I am joined by the janitor who is lovingly cleaning the church. With the exception of praying the Stations of the Cross, reaching up to touch the marble feet of Christ before I journey to each succeeding station, my prayer is silent, wanting to be able to hear the voice of God speak to me about His will for my life and not wanting to miss it when He softly whispers those words I long to hear... "I love you." On my way out I light a candle for a friend or two, bless myself abundantly with holy water and my day begins in the most perfect way imaginable.

Thursdays are the exception, however. On Thursdays a small crew of volunteers stays behind to clean the church giving God their own gift of love by keeping our place of worship beautifully clean. I watch as a woman replaces burnt out votive candles, another dust mops the floor around the altar and the women whom I fondly call the "Call to Action ladies" dust the tabernacle. Their work is valuable and I am a bit envious, especially of those whose job it is to dust the tabernacle-I think of what an honor it must be to caress the golden box that holds our Lord! But the chatter on Thursdays is often loud and so I have decided to take my holy hour elsewhere on that day.

So on Thursday mornings I drive across town to the abortion mill and have just enough time to pray the rosary before work. I consider this to be a holy hour just as valuable as my time in church because here I am honoring Christ who resides in the tabernacles of women who don't realize that they carry God within their wombs, women who don't realize that God who created all life is also living within all that He has created. At the abortion mill I join several other people who are praying for the sanctity of life, working to save babies from the horror of abortion. I stand side by side with the deathscort who returns my smile with a sneer and look out at the drivers who stare or shout vulgarities from their cars as they pass by on their own way to work. Here I am publicly witnessing to my love for Christ that has been nurtured in those silent holy hours. And I leave my Thursday morning holy hour at the abortuary feeling every bit as fed by the love of God as I do when I am in a silent church praying before Christ in the tabernacle.

Today, however, when I arrived at the abortion mill, I was alone in my prayer, there were no other pro-life witnesses on the sidewalk.  The mill was still closed and so I stood alone on the sidewalk, rosary in hand, silently praying.  Soon a car pulled up and I recognized the woman inside as one of the abortion mill workers, one who is known to be a Wiccan and whom I have heard berating and belittling and swearing at those who pray outside of the mill.  She didn't get out of her car, but just sat there where she was parked.  I could feel her looking at me and it made me very uncomfortable.  So when I finished my rosary, I went inside of my own van to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

Just as I was nearing the end of my time of prayer, two beautiful, model-perfect women showed up and tried to open the door of the clinic but found it locked.  I felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit to speak with them.  So, I left the comfort of my van and asked if I could help them.  They looked a bit puzzled so I told them that the Women's Care Center across the street was already open and they would be happy to help them with a free ultrasound or anything else they might need.  One of the women told me that it was ok, she had an appointment at the mill.  So I told her that I would pray for her and her baby and she thanked me.  As I got back in my car to leave for work, I saw the abortion mill staff arrive and open the clinic door for the women.

This was the first time that I ever summoned the courage to attempt to counsel anyone outside of the abortion mill and although it didn't seem to appear that my efforts met with success, I hold on to the hope that my prayer resounds within their hearts.  I may never know the good that my words might have done but I thank God for prodding me to get out of my van and speak them.

Today, during my holy hour, I didn't hear God whisper His love for me. Instead, he inspired me to whisper love to Him through my words of concern for His precious daughter and her baby.  I pray that she accepts His love and brings another one of His beautiful children to life.

"Mary recaptures woman's vocation from the beginning namely, to be to humanity the bearer of the Divine. Every mother is this when she gives birth to a child, for the soul of every child is infused by God. She thus becomes a co-worker with Divinity; She bears what God alone can give. As the priest in the order of Redemption, at the moment of Consecration, brings the crucified Savior to the altar, so the mother in the order of creation brings the spirit which issues from the Hand of God to the cradle of the earth. With such thoughts in mind, Leon Bloy once said: "The more a woman is holy, the more she becomes a woman."

Fulton Sheen
"The World's First Love"


  1. Anne,
    You're very fortunate you can stand in front on the abortion mill in your town. Our City Council is advancing a law that would mandate that pro-life advocates stand back 35 feet from Planned Parenthood. Only one member of the Council dissented. He's Catholic, and he and his brother and I all graduated form St. Michael's College.
    Our daily paper contained an account of the meeting, noting that people who prayed during Forty Days for Life harassed women, intimidated them and generally scared them as they were on the way into PP. Interestingly, one of our weekly papers took issue with that account, pointing out that the police didn't issue any citations and that the group was "acting respectfully."
    Interesting, don't you think? Thank you for your witness to life.
    With love and prayers,

  2. Wow, how disheartening to hear that such a law was passed. But, take courage, even from 35 feet away your prayers are heard by God and your example is seen by others. I just saw something yesterday that said that the majority of Americans are pro-life. We will prevail no matter how difficult the pro-choice group tries to make things for us!

    Thank you for standing up for life also!

  3. Annie, so beautiful, made me cry...I love you!!

    Your niece,


    1. Thanks Jenny! You're so sweet! I love you, too!