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“Could you not stay awake with me one hour?” (Matt 26:40). So says Jesus to the disciples on Holy Thursday when he finds them asleep after he has been praying before his trial. Each year we remember that and take our turn watching before the Blessed Sacrament on Maundy Thursday night. Holy Hour is a way of keeping that challenge before us throughout the year. In some places there is a watch each week, in others there is an effort to maintain a watch of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament all the time. Here we are going to attempt a modest time of prayer once a month before the Blessed Sacrament exposed for veneration on the Altar from 5 p.m. until 6 p.m. on the fourth Saturday of each month.
We live in challenging times and it is all too easy to feel overwhelmed by the many demands that are made of us. Even the daily round becomes a burden and we are tempted to turn on the TV and escape for a while from the problems that confront us. We all know just how illusory that can be. We may even be tempted to neglect prayer, giving up on God as we gradually give up on ourselves. Here is an opportunity to reverse that trend for this form of prayer is not something we have to do a whole lot for. All we need to do is to turn up and be with the Incarnate Lord made present and vulnerable in the Bread of the Eucharist. We can simply be in his gracious presence and let go all the cares and worries that beat down on us. Here we can simply be and let God do the work praying in us and through us. “Could you not stay awake with me one hour?”
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