The Unexpected Lesson at Eucharistic Adoration

The Unexpected Lesson at Eucharistic Adoration February 3, 2023

What happened to me today during Eucharistic Adoration is symbolic of a larger problem in the Church.

One of my local parishes offers perpetual adoration, so when I miss it at my own parish I’ll go to their Perpetual Adoration Chapel. Normally I have a great experience and I couldn’t recommend it enough. But not today. Today I was very angry and almost unleashed my inner Karen.

They Were Wrong

I entered the chapel as normal and took a seat. There was one other adorer there already, seated in the back of the chapel. I assume this was the volunteer who was there to mind the chapel. There’s always one on duty, and every time I go online to register for adoration here they are asking for more volunteers to cover with weekly commitments.

Adoration was a spontaneous decision, and I didn’t have a rosary with me. I was delighted to see one in a basket near the door. I began some general prayers of thanks. I’m going through a lot of emotional things right now, and God has not abandoned me in my time of need, even if I haven’t always handled things his way. I thanked him for continuing to call me into prayer with him.

Shortly thereafter, another adorer arrived. Like the one already here, this was an elderly lady. For the sake of storytelling I’ll call the one who was already there Mildred and the one who arrived shortly after me Betty. Betty approached Mildred and whispers, “Did you check me in?”

Pause here. Everyone understands that when old ladies whisper, they don’t really whisper, right? Even if this adoration chapel was much larger, I would have clearly heard what Betty asked. Mildred obviously didn’t so she asked Betty to repeat. Betty did, louder. And one more time before Mildred finally heard her.

After establishing that Mildred didn’t check Betty in, Betty placed her things in another chair. I thought that would be the end of this. But it wasn’t.

I stayed focused on my prayers for the most part, so I’m not sure when this happened but Mildred and Betty decided to keep talking in old-lady non-whispering whispers in the hallway, but they stood right in the door and left it wide open. One was leaning against the open door. Mind you, they are standing right next to a sign instructing everyone to be quiet.

I tried to focus on God, but I finally couldn’t concentrate on anything except the whispered chatter behind me. I rose from my chair, stalked to the door, returned the borrowed rosary to the basket in a manner unbefitting a sacramental, pushed rudely past Mildred and Betty, and stormed quickly out the exit door.

They both stopped talking when I did this, so I know they knew I was upset. I think one tried to call an apology out to me but I ignored them and kept walking. Even now, I can’t get over how disrespectful that whole thing was.

I Was Wrong, Too

Those ladies were rude and disrespectful both to me and to Our Lord. As was I. In giving them facetious names throughout this post and actually calling them “old ladies” at one point, and in abandoning my Holy Hour because I was frustrated with them, I was also wrong.

It occurred to me, upon reflection, that what happened here is an allegory to a real problem in the Church. I didn’t storm angrily out of Eucharistic Adoration and horribly mistreat a beautiful rosary because of anything God did. If anything, God has been too patient with me. Despite my obstinate and sinful behavior in one particular place of my life, God has continued to bless me with opportunities to serve him and call me into communion with himself. I should have been grateful for this time with him, instead I let two unrelated people get under my skin.

I left because of them.

To make my broader point, there’s no way to sugar coat things. Our Catholic Church is fracturing in many places. Many of those people aren’t leaving the Church because of God. They love God. Like me, they continue to hear God speak to them. They’re leaving because of humans. Politics in the Church, abusers in the Church, and, yes, even strong disagreement with the Vatican II reforms. But these are all human, earthly things. Imperfect copies of the heavenly things.

Half of the lesson is not to leave the Church because of Mildred or Betty. They are sinners trying to make their way, same as me. Same as you. The other half of the lesson is not to be Mildred or Betty: don’t be the reason someone leaves the Church. Our calling as Catholics is to bring people into the fold, not drive them away.

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