Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament is a beautiful way to increase one’s devotion to the Eucharistic Lord, and spend quiet time with Him in prayer. Sometimes, though that “quiet time” is less than quiet, and sometimes it is downright distracting. Whether your parish offers adoration on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis, and whether it is offered at certain times or perpetually, somehow these nine people always find their way to your prayer time. Which ones have you met so far?
Whisperers have a few variations. The “inhale only pray-ers” are sure to say their prayers in a whisper as they inhale. The exhale is silent, leaving you to think for a moment that they have finished their audibly noticeable Hail Marys – until the next breath. The “sighing pray-ers” are the inhalers’ opposites. They prefer to pray on the exhale, often in the form of a sigh, which, at first, may seem quite pious. Then as they repeat sigh-praying on every exhale, it seems….less so. The fully committed whisperers, however, simply whisper their prayers. All of them. Sometimes with a little hiss or whistle on the S and soft C words, and just loudly enough to make you lose your place in your own prayers. Now is the time to surrender to the whispers and gaze at Jesus in quiet defeat. Maybe pray along in your head. Jesus is still glad you are there.
The Rosary Clinker
It is inevitable that as you pray in adoration you will eventually encounter the Rosary clinker. You will know you have met one when they seat themselves and after some rustling in a pocket or purse or prayer bag, remove what can only be described as a “spiritual weapon of mass destruction.” Made of extra noisy chains, glass or ceramic beads, and maybe tiny jingle bells, this rosary is also usually outfitted with extra medals that add to the overall effect of the rosary sounding more like the bells during the Consecration at Mass than a powerful sacramental. As the adorer begins their prayers it is expected that they will rattle their beads with every transition, and that the rosary must bang into the wooden chair or pew at least once a decade. If you are lucky, after they complete their rosary prayers they will immediately begin a chaplet, which has the effect of clinking like a rapid fire rosary. Now isn’t the time for angst though, with all the attention the rosary has gotten lately, perhaps this adorer’s purpose is to remind you to pray yours – or to at least improve your concentration skills while praying!
Every so often in adoration you may find yourself with a fellow adorer who can’t sit still. Usually older in age, often a woman, this adorer will be overcome with the reality that something on the bookshelf IS out of place. Knowing that Jesus deserves nothing less than a pristinely organized chapel, the putterer will quietly get up and reorganize the bookshelf. Once that task is complete, they will return to their seat – until they notice that the flowers need to be rearranged, the candles are unevenly spaced, and the prayer books and chairs need to be slightly adjusted. The putterer plays an essential role in the economy of the adoration chapel, though, since as you “sit at Jesus’ feet and listen,” there needs to be someone who is willing to step in as a “Martha” to your “Mary.”
This particular type of adorer is the most diverse. At one time or another, even the most dedicated adorers can fall into this category. While more often found in the wee hours of the morning in perpetual adoration chapels, Snoozers can show up at any time of day. They are best left to their own devices, and as long as the Snoozer doesn’t turn into a Snorer, they are unobtrusive and quiet. Perhaps offer an additional prayer for them and remember not to judge. They showed up, and that pleases Our Lord. (Besides, aren’t we all one restless night away from joining their ranks next time?)
The Sitter is usually noticeable upon entrance to the chapel. Usually dressed in knock-off Birkenstocks, baggy pants, and a Franciscan University shirt, they enter the chapel, profoundly bow or kneel into a crouch, and then situate themselves on the floor. The Sitter doesn’t need a chair. All those hours spent on the floor of the Portiuncula Chapel and dorm chapels have conditioned them well. After unpacking a well-worn Bible, a pack of highlighters and a Scott Hahn book, the Sitter will sit cross legged for hours alternatively highlighting and staring at the Eucharist with a small smile. Every so often they will nod or hum a Martin Doman song.
The Concentrator is a formidable adorer. Almost always a mom with small, possibly feral children, she is able to stare at the Blessed Sacrament and concentrate on her prayers while her children appear to create mayhem and wreak havoc. Taking the Gospel passage “Let the little children come to Me” to its literal zenith, the Concentrator knows that sometimes moms need Jesus and as long as the children don’t actually destroy anything, mom is going to see Him. They often are banking on the other adorers either being really great at concentrating themselves, or fellow moms who understand. The first prayer they say may just be, “Please don’t let these people judge me, and maybe send one to take my kids outside so I can just pray in peace for a moment.” Never underestimate the power of a concentrator. She may look like she is in maternal ecstasy and oblivious to her kids’ antics, but she knows exactly where they are, what they are up to, and just how long she has to pray before they reach their limits. She also knows that kids learn by watching their parents and she is secretly, desperately, hoping she is setting a good example for them. When one of the little ones yells, “Hi Jesus!” and waves at the monstrance, it makes her day.
Long Haulers are the easiest to identify. They are there in the chapel when you arrive, and after completing your holy hour, are there when you leave. They are hunkered down and usually armed with a bag of devotionals, a rosary that may or may not make the Rosary Clinkers jealous, and a giant bottle of water.(Unless it is after midnight, in which case they have a thermos of coffee. Possibly soup.)
The Homeschooler is also often identifiable upon entry. Unlike the Sitter, they tend to enter quietly, genuflect reverently, and if female, may or may not be wearing a chapel veil. They usually have a St. Joseph’s Baltimore Catechism in tow, a dogeared copy of The Lord of the Rings (it is a Christian Allegory and Tolkien was Catholic, don’t ya know), and a well-read copy of the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. After completing their prayers they can usually be found reading one of their books about which they later must write a book report, and memorizing their Catechism answers. If you whisper loudly, “Why did God make you?” they will automatically answer, “God made me to know Him, Love Him, and Serve Him in this world and to be happy with Him in the next” and keep right on reading.
The Meal Skipper
The Meal-Skipper is only identifiable through listening. As you are going about your prayers, all of a sudden the unmistakable sounds of a stomach growling will break the relative calm of the chapel. Not wanting to embarrass anyone, there is a lot of side-eye looking that ensues as everyone tries to convey with their body language that “it wasn’t me” — including the culprit. During Lent and around mealtimes there tends to be more than one Meal Skipper in the chapel and it is possible that they travel in groups with plans to grab a meal together after their prayer time.
On any given day it is possible that you may encounter several of these Adorers and it is even more possible that you are one of them! For this reason, remember to give everyone some grace, and accept that sometimes what we think we are going to accomplish in the chapel is different that what God decides to allow. It isn’t uncommon for Him to let us practice some virtues — particularly patience — when we come to visit Him. One thing is for sure though: He is so very happy when we — regardless of what kind of adorer we are — come to stay with Him.