Instead of going shopping for the perfect gift, consider giving one that is more precious than gold. Give Jesus.
People may not even realize that we are all being gifted Jesus every day by cloistered nuns and monks all over the world praying for us before the Blessed Sacrament, giving their lives in love and sacrifice for the Church and for us.
It’s something we can give to others—a holy hour. I once gave that gift to our children—spouses too—informing them in cards under the tree. The giving extended into the New Year, picking one person a week and letting them know on the day they were prayed for before Jesus in adoration.
Appreciation for adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament was refreshed in me during a recent interview with Dom Aelred Tillotson, a Benedictine monk in Ireland, originally from British Columbia. Earlier chapters in his life included: active but worldly high school years, a seemingly bright future studying business in college, but then there grew an enveloping darkness. It became ever-heavier with an almost magnetic force, pulling him deeper and deeper where he did not want to go. “Jesus!” he cried out in desperation one day.
Jesus came. Immediately. Aelred was filled with peace and love beyond anything he had ever experienced. When he later dared to give God permission with his life, it led to entering seminary for three wonderful years. But then he discerned a calling to go deeper in relationship with Jesus in adoration.
Five years ago, Dom Aelred found his home with the Benedictine Monks of Perpetual Adoration at the Silverstream Priory, a converted old Irish manor nestled deep in the fields and surrounding forest in County Meath. He now has the Benedictine title of “Dom” for monks standing for Deo Optimo Maximo (God infinitely good, infinitely great). He belongs to a group of eighteen monks dedicated to perpetual adoration making atonement for sins, especially those inflicted upon the Church through scandal.
Some in the group are also priests, and twelve are Americans. They tend a vegetable garden and fruit trees and pigs and chickens, beginning their day with the Divine Office at 4:30 a.m., Mass at 9 a.m., and taking shifts in adoration until 9 p.m. Adoration is 24/7 during Lent when local townsfolk also sign up for hours. As their Benedictine community grows, the goal is perpetual adoration 365 days a year.
Silverstream Priory (under the patronage of Our Lady of the Cenacle) was are a branch of the Benedictines serving in the diocese under the Bishop of Meath, Ireland, and dedicated to the perpetual adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament in a spirit of reparation, particularly for priest scandals.
For a young man who was once so active in the world, does such a quiet life ever get boring? No, he said, he is not bored, but rather fulfilled. “During adoration, we sit at the feet of our Lord,” Dom Aelred explained. “There is not always great light and most of the time is passed in ordinariness, but to go before our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is to participate in his death. We can say great things and have wonderful thoughts, but that is not what matters. We are still and we are silent. It’s a sort of death that we enter into, but with everything with our Lord there is life. New life is breathed into the world and into his Church.”
“If we could only see what goes on in adoration,” Dom Aelred noted, “we’d see the immense good that comes into our own life and our family and out into the world when someone comes to adoration and loves Jesus. Love covers a multitude of sins. If we could do a survey in heaven and ask if anyone regrets a single moment in front of our Lord, there would be no one.”
For us all, in addition to going to adoration ourselves and perhaps giving a holy hour as a gift to others, here are some ways to be a part of the Benedictine Monks of Perpetual Adoration community.
Join them for livestreaming Vespers, receive updates by subscribing to their YouTube channel, subscribe to their newsletter. You can submit your prayer intentions.
May the love of Jesus through adoration burn deep in our hearts and bring us divine refreshment as we seek to love others in union with Our Lord.