Young people find adoration gives them proper perspective on life
by Kara Hansen
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Amid the din of their iPods and text messages, downloading and Facebooking, a few teens and young adults are carving out time for something very different in their lives: the solitude of eucharistic adoration.
“My mom and I do the hour together [each week], so if one of us can’t make it, there will still be someone there. But most weeks we both get to go,” said Stephanie Trouba, a 17- year-old parishioner of Curé of Ars Church in Leawood.
Trouba has been attending eucharistic adoration regularly for the past year and a half and has found it to be a unique source of strength and comfort.
“Over the year and a half that we’ve been doing it, I’ve strengthened my relationship with Jesus significantly,” said Trouba.
“I wouldn’t give it up for anything,” she added, “and I hope to continue to have at least a weekly hour for the rest of my life.”
Trouba said she spends her time in adoration a little differently each week, but her time there usually includes a mixture of silence, spiritual reading about various saints, talking to God, and reading Scripture. Trouba said if she has difficulty focusing, she often uses her time to write to Jesus in a journal, a technique used by 16-year-old James Doyle as well.
“I spend time praying the rosary, reflecting on Scripture, and I will usually spend some amount of time just sitting in the presence of God,” said Doyle of Most Pure Heart of Mary Parish in Topeka. “I also usually end up writing a letter starting off with ‘Dear Jesus,’ and then including whatever is on my mind.”
Doyle had attended eucharistic adoration off and on with his parents for years. It only became an integral part of his spiritual life, however, after attending a Steubenville retreat a year ago.
“I never really understood or appreciated what it was until last summer when I went on
Steubenville. We had adoration twice, and I was totally blown away by what happened,” said Doyle. “I really realized, ‘Wow, that truly is my God that is sitting right there in front me.’ I guess I had realized it before, but it just never clicked.
“Now, after going on Steubenville, I could never get enough of it. I get something different out of it each time I go. Sometimes I just feel calm, as Jesus calms the storms of my life. Sometimes I get advice from him.
“It really varies from time to time, but I know that whenever I go, I will get something amazing out of it.”
Doyle, also a sophomore at Hayden High School in Topeka, said he was looking forward to attending adoration when it will be offered more often at Hayden next fall.
Karmen Bower, a junior at Benedictine College in Atchison, said she felt adoration grounded her life and helped her put her relationship with God in its proper place. “Adoration puts Christ on the forefront of mymind,soIam more likely to speak to God throughout the day and offer my work to him,” said Bower. “I am often tempted not to pray on days that I am really busy, but after I go to adoration on these really scheduled days, everything falls into place and I am more efficient than on the days that I skip prayer.”
Trouba has found her experience with adoration to be very similar. “Adoration’s been really helpful for my spiritual life. If I’m having trouble making time for prayer during the week, I have that hour of prayer time built in,” she said. “If I’ve been struggling with something, I have that time that I can go offer it up to Him.”
At a time when many teens and young adults are making major decisions in their lives, eucharistic adoration can provide an opportunity to seek guidance and grace.
Father Mitchel Zimmerman, archdiocesan director of the vocations office, said experiences with eucharistic adoration often play a key role in the vocation stories of many Catholics.
“I think anyone doing eucharistic adoration is drawing very close to their vocation,” he said. “That silence and stillness with God are very rare to have as part of a young person’s life.”
Father Zimmerman said adoration provides a great opportunity for learning to pray and listen to God’s voice. Still, he said it would be best for someone who has never been to adoration before to take it slowly.
“Don’t start with trying to do an hour a week. Even regular five- to 10-minute visits to the Blessed Sacrament in time can grow to more,” said Father Zimmerman.
He also said that although the silence in adoration is helpful for hearing God’s voice and experiencing deep prayer, that quiet can take some getting used to.
“The hardest thing to do is to go in to adoration and try to be silent,” said Father Zimmerman. “You may have to do some spiritual reading for a little while at first, but it’s important to take that time to sit there and listen.
“Along the way, it becomes very addictive.”
Bower said she has experienced the important role adoration can play in her ongoing vocation discernment.
“Adoration has allowed me to speak face to face with God, who has placed a specific vocational desire in my heart,” she said. “I think that prayer before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament in adoration helps to melt my hard heart, so grace can flow more easily in one’s soul.”
“Most of all, I have received abundant peace in adoration,” Bower concluded. “This is the one of the greatest things that can aid discernment.”