While I have always professed being Catholic, there have been, and continue to be, many times where I live in a way that God is not at the centre of my life. I claim that I just don’t have the time—not with all my university work, social engagements, computer games and various other “important” activities.
As much as some of this busyness is legitimate, if I am being honest, it is often used to distract me from my relationship with God and the things that are truly weighing heavily on me.
When I prayerfully reflect on how I can change this, I come to two responses: I must increase my prayer life and I must engage in a community that will encourage me in my journey with God. One way that I have managed to do this of late is by attending the diocese’s Holy Hour for young adults at the Cathedral [also at Rosemeadow] with some friends of mine.
Holy Hour draws its inspiration from Christ’s words to the apostles at Gethsemane, “Can you not watch one hour with me?” (Matthew 26:40). At each Holy Hour, Bishop Brian and/or other clergy join us for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, praise and worship, Reconciliation, Liturgy of the Word, and a short teaching followed by silence and benediction. After Holy Hour, we then come together in fellowship and share a meal.
For me, Holy Hour is a very intentional time to enter into dialogue with Jesus. Distractions are removed and I find I become exposed. I learnt, not too long ago, that the Latin root of the word adoration means “to be mouth-to-mouth”. Adoration is just that! The face of the invisible God is intensely and intimately made known to me. It is confrontational—in a good way. I voluntarily enter into it because it is time I know I need. During adoration, I gain clarity of myself, where I am at, and where I am going.
This clarity of myself comes about through clarity in my relationship with God, made known to me during adoration. Overwhelming joy is experienced in this, especially when I realise an area of my life that I need to change and I cooperate with God—the joy of aligning my will to his.
We acknowledge in the Our Father: “On earth as it is in heaven.” This is a prayer we so commonly pray, but I forget that this—through the miracle of the Mass—is a reality also in adoration.
As the saints ceaselessly adore and glorify God in heaven, so too can we adore God as a community here on earth. In communing in Jesus, we are made a community. I find this extremely important. I have noticed from my own life how friends and people of significance around me shape and form how I think and act. Many well-meaning friends of mine have undermined and dismissed what I hold to be significant and important in my relationship with God.
However, adoration—especially during Holy Hour for young adults—is monumental in strengthening, encouraging and directing me.
This has been my experience, and I pray that you, too, experience the joy of “watching one hour” with Jesus.
Holy Hour for young adults (18–30 years) will be held at St Francis Xavier Cathedral in Wollongong (36 Harbour Street) on 14 August and 9 October, and at Our Lady Help of Christians Church in Rosemeadow (Demetrius Road) on 28 August and 23 October 2019.
Lachlan Gillespie is a parishioner in the Lumen Christi Catholic Parishes region of Wollongong and president of the Catholic Society based at the University of Wollongong.
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Our diocesan logo is theologically rich and very succinct. As a hand, it depicts our mission as a diocese and as individuals within the diocese, of bearing (bringing, carrying) Christ’s love to one another and to the world around us. In this, we are the hand of Jesus Christ, and we are offering ourselves to him so that he might work through us.
We can be the bearers of his love only as a response to his call and in the strength of his grace. We are reminded of this in two ways—through the symbol of the dove (the Holy Spirit) also present in the logo, and by the incorporation of the cross that segments the logo. The presence of the cross is a reminder that bearing the love of Christ will inevitably cost us if we live it authentically. However, in the way that the Cross is the portent of redemption and life—an echo of the tree of life in the book of Genesis—so becoming bearers of the love of Christ will also bring us to life.
The four fingers of the hand also represent the four regions of our diocese. The first is bluerepresenting the beautiful water of the Shoalhaven. The second is a blue and green combination representing the waters and escarpment of the Illawarra. The third is greendepicting the hills and plains of the Macarthur. The fourth is dark green illustrating the forests of the Southern Highlands.