This past year, I joined the parish’s Nocturnal Adoration Society, without really knowing much what that meant.
I knew that Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament was time spent in prayer, with the Eucharist exposed for all the faithful to see and worship, in a beautiful golden cross called a monstrance. I figured that “nocturnal adoration” would be much the same idea, except at night.
(“Why at night?”, The Auditor wanted to know. “No idea”, I replied”.)
Then, in December, I attended my first Nocturnal Adoration. The watch I signed up for was 3am-4am, and would rotate each month. When I arrived at the church, a small handful of people were present, all carrying small, red prayer books. One man introduced himself as the watch’s “leader”, and assigned me a part to read. I hadn’t realized this was a communal activity– I was under the impression we would be spending the hour in silent prayer.
Actually, what happened was that we spent much of the hour reading Scripture aloud, with some commentary, interspersed with moments of silent prayer and reflection. Many of the readings were Psalms, but there were also several Gospel readings– those dealing directly with the Holy Eucharist. At some point, one of the commentaries discussed “Keeping the watch with Jesus”, as He asked of his Apostles in the Gospels. I really REALLY like that idea– that once a month, in the middle of the night, I give up sleep to go and sit in church, keeping the watch with Jesus.
The Mission Statement of the Nocturnal Adoration Society, taken from their website:
The Nocturnal Adoration Society has a threefold purpose:
To provide a fervent response to Christ’s invitation to keep prayerful vigil with him (Matthew 26:28-40, Mark 14:37-38, Luke 22:40-46).
To deepen the experience of communion with Christ Eucharistic, as he continues his self-offering and saving influence.
To live more consciously and actively the full significance of the Eucharist as the sacrament of charity and unity for the church and the world.
I invite you to go here to learn more! http://www.sjbrcc.net/nas.html