God’s providence is pretty amazing. I love it when He is beyond obvious. Here we are on our first Thursday night of the Academic Year, which we always have a later Mass, but this Academic Year, we are introducing these two powerful and important devotions – the First Friday being dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the First Saturday being dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. So each month of the semesters, on the Eve of First Friday, we’re holding what is called “Nocturnal Adoration,” meaning we have Eucharistic adoration with the conclusion of this Mass through the night and early morning until 8:30 AM when we will have Mass. And the scriptures for tonight’s Mass have these lines
This is my homily for the EVE OF FIRST FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2023 as we initiate devotion to the SACRED HEART OF JESUS with our first Nocturnal Adoration which will take place from 9 PM Thursday until 8:30 AM Votive Mass of the Sacred Heart on Friday Morning. Thanks so much for stopping by to read this homily and sharing on your social media posts and your feedback and comments… I’m also grateful for all those who’ve asked for the audio version and share them as well at SOUNDCLOUD click HERE or from ITUNES as a podcast HERE. May the Lord be glorified in your reading and sharing- Father Jim
The first reading where Paul is writing to the Thessalonians:
Night and day we pray beyond measure to see you in person and to remedy the deficiencies of your faith.
And then Jesus in the Gospel
For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.
As with most things regarding Scripture, there are multiple meanings to these words and sentiments. Obviously, Jesus is using dramatic imagery in the Gospel to emphasize the urgency of always being ready as disciples. Of not falling for the tempter’s lie lulling people into lukewarmness where they say, “I’ll take my faith seriously later” – “I know I need to stop this sin, but I don’t want to do that yet…” Jesus is reminding us that we find Him in the here and now. Don’t miss that opportunity. Don’t waste another minute, another day. That tomorrow is something that is not guaranteed.
St. Paul is revealing his heart to these people he had been called to serve in sharing the Gospel. They became so near and dear to him that there were nights that, like a Mother and Father thinking about their children and wanting what’s best and knowing their limitations, are restless and moved to prayer – so he was for them.
That’s in part where this tradition of Nocturnal Adoration comes from. It’s not meant to be a way of punishing ourselves. Or for us to demonstrate a spiritual feat of strength where we do an all-night prayer marathon and are wiped out of all energy and a mess for the next few days. So, no one should feel pressured to be here all night. Or to put their health at risk in any way. People always have to be temperate with things like this and with fasting. They are powerful spiritual practices that need to be approached and done responsibly. So everyone needs to hear that not simply as a disclaimer but with all seriousness.
But it is an opportunity to move out of comfort.
It is an opportunity to evaluate – how easily I give in and spend hours and hours binging, streaming, and gaming till late into the night, even into the wee early hours of the morning, without much thought. And if I can do that, how quickly, easily, and intentionally am I about to do that to spend time with the Lord Jesus, real and present in the Eucharist – who remains restless for us? It is an opportunity to make some sacrifices. That is something that everyone needs to answer for themselves, and each of our answers will be personal and require our own response. So for some, they might be able to spend just a few minutes after Mass, others might come back later at some other time, and others might have the ability and freedom to do something more extensive. That’s why the chapel is open, and we’re simply inviting people to come.
One of the books that I’ve read, re-read over and over, is called In Sinu Jesu. It’s a book of reflections journaling personal revelations that a Benedictine monk believes to have had with Jesus. And much of this Jesus is directing to Priests, challenging them to draw closer to Him and not let the things and distractions of the world or our responsibilities deflect from what should be primary: being like the apostles in the upper room at the Last Supper as they are ordained His first priests. That’s what the title comes from “In Sinu Jesu” means “on the chest of Jesus,” referring to when John drew close to Jesus at the Last Supper and revealed some brutal truths to the 12.
But lay-people have found inspiration in this book as well, and this one entry that I stumbled upon the other day, which I’ve been going back to all week, seemed well suited this night for our first nocturnal adoration.
When you come into my presence to adore Me,
and prefer Me to the other things that solicit your attention
and make claims upon your time,
I am consoled and glorified.
The proof of friendship is the choice of one’s friend over all else.
I want you to prefer Me,
to give me the time that could be given to other persons and things.
In so doing, you will show Me your love and offer Me the consolation of a true friendship.
I would ask this preferential love of all My priests
Friendship, if it is to thrive, must be practiced.
This is as true of friendship with Me, as it is of human friendships…
Weariness and fatigue are no obstacle to a fruitful time of adoration.
They are incidental;
what matters is the desire to seek My Eucharistic Face
and to abide in My company. – In Sinu Jesu, p 158