Meeting Jesus at midnight or in the wee small hours

July 5, 2024 at 12:05 a.m.
An image of Christ and a monstrance are pictured during the first-ever Life Fest at the Entertainment & Sports Arena in Washington Jan. 20, 2023. (OSV News photo/Jeffrey Bruno, Knights of Columbus)
An image of Christ and a monstrance are pictured during the first-ever Life Fest at the Entertainment & Sports Arena in Washington Jan. 20, 2023. (OSV News photo/Jeffrey Bruno, Knights of Columbus) (Jeffrey Bruno)

By OSV News

We all have them, those desperate times, particularly in the wee small hours of the morning, when illness or anxiety pulls us up from our beds and down to our knees, or keeps us on our feet, pacing the floor as we seek relief from physical or mental or spiritual aches and ailments.

Sometimes, we wish we could awaken the whole household, begging our families to supply the sort of immediate solace we need. But we don't do it. They need their sleep, after all.

What do you do in those times? Do you find yourself longing for a mother's presence, and thus pick up your rosary? Do you warm up some milk, light a candle and open the Scriptures?

Sometimes, in those hours of silent suffering -- especially if my affliction is some mental anguish I cannot push away -- I will seek out the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, which is easier to do today than it was 20 years ago.

I recall a particular night when old ghosts and new torments were trampling heart and mind, preventing rest. Not wishing to disturb my family, I drove to a local parish. There, I stood at a side door, gazing through a small window at the tabernacle within, visible only by the light of the candle beside it (the reassuring sign that Christ was there). I simply watched the flame flicker, and adored. I asked Jesus if I might stay there -- not exactly at his feet but as near as I might -- and take my consolation from his boundless and supernatural presence.

It was by no means an ideal situation, and yet as I stood there, consolation did in fact come. On those chilly steps, a true "peace surpassing all understanding" (Phil 4:7) settled upon me like a healing balm. Despite my limited view, Christ transcended the tabernacle and every material and spiritual obstacle between us and let me feel not just seen but recognized, not just heard but understood.

Mosly, I felt loved beyond my own comprehension of intimacy and acceptance.

I hated leaving, but when I did, all the doubts, all the fears I'd been entertaining -- all the great wreckage of my heart -- stayed behind, with Jesus. I went home, having learned the valuable truth that everything is known, and that we are none of us alone.

And I  slept.

In 2024, it's much easier to find Christ, present and exposed in a monstrance, no matter the day or the hour. One need no longer hold a cold and lonely vigil at a locked door because -- thanks to what used to be called "new media" -- monasteries and diocesan adoration chapels from all over the world maintain live streams of the Blessed Sacrament for remote adoration, whereby the energy of the Christ is transmitted through energy both housed and in the ether, to encounter our own.

This is a particular boon to the incarcerated or the infirm, of course, but sitting before a streamed monstrance can offer a powerful bit of succor to anyone's day

Recently I saw a brief video of a pastor in Stratford, Connecticut, who, during the isolating lockdowns of 2020, installed what he called a "drive-up adoration window."

"I was coming out of my rectory chapel in March of 2020," he explains, "and I looked to the right and I saw that I have this entranceway but next to it is this glass panel. And I got to thinking, 'I could set up an Adoration window, here. Jesus would be safe behind the glass; nobody could get to Jesus.' I had a custom-made shutter built, and now people drive up outside, they get out of their cars, they walk up to that shutter and then they can open it. I put a kneeler out there, a chair for them to sit on, and I have people 24 hours a day coming, at 2 a.m., 4 a.m., 6 a.m., during the day.”

"Say hi to Jesus," he smiles as he demonstrates how an adorer can open the shutter and sit or kneel before Christ, present behind the glass. "Just come by," he invites. "Spend a few minutes with Jesus. He's waiting here for you, all the time!"

Some might object, of course, or find it irreverent. I don't. The little "drive-up adoration window" may be a humble way to bring Jesus to us, but I have a hard time believing he would mind. He permitted himself to be brought into Jerusalem via a humble donkey, after all.

And I know that on a cold and restless night 20 years ago, I would have been so grateful to drive out to meet Jesus and find him waiting for me -- not in distant shadows, but so beautifully near.

Even today, with remote viewing at my fingertips, I would still be grateful.

Elizabeth Scalia is editor-at-large for OSV. Follow her on X (formerly known as Twitter) @theanchoress.

The Church needs quality Catholic journalism now more than ever. Please consider supporting this work by signing up for a SUBSCRIPTION (click HERE) or making a DONATION to The Monitor (click HERE). Thank you for your support.



Related Stories

We all have them, those desperate times, particularly in the wee small hours of the morning, when illness or anxiety pulls us up from our beds and down to our knees, or keeps us on our feet, pacing the floor as we seek relief from physical or mental or spiritual aches and ailments.

Sometimes, we wish we could awaken the whole household, begging our families to supply the sort of immediate solace we need. But we don't do it. They need their sleep, after all.

What do you do in those times? Do you find yourself longing for a mother's presence, and thus pick up your rosary? Do you warm up some milk, light a candle and open the Scriptures?

Sometimes, in those hours of silent suffering -- especially if my affliction is some mental anguish I cannot push away -- I will seek out the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, which is easier to do today than it was 20 years ago.

I recall a particular night when old ghosts and new torments were trampling heart and mind, preventing rest. Not wishing to disturb my family, I drove to a local parish. There, I stood at a side door, gazing through a small window at the tabernacle within, visible only by the light of the candle beside it (the reassuring sign that Christ was there). I simply watched the flame flicker, and adored. I asked Jesus if I might stay there -- not exactly at his feet but as near as I might -- and take my consolation from his boundless and supernatural presence.

It was by no means an ideal situation, and yet as I stood there, consolation did in fact come. On those chilly steps, a true "peace surpassing all understanding" (Phil 4:7) settled upon me like a healing balm. Despite my limited view, Christ transcended the tabernacle and every material and spiritual obstacle between us and let me feel not just seen but recognized, not just heard but understood.

Mosly, I felt loved beyond my own comprehension of intimacy and acceptance.

I hated leaving, but when I did, all the doubts, all the fears I'd been entertaining -- all the great wreckage of my heart -- stayed behind, with Jesus. I went home, having learned the valuable truth that everything is known, and that we are none of us alone.

And I  slept.

In 2024, it's much easier to find Christ, present and exposed in a monstrance, no matter the day or the hour. One need no longer hold a cold and lonely vigil at a locked door because -- thanks to what used to be called "new media" -- monasteries and diocesan adoration chapels from all over the world maintain live streams of the Blessed Sacrament for remote adoration, whereby the energy of the Christ is transmitted through energy both housed and in the ether, to encounter our own.

This is a particular boon to the incarcerated or the infirm, of course, but sitting before a streamed monstrance can offer a powerful bit of succor to anyone's day

Recently I saw a brief video of a pastor in Stratford, Connecticut, who, during the isolating lockdowns of 2020, installed what he called a "drive-up adoration window."

"I was coming out of my rectory chapel in March of 2020," he explains, "and I looked to the right and I saw that I have this entranceway but next to it is this glass panel. And I got to thinking, 'I could set up an Adoration window, here. Jesus would be safe behind the glass; nobody could get to Jesus.' I had a custom-made shutter built, and now people drive up outside, they get out of their cars, they walk up to that shutter and then they can open it. I put a kneeler out there, a chair for them to sit on, and I have people 24 hours a day coming, at 2 a.m., 4 a.m., 6 a.m., during the day.”

"Say hi to Jesus," he smiles as he demonstrates how an adorer can open the shutter and sit or kneel before Christ, present behind the glass. "Just come by," he invites. "Spend a few minutes with Jesus. He's waiting here for you, all the time!"

Some might object, of course, or find it irreverent. I don't. The little "drive-up adoration window" may be a humble way to bring Jesus to us, but I have a hard time believing he would mind. He permitted himself to be brought into Jerusalem via a humble donkey, after all.

And I know that on a cold and restless night 20 years ago, I would have been so grateful to drive out to meet Jesus and find him waiting for me -- not in distant shadows, but so beautifully near.

Even today, with remote viewing at my fingertips, I would still be grateful.

Elizabeth Scalia is editor-at-large for OSV. Follow her on X (formerly known as Twitter) @theanchoress.

The Church needs quality Catholic journalism now more than ever. Please consider supporting this work by signing up for a SUBSCRIPTION (click HERE) or making a DONATION to The Monitor (click HERE). Thank you for your support.


Have a news tip? Email [email protected] or Call/Text 360-922-3092

e-Edition


e-edition

Sign up


for our email newsletters

Weekly Top Stories

Sign up to get our top stories delivered to your inbox every Sunday

Daily Updates & Breaking News Alerts

Sign up to get our daily updates and breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox daily

Latest Stories


Vatican, USCCB president condemn violence at Trump rally, offers prayers for victims, peace
The Vatican expressed its concern about ...

St. Luke Parish welcomes installation of new pastor
Parishioners and friends of Father Michael Kennedy were ...

In Local News as of July 12, 2024
The following parishes, schools and organizations in the Diocese of Trenton have announced these upcoming events:

Mission: Jersey gives teens an opportunity to help others
Almost two dozen teens and their youth ministers gathered July 10...

Indianapolis bound pilgrims given prayerful send-off at Mass
The Eucharist is more than just about ...


The Evangelist, 40 North Main Ave., Albany, NY, 12203-1422 | PHONE: 518-453-6688| FAX: 518-453-8448
© 2024 Trenton Monitor, All Rights Reserved.