I was blessed to attend the 111th Colorado State Knights of Columbus Convention last week. It was an action-packed four days of prayer, fraternity, and experiencing new ways to exercise the virtues of charity with my Brother Knights. I decided to participate in the three Honor Guards for the weekend, which means that I spent a large portion of those several days dressed in my Fourth Degree regalia (tuxedo, chapeau, baldric, cape and sword).
At the end of the second day of events, I had just participated in the Fourth Degree Grand March and banquet. From the practice session to the end of the banquet was about four hours, so I was really looking forward to getting back to my hotel room for a little relaxation. After getting out of my formalwear, I took a look at the schedule for the next day and noticed that there was one more event listed for today: Eucharistic Adoration from 9 pm to 10 pm.
I glanced at my hotel alarm clock, it was 9:20 pm.
Then came the internal struggle. I was tired. I had just taken off my shoes for the first time in the day and gotten into my sweatpants. I had books that I wanted to read while I was at the convention. I had to be up at 6 am the next morning, but so did many of the other convention attendees. I’m almost the youngest Knight here, so I can’t exactly use the “I’m too tired” excuse. Wait… a lot of the other Knights are a little more advanced in their years and like to turn in early… would any of them stay up to be with the Lord? If there is any chance that He would be alone, I should go.
By 9:30 pm, I found myself in the conference room just off the hotel lobby. Thankfully I was not alone, there was an old couple sitting on the righthand side of the aisle and our State Chaplain deep in prayer kneeling on the bare floor to my left with his eyes closed and a rosary draped in his outstretched hand. I took my place in the empty row in front of the priest, kneeling down and extracting my rosary from the pouch I carry it in each day. The Lord was there too, in repose in a golden monstrance that was found in a pawn shop and reconditioned by the Knights of Columbus.
At this point I was gripped by how silent the room was. I heard the old man to my right turn the page in his prayerbook. The brush of the priests prayer beads as they glanced across the chair back. I could even hear some raucous party going on a few rooms down, but it was very peaceful here. As I looked at Our Lord, present in the Blessed Sacrament I was reminded of the peasant’s answer when Saint John Vianney asked him what he was doing during his time adoring the Lord. The man said “Nothing, I look at Him, and He looks at me.”
After reflecting on that thought for a moment, I decided to at least start a rosary in hopes of finishing it before 10 pm. Unfortunately, my memory is terrible and I had forgotten the little card that I carry to help me remember the Mysteries of the Rosary for each day. I spent a few minutes trying to fitfully remember them, then I decided that I would just pray a personal rosary by contemplating the life of Christ with my own prayer intentions for each decade: first for my wife, second for my daughter Eve, third for the repose of my lost unborn baby Jude, fourth for an increase in Faith for my fallen away friends and family, and last for continued strength in my vocation of service.
I opened my eyes, and after they readjusted to the candlelight I realized that the priest and I were the only ones left in the room. I put my rosary and checked the time, it was 9:59 pm. I bowed before the Lord and quietly exited the room so the priest could retrieve the Blessed Sacrament from the monstrance in peace.
As I got back to my room and got ready for bed the peaceful quiet of that room went with me. I was glad that I had overcome my own weakness and laziness to spend a few minutes with the Lord. I wish I could end every day like this.