Andy Hawes is Warden of
Edenham Regional Retreat House

Here are ten practical tips for the Prayer of Adoration (as found in the crypt of the Abbey of Vézelay on holiday, and translated by myself and my friend Dorothee Whissell).

You have entered this place to draw near to Jesus in the Eucharistic Presence, now enter into the most intimate place in your being.

Silence is around you: create a silence within you. Silence the voices within yourself and do not run after useless thoughts. Your problems, preoccupations, anxieties; do not keep them to yourself but offer them to Jesus. During this prayer time take hold of him who has taken hold of you. Ask for the gifts of abandonment and trust.

Look upon Jesus in the bread of the Eucharist. Make your heart speak to him, express your love for him who loved you first.

Do not offer him lip service, make sure you dwell and reflect on the words of your prayer. Enter into the prayer of the heart. Choose a verse of a psalm or a phrase from a Gospel, a simple prayer and repeat it with the heart, gently, continually, until it becomes your prayer, your cry, your supplication. Choose whatever suits your actual present situation. ‘Heart of Jesus I trust you’, ‘My Father I abandon myself to you’, ‘Jesus I love you’, ‘Jesus Son of God have mercy on me a sinner’, ‘You are my shepherd’, ‘You are with me’, ‘Jesus gentle and humble of heart, make my heart like yours’, or simply ‘Jesus, Jesus…’

Do not spend all the time asking or complaining; enter into the work of grace in thanksgiving.

If you are overcome by tiredness or distractions, have courage, keep going and ask the Holy Spirit to help you and become your interior teacher.

Jesus is at the heart of the Church, he is the heart of your being. Look on him and learn little by little to turn to him and not to yourself. Ask for grace to receive gladly his will for you.

Jesus is present in holiness; welcome the light that radiates from his presence. As the snow is melted by the sun, so the light of his presence will dissipate the darkness that clings to your heart.

In the Eucharist Jesus comes to you as the simple, essential, necessity of life. Ask for grace to live in the essential necessities of your own life and those of your brothers and sisters; to live in a poverty of spirit.

In the silence remember Mary, star of the morning and gate of heaven who can show the way into the royal chamber; she understands that in the silence, in looking on Jesus, you will come to know the presence of the Trinity in yourself, and will experience the prayer of Psalm 34: ‘Every face turned to him grows brighter and will never be confused or ashamed.’