You may be familiar with something called the “Five Love Languages.” If you aren’t, they are:
Based on a book by Gary Chapman, these “love languages” are perhaps most commonly applied to romantic relationships. But they can really extend to all relationships: siblings, parents, children, friends, coworkers, etc.
The basic gist is that each of us tends to gravitate toward one of these “languages” as the primary means of how we tend to express our love and also how we tend to receive love from others.
Jesus Christ was perfect, so we could also say he’s the perfect example and embodiment of all five love languages. He spoke words of affirmation to the suffering. He made acts of service to the poor and the needy. He gifted wine at Cana, and his very self on the cross. He touched the eyes of the blind, the ears of the deaf, the lips of the mute. And he spent incalculable quality time in prayer with his Heavenly Father.
Scripture tells us Jesus routinely went off alone or into the wilderness to pray. His quality time with the Father was often tied to a specific purpose. But “purposeful prayer” doesn’t necessarily equate to “productive prayer.”
In our American culture, we focus so much on utility and productivity — which can be great for the economy and our physical livelihood — but not so much for our spiritual lives. At its core, prayer really is just “wasting time with God.” Our prayer time might have a specific purpose. But we should never obsess over whether it was particularly “productive.”
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is the perfect medicine to our unhealthy attachment to productivity. Adoration of our Lord in the Eucharist doesn’t have some predesigned goal or agenda. The sole agenda is adoration for adoration’s sake. Adoring the Lord for the sake of adoring the Lord, and seeking nothing in return.
We each have our own preferred ways of showing love to Christ. It could be acts of service to others, words of affirmation through worship music, giving gifts to beautify the church or healing through physical touch.
But how often do we opt for the fifth love language: quality time? How often do we choose to just spend some quality time with Christ? To love him just by being near him?
We’ve all heard of tithing. And most of us understandably equate that with our money. But the most precious resource that any of us have really is our time. We can all work harder to earn more money. But none of us ultimately can do anything to buy more time. Our time is the one thing that’s truly priceless. How we spend our time says a lot about our priorities.
Tithing our time to God may be even more important than tithing our money. Because we’re giving our time back over to him who gave us that time in the first place. We’re saying, “Lord, I know my time on earth here is limited, and I could be doing a lot of other things right now, but for this one hour (or 30 minutes or 10 minutes, or whatever) I’m giving it over to you.”
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is a chance to place our own offerings on the altar next to our eucharistic Lord. I might place on that altar my desolations (maybe a family dispute, or mourning a loved one, or difficulties with coworkers). Or I might place there certain consolations (rejoicing in new life, renewal of great friendships, or healing from some pain or injury).
Whatever it may be, adoration is a time to place our very lives on the altar next to the Lord. To let him sit with us, and us with him. To show the Lord how much he is loved, just by spending some quality time with him — and for no other reason than that.
Deacon Matt Glover, JCL, is the diocese’s chancellor for canonical affairs and serves at Christ the King Church in Little Rock.
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