What is the Holy Hour ?
The Holy Hour means spending, in the night of Thursday to the first Friday of the month, an hour in prayer united with Christ at the beginning of His passion, that is to say at the Garden of Olives. Saint Margaret Mary relates that after having asked her to take holy communion every first Friday of each month (at a time when people hardly took communion at all), Jesus told her :
Jesus is waiting for us
Every night from Thursday to Friday, I will let you have a share in this agonising sadness I willingly suffered at the Garden of Olives(…) in order to accompany me in this humble prayer, which I will then offer to my Father, among all my anguish, you will get up between eleven and midnight and you will prostrate yourself for an hour with me(…), in order to alleviate in some way the bitterness I felt from the abandonment of my apostles and which will force me to reproach them they could not watch with me for an hour, and during this hour you will do what I will teach you.
Life and works of saint Margaret Mary (1)
Nowhere else does Jesus ask any other but Saint Margaret Mary to unite herself to this prayer, but quickly, Christians had the conviction that the desire of Jesus was spreading to them too. She was encouraged by the Church, and Pope Pius XI, in his encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptio, would acknowledge that the Holy hour is a response to the desire of Jesus as a practice of love, compassion and reparation :
If the anguish of Jesus in Gethsemane is so strong, it is because He realises that His Sacrifice of love would only meet with indifference and revolt from most of mankind. During this hour, temptation is at its most dreadful, the final attack of the Enemy : making Jesus that His Offering would be in vain. In the bitter solitude of the Garden of Olives, the Lord, crushed by suffering, lives out the words of the psalmist : “ I had hoped for compassion, but in vain, I could not find any comforters” (Ps 69:21).
Comfort the Heart of Jesus
It means in a certain way to comfort the Heart of Jesus by sharing the anguish of loneliness experienced at this time, while the drama of His Passion and His Crucifiction are happening. It doesn’t just mean a simple time of personal prayer. What it means is more of a structured prayer around meditation on the mystery of the agony of Christ, so that one is present in one’s heart, exactly where the Apostles, exhausted with fatigue, could not find the strength in them “to watch an hour” with Him : There where the Holy hour is lived as a parish, or where the Blessed Sacrament is exposed within a community. But you may also live it in your home, as an individual or together. One takes a hymn that puts one in the presence of Jesus. One reads one of the Gospels on the Agony of Jesus in Gethsemani. One can split it into three or four passages, in between which one can meditate for fifteen to twenty minutes ; one can also sing at each interval. At the end of the Hour, where the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, one puts It away in the Tabernacle. One can then finish with a hymn in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
In response to my urge to do them good, mankind only displays coldness and rebuke… You, at least, comfort Me by compensating for their ungratefulness… You will take communion every first Friday of the month and every night from Thursday to Friday, you will have a share in this agonising sadness that I carried up to the Garden of Olives.
Jesus to sister Margaret Mary
This Holy Hour is introduced by a conference on Thursday evening at 8.30 at the Chapel of Apparitions. It is followed by a night of prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament exposed at the Saint John Chapel. You may, if you prefer, experience in your home or in your parish the Holy Hour in communion with the pilgrims of Paray. The Sanctuaries of Paray-le-Monial suggest that you rediscover the power of the Consecration, as an individual or as a family, to the Heart of Jesus.