Just a bit from Fr Schmidt – April 16, 2023

Forty Hours Devotion

The number 40 shows up quite a few times in Sacred Scripture, from the number of days it rained during the flood of Noah, to the number of years that Moses led the Israelites through the desert, or the years of King David’s reign. In the New Testament, we have the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple 40 days after His Nativity, the 40 days that Jesus spent in the desert after His Baptism in the Jordan, and the days that He spent with His Apostles between His Resurrection and the Ascension.

Another instance that I recently came across was the tradition that Jesus spent about 40 hours in the tomb, from 3 pm on Good Friday to around 7 am on Easter Sunday. Of course, the precise hour that the Resurrection occurred on that first Easter morning is not recorded in the Bible, but from this and other occurrences of the number 40 developed what’s called the 40 Hours Devotion. The 40 Hours Devotion usually involves Solemn Exposition of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament for a continuous period of 40 hours. Along with the Corpus Christi Procession, the 40 Hours Devotion is expected to happen at least once a year in each parish.

Part of the challenge, of course, is that we are never to leave Jesus exposed upon the altar even for a moment without someone there to adore Him and to keep guard in the church. The nighttime hours can be particularly challenging to fill. The Easter season is an especially appropriate time for us to observe this time-honored practice as we celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection and His continued presence among us through the Eucharist.

To limit the 40 hours to just one overnight period, we’ll be going from 6 am on a Saturday morning to 10 pm on Sunday. We’ll plan on the weekend of the Ascension in Bowdle: May 20 & 21, and the following weekend of Pentecost in Hoven: May 27 & 28. The Knights of Columbus are also planning to bring in a Eucharistic Miracles display during that weekend in Hoven. It will be set up in the basement, available for browsing before or after the Masses or your times of adoration. As it gets closer, I’ll have a signup sheet available at the entrance of each church. Please be generous to God with your time and commit to one or more hours. Your time spent with our Eucharistic Lord will never go unrewarded.

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