What inspired our mission?

Once upon a time, I was led to the Garden of Olives. Grief led me. No… it wasn’t a trip I’d won to the Holy Land. It was a trip of the soul through prayer, the most poignant journey of all.

I lost my grandfather and then my father within nine months of each other when I was ten years old. My mom and I were now totally alone, the only ones in the house. In those nights of grief that followed, long after I should have been asleep, I would gaze at the moon through the window. The stars gleamed like crying eyes and the topmost fronds of the evergreens trembled in the breeze.

And so, as I sat up nights, it’s no wonder that my prayers began to grow closer to the Mount of Olives. Sorrow and loneliness engulfed me. The loss was overwhelming. I cried simultaneously out of grief for my earthly father and out of need for my Heavenly one to not leave me orphaned.

One of the children’s Bible stories that most gripped me in those days, with its full-color image of Christ in Agony, was the Garden of Gethsemane. I felt, while looking at those swaying branches against the star-flecked sky, that I was in Gethsemane, too. I’d feel prayerfully tied to the ground of that Garden. And as I stayed awake with Christ, by “watching and praying,” something happened. Jesus of Gethsemane consoled me.

A few years after the loss of these pivotal men in my life, I planted a garden in my backyard. It was what’s known as a “moonlight garden,” featuring white flowers that glow by the light of the moon. Then I made concrete stepping stones from a kit I’d bought that allowed me to press words into the stones. After days of work, I stepped back to see what I’d created. My short poem, set in the ground under a canopy of white hydrangeas read: I AM HERE TONIGHT WITH CHRIST IN GETHSEMANE.

I’m not sure what led me, still so young, to make this gesture. But it is a cry I called to Our Lord, the words shining under that moonlight, like a beacon He could read from the sky. I wanted then, and still want to this day, to comfort Him for those hours of His Garden Agony… beauty in the midst of and in spite of…grief.

My book, Awake with Christ, goes on to tell how I learned, over time (as I grew in age and wisdom), about praying the actual at-home Holy Hour devotion, but first God helped me to live it. The at-home Holy Hour was all but forgotten in the Catholic world and I realized I needed to bring it to others.

And what of your pain? Bring it. Literally bring it. It has a purpose. Whatever affliction you are facing: anxiety, grief, fear, loss, or any daily challenges, can be turned into purpose by offering up those struggles to God and praying persistently… to allow God to do the necessary pruning and watering of our souls.

Whatever you are going through RIGHT NOW, you’re not alone. He’s there… waiting for you.

What’s so beautiful about this apostolate is that all of us at Catholic Holy Hour… we’re all there with you, too, making the gesture of love… calling out to Our Lord, “we are here. We watch and we pray. We love you.”

—Annabelle Moseley

Founder, www.catholicholyhour.com