There is a certain joy about sitting silently in an otherwise empty Church. Normally places where many people are gathered together, it is a real blessing to be able to just sit quietly, to think and to pray in peace.

The Lady Chapel, St John’s Catholic Cathedral, Southsea, Portsmouth

Life tends to be so very busy, and with so many demands upon our time and our attention, that sitting alone in a Church is a moment out of the world, a little bit of Heaven on earth.

All earthly distractions are forgotten, at least for now, and it is only the soul and the Lord in the Tabernacle; nothing else exists in that moment. He – as always – gives the soul His full attention; but this is a real chance for the soul to give the Lord it’s full attention, without interruption, without noise, just silence and peace.

In moments such as these, I greatly enjoy praying a Psalm – today it was Psalm 25 – followed by my Rosary; this was a Scriptural Rosary, using the Gospel of St Luke. Because of the silence and the space to pray, that prayer was able to be fuller, perhaps deeper, than normal – there was no rush, no desire except to pray as well as possible. Nothing mattered except being alone with the Lord for a little while, and resting in His presence and peace for a few moments.

Where we have Churches whose doors remain unlocked during the day, we miss out if we do not avail ourselves of opportunities such as this; the Church is not only for Sunday.

Of course, we can – and should – pray everywhere; but there is nothing quite like being in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, particularly alone, pouring out our heart and knowing that He is listening attentively. That is a great blessing, one we must always be mindful to be thankful for.

One day, in Heaven, we will give great thanks for moments such as these.