The Growing in Holiness article series shares the stories of Catholics in the Diocese of Parramatta who are striving to grow in holiness through the means provided by the heritage of the Catholic Church.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states in paragraph 2013: “All Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity.” (LG 40 § 2) All are called to holiness: “Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mt 5:48)
James Duckett, a student living in the Diocese of Parramatta, finds a holy hour of prayer is essential for his day and long-term personal growth.
“It has allowed me to grow in peace and joy and love, knowing my value in the eyes of God, despite my unworthiness,” James told Catholic Outlook.
In 2016 James was Vice-Captain of Mazenod College in Melbourne and recipient of a 99+ ATAR.
“It reminds me every morning to get up again and try once more to overcome my weaknesses and my sin, because the Lord is still there and still loves me no matter what.”
A holy hour involves spending an hour in silent prayer, “allowing the love of Jesus to fill my being and transform my heart,” he said.
James tries to do this in front of the Blessed Sacrament in adoration. If this is not possible, then the holy hour will take place in a Church, or just in his room.
This prayer involves speaking to God as a friend, revealing one’s innermost concerns and intentions, praising Him, asking for His grace and thanking Him for His blessings.
As a member of the Emmanuel Community for the past two years, James keeps a commitment to a long period of daily prayer; “if possible in Adoration,” James said.
“It sets me up for every day. I usually try to pray in the morning and it means that I approach each day having spent time with Jesus and having reminded myself of his love for me.”
James alludes to the source of holy hours within the tradition of the Church, such as in the writings of St Margaret Mary Alacoque and Our Lord’s words in the Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.
“Jesus asked her to spend an hour with him on Thursday nights to spiritually enter into his agony in the garden,” James said.
Others such as St Padre Pio, St Teresa of Calcutta, St Faustina, St Gemma Galgani, the Venerable Fulton Sheen and Emmanuel Community founder Pierre Goursat have also recommended the practice.
As part of the Emmanuel Community, James also takes part in various outreach missions, such as street evangelisation and a young adults program.
His ambition is to do the will of God, “whatever that is and wherever it takes me,” he said.