Since Father and Mother have both been hounding me to give the report on my excursion to the Dominicans earlier this week, I better finally get around to it!
Wow! What a parish! There are tons of young families there, each with it seemed like 4-8 children; all well behaved and attentive at the evening Mass that I happened upon. (I went after work, as it seemed a good crowd did too.) It was as near to paradise as I've been in a long time.
The Church is set up in an old English Monastery style, (before Henry VIII went all nutso and destroyed everything!), with a choir section for the friars, a beautiful wood and ivory communion rail, and carvings of saints at every corner. As you walked in, there was just tremendous soaring of spirit, and prayer erupted from the heart.
Imagine my surprise when after Mass the crowds stayed, and didn't immediately run off. They had adoration for about an hour while some of the friars heard confessions, and one of the brothers there came out and led us in devotions. After the deacon gave Benediction, and put Jesus away, the same brother came back out and gave a wonderful talk on discernment (I so wish that Sister Caprice could've been there!)
The highlights were as follows:
- prayer before the Blessed Sacrament is vital to hearing where God is leading you.
- as you are drawn to a community, read about the founder (or foundress) and see how God led him or her to address a specific need in the life of the Church.
- take small steps to explore life with the particular community, including making contact with the Vocation Director.
As I sat there and heard snippets of Brother Jerome's testimony, my heart was burning within me and I just felt completely drawn to the community.
I am not sure where this is going to lead, but whenever I think of life as a Dominican, my heart starts to race. Father, could this be a sign?
Oh, I forgot to answer the question that I was sent there to address in the first place! Why is Eucharistic Adoration so important in the discernment of a vocation? I asked Brother Jerome this question after his reflection. Simply put, he said, it is in Eucharistic Adoration that we come face to face with Our Lord, truly present. As we gaze upon Him in the Monstrance, He stares back into the depth of our souls and calls us to die to the self and live for Him. Besides when we receive Him in the Eucharist at Holy Mass, we are never closer to Him than when we pray before Him in the Blessed Sacrament.
This all made so much sense to me. I am hoping that we can start more periods of Adoration here at our monastery, whatever we'll call it, in the near future. After all, once we get rid of those horrible felt banners, our chapel could be almost as nice as the Dominican's!