Wednesday, March 6, 2013
The Perfect Adoration Chapel
My life is so blessed. There are some times when I actually appreciate that fact, and can dwell on it and be thankful for it. Tonight was one of those nights. In the midst of the stress of my mom’s deteriorating physical condition and my concerns about my own well being, I was still able to sit in the adoration chapel tonight and reflect on all the good things God has done for me --- and continues to do.
Sitting in the small chapel, on the way home after putting mom to bed, I shared thoughts with some of “the regulars” who were there, the Catholic school teacher, the seminarian, and the woman blessed with a new job “that the Holy Spirit found for me.” They are good people to know, and I am blessed to know them, even if just for moments when we pray together. One of the things noticeable tonight was the number of attendees at the small chapel. With seating for only 8, it was full.
On my drive home I reflected on the difference between that small chapel and the larger adoration room at my own parish, where I do regularly scheduled late night hours. That chapel seats about 20-25, with a significant amount of additional space for SRO or KRO (Kneeling Room Only). And I have seen if full, especially (strangely?) on New Year’s Eve nights. It is so good that I know so many people who know God, really know Him. Reading Weigel’s latest book, Evangelical Catholicism, he speaks of the need for Catholics to have a close relationship with Jesus --- “it’s something the Protestant church’s got right.”
I am so glad I am in the midst of so many people who have “got it right.”
In comparing the two chapels I regularly worship at, I got to thinking: What would make the experience of the presence of God better? And then it came to me: a wine dispenser. Oh, not a watering hole dispensary for getting soused, but a single glass of good red wine. There is nothing like it to take the edge off the day, to calm the anxieties, to forget the angers, to smooth over all the worries about the morrow. And to enable you to relax, and think about God and all the good things He has done for you this day. Yes, that is an improvement I would make, were I in charge of adoration room design, I’d add a wine dispenser for a late evening glass with God, so we could talk over the events of the day, and what He and I did --- together.
I wrote recently about how it was said that a good examination of conscience at the end of the day --- which would be a good habit to get into --- should start with a remembrance of God’s blessings that day, but how can you think on blessings when you are all in a lather over the events, and much more likely to argue with God about the day’s events than chat about them, or recall the good of them. No, the glass of wine would help, or perhaps it would help to close our day with a declared closing time, a time for “no more worries after this hour.” But then I recalled that I had felt such a peace tonight, without the wine.
One of the “penances” I imposed upon myself for Lent was to not turn on the radio in the car. Whether it’s the 10 minute run to the grocery store or gas station, or the half hour ride to Sunday mass, the radio is off and there is a silence, into which my mind naturally throws in thoughts. One of the things I found during this past two weeks is that in that silence, it is hard to continue with any anxious thoughts, which might have occupied my mind. Without deliberately planning it, I found, for instance, that after I put mom to bed at night and I go out into the car, pulling away from the curb at mom’s house, in silence, feels like I am pulling away from any of the stresses I may have felt, even only minutes before.
Absence may make the heart grow fonder, but I have found that silence calms it.
And that is why tonight I found myself appreciating the blessings in my life, while sitting there in the small chapel. A glass of wine would have been nice, I guess, but the silence on the way there served a similar purpose. It put an end to my day, and my worries --- without me even worrying about doing it.
You might try it.