My first experience of Adoration at AbbeyFest, however, was a glimpse of heaven.
It was the grandeur of the procession that captured my heart. I had been at masses when the priest and congregation walked together with the Blessed Sacrament held aloft in a monstrance. But I had never witnessed the fullness of the Church in a Eucharistic Procession and it astounded me. If you were there, you remember.
As evening deepened, teen volunteers passed out candles to everyone on the field at Daylesford Abbey. The soft candlelight as a backdrop to Matt Mahr’s soulful worship was moving enough. But then the stage lights dimmed and a single spotlight shone at the door to the Abbey where the Blessed Sacrament was brought forth, reverently covered by a canopy carried by four seminarians, and followed by all the priests and religious in attendance. No less than 50 priests, nuns, and seminarians walked behind the conveying tabernacle. And surrounding them, some 1,700 lay persons, singing, kneeling, praising the Son of God, who was Really and Truly present with all of us.
The entirety and the beauty of the Catholic Church was palpable in that moment. Husbands, wives, children, lay people, priests, nuns, seminarians and novitiates, all together in one beautiful, holy, and sublime moment of praise for the Lord who came down to Earth to call His people back to himself. And this beauty was magnified for me by the fact that I was there with my family. Joe and I together, with our children around us, led by our priests and religious, in heavenly worship.
I joined the Catholic Church in 2007 because I wanted to be a part of the Church Jesus had established in the Upper Room, placed in the hands of Peter and the Apostles and protected by the Holy Spirit over 2,000 years of humanity. Kneeling in the grass that evening, I experienced that Church, the communion of saints-in-progress from newly baptized infants to retired consecrated religious, brought together around our Lord.
It was a glimpse of heaven and it is part of the reason I look forward to AbbeyFest every year. For a time, a moment in September, when my family can fellowship with the entire body of Christ as we worship our Lord.