It was not more than a couple of weeks ago that I went to Adoration for the first time. In case some of you who read don't know, I am a convert in heart to the Catholic Faith, who has renounced his former heresies and is looking to be Baptized into the mystical Body of Christ this year sometime, or else on Easter Sunday of 2013. One thing about my journey to the Catholic Faith that I have become very aware of is that there is a difference between mental conversion and assent to the True Faith proclaimed throughout the ages, and integrating physically into Catholic culture and tradition as it is lived out day by day in the lives of thousands of faithful.
Looking back, that time spent in Adoration of Our Eucharistic Lord for the first time was exhilarating, but at the same time necessarily full of trepidation at the radically different culture that I was being bathed in. Don't get me wrong, it was blissful, and Christ was there which made it all worth it. But boy, is it ever an interesting experience to be a convert to the Faith.
As it turns out, that was my first time stepping inside a Catholic Church since I was five, when I stepped inside a tiny, antique, small Catholic Church out in the middle of nowhere for my (devoutly Catholic and sainted) great-grandmother's funeral. When I stepped into Adoration, there was a liturgical celebration of the Rosary going on in the Chapel by a large Catholic family, and it was like stepping onto Mars after having lived for many months now with Catholic Faith and passion burning in my soul and intellect but having to brace myself against the Protestant culture all around me in my home. To suddenly let go, and lower my guard, was a relief yet shocking at the same time. I can recall at one time, in early fall 2011, when I had just made the discovery of the Blessed Virgin Mary's Queenship of Heaven and Earth based on the structure of the Davidic Kingdom in the Old Testament (which I passionately accepted immediately with the patriotic zeal of a man who has found the Country he has been longing for his entire life), when I wore a scapular for one of the first times while going to a Lutheran 'divine service' with my parents because I was so passionate for our Blessed Mother and I could not for the life of me understand any professing "citizen of the (Hebraic) Kingdom of Heaven" accept Christ the ultimate fulfillment of the Davidic King, and yet reject His Davidic Queen Mother (not to mention His Davidic Steward, Peter and his successors).
That's the sort of heavy defensive attitude I had to adopt to become Catholic in mindset for going on a year now, so to suddenly walk into Adoration and hear the Joyful Mysteries being proclaimed out loud, well, pleasantly shocking and something that I need to get used to, just like hundreds of other details (like when to bow, when to genuflect, when to sign yourself with holy water, and on and on- it's truly living on another planet. It's like walking your whole life and suddenly finding out you've never really walked, and having to learn anew).
I finally was able to go to Adoration again yesterday for just the second time. Not much has changed, everything is still like life on Mars for me, but the beautiful thing about this visit (besides the infinite Beauty present on the Altar in all of His glorious humility) was the quiet. There's just something about Catholic Churches, even modern ones with modern designs, that fosters holy silence. There were no liturgical Rosaries being prayed this time, no one was talking. The room was so quiet that I could hear every breath given from Heaven, and every gift of a new heartbeat from the Father of Lights. I could hear with acute sound every rustle of the Rosary beads as I prayed the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, staring fixedly into the Heart of Jesus, present on the Altar; as the Word Himself spoke words to my soul deeper than my ears could hear, or my understanding could fathom, as in my peripheral vision I could see the beautiful flicker of the Altar candles.
There is simply nothing like the beauty of Christ in His Eucharistic presence, and the holy and sacred quietude surrounding Him, with reverencing men silent before His Divine Majesty.