What is the absolute center of a monastery?
The chapel. The Tabernacle. The Blessed Sacrament.
Why? Because Jesus Christ is the absolute Center of monastic life. It is as simple and profound as that. Without Him, there really is no point to either spiritual or physical monasticism.
Mass itself is the center of the monastic day. Other prayers prepare for, revolve around, highlight and underscore the Mass. This is because "the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life... In brief, the Eucharist is the sum and summary of our faith." (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1324 and 1327
Before the great Wonder of the Eucharist, of Jesus with us in Flesh and Blood, I am speechless. So I look to ones more eloquent than I as I pass along these words:
"Do you realize that Jesus is there in the tabernacle expressly for you, for you alone? He burns with the desire to come into your heart." (St. Therese of Lisieux)
"Since Christ Himself has said 'this is My Body' - who shall dare to doubt that It is His Body?" (St. Cyril of Jerusalem)
"We must continually remind ourselves that the greatest need in the world today is to centre our lives more and more in the oblational aspect of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass; for today, when the whole world is galloping away from the very shadow of the Cross, we must embrace it and cling to it ever more firmly, in union with Jesus Christ...." (from The Living Pyx of Jesus by 'A Religious,' Pelligrini, 1941, p. 443)
"As two pieces of wax fused together make one, so he who receives Holy Communion is so united with Christ that Christ is in him and he is in Christ." (St. Cyril of Alexandria)
"Although you feel tepid, approach with confidence; for the greater your infirmity, the more you stand in need of a Physician." (St. Bonaventure)
Photo at top: All Saints Sisters of the Poor, Cantonsville MD. Photo Connie Wells
To read about the chapel in our hearts, click this line