This week the Catholic Church celebrated the Feast of Corpus Christi, also known as the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. In this feast we celebrate the wonderful gift of Jesus’ real presence in the Eucharist. We honor His body, blood, soul, and divinity truly and substantially present in the Eucharist. After mass we had a meaningful Eucharistic Procession around the church.
Many years ago my faith had grown cold. The mass seemed repetitive and empty. I had lost the meaning of the mass. I was seeking a more intimate and even mystical relationship with God. I read many books and tried various non-Christian modalities. Through them I was able to grow spiritually and to increase my intimate relationship with God, but I was still feeling a sense of emptiness. I knew that the answered lied with rekindling my Catholic faith. I thought, “Maybe I should try different parishes to see if I could find the one that will move me?” And so I visited several, searching for joy. One night I was talking to a stranger after a late mass at one of the churches. I don’t know how this happened, but we started to quickly go deep in conversation. I shared about my struggles. He said, “You are desperately seeking fulfillment from outside, when what you need is an internal conversion. The mass could be the most amazing and fervent of experiences, or a mechanical reciting of prayers. It depends what you truly believe. It depends on your heart.”
This stranger recommended that I practiced Eucharistic Adoration. In this practice Catholics go in front of an exposed Eucharist in a Monstrance and adore Jesus. A "Monstrance" is the vessel used in the Church to display the consecrated Eucharistic Host, during Eucharistic adoration or benediction. It’s a time to contemplate the amazing mystery of Jesus truly present before us. He told me about a parish that had a room reserved for perpetual Eucharistic adoration and had people adoring 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. I signed up for Fridays between 3:00 AM to 4:00 AM and went to pray for many, many years. It became one of the most special moments of my week. I would walk into a totally empty church (except for the person that had the shift before me), with no sound but the echo of my footsteps, candle lights flickering, and the smell of candle wax. I would spend an hour, sitting in a dark and empty church, in the presence of Jesus. Just He and I. His love and presence filled the entire “empty’ church and engulfed my heart with His spirit. I would talk to Him, I would pray, and many times I would simply sat and basked in the wonderful feeling of divine love. Sometimes I would just listen. He abided in me and I abided in Him. This devotion changed everything for me. Mass became once again, a wonderfully special occasion where we increased our union with Jesus through the Eucharist and live in community. My heart was once again on fire in the spirit. I began to teach again and be part of the fabric of the church. This, thanks to God, has not stopped.
Thank you God for the most wonderful gift of grace received through the Holy Eucharist.