“I’m here, Jesus, I’m here”
I am a recent convert to the Catholic faith and it really was the Eucharist that led to my conversion. My husband, Jonathan, and I were both Protestants. We attended a non-denominational church and had a strong faith life, we prayed and read our Bible daily, and our life was centered around our faith. So you can imagine my surprise when my husband came to me one day and said “Liz, I think God is leading us to the Catholic Church.” My response was “No way!” I did not know much about Catholicism and my heart was very hardened to the idea. But the Lord was working a great deal in my husband’s heart, and Jonathan was responding to Him.
Jonathan purchased a Catechism of the Catholic Church and he began to read it daily. He became so excited about everything he was learning and he would often attempt to share things with me. I almost always responded negatively and did not want to listen, until one day he began to share with me about the Eucharist. He said that Catholics believe that the consecrated hosts actually become the real true presence of Jesus – Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity. I was shocked! I had no idea that Catholics believe this and I remember saying, “What!? That sounds way too good to be true!” But as I walked away, in my heart I was saying, “I want that to be true; I need that to be true.”
For the next several days, the Eucharist was all I could think about and I wanted to know more. I began to turn to scripture to see if this could really be true. Over and over I read John 6 where Jesus talks about eating His flesh and drinking His blood. I read the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus and how Jesus revealed Himself to them through the breaking of bread. I began to read the scriptures in a new light, through the guidance of the Catholic Church, and I wholeheartedly believed it!
We began to attend Mass at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Fort Wayne, Indiana, as a family and I signed up for the RCIA program. At the same time, my husband and I decided to enroll our son in the Catholic school at our parish. Each day I would arrive to pick him up from school, sit in my car in the pickup line, and I felt this longing to go inside the church. I had no idea why I felt this way, and it seemed very strange to me. As a Protestant, I thought there was nothing special about a building, and that I didn’t need to be in a church to pray. I could pray anywhere. I didn’t even know if Protestant churches were open during the week, except for the office.
A few weeks later in our RCIA class we talked about the Eucharist. This was my favorite class by far, and I was longing so much to receive Jesus through this Sacrament. Towards the end of the class, our leader was talking about the tabernacle in the sanctuary and she said, “And if the candle next to the tabernacle is lit, then you know Jesus is in there.” I almost jumped out of my seat! Jesus is in the tabernacle. I had no idea! In that instant I understood why I sat in my car each day longing to come into the church–because Jesus is there! After class I asked my RCIA sponsor if it was ok to go into the church during the weekdays to pray. She said yes and told me about adoration, explaining that Jesus would be visible in the monstrance. I had no idea what a monstrance was and I was still a bit unsure about what adoration was, but I was longing for Jesus, so I thought I would give it a try.
I remember walking into the church the next day for adoration. There were just a few other people scattered throughout the pews, and I felt a little self-conscious as I walked down the aisle. I sat down, pulled out the kneeler, got on my knees, looked up at the monstrance, and I saw Him. I knew at that moment it was Jesus! I felt a warmth come over me and I heard Jesus say in my heart, “I’ve been waiting for you.” For the next 45 minutes I stared at the beautiful monstrance that was holding my beloved Lord, and all I could say was, “I’m here, Jesus, I’m here.”
I was brought into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil Mass and I received the Sacrament of the Eucharist. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such joy! And since that day I have continued to seek after Jesus in this beautiful Sacrament. I love attending daily Mass and receiving Jesus at the beginning of my day. I especially love coming to the church and being with Jesus while He is in the tabernacle. I love coming to the church and being with Him because I know that I need Him and because I know that He is always here waiting for me to come to Him.