Parish Stories

St. John Neumann

Canton, MI Archdiocese of Detroit


“A source which sustains and transforms me”

Valerie Kaledas

The Eucharist is the spiritual well from which I draw my strength. As a broken human being, I am weak and long to be connected to a source which sustains and transforms me to be the best ‘me’ that I can be.

In the Eucharist, through God’s grace and mercy, I am given what I need so that my mind, heart, and actions are transformed and conformed, little by little, to the visible presence of God.

I love going to Mass and receiving Holy Communion because for that moment in time, Heaven and Earth are truly one. I am part of the great mystery and celebration where God is permitting me to be the closest to Him, on this side of Heaven.

As individuals, we sometimes forget or take for granted what we do not see. Through the Mass and the Holy Eucharist, God reminds me tangibly that He loves me and wants to be part of my life. By receiving Him, I accept His love and ask Him for the strength to be an example to others. What a wonderful gift and opportunity to be His witness!

What I love about going to adoration is that I am physically in the presence of God. Let me say that again – I love being in the presence of God. How awesome and intimate is that?!

Many years ago, I had read something which discussed the various aspects needed to have a healthy relationship with another individual. The three main components needed for a relationship to mature and grow are: communication, commitment, and intimacy.

For some reason, I decided to step back and reflect on these three main components with my relationship with God.

Communication: Yes, I was talking (praying) to God; however, I wasn’t doing so consistently. Initially, my communication consisted of traditional prayers – like the Hail Mary, Our Father, etc. – and petition, or asking God when I needed something.

Looking back on my style of communication (prayer), I realized it was either very impersonal (saying traditional prayers without really reflecting on their importance or meaning) or just very “me-centered.” Very rarely would my communication (prayer) include praise and thanks to God.

Commitment: Yes, as a life-long Catholic, I was giving God at least 52+ hours in a year (out of 8,760 hours) by going to Mass and most Holy Days. However, when I stepped back and thought about it, this was the area of relationship which really opened my eyes. I was ashamed by how little I was giving God back and how small of a part of my life He was. I was giving God less than 1 percent of my time in a year!

Intimacy: Yes, there was some level of intimacy. I was going to the Sacrament of Reconciliation every so often.

In retrospect, I realized that God was pulling at my heart-strings, longing to change the relationship that I had with Him. About seven  years ago, I started going to regular/weekly adoration.

I could have easily said, ‘no, this is too much work.’ However, God, in His ever-so-gentle way, convicted my heart and I started changing the way that I approached each of these relationship components with God.

This change did not happen overnight; it took time. It was through conversations with priests and other holy, faith-filled people in the church community, and other self-directed actions such as reading Christian/Catholic faith-based books, as well as through moments of stillness and reflection that I have been able to grow in my relationship with God.

By no means has my relationship with God reached its highest potential; however, now when I go to adoration, I see myself as a child of God, a daughter of the King, who knows that she is loved with no limits. I spend my time in adoration sharing with God my gratitude, my hardships, and my life, knowing that my relationship with Him is not one that is long-distance, but one that is close and personal. Praise God!

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