People like you who have been transformed by an encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist
Joyce Noll Racine
Late in November 2022, a woman in hospice care was looking very pensive after receiving Holy Communion. Her demeanor had dramatically changed from somewhat agitated to remarkably peaceful.
I asked her what was going on. She replied, "I wasn't doing anything, now I am,” she replied. Then she paused and said, “I think the Lord just came to visit me."
Her husband and I experienced a visceral sensation of peace and presence that had permeated the room. At her funeral a few weeks later, Monsignor told this story in his homily on the Gospel the family had chosen: John 6:51-58, the Bread of Life discourse.
I grew up Catholic and we had occasions for adoration, but I cannot say that I ever understood Jesus was present. As an adult, I continued to practice my Catholic faith but my faith has really grown over the past 12 years since my first husband died. In His patience, He took my fear, anger, sadness and replaced them with love, abundant joy, and confidence in His presence in my life. With God I know all things are possible, without Him, nothing is possible. He has shown me this in many ways, but two of the most powerful have been daily Mass and Eucharistic adoration.
Before our parish committed to perpetual adoration, I would occasionally come in to pray when I just needed the Lord. But for the past 8 years, I have had a committed hour of prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament on Thursdays. When I am troubled or worried about something, I go to adoration and give it to Jesus. I never feel alone even if I am the only person in the chapel. Jesus is there with me. He is really present. He brings me His Peace. This is the result I see most clearly of spending time with the Lord in adoration. Even the worst day is made better by taking time to be with Jesus.
I have seen so much growth in my own life, but I also see a big change in our whole parish since perpetual adoration started. God has made Himself known. The Holy Spirit is obviously active here. Our parish family has become so much closer. I pray we never lose the gift of perpetual adoration.
My husband and I have also started coming to daily Mass together. We have been doing that for more than a year. Starting our day with Mass and receiving the Eucharist makes the entire day good. The Eucharist is my connection to Christ. Every day that I receive Him is a better day. I want that closeness to keep me on the right path toward eternal life. When I cannot attend Mass, I feel like I have missed out on the best part of the day. On the other hand, the more I receive this gift, the more I want to go again tomorrow. When I was still working, my boss told me even if I was late, I should not give up morning Mass. She must have seen a difference in the person I was becoming.
The Eucharist is everything that my faith is centered around. Jesus gives us His Body and Blood so that we can have eternal life. It is when I feel closest to Jesus.
COVID-19 gave me an appreciation for the Eucharist because I was not able to attend Mass or receive Jesus’ Body and Blood because of the restrictions. I also suffered with COVID for three weeks. I took the Eucharist for granted before then. Since our Masses are still live-streamed, the prayer for Spiritual Communion is offered. I like to pray along with it in my head, changing the words slightly, to affirm my belief in the Eucharist and prepare myself to receive Jesus.
I have been fortunate with the help of my family to be available to attend daily Mass, hear the Word of God, and receive the Eucharist. It has been a blessing.
Our world is full of so much noise. It is wonderful to just be able to listen to Jesus speak to me. Whether I am praying, reading, or just kneeling or sitting there, His guidance comes to me.
The Eucharist makes me feel relaxed and peaceful. Getting closer to God has been a process of learning about history, and I’m good with history. It’s my favorite subject. God bought my mom a house, he helped my family pull through countless problems, and I pray for more things every night; sometimes the same things, sometimes different things.
A few months back my brother was in the ICU because his arms, legs, and back were hurting. I prayed every day and night, and a couple days later he felt better.
I love going to Mass because I can see Jesus close up when he comes down to me. I feel peaceful as soon as I walk out the door.
Deacon Raúl D. Daniel
When I was in deacon formation many years ago, my bishop said something that pierced my heart, challenged me, and stuck with me for a very long time. He reminded us of Christ's words to His apostles at Gethsemane on the night of His arrest and before His crucifixion, "Could you not stay awake for even an hour to pray with me?" What a "wake up call" that was for me! How could I say, "No"? At that time his words challenged me to increase the 10-15 minutes I would spend before the true Body of Christ after the Holy Thursday procession to spending a whole hour with him that night, and I continued to occasionally spend time in adoration on a monthly or perhaps semi-monthly basis. If it hadn't been for those trips, I honestly couldn't say I'd be a deacon today. I felt so inadequate compared to everyone else in the program. I felt sure I would wash out, but Mother Mary and the Blessed Sacrament gave me the strength to keep with the program.
But it wasn’t until 2014, when our parish began our campaign for perpetual adoration, that I committed to spending an hour every week before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Before then I longed for things so much that I couldn't even keep an up-to-date list or sometimes even isolate and identify what those things were — money, success, food, entertainment, exercise — the list went on. It wasn't until I began spending time before the Blessed Sacrament that I discovered what that "something" was that I really needed – a true peace that I could only find in His holy presence.
All of the worries that I carried on my shoulders seemed to just "disappear" whenever I spent real time before Him. And by real time, I mean spending at least an hour in adoration on a regular, committed basis. This peace didn't happen with my first visit, but slowly and surely I came to understand in adoration the things that were truly important, the love of God and those around me.
The peace and consolation that I began to experience was so great that I sought to spend even more time in His presence, more than just my token 15 minutes, more than just the one hour Christ asked of His disciples. I tried to spend as much time as I could with Him, sometimes 2 or 3 hours when it was possible. Sure, I had to sacrifice a few things like TV or being out with friends, but I've found that the more time I spent in adoration, the greater the sense of peace, so it was more than worth the small sacrifices I made.
My diaconate ministry has now led me to our local military base where I serve the men and women who serve us. I'm blessed to now work within 75 ft of the Blessed Sacrament Chapel where I can now go in throughout the day to spend time with Him. During the COVID shutdowns I was the only one going to work at the base chapel; everyone else worked from home. I would go into adoration first thing every day and ask for strength, and to-date I've never tested positive or contracted COVID.
Five years ago, I had a knee replacement resulting from a skydiving accident that took place more than 45 years ago. On Wednesday nights when I teach CCD and on Sundays when I teach on base, my knee is throbbing by the end of the day, but I don't feel that I can stop because of the need that I know is there. On Wednesday nights, the pain was so bad that I started leaving a walker at Cathedral so I could use it in the evenings. Spending time in adoration keeps reaffirming my call to serve and gives me strength. Even on some of my darkest days those trips to adoration make a big difference. Even the short pit-stops feel like they make a big difference — praying a rosary or even a decade of the rosary or the Angelus in my busy times.
I'm hoping that if you're not accustomed to spending time in His true presence in adoration that you'll give it a try, even if for only 15 minutes at first — and that you'll do it soon — so that you'll find that same peace I have found and that only He can offer.
The Eucharist is everything to me. I feel enveloped in God's love for me when I receive the Eucharist. I know that He dwells in me body, blood, soul and divinity.
When I am in adoration, I simply rest in God's presence. I listen to what He has to say to me, but mostly bask in His Love.
Our parish has perpetual adoration of the exposed Jesus. Because of this gift, I have the opportunity to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament every day. Whenever I am in town, I go and I pray before Jesus for an hour. What do I receive? Inspiration. Challenge. Purpose. And there is always shalom, the peace that remains no matter what other waves crash during the day.
There are times when I need to travel for my work. I have found around the country that it is very hard to find such a daily opportunity. I've even sat outside churches, where I assume the Blessed Sacrament is on the other side of the wall, praying and wishing that the wall was not there. I am so, so grateful to live where I do – in a city with perpetual adoration and in a house only five minutes away from the church – in large part because of this gift of encountering Jesus any time I wish.
Eucharistic adoration has thus spoiled me. Prayer is never richer than looking directly at Jesus.
I am thankful for perpetual adoration at the Cathedral because it gives me the opportunity to commit to sitting with Christ for an hour each Wednesday night. Prior to COVID, this coincided beautifully with my Wednesday afternoon hospital Communion ministry because as I visited with my patients, I would let them know that I would be praying for them and for their intentions later that evening. As I began my hour of adoration, I would first thank the Lord for the opportunity to be in His presence and then I would bring the prayers, hopes and worries of the patients I had visited before our Lord and ask His will be done in their intentions. I prayed that they would all become closer to God in this time of sickness.
Sadly, the restrictions brought about by COVID still prevent me from visiting those who are in the hospital today. But my time with Jesus every Wednesday continues and I also continue to pray for those who are sick. As I have done now for many years, I usually begin my adoration time with awe and gratitude for the day and for this quiet place that I can just "be" in God’s presence. Then I pour out my day and the things in my heart. The things that are heavy on my heart vary from time to time. Sometimes it is situations at work, sometimes it is frustration with the news and the world, sometimes I have a deep sadness in my heart for the trials people all over the world are suffering through – war, hunger, poverty. Whatever it is, I share with the Lord. I share my heart with him. After this, I pray some specific prayers I learned during my training for hospital ministry. These prayers help to bring to mind those I was able to minister to in the past and also give me an opportunity to pray for those who are currently in the hospital just across the street from the Cathedral. In this way, my hospital ministry continues, albeit in a different way.
This is followed by a period of just gazing on our Lord and feeling the release of my worries- it is hard to describe but quite often I will find myself smiling and feeling such peace and don't even realize I was smiling until I feel that calm joy. Of course, this just makes me smile more! I feel this is God speaking to my heart. After sharing my heart with Him; He shares His with me. My worries melt away and His peace fills me.
I often light a candle for my sons and pray that they may always keep the gift of their Faith as a treasured part of their lives and use it to guide them in all decisions. I pray that they stay close to God and continue to learn about Him and grow in His love. Before I know it, the hour is past, my heart is at peace, and I go home to rest in His shelter.
Sitting with Jesus in adoration has helped me develop a closer friendship and bond with Him. The quiet reverence of the adoration chapel calms my heart and allows me time to shut out the world and sit in stillness as I try to be more open to God’s will in my life and the lives of my family.
Adoration is probably the most beneficial emotional release I have ever found. As I sit with Him, Jesus patiently helps me to release all my sadness and doubts. I often find tears freely flowing from my eyes during adoration, not out of sadness but in a good, renewing way. Jesus’ mercy is so strong, and He is there for me whenever I need Him and the tears that flow are signs of His presence, His mercy, and His healing.
Many different things draw me to go and visit Jesus in adoration. Sometimes I drop by the adoration chapel just to help myself calm down or release the stress and frustrations of a bad day. Sometimes I go to adoration out of a deep sense of gratitude and the desire to be with Jesus personally and thank Him for something that worked out well on a particular day. Sometimes I go to adoration when I have a difficult decision to make and need clarity to align my decision with God’s will. Jesus has never let me down and brings an undefinable calmness to my heart and clearly guides me on His path for me. It’s like a child running home to tell their Mom or Dad about something that has happened in their day and then receiving the most loving response of enthusiasm, comfort and support.
Not only do I stop by “unscheduled” to adoration, but I also have a committed hour each week that I spend with Him, and I have especially grown to love my weekly adoration hour because I know that is the time I will always be wrapped in complete, unconditional love. My two adoration partners and I have had the same day and time since perpetual adoration began at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in 2014. Prior to perpetual adoration, I would occasionally pop in to visit Jesus in the tabernacle but there is something about intentionally setting aside time to be with the Real Presence of Jesus that has enabled our relationship to grow in so many unexpected ways. It provides me the time to pray for all those I love and those I have lost, to follow through with prayers for the sick or troubled that have asked for me to pray for them, to read spiritual books and learn more about the lives of the saints, to pray the rosary or the Stations of the Cross, and to simply sit in silence and contemplate Jesus’s image of Divine Mercy.
Jesus is so patient with me even when there are days when I am overwhelmed with other responsibilities, and I worry about adoration taking too much time out of my day. I always leave completely refreshed and assured that God will work through me to accomplish what He wants from me that day. Asking God to direct my day instead of trying to do it all on my own makes every task lighter. God’s plans are bigger than mine and there are too many things that are simply out of my control, so I surrender myself to Him to take care of everything. “THY will be done!”