In the fall of 2015, I think it was October, I went to the Holy Land and we had Mass every single day in different places. Some little bitty churches, some more well-known like the Holy Sepulchre. And it was a really wonderful experience. It was the only time I've ever had that kind of experience with Mass on a daily basis like that. I have been a daily communicant ever since. It just became something that I look forward to doing now. So I started going as often as I could.
After Mass I pray the morning Liturgy of the Hours and meditate in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. I believe in the Divine Presence in the Eucharist and pray before the tabernacle when I am in need of understanding or help. I lost many people during the pandemic: 33 in the first year and nine in the past 18 months.
One day I was praying in the Divine Child Adoration Chapel after Mass and complaining to God about my losses. I don't think I'll ever get accustomed to death. It feels as if I lose a part of myself with every loss. I was meditating on the crucifix as I prayed and complained.
When I bring something to Jesus, when I've got a concern or I have questions about something, I just sit there in front of the Divine Presence and talk to him like he's a regular person. Then in time—certainly not every single time—I sit down with the problem and the answer will come to me.
It came to me that Jesus lost parts of himself for us when he was scourged at the pillar. The instrument used to deliver Pilate's punishment tore chunks of his flesh from his body. It caused Jesus to bleed profusely and to suffer incredible pain. Jesus suffered much more intensely for our sins, for my sins, than I did losing family and friends. I know that Jesus suffered to redeem us. His suffering was reparation for our sins.
I had been struggling with the concept when applied to my suffering. How could my suffering at the loss of too many people really help someone else?
As I prayed before the Blessed Sacrament I came to understand that offering my suffering is following in the footsteps of Jesus' Passion. Just like I am to follow Him in keeping His Commandments and the Beatitudes, I need to follow him in suffering as well. I can offer my suffering from the losses of my relatives and friends as reparations for the sins committed by others, for their souls, like Jesus did for ours. It made sense now. I seemed to understand why I have been experiencing so much loss. It wasn't just an exercise in detachment or solely for my purification, which I do need. My suffering would have redemptive value, too.
I'll be 75 in September but your relationship with Jesus can deepen at any point in your life. Being in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament not only brings me peace and consolations, but it brings enlightenment as well. Being in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament is a time when Jesus teaches me. It brings me as close as possible to God in this life. It is a moment of contact with the Divine.
Experience it for Yourself
Jesus is truly present. Jesus is always with you. Sit in his presence and open yourself up to his voice.