“Stay with me”

Karen Ervin June 9, 2022
Our Lady of Good Counsel Plymouth, MI

‘Stay with me.’ These are the first words I ever heard the Lord say. 

Once aware of who was speaking to me, I was overcome by awe and wonder, captivated to the core. In looking back, this is the realest moment of my life, the moment when Jesus became truly present in the Eucharist.

His words were as startling as they were setting. I was in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel within St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, chaperoning high schoolers for an international studies course. We had precisely one hour to tour the famous church and I was making good use of my time exploring every alcove.

Although I was a cradle Catholic, I had never been to adoration. I stumbled into the Chapel as a matter of curiosity, ‘What was behind those velvet ropes and ‘silence please’ signs?’ When I entered the room, I had no idea what I was looking at, having never seen a monstrance before. The two nuns on their knees beside it signaled that this was a sacred place and a holy moment.

I immediately followed suit, likewise sinking to the ground, adhering to their proper protocol. As I looked around, my curiosity transformed into inadequacy. Seeing others in such intimate prayer with Someone I didn’t know revealed an emptiness and yearning within me. Not sure what to do with my myriad of emotions, I got up and turned around to leave.

Jesus seized the moment, making himself known with his invitation: ‘Stay with Me.’ At first, I looked around to see who dared to violate the silence. As my glance rested on the Eucharist in the perfect, white host majestically exposed before me, I knew who was speaking, and He asked me again: ‘Stay with me.’ Taking the invitation literally, I made up some excuse to my colleagues and spent the rest of the day in the Chapel, desiring to finish the conversation the Lord had started.

Even now, over 15 years later, the conversation continues and my love for the Blessed Sacrament grows. I have found no substitute for the strength and consolation I receive at Mass and in adoration. Quite simply, I need Jesus, and I believe everything the Church teaches about the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist to be true. Just as Jesus longs for me to stay with him, I now long for him to stay with me. Thankfully we have a God who has made a way for this relationship to be a reality.


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