I am a cradle Catholic. I realized the faith was real when I was really, really young. In fact, I was so young that I'm not entirely sure how old I was. I think it was during the Consecration, and it was just this moment of what I would call deep conviction. For a long time I didn't have the words to describe it. It was just this knowledge that everything the Church teaches is real and that I will always be loved as a daughter of God. Complete peace. Complete joy. Complete understanding. That memory has never left me.
I noticed in college that, if I would skip Mass because it was too cold or I didn’t feel like walking the mile to church, the following week I would be angrier and not as happy. There was something missing. So when I was probably about 20, I decided, "You know what, I have to go to Mass."
I knew that I was going to need something that would make me go to Mass, so I walked into my parish religious ed room and I said, "I need something to keep me going to Mass. Do you need any help?" And the lady there basically collapsed against the table and said, "Thank you, God! I have three teachers absent or three classes without catechists and not enough to cover." So she put me in the classroom and told me to teach the children the Rosary.
Now, I can still tell when I have not been to Mass by how I act and think. The transformative power of the Eucharist for me is not something as big and dramatic as Saul on the road to Damascus, but rather it’s small and gentle, like a stream reshaping a rock over long periods of time. It's not just that I love going to Mass; it's that I hate who I become when I don't go.
Like a lot of places during the pandemic, the parish I was working for was unable to keep me on staff. I would go outside the church and orient myself toward where I knew the tabernacle would have been and I would pray, “You brought me to this. Bring me through it.” I knew everything was going to be okay, that Jesus had a parachute for me, if you will.
I'm not someone who can sit in adoration for hours. Instead, I do quick 5 to 15 minute visits. In those quick visits, I find peace. I find answers. I hear the voice of God. I find that for the rest of the day I am more centered and focused. I'm lucky because I work for the Church, so I can start my work day by stopping in the church or adoration chapel and praying. I find when I make time to do that, I almost always get everything else on my to-do list done. When I don't make time for a visit, I often find items on my to-do list pushed back to another time.
Experience it for Yourself
Jesus is truly present. Jesus is always with you. Sit in his presence and open yourself up to his voice.