It was never forethought for me that Jesus Christ was truly present in the Holy Eucharist. Even receiving Him in the Holy Eucharist for the very first time at the age of eleven for my First Holy Communion, it never dawned on me that what I was receiving was Jesus himself in the form of consecrated bread and wine.
As my journey continued throughout my high school years, my response toward receiving Christ at Mass on Sundays was pass and not extraordinary. However, my entire perception of who Jesus Christ is changed when my theology professor/mentor in Catholic high school (who was also my basketball coach, strength coach, and basically everything to me on how a Christian man should carry himself) asked me if I would give one of the keynote presentations for the Senior Kairos retreat that all seniors at Vincent Memorial Catholic High School had to attend as part of graduation.
When the time came to present my talk, it was well received. A very important component about the Kairos retreat was the presence of a perpetual adoration chapel throughout the entire week of the conference. As I completed my hour-long presentation, I made a straight line to the adoration chapel; it felt as if I was being pulled into the chapel by someone even though there was no one physically pulling me.
The moment I walked into the chapel, this burst of intense heat immediately hit me. There was only one other person in the chapel, the associate pastor who was part of the retreat team. He appeared to be in a trance and my first thought was, ‘What’s wrong with him?’ Then I began to gaze at the monstrance where Jesus was present and I asked, ‘What is going on?’ as if directed toward someone and I immediately heard a voice: ‘You’ve done well, now relax and just be in my presence.’
I asked myself, ‘Who is this? Who is saying this?’ Then I began to cry uncontrollably for most likely an hour. I saw myself slowly move into a trance until I blacked out, which I attribute to being slain in the spirit.
Then I finally woke up, still experiencing an intense heat with my arms outstretched toward Christ in the Holy Eucharist, simply praising him as I’ve never done or experienced before in my life. This entire Eucharistic presence of our Lord continued for over two hours, during which one of my classmates came to check on me. Once I became aware of my surroundings, I asked my classmate how long I had been in the chapel. He said over two hours, which to me had felt like two minutes!
The significance of this Kairos retreat held at Big Bear Lake in Big Bear California was that it was my first true encounter of Jesus Christ and confirmation that He is real, He is present in the Holy Eucharist, He is my Lord, Savior, and King.H He opened the door for me to have a personal and intimate relationship with Him to this very day!
This beautiful encounter with Our Lord served as the foundation of discovering my vocation to proclaim and teach well in Jesus’ name, through which He has blessed me in more ways that I can give Him praise for.
‘Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink.’ Jn 6:54-55
Experience it for Yourself
Jesus is truly present. Jesus is always with you. Sit in his presence and open yourself up to his voice.