It is Jesus, fully present in the Eucharist, who called me into the Church. As a young person, I had never felt like I fully belonged anywhere. This led me to try to "fit in," often in ways that were unhealthy or destructive in hindsight. After longing fruitlessly and ending up in situations that left me wondering why God had created me at all, I began searching for answers.
My first encounter with the mercy of Christ was while I was working at a homeless shelter in California on vacation over Christmas break. I worked alongside a young marine who chose to celebrate his 21st birthday by serving the poor. This was completely different from how most people I knew celebrated this milestone. We handed out toys to children who had very little, and as we ate with the guests, he explained why he had chosen to serve. He introduced me to the sacrificial love of Jesus on the cross.
A short time later, as I continued to search for answers to my questions and try to understand who this Jesus was, my best friend took notice that I had been visiting different churches trying to figure things out on my own. She invited me to Mass at the Newman Center on campus with her the next week. As we arrived, she explained a little bit about why I couldn't receive communion and what to do instead. During Mass, at the elevation of the Eucharist, I had a mystical encounter with Jesus, who told me I was home where I belonged. I entered RCIA that fall, and while there is no end to learning about the faith and growing in relationship with Christ, I was home
What I didn't know, but God did, was that I would lose my father less than a year after that. In calling me to Himself through that encounter in the Eucharist, Christ brought me to Himself knowing I would need His healing mercy and grace in my grief.
His presence through these 27 years has continued to heal wounds and provide comfort in the dark moments of my life. Sitting before the Eucharist now, I continue to find solace in knowing that no matter what else happens in this life, in this world — no matter how angry or sad or lost or broken I am — in Him, I am always home.
Experience it for Yourself
Jesus is truly present. Jesus is always with you. Sit in his presence and open yourself up to his voice.