The Eucharist makes all the difference to me. Years ago I contemplated leaving the Catholic Church. By the grace of God I was introduced to St. Pope John Paul II's writings and Catholic radio. When I truly realized the gift of the Eucharist — of being able to receive Jesus’ Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity and that He was truly present with us on the altar through the sacrifice of the Mass — I felt an intense pull back to the Church. The thought of walking away from the Eucharist felt like walking away from my ability to breathe.
We had struggled with infertility for a couple of years. You think that it's going to be so easy getting pregnant and then when it's not so easy, it really is a cross to bear, because you feel like God has forgotten you. I kept thinking, “Oh, I must be doing something wrong. What am I doing wrong?”
I felt like I was failing in some way or undeserving of being a mom. Every month I wasn't pregnant I would experience a wave of anxiety and sadness, and it felt like the cycle would last forever.
While on vacation in Marco Island, I went to a Lenten healing service. I walked into church crying because I felt God had abandoned me — that I just wasn't good enough to be blessed with a child.
I sat in the pew with my mother and father, and the priest began to walk around with Christ in the monstrance. This was my first encounter with the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.
A nun was praying and she started to pray for moms and moms-to-be, and then she prayed for all the women who desperately wanted children but who were unable to conceive. At that moment, the priest stopped directly in front of me and turned to me holding the monstrance. I felt a rush of heat wash through me, and in that moment I knew God loved me and had not forgotten me. More importantly, He wanted me to know that.
I got pregnant within a month of that night, and I thought, “Oh, I’m pregnant! This is the answer to prayer!” But I suffered a miscarriage at around 12 weeks. To experience the joy of getting pregnant only to lose my first child was so heavy and heartbreaking. God did not heal my infertility in that moment but I knew deep in my heart that He loved me and always would. The night in Marco was about God and his love for me because He knew I was going to need it as a moment, to draw strength from in the future.
I love that we have such an incredible gift in our ability to receive the Eucharist. When everything else in life has fallen apart, I know Jesus is always there for me at Mass and in the Eucharist. It is an unbelievable experience to receive Him in the Eucharist,and being with Him in adoration is just such an intimate moment. I know He is there to be with me – to love me, to listen to me, and to care for me.
There have been moments in my life when I felt like Jesus was there for me in a way that no other human being could be. When you feel like you can't get up the next morning because you have been crushed by pain, disappointment, and loss, He is always there. He's always there. That experience of love…I just anchor myself to it.
Jesus in the Eucharist knows all my hurts, fears, anxieties, and heartbreak, and at adoration I can lay it all at His feet. I'll just sit there, and I'll start by pouring out my heart to Him. And then I'll just spend some time listening. It's my safe place to be vulnerable and to trust that Jesus hears me and will rescue me.
At the time on Marco Island, I knew my encounter with Jesus was unique and profound, yet I had no idea just how much I would look back on that moment over the years. But Jesus knew. He knew I would go back to that experience time and time again in my life when I needed the reminder that He is here for me.
Since that time, I have been blessed with two wonderful, living children with beautiful faith of their own; they have been such a gift to me. As the years have gone by, I have suffered much more painful experiences than infertility and miscarriage. I am so grateful to have had that encounter with Jesus, and so many other moments with Him at Mass and during adoration to anchor myself to. I know in an intimate way that Jesus is the One who will never let me down and never abandon me.
Experience it for Yourself
Jesus is truly present. Jesus is always with you. Sit in his presence and open yourself up to his voice.