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“The Eucharist is the place where I encounter our Lord”

Sr. Mary Elisha Glady

The Eucharist provides direction and meaning for my life as I live my relationship with the Lord as a Religious Sister of Mercy of Alma, Michigan. 

Every morning I begin the day by going to our convent chapel and visiting our Lord in the Eucharist. In His presence I renew my desire to love Him through all of my thoughts, words, and actions that day. 

My religious community prays the Liturgy of the Hours in our chapel each day. Praising and worshiping our Lord veiled in the Eucharist reminds me that one day I hope to praise and worship our Lord face-to-face in Heaven for eternity. 

Each day I have the privilege of attending the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I offer myself with our Lord to the Father in the Eucharistic prayers. Receiving Holy Communion strengthens me to live my offering to the Father in all of my thoughts, words, actions, and work of that day. Every evening during our community Holy Hour I share with the Lord the joys and concerns from the day. His loving presence reminds me why I do what I do each day and deepens my desire to serve and follow Him. 

Our day closes by praying Compline, the last hour in the Liturgy of the Hours. In this prayer, I thank the Lord for His blessings that day and I ask for His continued blessing. For me, the Eucharist is the place where I encounter our Lord and live my spousal relationship with Him. It is a gift for which my heart swells with gratitude.

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“God is much more interested in your life than you think”

Thomas Osten

My name is Tom Osten and I am a life-long Catholic, married to my wife for 36 years, and have three grown children. 

The Holy Spirit took charge of my life in 2015. That is the year I signed up for one hour per week in front of Jesus in our adoration chapel. Once I committed one hour with Jesus, He activated the dormant Gifts of the Holy Spirit within me. Gifts of Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Piety, and Fear of the Lord. Once that happened, every part of my life got better. My marriage, my job, my stress. Everything. 

Most importantly, my Faith got better. A lot better. In fact, it took off like a rocket-ship! Within three years, the Holy Spirit filled my life with amazing graces and activities. 

I attended and led many Life in the Spirit Seminars (thanks to my wife) and joined a Lumen Christi Charismatic Prayer Group. I began distributing Holy Communion at St. Mary’s Hospital and volunteered at the yearly Steubenville Conferences. I was able to Sponsor some RCIA candidates, serve as chair-person for our Perpetual Adoration Committee, and joined our Diocesan Lay Formation group. I have witnessed our two sons’ growing faith and watched our daughter join the Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus as a religious sister. 

Here are a few short instances where the Holy Spirit has miraculously showed up in my life over the last 5 years: 

On an airplane, I felt a deep distress while reading 1 Corinthians 13, for not really loving my fellow man. Then a stranger a few seats in front of me turned around and handed me a handwritten bookmark that said, “Don’t worry, God is Love!” Since that time I’ve been led by the Holy Spirit to prayer with others and have had some incredible experiences confirmed. 

I prayed over a stranger for her pancreatic cancer and told her that we would meet again only to be surprised with an encounter meeting her and her family in an empty parking lot 200 miles away. 

I was led to pray over someone who needed a heart transplant and stopped mid-prayer to ask her if sunflowers meant anything to her. I watched her break down in tears as she showed me her phone screen-saver with a big bright sunflower on it. 

How can these things happen during prayer? The answer is God is much more interested in your life than you think. Through prayer, I’ve learned to be vulnerable and take small steps forward. Worshiping in front of the Blessed Sacrament, giving thanks and calling upon the Holy Spirit with expectant faith brings adventure.

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“A touching experience”

Deborah Waldrop

I am a convert to Catholicism. Before my Confirmation, I was drawn to the Eucharist. 

Now, I am an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. I take Communion to the sick and one day, around six years ago, I had a touching experience that I love sharing. I’m shy around people I don’t know, so my friend Jim and I would together take Communion to those who were home-bound. One Sunday, we went to a memory care facility and were visiting a woman we didn’t know. Her daughter was so happy we were there and was going to leave while we gave Communion to her mother. I told her she was more than welcome to stay. We recited the Our Father with the mother. Her daughter was crying and explained that it had been twelve years since her mother had been able to remember the prayer. If the daughter had left, she would’ve missed that moment. Since we didn’t know her mother, we wouldn’t have understood the impact of her reciting the prayer! 

Going to Mass and hearing the readings makes me feel a part of a tradition thousands of years old. Receiving Holy Communion reinforces that feeling and that Jesus is the same today in our lives as He was two thousand years ago. Adoration is a very personal encounter with the Lord in which I bare my heart and soul and receive His love.

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“In that moment my eyes were opened.”

Jonathan Feola

There were many things that were drawing my heart back to the Catholic Church, but it was our Eucharistic Lord that sealed the deal. 

Even though I was baptized into the Catholic Church as a baby, I lived much of my adult life as a Christian outside of the Church, mostly in non-denominational churches. I was a born-again believer who loved reading the Bible and praying. I could probably count on one hand how many days went by since my high school years where I didn’t read my Bible. Loving the Lord and growing closer to Him was always my desire. 

Sometime in late 2018 I started to grow restless. I longed for more, and found myself sitting in bed one night with my Bible and thinking that surely there is more. I was missing something but wasn’t quite sure what to do. I started to question my beliefs and what I professed as a Christian. It wasn’t a doubtful or negative questioning; my faith never wavered. It was more a “Why do I believe what I believe?” kind of questioning. I didn’t know it at the time, but I truly believe now that it was those baptismal graces being stirred by the Holy Spirit and Jesus was calling me home. 

During this time of rediscovering my faith I had a job that required me to drive quite a bit. I filled most of my time in the car with podcasts, listening to a lot from Catholic Answers. In October 2019, I was in Michigan for a few days of work. I was listening to an episode of Why Aren’t You Catholic? By this time, I was convinced that I should return to the Church, mostly from an intellectual conversion from everything I was reading at that time, including the Catechism. But I was still taking it a little slow for the sake of my wife who was a lifelong Protestant. You can read her story (Liz Feola) on iamhere.org as well. 

There was a moment in my car during that 2019 trip that forever changed my heart. During that Why Aren’t You Catholic? episode, the host spoke directly to one of the callers saying, “Jesus wants to meet you in the Eucharist!” I will never forget that moment for the rest of my life because in that moment my eyes were opened. Tears began to roll down my face as one of my favorite Bible stories of all time, the road to Emmaus from Luke 24 made sense to me in a whole new light. He “was made known to them in the breaking of bread.” In that moment, I saw Jesus in the Eucharist and He was waiting for me to come to Him. 

There were many things that were drawing me home, but it was the revelation of our Eucharistic Lord in my car that day that made all the difference. 

Since returning to the Church in November 2021, I have continued to be drawn closer to Him in the Eucharist. I can now attend daily Mass on a regular basis and go to adoration almost every week at our parish. 

I love going to adoration! The scripture that always fills my mind when I go to adoration is Ps 63:2-3, “So, I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your merciful love is better than life.” 

When I show up for adoration, I rarely come with a long list of prayer requests. On occasion, I might pray the Rosary or read scriptures or offer up some prayer intentions, but I really like just being there with Jesus, beholding Him in the sanctuary. I look at Him and am so grateful for this amazing gift He has given us. The same Jesus who walked on water, healed the sick, and went to the Cross is fully present in the Eucharist. I didn’t get to walk the streets of Galilee or Jerusalem like the first disciples, but by a miracle of grace, that same Jesus comes to us in the Eucharist here and now. I am strengthened and refreshed as I ponder these things sitting in His presence. 

I remember meeting with one of our parish priests before coming back to the Church. It was mostly just to talk through what was going on in my heart and family and what steps we needed to take to move forward. When we were done with our meeting, he told me to go into the sanctuary and “spend some time with Him.” I remember not fully grasping what he meant by that other than just going to spend some time in prayer. But now I understand it, I am literally going to spend time with Jesus. He is there, truly present. 

Jesus really does want to meet us in the Eucharist. May we never lose our awe and wonder of this amazing gift!

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“I’ve experienced the healing and transforming power of the Eucharist”

Fr. Matt Wagner

The Eucharist makes all the difference in my life - knowing that Jesus remains there, whether in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Monstrance, or in the Tabernacle. Knowing that the Lord is near is the constant reminder that Jesus’ words are true: “I am with you always, even until the end of the age.” 

I’ve experienced the healing and transforming power of the Eucharist most profoundly during times of great difficulty. When I find myself before the Blessed Sacrament during a particularly difficult season of life, or when something has gone wrong, it’s not as if the Lord makes all the problems go away. But what I do experience and know for certain is that Jesus is with me, He is present amidst any difficulty, and He will not abandon me. 

I love adoration because it’s a time to silence my heart, and to come before our Lord and God who waits for me!

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“A feeling of goosebumps went through me.”

Tim Martin

I love going to Mass because Jesus continually offers Himself to us, giving us opportunities to adore Him and spend quality time with Him. I've dubbed Adoration as an encounter with the Infinite. It is an exchange of love between His pure love for me and my tiny imperfect love for Him. 

I am a minister of the sick and an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion at Mass. Twelve years ago, I was out of work, allowing me time during the week to bring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament to the homebound. I had been bringing our Lord to an elderly parishioner for a few months. She lived a couple of blocks from Queen of Peace Parish in Mishawaka. I was a block from church with Jesus in my pyx when I heard a voice over my shoulder say, "This will be the last time you will bring Me to her." I was startled upon hearing these words, leaving me wide-eyed. 

When I got there, I met our parishioner who seemed no different than before. She received Jesus with reverence. After finishing the Eucharistic ritual for the homebound, I felt as if I was seeing her as she would look in Heaven. I normally brought Jesus to her two days a week, so she said, "Well, I'll see you tomorrow." A feeling of goosebumps went through me and I did not know what to say in reply. Because of what I'd been told en route to her house, what could I say? After stammering a bit, I kindly said, "I'll see you tomorrow, take good care." 

After leaving her house, I did some errands, not returning home until 1 p.m. I saw a light on the phone indicating a message; It was from the daughter of the parishioner I'd brought Jesus to. She said, "Don't bother to bring Jesus tomorrow, as Mom passed away an hour ago.” I was overwhelmed! It's amazing how Jesus uses us sinners to be His arms and legs to bring His Real Presence to His people! I told our pastor, Fr. Dan Scheidt, what had happened and he mentioned this encounter at the parishioner’s funeral Mass.

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“What eye cannot see and ear cannot hear, the glory of God hidden in this humble gift that looks so ordinary”

Emily Lofy

When in Adoration, Jesus does not always reveal himself to me in visible ways. But if anything, that has increased my faith even more—what eye cannot see and ear cannot hear, the glory of God hidden in this humble gift that looks so ordinary! What I have been blessed and humbled to perceive when I am in his presence at times is the reality of what truly is present to each and every person who stands in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus is present and alive in this remarkable gift, and he gazes at each one of us with a look of love. May he give you, too, the eyes of faith to recognize his holy presence!

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“I envision the Eucharist as the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus”

Jacob Fiala

For many people, including myself sometimes, it's so easy to look past the Eucharist and not what, but WHO is behind it, since we witness it every Sunday, or even daily. It was a big change for me entering seminary, because I would get to experience the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass every day of the week. For someone who only went to Mass on Sundays, it wasn't always easy to see the divine beauty every time the priest elevated the host. 

As time went on in prayer, adoration, and days of silence and solitude with the Lord, I was reminded of the Eucharistic miracles that our Savior Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life has so graciously revealed to us. I thought of the consecrated host in Poland in 2014 that was examined, and was found to be a piece of heart tissue that was so stressed, it had gone through a pain no one could ever comprehend. 

Every day since I recalled these instances, I envision the Eucharist as the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Moreover, each smaller host does not represent something of lesser value than the one that the priest elevates. Instead, every single one of them is the Love of Christ himself poured out for us. It has led me to believe with utmost confidence that the Eucharist is indeed the heart that suffered so immensely for all of us, and encouraged me to enter into Jesus' eternal love that will never diminish.

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“When we sit with the Lord, we come to know Him who knows us”

Sr. Mara Lester

As a freshman at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota in Winona, attending daily Mass and Eucharistic adoration was essential for me throughout my discernment of religious life, the source from which came courage to respond. So many years later, now as a perpetually professed Religious Sister of Mercy of Alma, MI, the Eucharist remains essential to my life and allows me daily to gaze upon our Lord and peer into Heaven! 

In the Liturgy of the Hours, during the Easter Season, there is an excerpt from a sermon by Pope Saint Leo the Great wherein he comments on the disciples on the road to Emmaus: “…as they shared their meal with him, their eyes were opened in the breaking of the bread, opened far more happily to the sight of their own glorified humanity than were the eyes of our first parents to the shame of their sins.” This, I think, is a good way to explain what has happened and happens for me when I am before the Eucharist. In the Most Holy Eucharist I meet, gaze upon, adore, and receive tremendous graces from our Lord. I am reminded more of who I actually am and am called to be, not by what sin or whatever in this moment may weigh upon me. My heart is continually invited to see Him more, to be more disposed to always abide with Him and know of His mercy that endures forever. As a religious sister, my day is “bookmarked” with the Holy Eucharist, with Holy Mass and a communal Eucharistic Holy Hour, wherein all my spiritual and temporal cares—joys, anxieties, sorrow, struggles, pain, community, family, friends, and those whom my community serves are brought to the greatest Healer! It is a great thing to “give all” to Jesus, knowing He knows all, He is the One Who is ultimately in charge and can affect good in all situations even if it is unknown or remains a mystery to me. 

You and I, when we sit with the Lord, we come to know Him who knows us, and He transforms us more into Himself, of course with our cooperation. May we have faith in God and His promises! May we have hope that God can engage with all our defects and situations of misery to provide, in His great goodness and mercy, all that is necessary to do His will! May we lovingly abide with Him Who is Love as we seek to live virtuous lives! 

The Author of Abandonment to Divine Providence reminds us, “The one thing needful is being in the presence of God’s will now.” Is that not what we are trying to do at every moment, especially in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament? As we prayerfully sit before, or receive, the Glorified Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist, the eyes of our hearts are opened, we more happily come to know ourselves, what God’s will for us is in this moment of our lives, and gain all that is necessary to seek our ultimate homeland—Heaven!

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