"Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, 'Peace be with you.'" -St. John 20:19b
Yesterday's post was about avoiding the trap of fearing the devil. The more we know Jesus and the more we love Him as both Our Lord and Our Brother, we lose our fear and have an easier time living out the lives to which God is calling us. As with any relationship we have in our lives, the more time we spend with the special people in our lives, the more we know about them and the more deeply and the more intensely we love them. Many couples set aside date nights for just this purpose. The same is true with our relationship with Jesus. We have to spend time with Him alone. The most personal way to spend time with Jesus is by visiting Him in the Blessed Sacrament. Just go to your parish church and sit before the Tabernacle or the Monstrance, if it is a perpetual adoration chapel. Start talking to Jesus as you would talk to your best friend. Then sit quietly and listen. You would spend four or more hours on a date or out with the guys, so spend an hour with Christ at least once a week. Once you start spending this time with Jesus, your brother, you will begin to miss that time with Him, so then spend an hour a day with Him.
Now a friend has asked me to write on my experiences at Eucharistic Adoration. These experiences are very personal to me and are ones that are not easily shared.
When I go to Adoration, I always try to go, when no one will be in the chapel or the church with me. I almost always have to be alone, because I am a little selfish and protective of my time with God. Also, I don't always just kneel quietly. At times, I have walked or stalked around the church or chapel gesticulating feverishly and being fairly irate with God. At other times, I have laid on the floor balling or sobbing begging God to make things better or to help me understand. Sometimes, I lie face down on the floor before Christ in acknowledgement of my total dependence on Him and of my full assent to it. Quite a few times of many sleepless nights, I have fallen asleep during my hour and have slept more peacefully than at any other time in my life to awake with a peace and a joy I have never known. So, I am probably not the best person to give advice or to be an example of how someone should behave, while at Eucharistic Adoration. Many people read. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Others pray. Some kneel the whole time. Others don't. On balance, it's probably best to be restrained. After all, Elijah heard God in the still small voice (1 Kings 19:11-13).
As suggested above, I have gone into Adoration in quite a state more than a few times. No matter how much anger or pain or sorrow I brought with me, I left with a peace and a joy I don't find anywhere else, springing from an absolute certainty of Christ's existence and of His love for me. As my trust in God has grown, the peace, joy, and certainty have grown and persist and these help me to live as I ought. Christ is really there. There is nothing else to say about it. His Presence cannot be argued and with Him is His Mother and all of the saints. It is the most incredible experience of understanding and acceptance and all that is left to me is to fall ever more deeply in love with Him. Everything else I was holding onto at the beginning of the hour becomes nothing. It just all goes away and He fills my heart with Himself. I don't know.
It's beautiful, more beautiful than anything else, and He draws me in with His beauty. At the same time, I do not feel worthy of it, because such beauty only sets out my own ugliness in the starkest of contrasts. I need to keep in mind that Jesus is my brother and loves me all the more for the courage and love I show in coming before Him with all of my ugliness, because Jesus doesn't see my ugliness. He sees the beauty I have as a child of God made in His image and likeness. Knowing what Jesus loves in me compels me to more and more be that in me which He loves. Eventually, I will stop making excuses, let go of the attachment to sin that is holding me back, and make more frequent visits to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
It's fair to say that those who believe in the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist are a tiny, tiny minority. Those who believe in the True Presence are viewed as fanatics, fools, idiots, immature, unsophisticated. Well, I do believe in the True Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, because my experiences will allow me to believe nothing else. Nowhere else have I had the experiences I have had before my Lord and God. If you do not believe or are skeptical, my suggestion or challenge is to spend one full hour before the Blessed Sacrament. Take all of your doubts and skepticism with you. Pack up all of your fears, anger, bitterness, disappointments and bring them. Sit down and take the first thirty minutes to tell Jesus about all of it. Then stop and sit very, very quietly for the next thirty minutes and listen. Just listen. No more thinking. No more talking. Just listen. If you accept this challenge, would you please leave me a message letting me know what you experienced. I appreciate it.