When I was about thirteen, I used to wander around in the area where we lived, and I found a few peaceful respites where I would go to sit, think and talk to God. One spot in particular was quite a climb, but at the top of a steep hill, was a beautiful view of open countryside, where I could see cows mournfully mooing, hear a rooster crowing, and a beautiful sunrise awaited me, if I could get there early enough in the morning. And I liked to try. Thankfully, neighbors who owned these properties didn’t mind that I wandered back there.
At first, I didn’t realize that what I was doing was conversing with God, but as I was being drawn away to these quiet spots more often, I began to see that it was He who was drawing me there. Sometimes I would find a nook in a tree, and sit there for a long time, feeling hidden away from the world. I have loved the woods, and quiet spots in nature ever since.
When I could drive, and my spiritual life grew somewhat, my mother suggested that I could always go to Church to be in the quiet with God. He was there of course, hidden away in the Tabernacle. And so I did. Whenever the dramas and traumas of teenage life would assail me, or worries pressed upon me, I had a place to go, and Someone to talk to. I look back on it now, and see how dumb most of my “prayers” were about insignificant things, and how my spiritual journey through those years and into my young adulthood took so many regretful turns, but what also strikes me is the Lord’s patience, love and acceptance of me during that tumultuous time. Even if my prayer was tainted with self-interest, as it often was, He was touched that I took time to be with Him. I know this. He made it known.
Once when I was a young adult, I had something I really needed to talk to Him about. I hurried to the Church and up the familiar steps. I tugged at the door handle…..locked! “Oh no!”, I thought, “The Church has never been locked.” I tried a few other doors, and then a side door. No entry. I thought about going to the rectory, but I saw no cars parked there. Driving around the circular driveway which went to the back and out to the street, I was feeling distraught, and expressed this to the Lord. Then as I passed the opposite side of the Church and a little used door, these words clearly came to me, “Stop here. This door is open.” I stopped, and it was, apparently overlooked and left unlocked! My heart was so happy when I was able to go inside, and filled with gratitude. It made me realize even more what a gift Jesus in the Eucharist is to us! I was so thankful….so very thankful. And for some reason, I felt that He wanted me to remember that.
So, fast forward, to present. I am in my fifties, I still have two children in college, but my others are out on their own. Now that I am done with home schooling, and don’t have a job now either, I have a lot more time to spend in the quiet with Jesus. And the more time I spend, the more I seem to want to spend with Him. He nourishes my soul, gives me insights, peace, direction, instruction, and is patient to listen to anything I have to spill out to Him. He is the perfect listener, and all my worries, He can actually DO something about, so as my time with Him has increased, so has my trust because I have seen His action and blessings! Jesus speaks to us in the quiet when we sit with Him, and we can speak with Him. But I think I love even more just sitting and being with Him with no words. As Mother Saint Teresa once said when asked what she talks to Jesus about in Adoration, “He looks at me, and I look at Him.” I think that is what my soul longs for more than anything in that quiet place…. I sit there and He loves me, and I love Him. It is a quiet exchange of love.
A couple of days ago, during the day, I felt the need to sit with Jesus for a while, and stopped by our church. It was locked. I am not usually there at that time, and thought it might be open. That same sad feeling from years ago came back to me. Jesus is there, I need Him, and the doors are locked. While I realized the very real and unfortunate problem of our day of leaving the Church open because of vandalism and theft, I wondered if other people had done the same thing. I wondered if some prodigal son, who had not stepped in a Church for a long time, after feeling the pull to go back to the Father, had stopped by and found the doors locked. What would he think? Would he ever come back?
Shortly after, I found this pamphlet at our Church about Eucharistic Holy Hours, but on the back, almost jumping out at me, was this quote:
Words of Christ to St. Padre Pio…”They leave me alone by day, they leave me alone by night. No one comes to see their Divine Prisoner in the Tabernacle. I AM ABANDONED IN THE EUCHARIST.”
I thought about this a lot. Then a couple of us felt inspired to ask our Pastor about beginning 24 hour Adoration of the Most Holy Eucharist. He also felt that it was a good time to begin this in our parish, and is very happy to do it. Praise God! So, we are soon to begin once a week 24 hour Adoration of the Most Holy Eucharist, and if it please God, we can one day expand to many days or even Perpetual Adoration!
Then those who wish to visit Our Lord can freely come to Him, and not just while He is enclosed in the Tabernacle, but exposed in the Holy Eucharist. How awesome is that?! There have been many conversions and miracles in the presence of Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist, and numerous blessings upon the parish too. In fact, parishes typically grow and thrive, and there are many conversions and vocations as well.
Think again of those words of Jesus to Saint Pio. When we do not spend time with Him, we are the ones missing out! Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, adored and loved, is more powerful than anything outside of Holy Mass! It is like a nuclear bomb of grace released on your soul, your family, your life, and the world, because He is never, ever outdone in generosity!
“In that little Host, is the solution to all the problems of the world.” Saint Pope John Paul II.
Jesus told us to come to him, and we need Him more than ever! Our young people, especially, need Jesus. There is so much pain, and so many problems in the world, and the remedy is Jesus. It is always Jesus. We have to believe that, and do whatever we can to show Him that we believe it and show him how much we love him!
“And on the last and great day of the festivity, Jesus stood and cried, saying: If any man thirst, let him come to me, and drink.” John 7:37