Allow me to preface the following story by admitting to my readers here and now that when I returned to the Traditional Catholic Faith after my conversion experience, I still did not believe in the reality of the True Presence of the Eucharist. Truthfully, I do not remember ever being told as a child that Jesus was ACTUALLY present in the Eucharist. Yes, my grammar school religion teacher said that the Eucharist was the Body of Christ but I never knew what that meant. Sad but true.
Despite the fact that I had had a profound supernatural experience with St. Philomena the Martyr who came to me and converted me back to my ancestral faith, for some reason my mind was still skeptical when it came to the Eucharist. Afterall, as an adult I was trained as an academic and needed proof to be convinced of just about everything and that included anything spiritual. I was open to the possibility of the True Presence and an open mind goes a long way to finding any kind of truth.
Once again, God decided to give me the proof I needed to move me up a notch in my faith. That proof came out of nowhere and was quite unexpected. Don’t you just love when God surprises you and knocks you from your chair? He must have quite a sense of humor!
One day I went to adoration at a nearby church on a pleasant sunny summer’s day. This local church had adoration most days of the week for about four hours per day. I used to go in there a few days a week during the summer and sit, read, say the rosary and pray from time to time. I would normally pray to a saint or to the Holy Mother of God or to God the Father. It seems that I was leaving one very important person out of the picture. Can you guess who that was?
This particular day I was feeling rather off. I was in a bad mood and something was bothering me. I was trying to get to some issue that had been bothering me for years. I had been through a lot of trauma in my life and it has taken years and years to heal. The healing of childhood and adult trauma is like the peeling of an onion; as you peel each layer of the onion and go deeper you discover a stronger and stronger aroma until you get to the very center of the onion, where the crux of the matter resides. This can be quite unpleasant. Well, on that day I was peeling back another layer of the sed ‘onion’ as I walked into the church.
I went into the church unobtrusively, knelt and then quickly sat in the back left pew. The church was chilly and dark. I was tense and upset as I sat down. My body was fatigued and my spirits were low. I was carrying a few books to read and of course, my rosary. I put everything down and began to stare into space. I saw the Blessed Sacrament before me on the altar lighted by a bright lamp. There were a few people scattered around sitting very quietly.
After some minutes I began to pray. I started to pour out my heart to the Holy Mother of God, then to my other favorite saints. I put my head down into the pew as I sat there downcast. It was a low moment in my ongoing struggle for renewed life. Suddenly, and I mean suddenly, I was aware of a thought directly within my head saying, “Pray to me!” Mind you, this thought was not my thought. I did not actively think this thought. It simply appeared in my mind. Also, note that this never happened to me before and I mean never. It brings me to tears just to remember this moment because it was so profound. Here I was in front of the Blessed Sacrament and completely ignoring the person who is truly present in that sacrament. What a colossal mistake! Needless to say, I was shocked as this thought popped into my head. Startled, I looked up and around for someone nearby. There was no one.
Again, this thought inside my mind was not my own and it was not my imagination nor something external. For the record, I do not drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, smoke drugs, take drugs nor do I take any pharmaceutical drugs of any kind. I do not even take aspirin or allergy medicine. I am not a fan of synthetic poisons. Thus, I was not hallucinating. Furthermore, I was not sick or feverish nor do I eat toxic food or work with toxic chemicals. Therefore, I was completely sober when this happened.
Can you guess who it was that spoke to me? I know you know who it was by this time: Jesus himself, the King of the Universe! And here he was taking a moment to remind me to pour out my concerns to him. And here I was before the King of the Universe and completely ignoring him. Before you think I am a complete fool or heel, let me confess that up to this point in my journey I was terribly frightened of Jesus. I cannot completely explain this but there it was. I saw him as a great judge that might get quite angry with me at some point. Thus, I really did not speak to him nor did I feel close to him. Yes, I had been converted to my new old faith but I still did not know Jesus.
After looking around for the origin of the thought in my head, as if it came from outside, I looked directly at the Blessed Sacrament and realized that Jesus Himself had just spoken to me. I was quite shocked and amazed when I realized what had just happened. Immediately, I began to utter the words, “Ok, yes I will pray to you.” And that is just what I started to do.
That sudden moment accomplished two things for me: it proved to me that Jesus exists and that he is very much present in the Blessed Sacrament. I always believed in Jesus and never doubted his existence but he was someone who lived two thousand years ago and far removed from me. Well, from this moment onward, Jesus became present and available and not some distant man from the past. I realize now that this incident was another step in my conversion experience, to perhaps ensure that I was soundly grounded in the one truth. Since the above incident, I feel much closer to Jesus. He is now approachable and loving in my eyes. He wants what’s best for me and looks out for me.
From that day forward, I made it a point to talk to Jesus daily and still do of course. He hears me complain and ask and beg and do whatever I do when I am talking to him. I call him ‘Lord’ and he knows me because he took a moment to prove his actual existence to me on that fateful day. He came to me like a bolt of lightning, out of nowhere, burning me from the inside out to a new reality. I am very grateful to him. I am also very sorry I ignored him for so long but he loved me enough to reveal himself. That is a gift I can never repay but I truly believe that I am not supposed to repay him, merely accept the gift with a grateful heart and I have done just that.