As the Church in the United States continues this time of Eucharistic Revival, I cannot help but give gratitude to God for such a purposeful time of encounter. In my own life, I have experienced the graces of encountering the Eucharistic Lord—graces that have unfolded slowly and beautifully over the years. As I have gradually come to know and love the Lord through his silent presence in the Eucharist, I am thrilled at the prospect of this intimate relationship with Jesus beginning anew in the lives of millions throughout our country. I can only imagine the love and joy he has waiting for those who draw close to Him—love and joy I have witnessed firsthand in the classroom.
During my years as a middle school teacher, I have always made it a priority to take my students to weekly adoration in order to foster an encounter with Christ. The year always starts with the basics: how to genuflect before the Blessed Sacrament, a reminder not to talk, and a plea to stop turning around to look at everyone who walks into the chapel. Without fail, the kids are restless and distracted during the first month or two; however, as we continue to talk about whom they are sitting in front of and his desire to receive and love them, a discernible change happens. As the weeks go on, I can gradually increase the time we spend in the chapel. By Christmas break, no one even tries to joke or whisper. A quiet stillness comes over the class, a stillness that otherwise rarely happens during a middle schooler’s day. I have often knelt behind my students, close to tears, delighting in Jesus’ love for them as well as their obvious prayerfulness.
In a culture as noisy and busy as ours, these precious, silent moments are the moments in which the Lord plants seeds.
One of the beautiful things about these weekly encounters with Jesus Christ is that it opens the students to a deeper understanding of the Mass and what receiving Christ in the Eucharist means. It molds their hearts so peacefully and gradually that I do not think they even notice most of the time, but something changes. Even if they do not have words for what is happening, their hearts begin to yearn for the quiet presence of Jesus in the monstrance. In a culture as noisy and busy as ours, these precious, silent moments are the moments in which the Lord plants seeds. I am confident that these “little ones” praying in front of me will be the next generation of saints—husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, priests and religious.
I long to give my students what I have received myself; I personally felt the call to the consecrated life while in adoration. For years, I had longed for a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, and on a discernment retreat, my eyes were finally opened to his presence in the Eucharist. The realization of that presence changed my life, and in a matter of months, I went from a typical college student to a postulant in religious life. The joy I have been given in embracing my vocation is indescribable, and I know the Lord is offering that same joy to my students each time I take them to adoration.
The Lord is at work. I have been privileged enough to watch it happen. What a gift the Lord is giving us during this National Eucharistic Revival: to remind our brothers and sisters that Jesus is at work, both around us and within us!