Im a very
private person, so if Im telling my story about Perpetual Adoration, it has very
little to do with me. It has everything to do with praying before Christ at our Perpetual
Exposition Chapel. We at St. Jude are greatly blessed with one of the few Perpetual
Expostion Chapels in the diocese, and weve experienced fairly dramatic conversions
at our little chapel. One of them was published in the Indianapolis newspaper. Dave
Corsage, who is a sales representative, went into our little chapel after calling on
Parkview and said that while he was sitting there trying to make sense of his life, he
actually felt the presence of Christ. Dave had lost perspective of his duties as
a husband and young father. To make a long story short, he reconciled with his wife and
became a Catholic.
My story is not so
dramatic, but it is an ongoing conversion. Ive been involved with Perpetual
Adoration from the beginning, and we will be celebrating our 15th anniversary
on the feast of St. Jude. My commitment has been in the middle of the night, mainly. I was
drawn to it for several reasons. A poll taken at that time suggested that only 30%
of Catholics still believed that Jesus is really present in the Eucharist.
I found that alarming! I wondered how I was going to pass on the faith that had been given
to me to my young family. Im going to date myself, but as a new member of AARP, I
can remember what the sisters taught from the catechism. That the very essence of
creations was to know, love and serve God in this world and be happy with him forever in
the next. That we were to love God above all things and our neighbors as ourselves.
Those seeds planted in me as a child, stayed with me.
My original intent
with Perpetual Adoration was to be an example of faith to my family. I felt a need for
guidance toward Gods Will away from secular thinking and acting. I
recognized that prayer before Jesus in the Eucharist would be showing God love through the
action of a visit. I could also accomplish the action of love of neighbor through
intercessory prayers. A couple of my Protestant friends always talked about their personal
relationship with Jesus. I knew that we Catholics had the ultimate gift of Jesus
in the Eucharist, yet we never talked about a personal relationship with Him. I
thought how can I develop a personal relationship with God unless I visit Him on a
regular basis, expand my knowledge of who He is and what He expects. My search
took me deeper into the teachings of the Church.
With each visit, I
began to see my failings more clearly and forgive others more generously. I began to
appreciate the sacrament of reconciliation as a gift of mercy. I could feel myself falling
in love with the poor, the oppressed, the exploited and the marginalized. I also began to
feel in my heart what I knew in my heart. I found the Holy Father to be a true leader with
a strong backbone. In some of the Holy Fathers writings, he says Christ is Love and
Truth, and if you love Him, you will reside in His truth. It made me realize my
responsibility to seek and profess the truth of the Catholic Church and that if I
didnt stand for something, I would fall for anything.
My other hero became
Mother Theresa. When Mother Theresa was asked what would save the world, she responded: prayer.
She also said that prayer leads to faith, faith leads to love, and love leads to
action. We know the Mass is the greatest form of prayer and Perpetual
Exposition is an extension of the Mass. The Missionaries of Charity, which is the
order founded by Mother Theresa, have in their constitution daily Perpetual Adoration.
Their order is thriving and the work they do is known worldwide.
Christ in the Eucharist does not provide immunization against suffering.
In the last few years, I have had innumerable crosses, that is, Ive had the
opportunity to die to myself, and my two main support were taken from me through death: my
mother, who was my most trusted spiritual guide, and my spouse, my strongest emotional
support, not to mention my future. Prayer before the Eucharistic Lord has provided me with
an inkling of the divine insight that sees suffering not as an evil, but as an
antidote which unites us, our loved ones, and the entire church to our savior on
the cross. We are all called to be examples of faith in whatever walk of life we are in.
Now that Im a grandmother, I find it even more crucial to live it out.
A few years ago the
Society of Perpetual Adoration initiated a campaign to have at least two people in
adoration at all times, which are guidelines for Perpetual Exposition. We need two people
in adoration at all times or could have to close some of the hours that are left open.
It would be a shame to lose part of this gift because of our lack of
responsiveness. Fr. Bill says that the best way to get people involved in the parish is to
do a personal invitation. I am taking this opportunity to invite every single one of you
to prayer before God in the Eucharist for one hour a week. Even if you can only start as a
substitute, you are needed.