From my previous posts you know that I’m madly in love with Lord Jesus and being called to go out and build up my spiritual treasures in heaven and to become a nun, But to build up my spiritual treasures I need to go out and volunteer and to become a nun means I need to become Catholic. I end up getting stymied at every turn.
God closes doors
I can’t volunteer because every local place I call doesn’t need any volunteers or I so garble my words that I’m unintelligible when trying to ask about volunteering and end up getting rejected. As far as becoming Catholic, it turns out that you can’t just show up at Mass and consider yourself a Catholic. No, adults have to go through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (aka RCIA). Guess what? That wasn’t going to start for another couple of months, so I couldn’t do that either. You know that Christian saying, “God closes one door and opens another.” It’s much more frustrating than it sounds. In my experience it’s more like being a racehorse and all lined up in the gate rearing to go. The bell goes off, but the gate doesn’t open, so the horse ends up running right smack into the gate. How the horse would feel was pretty much how I felt. I was on fire with the love of Christ, I had gotten the call, but the gate stayed closed and I kept running into it again and again and again. My frustration level reached such a peak that I just couldn’t take it anymore. I was going to resolve this. I did that by putting both of my callings together and decided to volunteer with nuns. Now, I just had to find some. At that time, I only knew of one nun: Mother Teresa. So I tracked down the closest Missionaries of Charity convent I could find and called them to see if they needed any volunteers. Eureka! There was a gate open, but it was in another city about 1 1/2 hours away. At this point, I was so resolved the distance didn’t matter. (I wonder if that was the point of the frustration. I don’t think I would have driven that far if I hadn’t reached that level of resolve which the frustration brought about.)
Volunteering with the Missionaries of Charity
One of the acts of charity these particular sisters did was run a soup kitchen and that’s where I ended up helping out. In the beginning I would drive up in the mornings and would help with the prep for the dinner that evening. Around noon the sisters would kick me out–for what I thought was lunch, but turned out to be Holy Hour–and I would head back home. It went this way until they said that they could use some help serving the food in the evenings also. So I would go in the mornings and help with the prep, they still kicked me out, I would eat lunch and read a book, they would let me back in, we would load up the van, go feed the homeless, and I would head back home. I want to interject here and say that nuns are awesome. I think they are the most hardworking, most peaceful, happiest people I have ever met. If you ever get the chance, then take it and volunteer with them. They could use the help and it will be a great experience for you. Back to the story: the new routine went on for a bit, then one day instead of kicking me out they invited me in.
Now by this time I’m watching EWTN, so I’m aware of the Eucharist, but I am not sure as to whether it is what they say it is. I don’t dismiss it out of hand, but I don’t wholeheartedly accept it either. I’m about to find out. The sisters lead me into a room with reed mats lined up in two rows on the floor facing the altar. Behind the altar is a window and to the right of the window and the altar is a human-sized statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary and placed in the middle of the altar is the monstrance. The sisters placed me front and center, so I was directly opposite the monstrance: nothing between us but space. Behind the monstrance was the window. The blinds were closed but light was streaming in from the side and falling on the face of the Blessed Virgin statue. It was hitting in such a way that every time I looked at the Eucharist out the corner of my eye it would appear that the Blessed Virgin was smiling. When I say smiling, I don’t mean a small smile or a grin, I mean a large beaming smile. So I would look at the statue and would just see light shining on its face. I would look back at the Eucharist and this beaming smile would appear. As the hour progressed I became less interested in this phenomenon and turned more towards contemplating the Eucharist: wondering if Lord Jesus truly was in there. So I asked Him. The next thing I know something came out of the Eucharist and into me. That’s the best way I can explain it. It felt like a deep profoundness had left the Eucharist and entered and rested in my soul. I tried examining this feeling to better understand it, but I only ever got the sense of deep profoundness. While I could not and, still cannot, do justice to this great grace of God by being able to understand and explain the profundity of the Eucharist, I did come away convinced that it was as the Catholic Church said it was. Looking back on it I suspect it was Lord Jesus preparing me for the reception of the Eucharist when I became Catholic.
May we all experience the love of Christ! God bless!
The use of this lovely photo was given by Lawrence OP under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 2.0 Generic License