Growing In His Presence

The most significant decisions I’ve made in my life have been framed by my relationship with the Blessed Sacrament, the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, the reality we commemorate and celebrate today. In fact, I’d have to confess those changes and big decisions in life weren’t simply framed by that relationship, but have been directed by the Eucharistic Lord.

Faith first awakened in my heart through an encounter with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament when I was in high school. Encountering Jesus’s presence in Adoration cemented him at the center of the man I was called to become as I matured. Long hours in his Eucharistic presence have marked various turning points in my vocational discernment. More intimate moments with the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar continue to plan my steps in life toward an end with greater love for, and unity with, that same Lord in whom I have found my worth, my meaning, and my hope.

Of course, there are volumes upon volumes written about the meaning and theology of the Eucharist. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is not short of words outlining what we believe to be doctrine surrounding this most sacred of mysteries. Our parish bulletin has been including information from that tome to illuminate these teachings about the Eucharist in the Catechism Corner. So, while this space could be used to add to the multitude of those words, I feel these lines would better serve the parish by doing something very different.

Our parish is now, and has been for around 18 months, home to a chapel wherein Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is available at virtually any time. We are blessedly privileged with the opportunity to come visit the Lord, read on this mystery, or simply dwell on what we know of the mystery, no matter how entry-level or elevated. Therefore, allow me to share what amounts to a personal testimony to the mystical truths I’ve experienced in the presence of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, Corpus Christi.

I’ve shared in this column in bygone months how my own faith came alive, but I will recount here two pivotal moments.

While attending/ministering music for a youth Eucharistic conference, I recall wrestling with whether or not the human loves in my life would suffer if I gave more of my heart to the Lord. I was deeply worried that I wouldn’t be able to love well enough people in my life that I was fearful of losing. I even wondered whether loving God would cause me to love my own mother less.

As I knew for the first time the intimate love God has for me, in an instant it was as if the walls of my heart were blown apart, and new landscapes of love were available. That night, I learned that human love does not divide, it multiplies. I found that not only was I able to love as well, the love of God at work in me caused my affections to transcend to true charity rather than sentiment.

On the second occasion, I felt conflicted about the future of my relationship with my longtime girlfriend at the time. By God’s grace, a couple friends accompanied me for much of the night, as I spent hours talking about the move I perceived in my heart, and spent hours with me in Eucharistic Adoration at a favorite perpetual adoration chapel. That night, I didn’t go to bed, but spent the whole night in counsel with trusted friends, and in prayer.

The trajectory of my life changed that night, and led to pursuing a serious time of vocation discernment, making many new friends, and becoming more confident in my own identity in Christ.

It isn’t that we can’t or don’t come to these insights through other channels, but that by spending time with the Real Presence, I learned that he was (and remains) near to me, in formative times. The Savior holds us in greatest affection, and as we draw nearer to him, especially in the Blessed Sacrament, he makes known his special, personal care for each of us.

David Dunst
Director of Music and Liturgy

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