Mass: Our Weekly Miracle

By Cecilia Elizabeth Linares Castillo

I‘ve always thought that I had never experienced a miracle in my life, until I realized all of the times that I have been witnessing the greatest of miracles— at the altar.

Sometimes we caught ourselves going to Mass, because it’s part of our routine, for obligation or just because it is what we have done all of our lives. But of course, it is one of the biggest mistakes. Mass should be lived and prayed deeply. On Earth, it is the biggest opportunity for us to become one with Christ.

Not going to lie, I used to fall asleep during Mass most of the time— can you imagine? How embarrassing! (I’m sorry, Jesus). If you don’t realize what is truly occurring at Mass, it can seem boring or tedious at times, but once you experience the flushing love of the Holy Spirit present in it, you will never go back.

I realized that I’d had the wrong approach when I started falling in love with Jesus, and I felt like something was missing in my intimacy with Him. A video appeared on my YouTube home page, “Pray the Mass like never before.” I watched it twice because I was overwhelmed by all of the truth in it that I did not yet fully understand. The more deeply I delved into it, the more I realized how much I was losing by putting so little into the altar.

How can I be so blessed that God reveals all these things to me so I can live a life being His little beloved girl? Me, a sinner? But, what can I do in my littleness? All this things started coming to my mind and I felt that I wasn’t enough, that I wasn’t able to comprehend all that was happening in the Mass, that I couldn’t give to God what He deserves.
But when the infinite mercy of God came into my life, I felt loved; I felt chosen. I was reminded by Him that He wants my heart, and that all I have to offer is because of Him, and that is enough. He never puts expectations on us, because of His merciful, loving and sacred heart.

Think about this, how blessed are we to be convocated in honor of the Holy Trinity for its worship! Mass is unlike any other service: It’s not about us— we go to fully worship a triumph God, and we are purified by the Eucharist and by so many prayers, as our angels on Heaven descend to offer our prayers to the Father.

During Mass, the altar on Earth unites with the altar on Heaven and they become one, we got many key parts in the holy celebration where we pray, listen and learn the word of God, especially where we worship the word made flesh. Today, I´m not going to go in depth about the parts of the Mass, but I highly encourage you to research about it, it’ll open your heart to encounter Jesus in the most amazing way.

In the Eucharist, the promise made to the apostles, “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20) is fulfilled. I am forever thankful to be a cradle Catholic, and I feel so blessed to be able to have all of this fruits that God has to offer us through the Church.

Living the Eucharist and knowing what it truly means is the best way I’ve ever lived my life. I’m only 20 years old, and I still got a lot to learn, but my heart is full of joy to be part of the greatest sacrifice offered to the Father, by Christ in the unity of the Holy Spirit.

As Saint John Vianney said:

“If we knew the value of the Holy Sacrifice of Mass, we would put our greatest effort to assist to it.”

Mass is Heaven on Earth!

He Loves, He Hopes, He Waits

By Cathy Webb

Every seat was taken. I peered through the frosted glass doors once again, hoping I hadn’t seen correctly. But there was no mistaking it: the Adoration chapel was at full capacity.

Crushed, I walked back to my car as the desperate need to be in Christ’s presence enveloped me in a deluge of tears. Taking out my journal, I poured out my heart to Him and waited.

Nearly an hour later, I walked back inside. In my sobbing state, I hadn’t noticed the adorers slowly departing. Now, just one other woman remained. I knelt in front of the monstrance and allowed Christ’s Eucharistic gaze to wash over me. After a while, I heard shuffling as the other woman gathered her things and left.

Suddenly I was faced with a realization: the next scheduled adorer hadn’t shown up. Stunned, I just sat there in front of the Eucharist, not knowing what to say or do. Believe it or not, this was my first time ever being alone with the Blessed Sacrament. Sure, I often had virtual Holy Hours at home by myself, but this was different. Here I was, being handed a face to face, one-on-one encounter with the Word Made Flesh.

Not wanting to waste this precious moment, I asked Him, “Lord, what do You want to say to me? What do you want me to say to you?” The words I heard Christ speak to my heart are only for Him and I (and my spiritual director) to share. But what I can tell you is that His words—and my honest response to them—were the catalyst in a journey toward full healing of which I am still reaping the fruits.

I am telling you all this because I truly believe that Jesus divinely arranged to be alone with me, His beloved daughter, at this particular time and place. He knew what it would take to open my mind and heart to experience a life-changing encounter with Him. The truth is, had I come into the chapel when I originally planned, when it was packed with adorers, I never would have been able to communicate my feelings to Christ in such a personal, intimate way.

Maybe you’ve never been inside an Adoration chapel. Maybe you’re not sure what the purpose of adoration is or why it’s even important.

The answer lies in the prayer of the priest, spoken at every Mass during the consecration: “This is My Body…this is My Blood.”

In the Blessed Sacrament, it is Christ’s Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity that is really and truly present. As Catholics, we adore and receive Jesus’ Real Presence in communion, and we can continue to adore Him in all the tabernacles around the world.

During Eucharistic Adoration, we pray to Jesus Christ truly present in the Eucharist, typically exposed in a monstrance. If the concept of praying to the God of the Universe under the guise of a tiny white host is hard for you to grasp, ask the Spirit for guidance. And keep showing up! My first time at adoration was super uncomfortable and awkward (almost like a clumsy first date!) but I simply asked Jesus to draw me back to Him, and now there is no other place I’d rather be.

Spending time in Christ’s presence is a deeply transformative practice, and there are no rules when it comes to prayer. You can recite the Rosary, read Scripture, or simply speak to Him about everything that’s on your heart. Use this opportunity to tell Him your own needs, as well as the needs of your family, your friends, and the world. It is also important to just sit in God’s presence and listen.

The Eucharist is the gift of Christ’s very self, perpetually offered out of love. Silent and vulnerable, He subjects Himself to irreverence, ignorance, indifference, and unbelief—all for the sake of remaining with us on the altar.

Through an unexpected grace, Christ cleared the chapel for me that day, and He has set apart a place specifically for you. In the words of St. Maria Goretti, “He loves, He hopes, He waits.”

Jesus is waiting for you, thirsting for a personal relationship with you. So make time with Him a priority. Run to Him. Seek His ever-abiding presence. Allow His all-consuming love to penetrate your soul.

And then sit back as He transforms your prayer and your life.

Do you realize that Jesus is there in the tabernacle expressly for you- for you alone? He burns with the desire to come into your heart.

St. Therese of Liseiux

The Power of the Eucharist

By Taylor Fielder

When I was a little girl, my mom would drag my little brother and I to adoration. The chapel was dark, lit only by the candles that framed the tabernacle. While we didn’t fully understand yet what we were experiencing, we knew there was something different about this space. My mom would go before the Lord praying for my dad’s conversion. For eighteen years I watched her fast and do penance so that our family would be unified in the Church. The diligence and manner in which she prayed showed my brother and I that what she was praying for was real. Our Catholic faith was and still is the most important thing to her, and my dad knew that. Before they married, he agreed to raise us in the Catholic Church. I have never been so thankful for a promise kept. We knew he had questions and hesitations about the Church, but he made sure we were there every Sunday as a family, because that’s what he promised my mom. Every day I prayed for my family to someday sit in Mass together.

The summer before junior year of high school I went on an adventurous trip to Colorado with my youth group. I was not one that liked to spend time away from my family, so I dreaded this trip. After about eight hours in the car, we stopped at a little convent in the middle of nowhere in Kansas. The sisters were having adoration before Mass, and we had the opportunity to celebrate with them. We filed into the humble chapel where they were praying before the Blessed Sacrament. From the moment I crossed the threshold of the door I could feel the Holy Spirit drawing my soul in. I believe that time spent in adoration that day is the closest thing to ecstasy I will experience this side of Heaven. Tears overwhelmingly filled my eyes—I was truly in the presence of Christ. It was that day that my love for adoration began, and I understood why my mom had spent so many hours there. After mass we were able to mingle with the sisters. I was introduced to one in particular, and I couldn’t even look her in the eyes. She was the most holy woman I had ever seen, radiant and beautiful. I quickly went out the door and climbed into the van. She followed me all the way to the back seat to speak to me. Knowing that I was moved by our experience, she grabbed my face and said to me: “Sometimes Jesus squeezes the heart.” And He was. I was so humbled. I felt so unworthy to be loved so much.

Junior year of college, I met a boy. Not just any boy, but the one I knew I wanted to marry. He was handsome and charming—everything I had ever prayed for. He was not Catholic, but I was okay with that. I had seen it work with my parents (and seven other couples in my family who married non-Catholics that are now converted and in full communion with the Church). I was working for our football department and he was playing at a school a few hours away. He knew he wanted to go pro and spent lots of time training, so this made seeing each other difficult sometimes. When I missed him, or when we were going through challenges in our relationship, I would go sit in front of the Blessed Sacrament and tell Jesus everything. My hurts, my wants, my fears, my frustrations. Sometimes I would go and sob, sometimes I would just sit and feel His embrace.

After college, he moved to California to start training camp. We got engaged outside of the Cathedral in my hometown where we planned to be married—the same church I have dreamed of being married in since I was a little girl. It was the most beautiful day full of blessings and family, and we could not wait to start our future together. We went through our marriage prep, I bought a dress, and I prepared to make the move to California after the wedding. A few months into our engagement, he decided he was unsure about the Catholic Church and raising our family in this way. While I never expected to marry a Catholic, I knew I would never force my faith on anyone either. But I do feel a sense of responsibility to make sure my future children experience every part of our faith—and not be pulled in two different directions. We decided to call off the wedding.

Heartbroken and confused, I ran to the only place I knew to go—the same place I had been hundreds of times. The only place that could heal my very broken heart. I was so angry with God (and I let him know that too). I told him—“If it wasn’t for You and Your Church, I would be marrying the man I love.” How could he give me everything I had asked for and then take it away? Looking back, maybe this was the point. I was stripped of everything I thought I could ever want and was left with no one else to turn to but Him. And I did. Humbly, desperately, daily, I would find my strength in the Eucharist. There were days it was the only thing that got me up in the morning.

Friends, there is power and healing in the Eucharist. As Catholics we have the opportunity to experience Christ in the most intimate way that no one else can! He has made himself present to us through the Eucharist, and there is nothing else like it on this earth. He eagerly waits for us to come be with Him–to share our hopes and our struggles, to weep and rejoice. He is always there and always waiting. Run to Him–He alone will heal you.