May 20, 2022

Evangelization Supplement

Eucharistic adoration draws people closer to the presence of God in their lives

Voluntas Dei Father Leo Patalinghug kneels in worship during an evening of eucharistic adoration in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Nov. 19, 2021, during the National Catholic Youth Conference. (File photo by Natalie Hoefer)

Voluntas Dei Father Leo Patalinghug kneels in worship during an evening of eucharistic adoration in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Nov. 19, 2021, during the National Catholic Youth Conference. (File photo by Natalie Hoefer)

(Editor’s note: The Criterion invited people to share their stories of how their participation in eucharistic adoration has touched their lives and deepened their relationship with Jesus. Here are three of their stories.)
 

By John Shaughnessy

Lightning flashed through the stained-glass windows and thunder crashed all around the adoration chapel, leaving Lisa Marie Taylor feeling scared as she began her holy hour all alone at 10 o’clock on that night.

Trying to calm her nerves in the raging storm, Taylor picked up a book of hymns and began singing aloud her favorites, eventually turning to the page for “How Can I Keep from Singing?” which includes these lyrics:

No storm can shake my inmost calm,
While to that rock I’m clinging.
Since love is lord of heaven and Earth
How can I keep from singing?

“Suddenly, the storm stopped. It was completely silent,” recalls Taylor of that moment in the adoration chapel of St. Barnabas Parish in Indianapolis. “I stood in that chapel knowing that God was with me and heard my prayer. It just stopped. I couldn’t believe it. To this day when storms pass through my life, I cling to the Lord and keep singing.”

That faith in God helped her through one of the most heartbreaking times of her life.

“One particular storm was in 2013, with my mom’s diagnosis of stage 4 liver cancer,” says Taylor, who is a teacher at St. Barnabas School. “My parents had just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary when we heard the devastating news. My parents and I would gather in the chapel on Saturday evenings. I remember one evening when I watched my mom with her eyes closed, holding her rosary beads, knowing that she was praying for a miracle.

“I had to turn away as I felt the urge to weep, thinking about losing her. I was trying to be strong. I didn’t want her to see my tears.”

Taylor adds about her mother, Madonna Smith, “We didn’t get that miracle. She died on the evening of Jan. 31, 2014.”

In the midst of her heartbreak, Taylor found some comfort in the adoration chapel on the morning after her mother died.

“Her church friends from St. Barnabas had planned a rosary in the chapel for the following morning not knowing that she would die the evening before. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go. I was so full of grief, and it was so late when the funeral home took her that night. However, I knew that’s where I needed to be. I was not prepared for what I found in that little chapel.

“So many friends had gathered there. Even a few of my second graders were there. I felt the love of a community, I heard the words of Mary’s prayers, and I knew my mom was wrapping her arms around me from heaven.”

Taylor still feels her mother’s presence today when she enters the adoration chapel.

“I still see her sitting in that chapel praying the rosary.”

She also feels the presence of God.

“Kneeling in the adoration chapel before the presence of God, I feel at peace. It is in believing in the miracle of the Eucharist and spending time with my Lord in adoration that I can continue to get through the storms of this life and feel the love of our Lord surrounding me.”

‘Lord, I need you’

The questions kept haunting Josephine “Josie” Wolfe.

Even while growing up in the Catholic faith, the teenager seldom felt the presence of God in her life, leaving her to wonder, “What if God is not real? What if we are living a lie?”

“As I tried to find these answers, it pushed me into a deeper hole,” noted Josie, a freshman at Oldenburg Academy of the Immaculate Conception in Oldenburg. “I continued to feel the ache in my heart. Searching for the pure happiness that I truly desired, I was lonely.”

While dealing with these feelings, she heard about the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) in Indianapolis and decided to attend so she could be with her friends, never expecting the dramatic impact it would have on her.

“When the first day of NCYC arrived, we participated in various events,” she says. “I was going through the motions, having fun with my friends but not really feeling God’s presence.”

Yet all that changed on the last day of the conference, an experience she wrote about for the 2022 Serra Club Essay Contest.

“On the last evening of the conference, God was calling me to open my heart and give everything to him: my thoughts, my worries, my everything,” Josie wrote. “I began by going to reconciliation in order to have a fresh start, a clean slate. An immense weight was lifted off my shoulders; I was ready to give my heart to God. My friends and I then rushed to adoration.

“I sat and simply stared at Jesus in the monstrance, begging God to let me in, pleading that he would enter my heart. I knelt down, opened my hands, and reached out to him. Only seeing darkness with my eyes softly closed, I begged, Lord, I need you. Out of nowhere, WHAM! Tears gushing down my cheeks, his merciful love entered my heart; I was drowning in his love and forgiveness; my heart was being put back together, piece by piece.”

In that moment, the member of All Saints Parish in Dearborn County finally felt God’s presence.

“My personal encounter with Jesus filled me with God’s mercy. The Holy Spirit grabbed me, took me to true peace, where nothing else mattered; it was only God and me as I rested in his presence, feeling his warmth racing through my veins.

“Experiencing his true presence changed me. How I see life now is through a completely different lens. My doubts, fears and questions were answered. Adoration changed my life forever.”

‘I feel so close to Jesus there’

Nancy Beyer’s involvement in eucharistic adoration didn’t begin in a thunder-struck moment. Instead, it came in an “every day” moment of running errands. And still the impact on her life and her faith has been profound.

“One year during Advent, the priest in town started leaving the church open during the day, and when I ran my errands, I would stop in for a few minutes to say the rosary,” Beyer recalls about her experience at St. Joseph Church in Shelbyville. “I found out that every day from noon until one, there was adoration. I started saving all my errands so I could go to that church during that holy hour.

“On Mondays, confession was also available during that hour. After several weeks, that special hour was my favorite of the day. I said Catholic prayers at first, but several times I would remember past times when I had hurt people by my actions and words. The Holy Spirit spoke to me. Many sins came to my mind. I wrote them all down and took them to confession on Mondays.”

Just as adoration drew her closer to Christ, so did her embrace of the sacrament of reconciliation.

“I had always gone to confession once or twice a year, never really remembering specific sins, just general ones,” she says. “There was sorrow, joy, lots of tears, love, acceptance, forgiveness and more at the end of my confession. I started to make a confession once a month. Believe me, it was easier and more meaningful than once or twice a year.”

Yet just as Beyer had that perfect situation in her life, it changed after a year.

“The beautiful, expansive, sedate, inspirational church was locked during the day, and a tiny room for six people opened as the perpetual adoration chapel,” she recalls. “Parishioners we’re so happy, but I was so sad and scared that my special hour with Jesus was over. My first visit during my usual time left me uncomfortable, insecure, and I left in tears. I didn’t give up though.

“I kept trying until I found some times when there was only one other person in there. I discovered that one of those times was an hour from noon to one, like before, and the other person was a high school classmate of mine. I would talk to him a little as we were walking out together. Later in that year, he was in a freak accident at his home and he died a few days after one of those holy hours. I made a commitment to take his holy hour.”

She has continued that commitment at St. Joseph’s adoration chapel. She has also extended her devotion to a holy hour at St. Mary Church in Rushville, where she and her husband of 52 years, Stephen, are members.

“I’m usually a very busy person, but when I go to adoration, I try to listen to God and not focus on what I want,” she says. “I try to focus on what God wants me to do.

“Spending time in adoration is a time to give thanks and praise to God for all the gifts he has given to us, but it also is a time to discern and listen to God speaking, too. I really wish I could talk everybody into doing this. I feel so close to Jesus there.”
 

(More stories of how eucharistic adoration has touched the lives and faith of people will be featured in the May 27 issue of The Criterion)

 

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