For every day of Lent I choose a “Lenten Fortune” out of a container that looks like a box for Chinese take-out. Each slip of white paper includes a faith exercise. My Familia team leaders gave me the box filled with “fortunes” as a way to make my Lent more fruitful. Many of the fortunes require little effort – “Say a prayer for your husband,” or “Write a handwritten note to someone.”
However, yesterday I let Madeline pull out a fortune and when I read it, I admit I was less than thrilled. “Make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament either at Adoration or to your parish’s tabernacle.” It was a miserable day and the last thing I wanted to do was load the kids into the car and trek across town to church. Plus, this wasn’t a part of my day’s plan. (As an anal planner, I find spontaneous trips to church or anywhere else difficult. If I’d planned on going, that would be one thing but to have it thrust upon me like this threw me for a loop.)
“I don’t have time today,” I told myself.
But somehow or another I made time. I just couldn’t get Jesus’ words, “Could you not watch one hour with Me?” (Matthew 26:40) out of my mind. I did decide to not take the kids, so once they were in Dreamland and Dave was finally home, I slipped away and went to the Adoration Chapel.
In the stillness and in the close company of our Lord, I fell to my knees and quieted my heart. Then I began to weep.
I wish it weren’t so, but I’m not always reduced to joyful tears in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, but that night, for a moment ever so brief, I felt like Jesus was there with me, pouring his love down on me. I know I should always feel this way because he is there and as my little theologian pointed out that same day, “Mommy, you don’t have to go to church to pray. God’s in your heart.”
Unfortunately sometimes, being the weak woman I am, I have to go closer to the source.
But even being right there – where Jesus dwells in the Blessed Sacrament – my closeness to God was fleeting. I felt him. I felt elated, inspired and filled with a burning love and then… Poof! It was gone. Not really, of course, but the feeling had vanished and I was desperately trying to get it back, wishing I could bottle up that euphoria and that certainty of God’s love for me that I’d just experienced and have it on hand for whenever I needed a fill of Jesus.
Honestly, it seems I spend far more of my life grasping than feeling like God is with me and deeply loves little, old sinful me. But it’s these moments – when I strongly experience his presence, when all my doubts disappear, when not one naysayer could convince me that practicing my faith is a foolish pursuit, when I’m acutely aware of his strong, intense love for me, as rare and brief as they regrettably usually are – that make me keep coming back.
Jesus, thank you. Thank you for helping me to make time for you. How could I not want to be this close to you? Why did I see spending time in your company as an obligation, something I had to make time for instead of as a great gift, something I should long for and crave? Thank you for giving me this gift. Above all, thank you for loving me even when I shut you out or am too blind to see that you are with me every single step of the way.