I left my research with conviction that reason, history, and Scripture all pointed to Catholicism and the Church. I needed to convert, but I knew I couldn’t do that while living at home, so I continued attending church with my grandparents, prayed, and waited for a miracle.
Finally, I moved away to college, but circumstances only continued to delay my conversion. By sophomore year, It had almost been three years since my decision to convert—as hopeful as I was, things didn’t look good for “Project Catholic.” I said to myself, “I’ll just find the nearest parish and ask a friend to take me.” But even that straightforward plan wasn’t guaranteed; I didn’t know if anyone would take me.
“Where is it?” my friend asked, and I showed her the map on my phone. “Okay. I’ll drop you off.” She went back to her video game and I left the dorm almost dizzy with excitement. I was going to Mass! After three years of waiting I was finally going to see what a Mass was like! Jesus had given me my miracle. My friend—my agnostic friend who thought she’d burst into flames if she walked into a church—had agreed to drive me to 11 o’ clock Sunday Mass. I was so happy I didn’t know what to do with myself.
That Sunday I walked into the sanctuary and sat down near the back. I didn’t know what to do at all, and I was so worried I’d embarrass myself. The woman beside me said hello, and when I told her I’d never been to a Mass before, she showed me the Missal and how to use it. I followed along as best as I could, but I felt so silly. I definitely mumbled my way through the Creed, but then we got to the Eucharistic Liturgy, and I was enthralled.
“Behold the Lamb of God. Behold Him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.” I can’t explain what happened when I looked at the Host. The whole world fell away, and I heard him say, “Here I am. Look at me.” I felt incredible peace. This was where I belonged. This was home. I had known in my head that the Eucharist was Jesus, but now I knew in my heart.
I practically assaulted Father after Mass. The weeks before Easter Vigil seemed to fly as I began attending Mass, Adoration, Evening Prayer, RCIA, and just about any parish activity I had time for. At Vigil I was validly baptized and received Jesus in the Eucharist for the first time. It was the Most beautiful Mass I’ve ever attended; I don’t even care that I cried in front of the whole parish. After three years of waiting, I was home. Jesus had answered my prayers, and when the reality of all that he’d done hit me I just couldn’t hold it in. I was so wrapped up in becoming Catholic that I didn’t see all the little miracles and blessings Jesus showered on me. St. Thérèse was determined to be my patroness though, because my path to the King is strewn with her roses, with the “little things” that made such a great saint. I know she and Mother Mary were constantly interceding for me.
Now I never have to worry or be afraid again, because I know my Jesus is there waiting for me in the Eucharist, to give me his strength and his peace. I never have to feel lonely, because he is there in the tabernacle. I still can’t believe the King of the Universe and the Lord of Angels can love us that much—even though he can hold the world in the palm of his hand and still the wind with a whisper, he willingly becomes our food. The greatest love story ever told—and it’s all for you and me. To Him be all glory and praise forever!
In His Sacred Heart,