“Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight.” As a cradle Catholic, I fell into the percentage of people who do not have sight. I am not talking about a physical blindness but a spiritual one. Every Catholic school Mass I attended, every Sunday Mass I attended, every Eucharistic adoration I attended, I ridiculed the people around me, I mocked our Lord. I did not understand why the people in the pews came every week and knelt in front of a piece of bread. I found it ridiculous and unintelligent. In a way, I was like Saul and the Lord was saying, “Therese, Therese, why are you persecuting me?” I was not killing anyone with swords or stones, but I was drawing others into spiritual death.
At the age of twelve, I cried out the Father and asked him to make himself visible to me. My soul and intellect were thirsting for more. In seventh grade my religion teacher, Fr. Bruce Bentrup, introduced me to the word: Transubstantiation. I remember him writing it on the chalk board. I remember him explaining the etymology of the word. I remember how it related to the piece of bread that had confounded me. He explained that while it appeared to be bread and wine (the accidents) that it was actually the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus (through a substantial change). This helped my intellect but it still did not penetrate my understanding. It was a stepping stone to my belief in His real presence.
In eighth grade my teacher, Mrs. Susan Mitchell, was explaining the schism of 1054 AD. While she attempted to make this date concrete in our minds by jumping up and down and circling the date, I was perplexed. I could not understand the schism. As I asked questions, Mrs. Mitchell had the wisdom to suggest I go home and read John 6. When I woke up the next morning, I jumped in the car with my mom and said, “mom, that little piece of bread IS Jesus!” In one moment, the words “that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit” were breathed upon me. I could not deny the Lord’s words: “Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood has eternal life and I will raise him on the last day.” I desired with all my being to have eternal life, I desired to be in communion. Everything from that day forward was different. I met Jesus on the way. Listen to Him:
Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood
remains in me and I in him.
Just as the living Father sent me
and I have life because of the Father,
so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.
This is the bread that came down from heaven.
Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died,
whoever eats this bread will live forever.”