“Close your eyes after Holy Communion,” Father Andrew instructed. “Let yourself feel the loving embrace of Jesus.”
The time after Holy Communion is powerful, intimate, and sacred, if we allow it to be. I always try to remain present to the presence of Jesus, believing with all my heart that His precious Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity now rest in me. As a mom of six, however, I often have to spend this time with one eye open, making sure my children stay relatively still and quiet, while our parish community prays around us.
But when I attended my annual four-day silent retreat and took to heart Father’s words, something powerful happened. For in the silence of the heart, God truly speaks. And in the silence, the distance between heaven and earth is closer than we realize, and the reality of the mystical Body of Christ comes into focus.
At this particular Mass, I returned to my pew after receiving Our Eucharistic Lord and closed my eyes, like Father instructed. I let myself feel Jesus’ loving embrace. I imagined His heart beating within me.
Then, I felt the presence of my Guardian Angel right next to me. His full attention was on Jesus within me. His arms extended toward me, as if reaching for a hug, but they really were outstretched in worship of the Lord. I felt my angel’s strength and devotion, and I leaned into him, resting my head upon his chest. We adored Christ together.
At that point, I envisioned Our Blessed Mother, with her adoring gaze on Jesus within me. Her arms embraced me and my angel, in a motherly gesture of protection and affection. All three of us worshipped Jesus together.
As I knelt there in the presence of Jesus, with Mary and my Guardian Angel, Mary gently encouraged me to open myself even more to her Son.
“Open your heart more to Him. Let Jesus reach the darkest and most-hidden corners of your heart,” she guided.
Trusting her encouragement, I felt myself open up even more to the Lord. I invited Jesus to enter deeper into my heart, and as He did, a type of light moved within me. Warm, soft brightness permeated places that desperately needed hope and healing. I didn’t even realize what I needed until I received it.
In that moment, I praised God for the gift of His love, presence, healing, and mercy. I also thanked Him for the gift of His mother, who is our mother, too.
Mary is someone we can always turn to for guidance and understanding, because she was a woman of faith in the midst of uncertainty, in the midst of sorrow, and in the midst of joy. She experienced the highs and lows of life, just like we do. She opened her heart completely to the Lord, and now she shows us how we can do that, too. Mary always brings us closer to Jesus. Always.
Mary, queen of heaven and earth, queen of the Christian heart, pray for us.