Jesus is present and is waiting for a meaningful conversation with you; all you need to do is show up!

During a rather difficult time in my life, I was asked to sit in for a Holy Hour at St. Mark Parish in Burlington. I never had attended adoration and was unclear on how it worked. That day I had so much going on; I was stressed out, my head was pounding, and I was in a bad mood. After much coaxing, I begrudgingly agreed to go.

As I entered the chapel, I could feel a palpable shift in the air from the flurry of activity outside to the quietness on the inside. I felt peace from within; my body felt lighter, and the air was easier to breathe. I knew at that moment that I was in the presence of something extraordinary.

At first, I knelt in prayer. Then I sat and simply had a conversation with God in my thoughts. I took deep breaths and allowed myself to surrender to the stillness of the room. Surprisingly, my inexperience did not make me feel inept or awkward. I felt like I was home.

While looking at the monstrance, I offered thanksgiving for my family, friends, home and life. I offered up my worries and let my thoughts lead wherever they might go. Being still in His presence allowed God to speak to my heart. I felt a warmth that embraced and comforted me. There was a sense of intimacy at that moment. It was as though I was gazing adoringly at Jesus and He at me.

I eventually took a regular weekly timeslot. I very much looked forward to my time with Jesus.

About a month after my first visit, I woke up feeling something had changed inside of me. I had inner peace and clarity for the first time in a long time. The only thing that I had been doing differently was my frequent trips to adoration.

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world” (Jn 6:51).

“I tell you the truth unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you”  (Jn 6:53).

Following His Resurrection and ascension, His disciples never swayed from proclaiming this overwhelming truth. They gave their lives to preserve and defend it.

This truth of our faith needs to be conveyed to our children; it is an important practice for adults and children to take time in front of the Blessed Sacrament before Mass to be still in His presence. This shows them how we can rely on God to lead us in all aspects of our life. I have encouraged my children to do this practice as they grow and continue to discern their life.

Spend time during Lent with Jesus. Give Him your worries, thanks and struggles. Then sit in silence and pay close attention to what He says in your heart. When we are still and listen, we can hear what had previously been unheard due to static in our life. It is in this stillness that God will reveal Himself to you and transform you.

I was forever transformed years ago simply because I approached Our Lord and surrendered to His grace. To this day, as I ponder a dilemma or need inspiration, I make time to spend with Jesus. This has never failed me.

Let us never take for granted the wonderful gift God has bestowed upon us. Jesus is present and is waiting for a meaningful conversation with you; all you need to do is show up!

— Valerie Parzyck is director of religious education and youth ministry at St. John Vianney Parish in South Burlington.

—Originally published in the Spring 2023 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.