Kianna Garmanian, Staff Writer
Dear Kianna, what does it mean to have a relationship with Jesus? How can one draw closer to God? – Longing to be closer
Dear Longing, allow me to share my story. This was one of the first deep and profound encounters I had with the Lord. I was a sophomore in high school- sixteen years old. It was time for me to attend the big Confirmation, (one of the seven Sacraments in the Catholic Church), a retreat that was apparently supposed to be a transformative and life-changing experience. I was told that this retreat would awaken my spirit and be incredible. How could this be? I didn’t want to go… I didn’t want to “waste” an entire weekend at a church event. Could I just pretend I was sick and not show up at the retreat?
I tried to come up with many excuses to skip the retreat, yet none of them worked well for me. So ever reluctantly, I ended up going, and this is what happened. It was a Saturday night, the second day of the retreat, and our youth minister led us teens across a path in the woods. The only light came from the candles we held in our hands, which led our way across the dark, muddy, and rocky path. After about 15 minutes of walking, we arrived at a small building in the middle of the woods. What was going on? Where was I? These were the thoughts that ran through my head.
With a candle in my hand, I slowly walked toward the building and opened the doors. As I entered, I heard the soft and beautiful voices of the choir that were singing in the background. Dozens of candles were placed around the perimeter of the room, adding a small hint of light. Once I fully entered the building, I slowly looked up and gazed at my surroundings. Behold… right in front of me was Jesus in the Eucharist, most beautifully exposed in a monstrance and placed on the tabernacle for us to adore. That was it…. I lost it. In complete tears, I broke down. And I’m not just talking about a few tears; I mean complete, hysteric, messy crying.
My heart was broken, lost, confused, and afraid. I was struggling with my own set of challenges and trying to carry the cross on my own. I had so many questions about my faith and the presence of God in my life. I doubted the power of God’s love and never placed my full trust in Him. Yet, it was this very moment at my Confirmation retreat that marked my first real and deep encounter with Christ in the Eucharist. All I did was gaze my eyes upon Jesus in the Eucharist, and I knew with the most complete and sincere confidence that He was with me. I felt His love in the most powerful way and it surrounded my entire being. It was as if Jesus was wrapping His arms around me and showering me with His infinite goodness.
“Come, just as you are.” These were the words I heard in my heart. Although I was broken and weak, although I was lost and confused, although I didn’t have all the answers, Christ was with me. That weekend changed my life. It was this retreat that deepened my desire to discover Jesus in a more intimate way and spend more time with Him in adoration. My friends, I extend this message to you: come to Jesus, just as you are. Come to Him with all your burdens, all your worries, and all your imperfections. This is how you will grow nearer to Him and in a deeper relationship. Just come, rest in His presence, and Jesus will take care of the rest. May God Bless you all.